Daily Media Briefing 2nd November

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Human Rights, Sustainable Investment

Top Stories

November 02, 2012

Responsible Investment

Statkraft launches wind farm equity scheme

Europe’s largest renewable energy company, Statkraft, has unveiled plans to invest around £30m in new UK wind farm projects with the launch of a dedicated ‘Wind Equity Scheme’ that could boost the company's ability to sell clean power direct to corporate customers. The company is initially planning to invest in three to five wind farms, mainly in Scotland. The project is primarily aimed at those wind farm projects that want to avoid mortgaging land or selling a majority stake in the project in order to secure financing. Statkraft will invest up to 40 percent in the projects; it will also offer project management support. In return, Statkraft hopes to boost its position within the expanding Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) market, which increasingly sees corporate clients buy clean energy direct from renewable generators. (Business Green)

Human Rights

World Gold Council publishes ‘Conflict-Free Gold Standard’

The World Gold Council has published the ‘Conflict-Free Gold Standard’, an industry-led approach to combat the potential misuse of mined gold to fund unlawful armed conflict. The World Gold Council has developed the ‘Conflict-Free Gold Standard’ with its member companies, comprising the world’s leading gold mining companies, and with extensive input from governments, civil society and supply chain participants. By following this Standard, gold miners can assess their operations and provide assurance that they do not cause, support or benefit unlawful armed conflict, nor contribute to serious human rights abuses, or breaches of international humanitarian law. In order to comply, companies will be required to publicly report on their conformance, and external assurance will be required on this disclosure. (CSR Europe)

Villagers file complaint against US sugar firm

After fruitless appeals to domestic authorities, more than 200 families evicted by two sugar companies in Koh Kong province, in South West Cambodia, have filed a complaint with the US Government. With the support of the Center of Legal Education for Community (CLEC) and EarthRights International, the families have asked the US’s National Contact Point office, which deals with international economic cooperation, to hold accountable American Sugar Refining, one of the major purchasers of sugar produced on the land that was once the villagers’. Despite legal documents showing their land claims, 450 families were evicted in 2006, when the government granted economic land concessions to two companies owned in part by a Cambodian senator. EarthRights said that the complaint had existed for a long time and that ASR had previously ignored several letters from CLEC on behalf of the villagers. (Eco-business, Phnom Penh Post)


Investigation accuses HSBC of ignoring own sustainability policies in Sarawak

A report by Global Witness has found that HSBC supports unsustainable logging in Sarawak, in Malaysian Borneo. The bank maintains commercial ties with some of the most active logging and plantation firms there, despite their failure to meet HSBC’s sustainability policies. In the report, Global Witness analysed the financial records of seven of Sarawak’s largest logging and plantation companies. It identified loans and other financial services from HSBC that it estimates have generated at least $116m in interest payments and $13.6m in fees for the bank since 1977. Although lending has declined over the past decade, HSBC continues to list Sarawak loggers among its clients, in apparent violation of its own ‘Forest Land’ and ‘Forest Products’ Sector Policy. In all, Global Witness identified six loans, totalling $25m, made by HSBC to non-compliant Sarawak loggers since the bank introduced its forest policy. Sarawak has lost more than 90 percent of its primary forests to logging and has the fastest rate of deforestation in Asia. (Economist)

Hurricane Sandy ruptured Shell-Saudi oil tank

Cleanup efforts are underway to remove 349,000 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled into New Jersey’s Arthur Kill waterway as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The spill happened late on Monday when a storage tank ruptured at a Motiva Enterprises oil tank facility in a coastal area of the state and spilled into the waterway separating New Jersey from New York’s Staten Island. Motiva Enterprises is a joint venture of Shell and Saudi Refining Inc. The spill involved about 8,300 barrels of diesel, bio-diesel and slop oil, reported The Huffington Post, but was quickly contained by the New Jersey Coast Guard. Raw sewage, industrial chemicals and other pollutants also flooded New York City waterways as Hurricane Sandy hit earlier this week. According to clean water advocacy group Riverkeeper, Sandy’s storm surge has caused widespread pollution of the Hudson River and New York Harbour by a variety of toxic chemicals. (Huffington Post, Environmental Leader)