Daily Media Briefing 5th September

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Consumers, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Technology & Innovation

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September 05, 2013


Rubber industry to create sustainability standards

The Singapore based International Rubber Study Group, whose members include governments, producers, and industry consumers such as tire companies, has announced that it aims to set up a voluntary certification programme and international standards for the sustainable production of natural rubber.  The Group is aiming to balance the high demand for natural rubber with the environmental impacts of rubber plantations, which include habitat loss and damage to water ecosystems.  The Group’s senior economist and statistician, Lekshmi Nair, said that 85 percent of natural rubber production comes from small growers while the tire industry consumes 70 percent of the crop and that this imbalance signals the need for a commitment from both sides.  The Group aims to get producers and industry consumers to commit to efficient resource management and the procurement of sustainable raw materials, through the signing of a sustainability memorandum and the achievement of specified standards by the World Rubber Summit in 2014. (Wall Street Journal; Environmental Leader)

UK businesses offered help to improve sustainability of travel operations

In a bid to help UK businesses improve the sustainability of their travel, the UK Energy Saving Trust (EST) has formed a partnership with the US firm Enterprise Rent-A-Car to help businesses analyse how they use vehicles and identify ways to increase fuel efficiency.  Backed by the UK Department for Transport, the partnership aims to identify viable alternatives to the use of unregulated private vehicles for business use, known as “grey fleets”; introduce programmes that foster behavioural change;  and look at how alternatives vehicles, such as electric vehicles, can be incorporated into logistical plans.  In an analysis of Woking Borough Council's fleet, the EST found that through detailed journey planning and consideration over whether trips were necessary, the Council saved thousands of pounds with no reduction in its services to the local community. (Edie)

CIWM: Waste regulations will give credibility

The UK Chartered Institution of Wastes Management’s Business Waste and Resources Strategy Group, has said that the new waste regulations in Scotland will make life easier for businesses to address waste management. It is estimated that Scotland's businesses produce 6.5 million tonnes of waste every year. From January 2014, it will be mandatory for organisations across Scotland to recycle plastic, metal, glass, paper and card.  Jamie Pitcairn, the chair of the group and a director at the UK global environmental consultancy Ricardo-AEA, said that the regulations would be "a shot in the arm” for those in charge of waste management within companies.  Iain Gulland, the director of Zero Waste Scotland, said that "the regulations are designed to enable organisations to further reduce waste, enable the recycling of quality materials, and be more resource efficient – all offering the potential for cost savings and wider economic opportunities." (Edie)



Toys R Us to stop marketing toys by gender

The US retailer Toys R Us has pledged to stop marketing its products by gender in the UK, following pressure from the consumer group Let Toys Be Toys.  Yesterday, the retailer committed to more “inclusive marketing” of toys for children and said that it would draw up a set of principles for in-store signage to ensure that “explicit references” to gender will be removed from UK stores.  Megan Perryman, a campaigner for the consumer group, said that “even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are for them.”  The Managing Director of Toys R Us, Roger McLaughlan, said that the retailer “will work with the Let Toys be Toys team to ensure that we develop the best plan for our customers.”  Other retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury's and TK Maxx have also agreed to remove “girls” and “boys” signs from the aisles following intervention from the group. (The Independent)

Technology and Innovation

UK school gets students to generate renewable electricity

In a reversal of normal school rules, students have been encouraged to run and jump around a corridor at the Simon Langton Boys’ Grammar School in Kent, as one of the school’s corridors has been laid with kinetic tiles and every footstep is converted into sustainable energy using dynamos.  Over a year, the 12 metres of tiles are expected to generate enough energy expected to fully charge 853 mobile phones.  Laurence Kemball-Cook, a former student at the school who created the tiles and is now chief executive of his own energy company, Pavegen Systems, said that “children running, playing and walking in all schools in the UK could help power the lights in their school corridors.”  The tiles, which were made from recycled lorry tyres, were originally piloted at the school, in the London Science Museum, at the Paris marathon and at the 2012 Olympic Games. (The Independent)