Daily Media Briefing 7th August

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Consumers, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Waste

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August 07, 2013

Consumers

Mondelez and Kellogg among food brands backing campaign to push ‘Facts Up Front’ labelling

US food manufacturers, including General Mills, Kraft Foods Group, Mondelez International, Kellogg and Hershey have joined the latest campaign of the Facts Up Front labelling initiative, designed to encourage US consumers to eat more balanced diets through giving more detailed nutritional information on packaging.  The US Grocery Marketing Association and the Food Marketing Institute, which are funding the $50 million campaign, estimate that the labelling will be on 70 to 80 percent of products from participating companies by the end of 2013.  However Marian Nestle, a Professor Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University said that the initiative was a “clever end run” around the US Food and Drug Administration.  She said that food manufacturers are able to mix and match the labelling content, potentially giving consumers misleading nutritional information. (Sustainable Brands)

Environment

Global chemicals industry must brace itself for higher water prices

Research carried out the Dutch audit company KPMG into external factors affecting the global chemicals industry has found that companies will be increasingly hit by rising water costs as water scarcity pressures intensify.  The research indicates that regions in which the chemical sector expects to see the highest growth in demand, particularly South and East Asia and the Middle East, are also likely to face severe water scarcity.  KPMG has warned that companies competing with local communities for scarce water resources risk losing their license to operate unless they can adapt their industrial operations accordingly.  However, this creates a huge opportunity for research, development and innovation within the sector based on social and environmental responsibility. (Edie)

US to cut biofuel blending requirement

The US Government plans to cut back its biofuel mandate for the first time in 2014 in a victory for oil companies that said it was distorting petrol markets.  The Renewable Fuel Standard currently requires fuel refiners and importers to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into petrol each year.  However the requirement has been difficult for Congress to achieve as US petrol demand is flat and oil companies have balked at mixing more than 10 percent of ethanol into tanks.  To remain in compliance oil companies have been redeeming stocks of ethanol credits, known as renewable identification numbers (Rins), which were banked when ethanol blending exceeded the mandate in previous years.  In recent earnings, US oil refiners including Velaro Energy, HollyFrontier and PBF Energy disclosed significant costs from Rins and some warned that the costs would be passed to consumers. (Financial Times*)

Rubbish scheme heats up to cut London energy bills

The borough of Southwark in South London has signed a deal with the French company Veolia Environmental Services, to convert waste to heat, which will be used to warm the water and rooms of 2,500 homes on five council estates.  Similar schemes are common in other European cities but have been slow to take off in the UK, and this is the first such scheme in London.  The system will use heat that escapes into the air from the incinerator, as well as fuel created from processed black bag waste from Veolia’s Southwark recycling plant.  Southwark Council said the scheme should reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and lower gas and electricity bills for residents, the average price of which has risen by 41 percent and 20 percent respectively in real terms in the last six years. (Financial Times*)

Employees

Zero-hours work kept down UK dole queues, says CBI

Amid rising controversity in the UK over the use of “zero-hours” contracts, John Cridland, the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has said that the UK’s unemployment rate would have risen to 3 million without them.  However the UK Labour Party has released research showing that many employees want more hours from their employers.  The party said that the contracts were feeding an “underemployment crisis” among families struggling to cope with rising living costs. Mark Beatson, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of personnel and Development (CIPD), said that despite serious concerns, it was too simplistic to dismiss such contracts as bad for the labour market or as the tool of private sector employees, noting that zero-hours contracts are also used heavily across the voluntary and public sectors.  (Financial Times*)

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