Industry News Roundup June 2012



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Industry News Roundup June 2012

June 28, 2012


Development banks to invest $175 billion in sustainable transport

The eight largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) in the world, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and African Development Bank, announced this month at the UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit that they will invest $175 billion in sustainable transportation systems over the coming decade. According to the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport – made up of UN organisations, MDBs, NGOs and business sector organisations – air pollution, road accidents and transport-related climate change can cost 5-10% of gross domestic product per year. “These unprecedented commitments have the promise to save hundreds of thousands of lives,” said the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos. “They will create more efficient passenger and freight transportation, spurring sustainable urban economic growth.” (UN News Centre)

Companies explore sustainable shipping technologies

Sixteen global firms and two NGOs from the Sustainable Shipping Initiative have announced an 18-month action plan to advance sustainability in the shipping industry. Food producer Cargill’s shipping arm is one of the first to test the feasibility of a $1 million kite to help transport its goods globally, but the company said financing development of technologies for sustainable shipping is fraught with challenges. Cargill is partnering with other leaders in finance, insurance and shipping to develop new approaches for financing sustainable ships. Cargo shipping giant Maersk Line is also looking into sustainable shipping, with the launch of twenty new ships by 2015 which will be the most efficient in the world. (CSR Asia)

Natural Resources

Report highlights a decade’s progress in the mining sector

In 2002, the mining sector’s leading CEOs committed to measures to put mining on a more sustainable path through the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)'s landmark ‘Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development’ initiative. Now, a decade later, a new report by the IIED highlights both major improvements and areas of stagnation. Companies such as Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Newmont Mining Corporation have helped develop a raft of good practice guidance and initiatives through the International Council on Mining and Metals, and have implemented their own policies on health and safety, environment, communities and security.

However, good intentions are not enough, and mining companies can struggle to get it right when faced with the complexity of situations on the ground. While multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) have emerged to guide the sector, it is not always clear how such progress can be translated into something meaningful at the local level. The last year has seen governments asserting greater control over the sector, redefining policies and proposing renegotiations of mineral contracts. Over the next decade, mining companies will need to work hard to implement sustainable development that meets the demands of communities. (The Guardian)

Forest Footprint Disclosure Project to merge with CDP

The Global Canopy Programme’s Forest Footprint Disclosure Project will merge with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to create what the two non-profits say is the world’s largest comprehensive natural capital measuring system that covers carbon, water and forests. More than 3,000 organisations disclosed greenhouse gas emissions, water and other climate change-related information to the CDP in 2011. Bringing forests, which are critically linked to both climate and water security, into the system will enable companies and investors to rely on one source of primary data for this set of interrelated issues, CDP CEO Paul Simpson said. (Environmental Leader)

Consumer Goods

Brands join forces to pioneer plant-based packaging

Some of the world’s biggest consumer brands have formed a global alliance to push forward the development of bio-plastics packaging in their products. CocaCola, Ford Motors, Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble have formed a strategic working group known as the Plant PET Technology Collaborative. Its remit is to accelerate the development and use of 100% plant-based PET materials and fibre in items such as plastic bottles, footwear and automotive fabric, building upon the success of Coca-Cola’s ‘PlantBottle’ technology, which is partially made from plants. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), plant-based PET has the potential to offer a valid and sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-derived material. (Edie)

Cosmetics companies join Sustainable Packaging Roundtable

Major cosmetics companies Chanel, Coty, Avon, L’Oréal Group, Mast Global and Estée Lauder are inaugural members of an initiative created by the American Institute of Chemical EngineersInstitute for Sustainability, which aims to find ways to work with suppliers, retailers and customers to advance sustainable packaging. Cosmetics companies are becoming more aware of the importance of sustainable packaging within their corporate social responsibility initiatives, said John Delfausse, Estée Lauder’s vice president of packaging. (Environmental Leader)

Textiles & Apparel

“Well-meaning” clothes companies fail to prevent exploitation of young women

European and US garment brands and retailers have failed in their attempts to structurally improve labour conditions at their suppliers in Tamil Nadu, South India, according to a new report. Maid in India, published by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and the India Committee of the Netherlands, finds that while companies such as C&A, Diesel and Primark have joined initiatives and undertaken social audits of suppliers, with some positive effects, many more are lagging behind. The report concludes that corporates need to “step up their efforts” to achieve widespread change, especially in ensuring freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively, in a country where trade unions are weak and face enormous opposition. (European Coalition for Corporate Justice)


Millicom among winners of Inclusive Business awards at G20 Summit

Millicom, a Luxembourg-based company which provides mobile phone networks in Latin America and Africa, has been named as one of fifteen winners of the G20’s ‘Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation’, presented at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Mexico this month. The awards seek to honour companies with innovative and commercially viable ways of working with people in developing countries, either as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers.

Millicom has been recognised for making mobile telephony affordable to even the lowest earners in developing countries, and for its recent introduction of mobile financial services to certain markets. Other winners included Apollo Hospitals, which provides specialised, quality healthcare to the poorest people in India, Ecofiltro, which uses local materials and labour to produce inexpensive water filters in Guatemala, and Engro Foods, a dairy products company in Pakistan which sources from smallholder farmers. (G20 Challenge)