Top Stories

June 17, 2014

Supply Chain

Asda reveals impact of climate change on supply chain

UK retailer Asda, a subsidiary of Walmart, has unveiled a new study that finds climate change is having a direct impact on 95% of fresh produce stocked in Asda stores, with food sourcing, processing and transportation all facing a growing threat from environmental issues. The study looked at several products, stores and distribution centres and discovered that there is over £369.6 million in value at risk involving sourcing, processing and logistics. With a number of supermarkets battered by heavy rain and gale-force winds in the recent UK floods, Asda identified the stores that were most ‘at risk’ and the firm is now looking further into individual situations and liaising with the Environment Agency to conduct full flood-risk impacts for all stores and distribution centres. Asda now plans to implement a framework to adapt to changing trends. “The role of responsible business is to adapt to change, help others to do so, and work with suppliers and customers to make sure we cut carbon emissions and deliver a more stable climate future for our children,” said Asda’s vice president for corporate affairs, Paul Kelly. (Edie)

International Development

Companies taking up the challenge of access to sanitation

Access to sanitation is an urgent issue for the security of women and girls in developing countries, but up until now has remained largely off corporate agendas. Unlike water access, sanitation poses less of a direct operational and social risk to business, and the complexity of the situation has made many businesses reluctant to get involved. This is now changing. The Gates Foundation’s Reinventing the Toilet drive has helped produce innovative technologies to increase sanitation, and it now falls to corporations to help take these technologies from the lab to the villages. Many of these technologies combine social benefits with innovative business models – such as toilet facilities that create fertiliser for sale. Using their knowledge, resources, influence, and political leverage, businesses can help pilot projects to impact hundreds of people. Companies like Unilever, Nestlé and Coca-Cola have already teamed up with governments and NGOs to address the issues and work towards solutions. For women and girls, access to sanitation gives them their dignity, their safety and the chance to be fully functioning members of society. (The Guardian)


Racial inequality in UK management

A new report from Business in the Community’s race equality campaign ‘Race for Opportunity’ finds that UK government and businesses are failing to achieve racial equality in leadership at work. The research shows that the number of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in top management positions has decreased by 22% in five years and the gap between the BAME population and representation in the workplace is widening further – only one in 16 top management positions and one in 13 management positions are held by BAME people, despite the fact that one in 10 people in employment are BAME. Race for Opportunity is calling for a government review into racial barriers in the workplace and for two words – ‘and race’ – to be added to the UK corporate governance code. Race for Opportunity is also calling on employers in all sectors to do more to attract and retain BAME workers and ensure equal progression. (Business in the Community)


New home of San Francisco 49ers to use 85% recycled water

Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, will use roughly 85% recycled water for irrigation of the field as well 27,000-square-foot green roof, flushing toilets and cooling tower. Following final testing by the City of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities, Levi’s Stadium was recently connected to the city’s recycled water system, making it the first stadium in California to utilize the drought-proof water source. This milestone brings the facility one step closer to a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Other sustainable features include energy efficient systems, solar power, and the use of recycled construction materials. “With California experiencing historic drought conditions, the timing couldn’t be better to showcase the benefits of using recycled water whenever and wherever possible,” said San Francisco 49ers VP of Stadium Operations, Jim Mercurio. “Fans visiting the stadium will become more aware of the importance and viability of incorporating recycled water to encourage a sustainable Bay Area water supply.” (Sustainable Brands)


Buru Energy allowed to frack for gas without EPA assessment

The West Australian government has decided to allow Buru Energy to frack for gas in Kimberley region without an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) assessment. The EPA told the company in January that the proposal raised several environmental issues but it had decided against subjecting it to an impact assessment process. Potential impacts such as vegetation clearing and pollution of groundwater due to well failure could be monitored and mitigated by the Department of Mines and Petroleum and the Department of Water, the EPA said. Conservation groups have expressed outrage and renewed their call for a moratorium on gas fracking in WA. Buru Energy plans to test tight gas flows using hydraulic fracturing stimulation at four existing wells along its Laurel Formation prospect in the second half of 2014. The company and its joint venture partner Mitsubishi ultimately hope to deliver 1,500 petajoules of gas into the WA domestic market over an initial 25-year period. (The Guardian)


Image source: ASDA Wal-mart supercentre in Swindon by Steve Daniels / CC BY-SA 2.0