Top Stories

May 06, 2014

Supply Chain

Risk to corporate supply chains at near-record levels

The risk of disruption to corporate supply chains is running at near-record levels despite signs of improvement this year, according to an index created by the global trade body for purchasing managers. Just as it appeared that dangers for businesses were starting to recede, the crisis in Ukraine came along to heighten political risk, says the report from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). The body, which represents 100,000 purchasing and supply management professionals in 150 countries, warned that businesses must “recognise the risks to their supply chains and make the appropriate provisions before it is too late”. It urged companies to identify weaknesses among suppliers, saying exposure to the world’s riskiest regions may lie three or even four tiers down. “With political instability across the developing world, it is vital that businesses and economies recognise the risks to their supply chains and make the appropriate provisions before it is too late” said David Noble, group chief executive of CIPS. (Financial Times)*


SEC: US companies not required to identify products with conflict minerals

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is holding off on requiring companies to identify products with conflict minerals from the Congo and neighbouring countries, but will still require companies to disclose whether they use those minerals. In spite of a legal setback, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said it is moving ahead with most of its conflict mineral disclosure rule scheduled to take effect 2 June. The rule has recently come under fire, with a US appeals court last month ruling part of it – which would have required companies to declare products with DRC conflict minerals as “not found to be ‘DRC conflict-free'” or “DRC conflict-undeterminable” – to be unconstitutional. While this portion of the regulation has now been put on hold, companies will still need to include information about the conflict minerals used in their products – including the facilities used to produce the minerals, the country of origin and the efforts to determine the mine or origin. If a company chooses to describe any of its products as “DRC conflict-free”, it will need to get an independent audit to back up its claim. (The Guardian)

Sainsbury’s lands UK’s first sustainable tuna sandwich

UK supermarket Sainsbury‘s has opened up a new front in its campaign to deliver more sustainable fish, announcing last week that it has become the first UK retailer to offer customers tuna sandwiches that are made using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fish. The supermarket giant launched the new range of MSC-certified pole and line caught sandwiches and salads last week, extending its commitment to low-impact fishing techniques that reduce the risk of bycatch. Pole and line fishing techniques are widely regarded as more sustainable than trawling operations, as each skipjack tuna is caught individually. The introduction of the latest MSC-certified product follows the retailer’s launch of MSC-certified canned skipjack tuna sourced from the Maldives in 2013, as well as the company’s decision to switch its own brand tuna supplies to fish sourced using pole and line methods. Toby Middleton, MSC senior country manager said “The UK’s first MSC-certified tuna sandwich is a milestone for sustainable seafood. By choosing tuna from the Maldives tuna fishery, Sainsbury’s is supporting artisanal fishermen who have made an international difference to the way the Indian Ocean fishery is managed.” (Business Green)


Coca-Cola invests in plan to deliver safe drinking water to 1 million children by 2015

The Coca-Cola Company and water purification company WaterHealth International (WHI) have announced a plan to bring safe drinking water to one million school children in 2,000 schools in developing countries by the end of 2015. The Child With Water (CWW) program aims to deliver 500 million litres of safe drinking water a year to school children through water-purification systems installed, operated and maintained by WHI. Coca-Cola also announced it has taken a minority equity ownership in WHI. Currently operating more than 500 plants in five countries, WHI provides safe drinking water access to about 5 million people. The investment will further support the scale up of WaterHealth’s model to provide safe water to underserved communities and accelerate the placement of new WaterHealth Centers and CWW programs globally. (Sustainable Brands)

Circular Economy

HP works towards closed loop model on ink cartridges with recycled plastic

Hewlett Packard (HP) has announced that it is working towards a closed loop model, with 75% of all HP ink printer cartridges now being made using 100% recycled plastic. This represents a 50% increase in the number of HP ink cartridges manufactured with recycled content in the last year, according to the firm. HP’s closed loop cartridge recycling process uses recycled plastic from returned HP cartridges as well as plastic from other sources, including recycled plastic bottles and plastic clothes hangers to create new original HP ink cartridges. HP’s objective to increase the use of recycled plastic in its ink cartridges is part of its sustainability programme called ‘Living Progress’. It states that this strategy is “helping customers reduce their environmental impact and reduce the overall environmental impact of product use”. (Edie)


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Image source: Tuna sandwich by Richard Masoner / CC2.0