Daily Media Briefing 24th August

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Policy & Research, Supply Chain, Waste

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August 24, 2012

Natural Resources

South African platinum mine strikes spread

The labour unrest in South Africa is spreading to other mines. Terence Goodlace, chief executive at Impala, the world’s second biggest platinum miner, warned on Thursday of a “significant risk to the industry”. The warning came only a day after workers at two more platinum mines also demanded higher salaries and blocked the entrance to several underground pits, prompting concerns of full-blown industrial unrest in South Africa, one of the world’s most important commodity producers. The country is home not just to platinum but also to significant deposits of dozens of other minerals. Analysts say that there are key differences between platinum and other commodity mining, which could be why the unrest has stayed within the platinum sector thus far. For example, wage negotiations in South African platinum are largely conducted on a company-by-company basis, rather than under the umbrella of an industry association. Platinum mining is also considered more dangerous to workers, as it is often undertaken in deeper mines. Despite these differences, Peter Attard Montalto, analyst at Nomura, warned that the crisis at Lonmin was “only the tip of the iceberg”, adding that if the miner caves in and meets its workers’ wage demands, then demands by other workers “will increase across the mining sector and not just in platinum”. (Financial Times)*

 

Environment

Greenpeace activists board Russian Gazprom oil platform

Six Greenpeace activists have boarded a Russian offshore oil rig in protest over gas and oil exploration in the Arctic, the group says. The activists, which include the organisation's executive director, reached the platform by speedboat early today with enough supplies to last several days. The group says drilling plans by Russian energy giant Gazprom are "dangerous" and should be abandoned due to an inadequate plan for dealing with any oil spill in the fragile environment. Gazprom is due to be the first company to begin commercial oil production in the offshore Arctic, with drilling to begin next year. Speaking on board the platform, Greenpeace International's executive director Kumi Naidoo said "the only way to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from happening in this unique environment is to permanently ban all drilling now", according to Greenpeace. Last year, the US Geological Survey estimated the Arctic could be home to 30% of the world's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13% of its undiscovered oil. The far North is seen by many oil and gas companies as the next frontier for fossil fuel exploration. (BBC)

Vestas to axe more jobs as wind turbine manufacturer forecasts sales slump

Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, is to shed another 1,400 jobs, bringing total redundancies for the year to more than 3,700, after it slumped to a quarterly pre-tax loss. Vestas chief executive Ditlev Engels said: "2013, as it looks today, is probably going to be the toughest year that the wind industry has seen for a number of years." Problems at Vestas will bolster critics of renewable energy who say companies are failing to perform despite the subsidies pumped into the sector, says Guardian Environment. (Guardian Environment)

Supply Chain

Food waste ‘causes losses throughout the supply chain’

Food retailers are losing as much as $15 billion a year in unsold fruits and vegetables alone, with about half of the US supply going uneaten, according to an analysis on food waste by the US- based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The NRDC report found that food is lost on farms, during processing, distribution and storage, in retail stores and food service operations and in households. Food waste is now the single largest component of solid waste in US landfills. The report made a number of recommendations for businesses, for example, the NRDC suggests that retailers stop the practice of overstocking their produce displays, conduct regular food waste audits, salvage food for secondary markets, and adopt online solutions and new technology that reduce losses. (Environmental Leader)

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