Daily Media Briefing 1st August

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Consumers, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Supply Chain

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August 01, 2013

Supply Chain

Major smartphone companies tackle illegal tin mining concerns

Five global mobile phone manufacturers, Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, Motorola and LG Electronics, have released statements reiterating their commitment to tackling the environmental impact of Indonesian tin production associated with their supply chains.  The move was reportedly prompted by NGO Friends of the Earth’s report stating that in 2011 on average one tin miner a week died in an accident, while reports of child labour in the unofficial mines are common.  It also found that farmland and forests have been destroyed due to mining. Sony and LG Electronics announced that they were participating in a working group through the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) to address how the electronics industry and other stakeholders can tackle the issues.  According to Friends of the Earth, this now leaves the US technology giant Apple among the best-known brands "failing to give a straight answer" on whether its tin is coming from Indonesia's Bangka island. (Edie)

Employees

Fast food strikes intensify in seven US cities

This week US fast food employees are striking in seven cities over four days.  The US Service Employees International Union is supporting the employees’ demands for a raise to $15 per hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation by management.  US fast food company Domino’s Pizza defended its position, stating that because of the firm’s “tremendous upward mobility” available to employees, they do not “believe unions are necessary for our brand”.  The US advocacy organisation, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), disputed the claim, stating that “opportunities for advancement in the fast food industry are significantly limited compared to other industries: only 2.2 percent of jobs in the fast food industry are managerial, professional, or technical occupations, compared with 31 percent of jobs in the overall US economy.” (Salon)

Environment

EU sets first sanctions for overfishing

Yesterday the EU moved to penalise the Faroe Islands for allegedly plundering stocks of herring.  The Faroese more than tripled their herring quota last year.  The Marine Stewardship Council recently suspended its certificate for the Faroese herring fishery, citing concerns over its large quota.  The planned trade curbs against the nation of fewer than 50,000 people, which relies on fishing for half of its national income, marks the EU’s first resort to sanctions in a fishing quota dispute.  Maria Damanaki, the EU commissioner for fisheries said that the bloc had “to move ahead and take all necessary steps in ensuring a sustainable herring fishery.”  Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, the Faroe Islands prime minister, said that the EU measures were an attempt to protect quotas that allow the EU and Norway to dominate the fishing of species vacating their waters. (Financial Times*)

BMW hits roadblock in China on green measures

China’s Environment Ministry has criticised an application by the German car manufacturer BMW to double the capacity at a joint venture factory in the country, citing insufficient investment in environmental protection measures.  China’s environment minister said yesterday that “drinking polluted water while driving BMW sedans is certainly not the type of industrialisation we are looking forward to.”  According to China’s Environment Ministry website, the joint venture submitted an “insufficient” environmental impact report and failed to meet pollution reduction targets.  The planned $1.5 billion investment reportedly included only $1.15 million for environmental protection measures. (Financial Times*)

Consumers

British Gas to offer free power on Saturdays

Centrica, the UK utility company which owns British Gas, has announced that it will be offering free power on Saturdays to customers who are willing to concentrate their energy use for devices such as washing machines and tumble dryers at weekends when industrial demand is lower.  Sam Laidlaw, Centrica’s chief executive, said that free Saturday tariffs could be launched in the UK by early next year and would require consumers to have a smart meter installed, which the company hopes will also encourage consumers to reduce their energy use.  The proposals mirror the “Free Power Saturday” annual energy tariff available to Centrica’s US customers through Direct Energy, the sister company of British Gas.  Centrica is hoping this could ease criticism of the company for imposing above-inflation bill increases last winter.  (Financial Times*; BBC)

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