Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Campaigns & Activism, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Inclusive Business, Supply Chain

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July 23, 2014

Supply Chain

Better Cotton and Ikea Report shows growth in sustainable cotton

A recent report by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) shows how 43,000 farmers in India and Pakistan alone are using more sustainable cotton farming techniques. Ikea and the World Wildlife Fund were founding members of the BCI, which started in 2005 working with just 500 farmers to develop more sustainable cotton production methods. The new report highlights how, through working with BCI and using more sustainable methods, crop yields have increased and farmer incomes have also improved. BCI’s goal is to make ‘Better Cotton’ 30 percent of global cotton production by 2020, which would mean working with 5 million farmers around the world. Ikea, which last year used 110,000 tons of cotton, has also set ambitious targets. Its goal is for 100 percent of the cotton it uses to come from more sustainable sources by the end of 2015. Simon Henzell-Thomas, Ikea sustainability policy & partnership manager, said: “What we are doing with cotton is a great example of market transformation. We have an amazing opportunity to tip an entire market to becoming more sustainable”. (Triple Pundit)


Bangladesh: $150 million cost and 18 months to make factories safe

Work to bring Bangladeshi factories used by North American retailers, including Walmart and Gap, up to fire and building safety standards will cost more than $150 million and take at least 18 months to complete. The US Alliance for Bangladeshi Worker Safety (AFBWS), formed in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, has published results from safety inspections of all the 587 factories its members now use. As a result of the inspections, ten factories have been closed or partially closed due to structural faults. Overall orders from Bangladesh have not reduced, but have consolidated among fewer suppliers; this is likely to cause unease in Bangladesh where factory owners fear they will lose business to rival countries. Ian Spaulding, a senior adviser to the Alliance, said: “People are realising that they can’t just buy from any factory”. Alongside the Alliance, a 170-plus group of international retailers including Primark and Marks & Spencer are backing the Bangladesh Accord on Fire & Building Safety which is inspecting more than 1,500 clothing factories, while the Bangladesh government is inspecting thousands more. (The Guardian)


Kao becomes first in Asia to go forest-friendly

Japanese cosmetics giant Kao Corporation has become the first major consumer company based in Asia to promise to remove forest destruction from its products. The firm has pledged to purchase raw materials such as palm oil and pulp fibres only from companies that enforce a zero deforestation policy. The move has been welcomed by environmental campaign group Greenpeace, calling on other Asian consumer giants in India and China to do the same. Forest Campaigner Areeba Hamid said: “The question now is whether or not other Asian consumer goods companies like India’s Godrej and ITC, or China’s Liby and Nice, will listen to this demand for forest friendly products”. These demands were echoed by Rie Honda of Greenpeace Japan, who calls for a “high carbon stock” approach: “suppliers such as Golden Agri Resources among others are already implementing it, taking into consideration conservation and social issues”. Several companies such as Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and Unilever have recently committed to zero deforestation policies after sustained campaigns and global pressure from Greenpeace. (Eco-Business)


UK and Germany hold majority of Europe’s ‘Dirty 30’ coal plants

Coal power plants across the EU are undermining climate change efforts, according to a far-reaching energy report. The ‘Europe’s Dirty 30’ report, compiled by the Climate Action Network (CAN), exposes the top 30 most polluting power plants in the EU, ranked according to their total CO2 emissions in 2013. It reveals that Germany and the UK rank joint-first for the number of dirty coal power plants, with nine each. The UK’s nine coal power stations produced less than a third of its electricity supply last year, but were responsible for nearly two thirds of carbon emissions from the electricity sector. Although Germany ranked first on last week’s International Energy Efficiency Scorecard it still produces the most CO2 from coal of any nation in the EU. Kathrin Gutmann, CAN Europe’s coal policy officer, said: “coal-fired power plants are the single biggest global source of greenhouse gas emissions… The EU needs to tackle coal head on, if it wants to successfully meet its own long-term climate targets.” (Edie)


Majority of Americans would support carbon tax, poll finds

Some 60% of Americans would support a carbon tax if the revenue went towards a worthy cause, such as investment in renewable energy, a new poll has revealed. The survey, undertaken by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College, finds that support for a tax on fossil fuels increases significantly when the destination of the revenue is disclosed. No plans are currently on the table for a carbon tax in the US, but the idea has gathered support in recent years. US president Barack Obama said that an effective price on carbon would be the best way to help the market cut its contribution to climate change. Speaking on Showtime’s climate TV series Years of Living Dangerously, he said: “I still believe, though, that the more we can show the price of inaction – that billions and potentially trillions of dollars are going to be lost because we do not do something about it – ultimately leads us to be able to say, ‘Let’s go ahead and help the marketplace discourage this kind of activity”. Another country now without a carbon tax is Australia, where the government has just abolished its own levy on polluters. (Blue and Green Tomorrow)


Image source: “Cotton picking in India” by Claude Renault / CC BY 2.0