Top Stories

June 29, 2012

Supply Chain

NGOs challenge Apple and Nestlé over human rights issues

Allegations of human rights abuses in Apple’s supply chain have spread beyond its main Chinese supplier, Foxconn, where the technology company launched an investigation in February. Abuses exist across Apple's Chinese suppliers and are worse at non-Foxconn factories, according to a new investigation by American NGO China Labor Watch, which found that workers experienced "deplorable" conditions including a basic 11-hour day, excessive overtime, low wages and hazardous working conditions. Apple states that the issues will be dealt with as part of its ongoing supplier responsibility programme. Meanwhile, Nestlé has set out actions to address child labour in Côte d'Ivoire following a report on its supply chain by the Fair Labor Association. The company will launch training and awareness-raising initiatives in cocoa-growing communities. (The Independent; MarketWatch)

Policy & Research

Supply chain warning on climate change impact

Businesses have been warned by the UK charity Oxfam that climate change is threatening the resilience of global supply chains. A paper published by the charity yesterday highlights the increasing impact of climate change on small-scale producers in the developing world. The paper contains case studies from Marks & Spencer, Starbucks and The Body Shop of major production climate change impacts, such as heavy rainfall in Colombia which cut coffee production by over 20% between 2008 and 2010. Oxfam names five key actions for businesses: raising awareness within the business, building stable relations with suppliers, improving information flow, encouraging sustainable practices and working with external bodies, including governments. (Edie)

82% of major EU cities have set emissions goals

European cities are leading their international peer group in climate change management and 82% have set a city-wide emissions reduction target, compared to the global average of 70%, according to the latest report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)’s Cities programme. 22 European cities, including London, Berlin and Madrid, responded to the CDP’s 2012 information request, up from just ten last year. The report reveals that 50% of European cities are measuring their city-wide emissions annually, while 77% are working to understand how climate change will affect their jurisdictions. Two cities, Copenhagen and London, show emissions reductions since last year. (Environmental Leader)

Companies’ green images fail to match up to reality

Marketing consultancy Interbrand has released its second annual Best Global Green Brands report, which aims to compare companies' environmental performance with how they are perceived by the public, based on a global survey of 10,000 people. Automotive and technology brands dominated the rankings in terms of public perception, but several including Toyota, Honda and Apple were found not to match up to consumers’ high opinion in terms of their actual performance. Meanwhile, companies such as HP, Panasonic and Siemens were found to be performing far better than public opinion would suggest, indicating that they are not doing enough to communicate their environmental efforts. (GreenBiz)