Top Stories

May 17, 2012

Research & Policy

China injects vigour into carbon debate

China may account for nearly a quarter of global carbon emissions, but its fledgling plans to start seven pilot emissions trading schemes could have a transforming impact on efforts to tackle climate change and recharge the global clean energy industry. China's size and growth mean the fate of the pilots is "one of the most important questions of environmental policy of our time", according to a Stockholm Environment Institute study published last month. "If the Chinese end up with a national scheme that is compatible with the EU's emissions trading system, it's game over for the rest of the world," says Tim Yeo, who chairs the UK parliament's energy committee. "Everyone will have to do it, including the US."

Financial Times* p6

Analysis finds businesses at risk from water stress

Stress on water supplies in key regions of the world has the potential to limit economic growth by constraining business activities, as well as hampering agricultural outputs, according to a report by risk analysis company Maplecroft. The company's newly-released Water Stress Index shows the viability of water supplies throughout China, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the US are under threat from unsustainable domestic, agricultural and industrial demands. Maplecroft CEO Alyson Warhurst advises, "Businesses should undertake impact assessment and monitoring of water stress and water security and other areas of risk that conflate with such pressures including food security, conflict and energy availability."

Sustainable Brands

Supply Chain

Hilton launches centre for sustainable procurement

Hotel chain Hilton Worldwide is to launch a centre of excellence to help buyers integrate sustainability into purchasing decisions. The Centre for Sustainable Procurement will be funded by Hilton and will develop research on topics such as how to give managers incentives to adopt sustainability. Bill Kornegay, senior vice president, Hilton supply management at the hotel group, said in a statement: "Costs notwithstanding, our buyers must make a decision regarding sustainability in the procurement process, which currently includes metrics for quality, services, delivery and costs. We see the centre as an incredible opportunity to help us develop robust sustainability metrics to aid the buyer in making the best decision possible."

Supply Management


Companies reject the Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Seven companies, including Pitney Bowes, Ruby Tuesday and US Airways have announced action to avoid the use of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification. The companies follow several more, including Sprint, AT&T, State Farm and U.S. Bank, who stopped using SFI-certified products last year. The eco-label has come under fire from campaign group ForestEthics, which claims in a report, SFI: Certified Greenwash, that the SFI is funded, promoted and staffed by the very paper and timber industry interests it evaluates, making it an enabler of "business-as-usual forest destruction." The SFI has in turn denied the accusations, producing its own report entitled Setting the Record Straight which claims to counter ForestEthic's "misleading, outdated information".


Human Rights

UK Minister calls for support for tough new arms trade treaty

The international arms trade has become the greatest threat to development and has to be controlled by a tough treaty to regulate weapons and munitions sales, a government minister warns. Alan Duncan, a Minister of State in the Department for International Development (DFID), will today urge allies such as the US to set aside their concerns and sign up to the comprehensive arms trade treaty (ATT), which will be hammered out during a month-long negotiation at the UN in July. The new treaty could potentially ban all weapons sales to countries that could use them to abuse human rights, or encourage corruption or armed violence.

The Guardian p18