Top Stories

July 11, 2012


Oil and mining companies lead on transparency, says watchdog

The world’s largest companies are increasingly committed to reporting on their measures for preventing corruption, according to a new report by the NGO Transparency International. Transparency in Corporate Reporting examines public declarations by the world’s 105 biggest listed companies, finding that 68% report on corruption prevention programmes – up from 47% in 2009. Firms working in extractive industries are among the most open, with companies including Statoil, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton taking six of the top ten positions in the ranking. Statoil, at the top of the table, discloses information on revenues, taxes and community contributions on a country-by-country basis for all 34 countries in which it operates. Companies registered in Europe and America, both of which have strict anti-corruption laws, tend to score higher, with financial services firms and companies from Russia, China and Japan coming bottom. (Transparency International, The Economist*)

Supply Chain

Coca-Cola water recovery process has 100 billion litre potential

A new water reuse approach being taken by the Coca-Cola Company could save as much as 100 billion litres of water annually if implemented across its global bottling plants, says the company. By recovering water from bottling facilities, Coca-Cola says it can improve water use efficiency by up to 35%. Already tested commercially in plants in India and Mexico, the system is planned to roll out across all bottling facilities from 2013. "Addressing global water challenges requires our business to take an active role in conserving water resources," said the company's vice president for quality, safety, and sustainable operations, Carletta Ooton. (Edie)


Extreme weather linked to global warming

After the US baked in a searing heatwave and as Russia mourns the deaths of more than 100 flood victims, scientists have produced what they say is groundbreaking research linking climate change to recent extreme weather. Global warming “significantly” increased the odds of some of last year’s most unusual weather, including the brutal Texas drought, according to findings released in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It is still too early to be sure about a link between climate change and the latest US heatwave, which has shattered more than 2,000 temperature records in the space of a week, researchers said, nor the UK’s current sodden summer. “The idea here is to apply attribution science at the time when people are asking questions about what’s actually happening,” said the UK Met Office’s Dr Peter Stott, co-editor of the new research. “The idea hopefully is this will become a regular thing, an annual report, but it is stretching the science.” (Financial Times*)

Corporate Reputation

India wakes up to fast food health risks

International food brands including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola are coming under increasing scrutiny as they fight it out for a slice of India's growing fast food market. The dietary shift across India has had a “devastating” effect on nutrition, according to campaigners. India has the largest diabetes population in the world, according to the World Health Organisation, and heart disease has become the country’s biggest single cause of death. Advertising is rapidly altering public perceptions, argues health activist Shobha Shukla: "It has become a kind of status symbol to eat in McDonald’s and similar fast food chains… Even the very poor people think it is something like a show of upward mobility." Officials have been slow to act, but the state government of Uttar Pradesh recently took the lead by banning the sale of fast food in or near government-run schools. Delhi is due to follow. Global brands including McDonald's, KFC and Subway have begun to respond by introducing low-fat alternatives to their menus, while PepsiCo insists it is now putting "significant marketing muscle" behind healthier offers. (The Guardian)

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