Daily Media Briefing 12th July 2012

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Community, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Investment

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July 12, 2012

International Development

Gates Foundation unveils commitment to contraception

Melinda Gates, the billionaire philanthropist, yesterday announced at a London summit that the charitable foundation she set up with her Microsoft-founder husband Bill is donating $560 million (£360 million) to family planning services. Mrs Gates vowed to dedicate her life to improving access to contraception for women in the developing world, where experts say unwanted pregnancies lead to more than 100,000 women dying prematurely every year. A life-long Catholic, she said she had grappled with her faith before deciding to speak out against the Vatican’s opposition to contraception. The summit, which was co-hosted by the Gates Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development, also saw large commitments from world governments, including India’s pledge to provide free access to family planning for all 64 million of its women who are currently denied it. In total, the event raised over £3 billion – enough to expand family planning programmes to almost 120 million women. (The Independent, p2)

Responsible Investment

Shareholders spur US companies to act on sustainability

Shareholder resolutions in 2012 have spurred companies to make commitments to tackle environmental and social risks in their operations and supply chains, according to US advocacy group Ceres. The investor and environmental coalition tracked 108 filings for shareholder votes at US companies on climate, energy, water, sustainability reporting, and governance issues, finding that 44 resulted in companies taking action. Consumer brands giant Colgate and food producer Smucker’s both agreed to source 100% certified sustainable palm oil for their products, while the technology firms Apple, Dell, HP and Intel, together representing more than 50% of the personal computer market, made commitments to encourage or require sustainability reporting by their major suppliers. (Environmental Finance)

Environment

Corporates take action on wetlands

Government delegates have this week descended on Bucharest, Romania, for the latest conference on the Ramsar Convention, an environmental treaty which has in its four decades designated some 193 million hectares of protected wetlands across the globe. For the first time, however, the conference also has a significant corporate presence, including representatives of Coca-Cola, Lafarge, Danone, P&G and GE. At the Business, Water and Wetlands symposium organised by Ramsar, WWF and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, members of the conservation and business communities described how their objectives can often overlap. Coca-Cola Europe’s environmental sustainability director, Ulrike Sapiro, described how Coca-Cola’s need for clean water had coincided with WWF concerns over biodiversity in the Danube, sparking a collaboration on water quality. "This is the art of partnership building. The sweet spot here, in the Danube, is good water governance and resource management… In the end, both organisations get the result they need," he said. (The Guardian)

EU confirms 2020 vehicle emissions targets

The European Commission yesterday confirmed new emissions standards for cars and vans from 2020 in what it described as a "win-win situation" for manufacturers and the environment.  By the end of the decade the average new car will not be able to emit more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, a 27% drop from the 2015 target of 130g/km. At a press conference in Brussels, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she was "absolutely sure" the targets could be achieved, that the cost of doing so was lower than previously thought, and that their implementation would benefit both consumers and industry. Most European manufacturers are on track or have already achieved the 2015 target, but some car companies have complained that the more demanding 2020 targets will damage the industry. (BusinessGreen)

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