Top Stories

August 26, 2014


Coca-Cola abandons Indian bottling plant amid water use criticism

Coca-Cola has been forced to abandon a new $25m bottling plant in northern India because it was extracting too much groundwater. The Mehdiganj plant in Varanasi had already been fully built but could not operate commercially as it did not have the required permits from the Central Ground Water Authority. Villagers and activists have long been alleging over-exploitation and pollution of groundwater and soil by the unit. The groundwater conditions in the Mehdiganj area have gone from ‘safe’ when Coca-Cola began operations in June 1999 to ‘critical’ in 2009. Amit Srivastava from the India Resource Center, which has led the campaign to challenge the new plant, said: “Coca-Cola is a shameless and unethical company that has consistently placed its pursuit of profits over the well-being of communities … This should serve as a notice to other companies that they cannot run roughshod over Indian rules and regulations and deny community rights over groundwater.” (Edie; Business Standard)

Technology & Innovation

Architects across the world commit to net-zero energy buildings

Architects from across the world have unanimously adopted the 2050 Imperative, which commits them to 100 percent net-zero energy design and construction by that year.  Members of the International Union of Architects, representing over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries,signed the document at last week’s annual World Congress. This is the first time in the organisation’s 65-year history that Architect Councils from every region of the world have signed a declaration. The Imperative commits to five actions, which include requirements for new buildings to be carbon neutral, as well as the promotion of socially responsible architecture to the community. The document states how the 2050 Imperative provides an “unprecedented opportunity to set the global building sector on a path to phase out carbon emissions by 2050”. Helene Combs Dreiling, president of the American Institute of Architects, said: “We have made great strides towards a sustainable built environment, but we still need to advance the industry to make sustainable design the de facto standard for all construction projects”. (GreenBiz)


Solaric to expand home solar energy in Bangladesh

Solaric, a developer of renewable energy technology and products, is set to expand its operation in a bid to grab Bangladesh’s growing home solar market. The US-Bangla joint venture company will open a new factory in Dhaka to manufacture solar optimisers, which allow consumers to use every day electrical items with home solar systems. “The solar optimisers now enable people to use anything they want with solar power, in the same way that we use electricity in our homes”, said Didar Islam, managing director of the company. Only 42 percent of the population in rural Bangladesh has access to electricity, and reliance on the grid alone will not achieve the government’s vision of universal access to electricity by 2021, according to the World Bank. Solaric is expanding its facilities in terms of production, customer base, business partners and investment to meet the growing demand for solar products at home and abroad, Islam added. (Eco-Business)


China regulates corporate transparency

An interim regulation on disclosure of corporate information, to take effect in October this year, has been approved by the State Council, China’s cabinet, and endorsed by Premier Li Keqiang. Companies will be obliged to deliver annual reports to industrial and commercial authorities between January 1 and June 30 each year. Reports will contain information such as contacts, profits, tax payments and other business activities including details of new subsidiaries and stake purchases. Previously, authorities ran ‘annual checks’ on enterprises. Irregularities found during the checks often resulted in severe penalties, including cessation of business licenses, making checks prone to bribery and corruption. Ye Lin, a professor of law at Renmin University of China, says the move signals a reduction in government intervention in favour of public supervision of companies. With the new rules, the government will only monitor information disclosure. The greater part of the ‘checks’ are left to the public, who now have access to the pertinent information. (Eco-Business)


Morrisons uncorks carbon savings with new screw cap

Morrisons has become the first major UK retailer to introduce a new environmentally friendly wine screw cap it claims will cut carbon emissions and make the bottle easier to recycle. The supermarket says the Green Leaf cap, manufactured by Italian company Enoplastic, will be trialled on 75cl bottles of its own-brand Soave wine, having previously been piloted in Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. The cap uses the same technology and materials as a standard screw cap, but contains 64 per cent less aluminium and can be completely removed to aid recycling. It also takes up less room when being transported, which Morrisons says could reduce the size of cap shipments to the bottling plant by around 60 per cent, cutting transport. “We are proud to take responsibility for our own carbon reduction while keeping prices low”, said Morrisons’ BWS category director Steve Mosey. (Business Green)


Image source: “Awesome Green Roof” by Ryan Somma / CC BY-SA 2.0