Daily Media Briefing 5th August

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Supply Chain, Technology & Innovation

Top Stories

August 05, 2013

Supply Chain

Fonterra dairy recall leads to import ban in China, Vietnam and Russia

China, Vietnam and Russia have banned imports of milk powder and whey protein from the New Zealand multinational Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, after the company found bacteria in its products that can cause botulism, a rare but serious paralytic illness which can prove fatal.  The three-day delay before Fonterra went public with the potential contamination of its milk products on Saturday the 3rd August is regarded as a costly mistake for the company.  Nearly 90 percent of China’s imported milk comes from New Zealand and Fonterra is the country’s largest single supplier.  Safe milk powder has been a concern for consumers in China who have increasingly bought imported milk since domestic producers sold melamine-tainted infant formula in 2008, killing 6000 babies.  The Chinese quarantine authority has demanded that companies recall products that risk being affected by the contaminated milk, including Wahaha, China’s largest beverage producer.  (Financial Times*; The Guardian; New Zealand Herald)


One million UK workers in ‘insecure’ zero-hours jobs

Following the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) acknowledgement last week that it had underestimated the number of zero-hours contract workers in the UK, a survey of 1000 organisations by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) has calculated that one million people, four times the figure estimated by the ONS, are employed on zero-hours contracts.  Unison, the UK’s second largest employment union, has called for the contracts to be made illegal. The CIPD’s survey found that 19 percent of employers had recruited staff on zero-hours contracts.  Yesterday two of the UK’s largest pub chains, JD Wetherspoon and Spirit Pub Company, said that most of their workers were employed on zero-hours contracts.  Nearly 100,000 employees in the National Health Service and more than 270 UK Government staff are also reported to be on the contracts.  (The Independent; The Times*)



Co-op Bank has the wind taken out of its sails

The Co-operative Bank, which positions itself as the UK’s leading ethical bank and for the last two has been named Europe’s Sustainable Bank of the Year, has frozen a £1 billion renewable energy funding pledge. The bank, which had been the biggest lender to onshore wind farms and other small-scale green projects in the UK, has cancelled new loans, leaving developers scrambling to secure new backing from mostly European banks.  The Co-operative Bank said yesterday that it will “honour existing loan commitments” as well as schemes that are under development, but will not been issuing new loans, while the bank finalises its new medium-term business plan.  The Co-op said that it had not abandoned the £1 billion target and would resume lending to the sector, but did not state when. (The Times*) 

Crayola goes back to school to close ‘pen to fuel’ loop

The US manufacturer Crayola is working with schools in the US on a closed loop recovery scheme, Colourcycle, to recover its used plastic marker pens and convert them into renewable energy.  Crayola has teamed up with US renewable energy company JBI to use the firm’s Plastic2Oil technology which converts waste plastic into diesel and other liquid fuels.  Under the scheme, collected pens will be sent to JBI for processing into renewable energy.  In addition, Crayola are sending waste and overruns to JBI which will be used as additional feedstock.  According to JBI, the emissions from its Plastic2Oil process are less than emissions from an equivalent sized natural gas furnace.  A stack test in December 2012 confirmed that emissions exceeded the standards and criteria established by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. (Edie)

Technology and Innovation

Railways, IIT-Madras team up to power AC coaches with solar energy

The Integral Coach Factory (ICF), an Indian manufacturing company has launched a project in association with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) to design coaches that will use solar power for interior lighting and cooling.  The ICF, which operates under India’s Ministry of Railways, which operates the largest rail system in the world, is the first rail company attempting to utilise solar power. Powering air conditioned railway coaches efficiently has become a key challenge for the Ministry of Railways as trains run across different climate zones during single trips and use large amounts of fuel.  The air conditioning system has failed on many trains, including the recently introduced double-decker service between Chennai and Bangalore, which has led to a high number of complaints from passengers. (Eco-Business)

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