Top Stories

July 22, 2013

Supply Chain

Tesco boss says cheap food era is over

Major food price rises are all but inevitable, the chief executive of Britain's biggest supermarket chain has admitted. Tesco’s Philip Clarke said that rising global demand means the historic low prices to which consumers have become used are now unsustainable. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation forecast last month that global food prices could rise by as much as 40 per cent over the next decade, as a result of a growing middle class in countries such as China and India. Professor Tim Benton, head of the UK government’s Global Food Security working group, also warned over the weekend that some goods such as cocoa and meat could become relative luxuries by the 2040s, with prices as much as trebling. (Guardian; Daily Telegraph)

Corporate Reputation

Memo reveals pharma strategy to combat EU regulations

The pharmaceutical industry has “mobilised” patient groups to lobby against plans to force companies to publish secret data, according to a leaked memo. Drugs companies publish only a fraction of their results, but under new EU proposals would be compelled to release all of their data, including results that show drugs do not work or cause dangerous side-effects. The memo shows how patient groups – many of which receive funding from drugs companies – have been brought into the battle between companies and regulators. However, pharma companies GSK, Roche and Lilly have distanced themselves from the strategy, which was drawn up by two large trade groups. A GSK spokesperson said, “This is not something we are doing… I don't think it's for us to be mobilising patient groups to campaign on a negative level.” (Guardian)

Microsoft and Google commit to crackdown on online porn

Google and Microsoft have promised to co-operate with the British Government’s crackdown on online pornography, after the Prime Minister, David Cameron, threatened to introduce a new law if they failed to act before the autumn. The technology companies said they were committed to working with the government, with Google saying it had a “zero tolerance” attitude to child porn and Microsoft adding that it was trying to tackle all forms of “illegal content”.  The prime minister has put pressure on internet companies, saying that Google, Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo and other search-engine owners have a “moral duty” to tackle child pornography.  (Financial Times*)


UK volunteering on the rise following Olympics

The proportion of British adults who volunteer regularly has increased by eight percentage points since 2010/11, new government data shows. Figures from the most recent Community Life survey show that 49 per cent of adults carried out some form of volunteering at least once a month from August 2012 to April 2013. The Cabinet Office said in a statement that there had been “a significant increase” in the number of people volunteering following the London 2012 Olympics. Olympic and Paralympic legacy charity Join In this week launches the Join In Summer event, which will involve sports clubs and community groups holding more than 10,000 events to encourage volunteering. (Third Sector)

Boost for women in boardroom as companies seek fresh skills

A new study has shown that almost half of first-time appointments to the FTSE 350 were female in 2012, compared to just 11 per cent in 2007. The findings, from an annual survey by the recruitment group Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann, also showed a 7 per cent rise in the number of positions going to first-time appointees in 2012 compared to five years previously. However the research contrasts with the latest figures from the Professional Boards Forum, which show that only 12 per cent of directors on FTSE 100 boards appointed in the two months to May were women, down from the 50 per cent rate seen a year ago. (Independent)

CSR Management

George Clooney joins Nespresso sustainability board

George Clooney, the face and ambassador of coffee brand Nespresso, has joined the Nestlé unit's sustainability advisory board to mark the tenth anniversary of its AAA Sustainable Quality Program. The movie star, alongside thought-leaders and sustainability experts, will provide recommendations for building on the AAA programme, which was developed ten years ago in co-operation with the Rainforest Alliance. Nespresso sourced almost 70 per cent of its coffee from farmers signed up to the programme by the end of 2012, and aims to increase this to 80 per cent by the end of this year. Coinciding with Clooney's new role, Nespresso unveiled a series of major new socio-economic and environmental initiatives, which largely focus on its work in Africa and in particular South Sudan. (Edie)

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