Top Stories

September 09, 2014

Supply Chain

Big businesses throw weight behind sustainable timber

Ikea, Tetrapak and Kingfisher have partnered in founding the ‘Value and Impact’ (VIA) initiative, which aims to promote the benefits of; legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber. VIA plans to tackle the imminent conflict between demand and supply in the timber industry, whereby wood usage is expected to treble by 2050, yet deforestation is rife due to the value of cleared land. Richard Gillies, group sustainability director for Kingfisher, said: “The business community can help reverse the deforestation spiral by getting behind sustainable forestry management so that we can get it to scale”. The group also supports the development and implementation of a methodology for assessing the positive impacts of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management. VIA hopes its support will enable the FSC to broaden its remit, bringing expert forest management certification to 266 million hectares of production forest in the tropics that are operating without a sustainable plan. “There’s a pressing need for this collaboration and the business-ready analysis we’re focused on developing”, Gillies added. (Edie)

Technology & Innovation

VW predicts fuel-cell cars to struggle beyond Japan

Hydrogen fuel cell powered cars will struggle to catch on beyond Japan’s borders, according to Volkswagen Group Japan President, Shigeru Shoji. Government subsidies of as much as 3 million yen ($28,500) per vehicle offered in Japan will probably be too high for other countries to match Shoji said. “It may fly within Japan, but not globally”, he added. Japanese car maker Toyota, believe fuel-cell cars – which only emit water vapour – offer one of the best solutions to reduce carbon emissions. Toyota have cited US government estimates however, which predict hydrogen fuel will initially be more expensive than conventional gasoline, despite their car going on sale in California next year. It will cost about $50 to fill up for about 300 miles of range, according to senior vice president at Toyota’s US operations, Bob Carter. Still, Volkswagen is hedging its bets. The company is monitoring Toyota’s progress with the aim of staying within no more than three years of development work behind its Japanese rival in matching its fuel cell technology, Shoji added. (Bloomberg)


Tesco and Coca-Cola launch joint campaign to boost recycling rates

Tesco has teamed up with Coca-Cola Enterprises to launch an educational online recycling campaign in a bid to stimulate behaviour change among consumers. The new ‘Recycling is the Answer’ website invites customers to make a commitment to recycle more at home and play a rubbish-sorting game in a virtual kitchen. Participants receive 25 Clubcard points or a 50p coupon for pledging and can earn a further 25 points by sharing their recycling promise with friends on social media. Coca-Cola’s associate director for recycling, Nick Brown, said: “The campaign is the result of our shared dedication with Tesco to reduce our carbon footprint and help customers do the same in their homes”. The campaign builds on the Tesco and Coca-Cola’s 2013 Together We’re Making Recycling Count drive, which drew 37,000 pledges. “Past initiatives have demonstrated the power of pledging combined with awareness raising, and we hope Recycling is the Answer will have a similar impact”, added Brown. (Edie)


Report: How cities can battle climate change with resiliency planning

Siemens have partnered with urban planning firm Arup and the Regional Planning Association (RPA) to explore the role of technology in enhancing the resilience of cities and their critical infrastructure systems. The report, Toolkit for Resilient Cities, notes how between 2000 and 2012 natural disasters – including weather, health and seismic events – caused $1.7 trillion in damages worldwide. These events are occurring against a backdrop of global population growth and urbanisation, meaning cities are facing “huge challenges to maintain social well-being and economic vitality in an atmosphere laden with complexity, uncertainty and major risk”, the report states. The group believe that cities should be smart and resilient, “Minimising disruptions in the face of shocks and stresses, recovering rapidly when they do occur, and adapting steadily to become better able to thrive as conditions continue to change”. Resiliency embodies and embraces five important facets; robustness, redundancy, diversity, responsiveness, and coordination. These practices should be adopted in policies, planning and construction across all city districts – the report concludes. (Triple Pundit)

Corporate Reputation

Brazil’s Petrobras investigates bribery allegations

Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, says it is investigating an alleged bribery scheme reportedly linked to top politicians. The company has asked a judge investigating a former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa, for access to his confidential statements. Costa, who is in jail and being investigated for involvement in the alleged scheme, accused 40 politicians of involvement – naming a minister, state governors and congressmen. He alleged the scheme was used to buy support for the government in congressional votes. The oil firm said it has also written letters to companies allegedly involved in the scheme asking for help. Commenting on the investigation, Petrobras said: “Any irregular acts that may have been committed by a person or group of people, whether or not they are company employees, do not represent the conduct of the Petrobras institution and its workforce, made up of thousands of employees”. Many of the politicians mentioned have denied any involvement. (BBC)


Image source: “Timber Donnelly Mills” by Sean McClean / CC BY-SA 3.0