Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Campaigns & Activism, Circular Economy, Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Strategy, Tax, Technology & Innovation, Waste

Top Stories

July 03, 2014

Circular Economy

EU sets 70% recycling target in new Circular Economy Package

The European Commission has unveiled a revamped package of waste and recycling targets to accelerate Europe’s transition to a circular economy. The proposed ‘Circular Economy Package’ requires member states to recycle 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030. A zero-waste-to-landfill policy for plastics, paper, metals, glass and bio-waste will also be enforced in 2025, so that no more than 25% of waste generated is landfilled. According to the Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, the new targets will create more than half a million jobs across the Union. “Moving to a circular economy is not only possible, it is profitable, but that does not mean it will happen without the right policies,” he said. The UK Chartered Institution of Wastes Management welcomed the moves as “ambitions and far-reaching,” and argued that the UK could meet the new targets. (EdieBBC)

Innovation

GE generates $28 billion from sustainability R&D

GE invested more than $2 billion in research and development for ‘ecomagination’ and ‘healthymagination’ innovations in 2013, with ecomagination offerings generating $28 billion in revenue, according to the American energy and technology conglomerate’s new sustainability report. ecomagination is GE’s program to develop products and services with significant environmental advantages. This includes investing in cleantech research and development. Since 2005, GE has invested roughly $13 billion in ecomagination R&D, on track to meet the commitment of $15 billion through 2015. The report says GE met its goal of growing revenues from ecomagination offerings at twice the rate of total company revenue in five years — with revenue totaling $28 billion in 2013. (Sustainable Brands)

Tax

Barclays reports profits of £100 million per worker in Luxembourg

The Luxembourg operations of Barclays, through which of much of the bank’s controversial tax planning services are channelled, generated £1.4 billion of profits in 2013 – £100 million for each of the 14 people employed there. In a new “country snapshot” published in order to comply with a new European Union directive, Barclays also revealed it paid just £20m of tax in Luxembourg. Luxembourg was the most profitable country after the UK, where it reported £4.9bn of profits and paid £55m of corporation tax. The bank, which said it paid £1.4bn of tax in the UK if all taxes were included, said it had an obligation to shareholders not to pay more tax than it owed: “We do not seek to avoid paying our share and are proud of the contribution we make”. Barclays’ chief executive, Antony Jenkins, pledged in February 2013 to close down the bank’s tax planning unit, known as structured capital markets (SCM), as part of his efforts to clean up the reputation of the bank. However, he said the process would take several years. (The Guardian)

Environment

China takes first steps towards ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics after law changes

Manufacturers of cosmetics in China are no longer be legally bound to test on animals for ordinary products sold in the country, after changes to laws came into place on Monday. The changes are seen as a victory for campaign groups like Be Cruelty-Free, the largest campaign in the world to end animal testing for cosmetics, which has focused in part on the Chinese market for the last few years. Run by the Humane Society International (HSI), it aims to end animal testing in cosmetics all over the globe. Peter Li, HSI’s China policy adviser, said, “In making this rule change, China is acknowledging the global trend towards cruelty-free cosmetics, and that’s hugely significant.” However, the ruling does not apply to all cosmetics, with ‘special ones’ such as hair dyes, deodorants and sunscreens being excluded. Foreign imported products will still require testing, and all products are still subject to random post-market testing. (Blue and Green Tomorrow)

Employees

European unions to discuss how to engage with Amazon

Union leaders from Britain, France and Germany are to meet in Berlin on Wednesday to discuss the rise of Amazon in Europe and how to engage with the online retailer on job security, warehouse working conditions and low pay. National organisers from the Verdi union in Germany, CGT in France and the GMB in Britain all view Amazon as a leading example of how a new generation of powerful e-commerce employers treat their low-skilled workforce. Workers at some Amazon warehouses in France have held a series of strikes recently, while many of their counterparts in Germany took industrial action earlier in the year and are awaiting meetings with management before deciding on further moves. In April, the head of Amazon in the UK, Christopher North, said the online retailer pays a competitive wage “to attract the best and brightest we can”. He said: “We think morally it is our responsibility to ensure they are safe and are properly compensated.” (The Guardian)

 

Image source: Wysypisko odpadów w Łubnej by Cezary p / CC BY-SA 3.0

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