Top Stories

August 17, 2012

Supply Chain

Progress in eliminating conflict from minerals supply chains

Humanity organisation the Enough Project has released ‘Taking Conflict Out of Consumer Gadgets: Company Rankings on Conflict Minerals 2012,’ its second report ranking company progress toward responsible and conflict-free supply chains.  The report shows that the majority of companies surveyed have made great strides in eliminating conflict minerals from their supply chains since first being evaluated in 2010. Some significant successes include:  Intel was the first company to publicly commit to producing a fully conflict-free product- a microprocessing chip that will be produced by 2013; HP and Motorola Solutions have actively engaged to help Congo develop a clean minerals trade; whilst HP, Toshiba, Apple, and Nokia implemented policies to require their suppliers to use only audited, conflict-free smelters, once enough are available. Although a majority of leading consumer electronics companies have improved their approaches, there are many companies who could do much better in tracing and auditing their supply chains, the report concludes. (Forbes)



Innovation could cut cost of CCS by up to £45 billion

New UK government-led research into low carbon technology innovation needs takes an in-depth look at capture and storage (CCS), marine energy and energy networks and storage technologies. According to the new research, advanced energy networks and storage technologies could save the UK £4 billion to £19 billion up to 2050, while marine energy costs could come down by approximately £3 to £8 billion through successful innovation. However, according to the ‘Technology Innovation Needs Assessments’ (TINAs), many barriers hinder innovation and deployment of these three technologies and in most cases public sector intervention is required to address market failures. The TINAs aim to identify and value the key innovation needs of a basket of low carbon technologies in order to know where to prioritise public sector investment. The first TINA was published earlier this year and analysed offshore wind. The Department of Energy and Climate Change said TINAs on bioenergy, industrial energy efficiency, heat, domestic buildings, nuclear fission and hydrogen, would be published over the next few months. (Greenwise Business)


Policy & Research

China and Brazil buying greener, but pricing still a barrier

Consumers in emerging markets China and Brazil are buying more green products, but the widespread perception that these products are too expensive may be blocking deeper adoption, according to a study by research company GfK. The ‘Green Gauge Global’ research, which included interviews with over 35,000 consumers in 25 key markets, found the proportion of consumers who factor environmental protection into their purchase decisions grew six percentage points in China and five points in Brazil from last year. However, globally, six in ten consumers surveyed feel environmentally friendly product alternatives are too expensive, roughly the same results found in 2011. The US survey found Americans’ purchasing choices focused on economics over sustainability: 41% of respondents agreed with the statement, “First comes economic security, then we can worry about environmental problems.” (Sustainable Brands)

Corporate Reputation

Families of bomb victims sue StanChart

The families of United States marines killed in a 1983 bombing in Lebanon filed a civil suit against Standard Chartered on the same day the UK bank agreed a $340 million settlement with a New York regulator related to its handling of payments from Iran. There were 241 servicemen killed in the Iran-sponsored attack against US marine barracks in Beirut almost 30 years ago. Survivors of the bombing and the relatives of those killed were granted $2.6 billion in damages, which they say were never paid by Iran. New York’s Department of Financial Services last week accused Standard Chartered of concealing as much as $250 billion of payments from Iranian companies and financial institutions. The so-called “wire stripping” of transactions allowed Iran to hide its assets and enabled the Islamic Republic to escape the “blocking” of its assets when they entered the US, the suit filed by the bombing victims’ estate now claims. The estate of the 1983 bombing victims has previously sued entities including a Luxembourg bank for allegedly funnelling Iranian assets out of the US. Standard Chartered declined to comment on the suit. (Financial Times*)

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