Top Stories

February 05, 2014

Supply Chain

IKEA more than doubles use of sustainable cotton in products

The Swedish retailer IKEA has increased the use of sustainably sourced cotton in its products to 72 percent, up from 34 percent in 2012. In 2013, the Swedish furniture company used 110,000 tonnes of cotton, of which 79,000 tonnes was sourced from more sustainable sources. The increase comes from the company’s work with the WWF on the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’, a programme that sets social and environmental criteria for more sustainable cotton production, of which IKEA is a founding member. Not only is the cotton industry known for its intensive use of water and chemical pesticides and fertilisers, problems such as child labour and health risks associated with the use of chemicals are common issues. As well as increasing the proportion of sustainably sourced cotton, the company is looking for ways to improve efficiency, one such example being the launch of a project to standardise the way fabric is constructed, which could reduce the amount of cotton IKEA needs for a piece of fabric by up to 15 percent. (Edie)


Fair Trade Schools to launch in US

Fair Trade Campaigns, a network of advocates for fairly traded goods across the US, has launched a new campaign, called Fair Trade Schools. Mirroring a growing demand for Fair Trade products, the Fair Trade Schools programme aims to empower students, teachers and staff in order to drive demand for ethical consumption from the next generation. The initiative, which will begin with 15 campaigns in schools across the US, will officially recognise institutions committed to educating students about Fair Trade processes. It will join the Fair Trade Towns and Fair Trade Colleges & Universities initiatives already run by Fair Trade Campaigns, which has the support of organisations including Fair Trade USA and the American arm of Fairtrade International. Linstead-Goldsmith, national coordinator for Fair Trade Campaigns, said that, “this allows us to show the school community how they can make a difference with their purchasing power, and that there are real opportunities for students to do so in their careers.” (3BLMedia)

Corporate Reputation

Call for UK bank staff to sign up for code of conduct

The former Education Secretary, Lord Hunt, has called for British bank staff to sign up to a code of professional conduct. He has called for this code to be introduced, alongside a qualifications framework for bankers, as part of a review into the creation of a body to rebuild the reputation of the discredited industry. Lord Hunt believes that the new body, the Independent Banking Standards Board (IBSB), should be based on the experiences of the Lending Standards Board, which oversees a lending code designed to protect small borrowers, such as charities, from poor marketing material and hidden interest rate changes. The submission by Lord Hunt, ahead of a consultation on the subject, argues that “all staff working in banks should sign up to a new code of professional conduct. As well as setting the key standards in the code, the IBSB should audit the mechanisms that banks have to ensure staff adhere to these standards.” It added that firms should also “take appropriate disciplinary action, including dismissal, against staff who fail to act appropriately.” (Independent)


Palau bans commercial fishing in favour of tourism and conservation

The president of Palau, the island nation bordering Indonesia and the Phillipines, has announced plans to ban all commercial fishing in the country. He declared that once current fishing contracts with Japan and Taiwan expire, only fishing by the country’s 20,000 residents and tourists will be permitted. President Remengesau, a fisherman himself, said that establishing “a 100 percent marine sanctuary” will enable Palau to preserve “a pristine environment” and promote ecotourism as an alternative way to grow its economy. His announcement caused a stir in the fisheries and business world because it is unprecedented in a region where most countries depend heavily on revenue from foreign fishing nations. However, Remengesau said that the money earned from commercial fishing is negligible compared to revenues produced from tourism. (CleanBiz.Asia)


Smartphone game aims to aid cancer cure

A new smartphone game which results in players analysing real cancer data has been released by Cancer Research UK, with the aim of discovering new treatments. Called Play to Cure: Genes in Space, the app analyses a pool of data as gamers play, highlighting genetic faults which can cause cancer. The information is then relayed back to scientists who hope to use it to create and speed up launches of new cancer treatments. Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said that, “we’re enormously proud to launch our first mobile phone game which we believe will build on the great progress we’re making to discover and develop the most effective new treatments for all cancers. This is ambitious – it’s no mean feat combining the most advanced genetic data with cutting-edge gaming technology.” (BBC)