Top Stories

August 15, 2012

Inclusive Business

Avon's 'lipstick evangelism' shows promise in poverty fight

A recent study by University of Oxford researchers suggests that selling Avon cosmetics have helped women in South Africa become financially independent. Oxford business school professors Linda Scott and Catherine Dolan spent three years surveying poor black women who worked as Avon representatives in South Africa and found that nearly three-quarters made their primary income through the company. Of the 300 women surveyed from 2007 to 2010, those who sold Avon goods for at least 16 months made enough money to purchase necessary “survival” goods on a monthly basis for their families. The earnings placed the South African “Avon ladies” in the top 10% of self-employed black women. Scott argues that direct sales gives women broader benefits than microfinance does, including helping them establish credit, build networks and develop other job skills. (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Ethical Fashion

Renewable energy deal signed with major Indian fabric manufacturer

UK Bristol-based CW Renewable Energy (CWRE) has signed a major energy supply deal with KG Fabriks, a large Indian manufacturer of denim and apparel fabric for leading fashion brands and retailers, which include UK high street brands Next and New Look. CWRE is supplying energy from its wind turbines in India to KG Fabriks' production sites in South India, where it employs 3000 people in spinning and weaving operations.  Chief executive of CWRE, Wendy Stephenson, said: "The fact that one of India's premier manufacturers, KG Fabriks, has signed a renewable energy deal with us reflects the business opportunities for the sector in India and consequently the investment potential". (Edie)

Corporate Reputation

Greenpeace attacks Chelsea FC with accusation over new sponsor's "illegal" Arctic drilling

Just days before the kick-off for the new Premiership Season, Chelsea Football Club is facing a new opponent in the form of environmental campaigners Greenpeace. The Club recently signed a sponsorship deal with controversial Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, but according to a report released yesterday by a group of green non-governmental organisations (NGOs) the company could be acting illegally with its plans to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic – a charge that was denied today by a source close to the company. The Russian government has confirmed that Gazprom does not hold a valid emergency oil response plan, a legally-binding document that must be approved by the government before it can start drilling. However, the company says it has not started Arctic drilling and is still undertaking preparatory work. Green groups are concerned an oil spill could have a devastating impact on marine life in the Arctic, including three protected areas and nature reserves located 50-60 kilometres from the oil field. A spokesman for Chelsea Football Club declined to comment on the news. (Business Green)

Supply Chain

UK manufacturers take mitigating action against supply chain risks

A new survey by EEF, the UK manufacturers' organisation, highlights the need for manufacturers to be flexible their approach in order to mitigate against detrimental supply chain risks. The risks associated with unforeseen events such as natural disasters and those taking place as a result of climate change pose a threat to stable manufacturing partnerships. The new survey shows that higher proportions of companies are looking to access more local supply chain capacity or indeed return production back in-house to increase the visibility and control of key functions. However, the survey also found that companies are still failing to systematically monitor risks in their supply chains: the number of companies that do not engage in any monitoring has risen to 16% over the past 3 years. (Business Green)