Top Stories

May 08, 2013

Responsible Investment

Oil palm smallholders get financial aid for certification

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit promoting sustainable palm production, says it will give financial aid to smallholders seeking certification.  The RSPO will allocate 50 percent of its annual fund surplus, currently topping US$1.91m, to help smallholders practice sustainable palm oil cultivation and gain certification. The organisation has also committed to allocate 10 percent of its income from trading certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) to smallholders in producing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and in several Latin American and African countries. RSPO launched its Smallholders Support Fund to acknowledge the dominant role of smallholders in palm oil production (Jakarta Post).


Indonesian Government prepares incentives for green industry

The Indonesian government is preparing a series of fiscal incentives to promote the development of green industry in the nature-rich resource country, an industry official has said. The fiscal incentives would, among other things, provide a tax allowance to firms that adopt an eco-friendly approach in their industrial activities. So-called “green industries” apply various eco-friendly measures such as clean production, energy conservation, resource efficiency, and adopt eco-design and low carbon technology. In line with a commitment made a few years ago, Indonesia is aiming to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 26 percent on its own and 41 percent with international aid. (Jakarta Post)

Policy & Research

Chemical manufacturers pledge product safety

The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) members including DuPont and Honeywell have pledged to implement 11 industry best practices to evaluate and improve their product safety performance. The pledge is part of the ACC’s new Responsible Care Product Safety Code that it says goes beyond regulatory requirements to manage the safety of chemicals used in everyday products. Adherence to these practices is mandatory and will be regularly verified by independent auditors. The Product Safety code requires companies to provide public access to product safety information, manage the safety of products from inception through to disposal and taking corrective measures if improper practices are discovered. (Environmental Leader)

Sustainability awareness high in Asean but accountability still weak

A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that although almost 80 percent of the companies in Asean feel that they need to operate their businesses in a sustainable way, fewer than half have committed the resources to manage such a strategy. The PwC survey covered 211 companies in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Companies were questioned about the importance attached to sustainable measures and how they are carried out inside their organisations, the extent to which stakeholders are participating and whether sustainability issues are reported and monitored. The survey also showed that many companies like to tell the public, through the media, about their “sustainability” initiatives, but only 18 percent of firms submit to independent third-party verification and assurance. (Bangkok Post)

Supply Chain

Adidas takes supplier communication ‘to the next level’

Sports brand Adidas has given factory workers in its supply chain mobile phones to raise grievances and concerns with management in an effort to improve communication. The company’s 2012 Sustainability Progress Report, published on Monday, disclosed it had worked with one of its main footwear suppliers in Indonesia to increase communication between management and the workforce on concerns. Through the pilot, factory workers have shared grievances regarding staff reductions, working hours and insurance. Glenn Bennett, group board member responsible for global operations at Adidas, said: “By empowering workers to reach out to the factory management directly, we are taking communication between factory management and workers to the next level.” (Supply Management)

Environmental Innovation

Biomass satellite to monitor Earth's forests

A satellite that can ‘weigh’ the Earth's forests has been given the go ahead by the European Space Agency. Biomass, as it will be known, is expected to launch in 2020. The spacecraft will carry a novel radar system that is able to sense the trunks and big branches of trees from orbit. Scientists will use Biomass to calculate the amount of carbon stored in the world's forests, and to monitor for any changes over the course of the five-year mission. The satellite's data should help researchers understand better the role trees play in the cycling of carbon on Earth and, by extension, the influence this has on the planet's climate. (BBC)