Top Stories

August 03, 2012

International Development

UN Secretary General builds team for post-2015 global development agenda

United Nations (UN) Secretary Ban Ki-moon has named all 26 members of a panel to lead the global development agenda post-2015. The ‘millennium development goals’ (MDGs), agreed at a UN conference in New York in 2000, helped galvanise anti-poverty efforts by setting out eight goals with a target date of 2015. Ban Ki-moon has asked panel-members to “prepare a bold yet practical” vision to follow on from the MDGs. The agenda will build on the MDGs looking at economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability. The advisory panel includes representatives of governments (United Kingdom prime minister David Cameron is one of the panel co-chairs), the private sector, academia and civil society from rich and poor countries. Representing the private sector will be Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever. (The Guardian)


Responsible Investment

Oil and gas companies failing to inform investors of deepwater drilling and climate change risks

A new report by sustainability advocacy  group Ceres claims that investors in global oil and gas extraction are not getting a clear picture from companies of the material risks to these investments.  The report tracks United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-mandated disclosure on those risks by ten of the world’s largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies. Disclosure by ExxonMobil and other industry giants including BP, Shell and Chevron were found to be lacking in high-quality reporting of the wide-ranging risks they face from deepwater drilling or climate change, and how they are managing these risks. The report contains specific recommendations for improving both disclosure and corporate performance in these areas. (JustMeans)


Supply Chain

Cotton initiatives collaborate

The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF)’s ‘Cotton Made In Africa’ (CmiA) initiative and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) have joined forces to create bigger sustainable change in the textile industry. CmiA focuses on improving the living conditions of smallholder cotton farmers in Africa, while BCI does the same with both smallholders and large producers globally. For at least 18 months they will together fight against child labour, deliver Integrated Pest Management (IPM) more effectively, and develop pragmatic systems to connect supply with demand. Christoph Kaut, managing director for AbTF, highlighted that this would not only “provide immediate exposure to new markets for CmiA and Better Cotton, but would also lead to greater efficiencies and delivers benefits for the African smallholder cotton farmers”. (JustMeans)


Policy & Research

Less successful green marketing in economic crisis

According to a new paper by Penn State University researchers, green marketing rises and falls in lockstep with key indicators of economic growth. The researchers learned that between January 1979 and December 2008, the National Geographic magazine ran 692 pages of green ads, defined as "all ads that invoked environmental protection in some meaningful way". Most were placed by corporations, though some came from advocacy organisations and business association or industry front groups. A significant statistical correlation was found between the health of the GDP and the numbers of green ads. Here they use advertising as a reliable proxy for environmental concern. Many have hypothesised that environmental concerns wax and wane based on economic conditions, but this study is among the first to document it. Another finding was that green advertising has evolved over time both in the types of ads that run and in the messaging, which is now seen to be more emotional. (Business Green)