Top Stories

January 24, 2014

Climate Change

World Bank president tells Davos, “This is the year to fight climate change” 

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim urged financial leaders, from banks to regulators and investors, to take responsibility for the fight against climate change. He emphasised the important role that governments can play, urging them to put a price on pollution and phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. He stressed that financial leaders must also lead sustainability efforts, saying that, “every company, investor and bank that screens new and existing investments for climate risks is simply being pragmatic.” José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission also added, “addressing climate change is not simply an option, it is a must. And it is in the interests of everyone – environmentally, economically and politically.” (Blue&GreenTomorrow)


Global brands launch sustainable agriculture tool  

PepsiCo, Unilever, Heineken and other members of the Cool Farm Institute have launched an online tool to help farmers assess and improve the environmental and economic performance of their businesses, via a free of charge carbon-management tool. In addition to launching the new web-based calculator, the Cool Farm Institute, whose members also include Marks & Spencer and Tesco, is inviting other businesses to use the web app and collaborate on agricultural sustainability. After trialling the tool in 2013, Tesco is now with a group of its producers to help them use the tool to track their carbon reductions and resource efficiency. This announcement follows other major agri-food businesses investing in smart technology, big data and software to target improvements in resource efficiency, productivity and climate resilience. (Environmental Leader)

Circular Economy

H&M to start selling denim made from old clothes

Global clothing retailer H&M is set to debut a denim collection made from old clothes after gathering used items from customers over the past year. In February 2013, a global garment collecting initiative was introduced across all of H&M’s 53 markets. Since then it has received almost 3.5 million kg of clothing. H&M said its short-term goal is to prove that it is possible to “close the loop” on textile production by eliminating waste and decreasing the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Long-term, it hopes to find a solution for the reuse and recycling of textile fibres. H&M designer Jon Loman said that, “we are working increasingly with recycled materials, and as a designer, it is very important to create pieces taking into account the latest trends, but also technical developments in this field.” (Edie)


Businesses commit to ‘Mainstream’ circular economy

Following the release of its third report into the potential for the circular economy, Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has announced ‘Project MainStream’, a collaborative project which aims to help businesses to shift towards a circular economy and as a result save US$ 500 million in materials and prevent 100 million tonnes of waste globally. The World Economic Forum is working in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Project MainStream, with the support of companies including Philips, Kingfisher, Veolia, DSM and Indorama. “The circular economy is an opportunity industry can’t afford to miss,” said Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher. “It can drive our next generation of innovation and business growth, cushion our business from price volatility, provide us with competitive advantage, and help us build better relationships with customers and suppliers.” (Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Edie)


Bacardi to ramp up responsible drinking efforts

The world’s largest privately owned drinks company, Bacardi Limited, has announced plans to strengthen and expand its responsible drinking and responsible marketing efforts globally. The initiatives are designed to combat underage drinking, educate consumers on responsible consumption, garner increased support from retailers to promote responsible drinking and reduce the rate of drinking and driving-related accidents. Eric Kraus, chief communications and corporate affairs officer at Bacardi said that, “we see these actions as not only an essential matter of corporate responsibility, but also an important area of collaboration with our consumers, suppliers, as well as employees and opinion leaders.” Bacardi has also undertaken a long-term responsible sourcing plan to purchase its sugarcane-derived products only from sources that are certified as sustainable; adopting a target of sourcing 100% of these products from sustainable sources by 2022. (Ethical Performance)