Top Stories

October 03, 2014


Telecoms giants launch first cross-industry sustainability ratings for mobile devices

Sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future has teamed up with mobile operators O2 and Vodafone to launch a ground-breaking, shared rating system to help customers compare mobile devices based on environmental credentials. The Eco Rating 2.0 scheme provides a standardised score so consumers can make informed decisions based on comparable sustainability ratings, irrespective of device make or network provider. Mobile devices are rated based on manufacturers’ answers to a number of questions, which include information on the lifecycle of devices, responsible design features and manufacturing choices. Patrick Chomet, Group Terminals Director at Vodafone, said: “We want to empower our customers to make more informed decisions and the Eco Rating scheme does just that”. EcoVadis, the supply chain sustainability rating network, has contributed scorecards on manufacturers, which are incorporated in overall Eco Rating 2.0 device ratings. (Business Green)

Corporate Reputation

American corporations accused of funding climate change deniers

A new report by human rights organisation, Forecast the Facts, claims big businesses are funding representatives in Congress who deny the science of climate change. Figures show that since 2008, these representatives in Congress have received over $640 million dollars in campaign contributions from US businesses and their employees. Surprisingly, about 90 percent of these contributions come from outside the fossil fuel industry, including $1.07 million from Microsoft and $699,195 from Google. “Companies that have commitments on climate change, from cleaning up their own operations to supporting governmental action, are undermining their promises by funding the climate change denying caucus in Congress”, said Brant Olson of Forecast the Facts. 160 members of the 113th Congress publicly reject the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is happening now, is largely man-made, and poses grave risks to humans, ecosystems and economies throughout the world. (Sustainable Business)


Wonga to write off £220 million of customers’ debts

UK payday lender Wonga has elected to write off £220 million of customers’ debts, after discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In response to a series of controversies, the company has put in place new affordability checks to screen its customers. After talks with City regulators, the firm has voluntarily ruled that the 330,000 customers who would not receive a loan under the new system will have their debts wiped out. A further 45,000 people will now be able to pay back their loans without interest. Commenting on the commitment, Wonga chief executive Andy Haste said: “This business had been too focused on growth and cared more about the loan outcome than the customer outcome. We are clearly very sorry for what’s happened to our customers and are doing everything to put that right”. Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, added: “this should put the rest of the industry on notice. They need to lend affordably and responsibly”. (Blue and Green Tomorrow)

Technology & Innovation

Canada switches on world’s first carbon capture power plant

Canada has switched on the first large-scale coal-fired power plant fitted with a technology that proponents say enables the burning of fossil fuels without tipping the world into a climate catastrophe. The $1.3 billion Boundary Dam power plant, created by Saskatchewan’s state-owned electricity provider, SaskPower International, promises to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent by trapping CO2 underground before the gas reaches the atmosphere. The company said the project would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 million tonnes a year, or the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road. Captured CO2 will be pumped underground and sold to the Cenovus oil company for use in priming nearby oil fields. The opening of Boundary Dam represents a rare success story for the carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry. CCS has been viewed with suspicion by environmental campaigners because it is more expensive than renewable sources of energy, and its economic viability – so far – depends on using the CO2 to increase oil production. (The Guardian)


Scottish Enterprise invests in marine energy research

Scottish energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced that investment agency Scottish Enterprise will contribute £450,000 towards the first joint call of the Ocean Energy European Research Area Network (ERA-NET). The network is providing a €7 million funding pot to contribute to the advancement of ocean renewables via collaborative research and development programmes between European countries. “By working with our colleagues in Europe to research clean, green energy we are opening up opportunities for communities and delivering jobs and investment”, Ewing said. Renewable energy representative body Scottish Renewables welcomed Scottish Enterprise’s involvement in the scheme. Senior policy director for offshore renewables, Lindsay Leask, said the investment would open up huge opportunities for Scottish companies. “The Scottish marine energy sector has realised the best way to overcome challenges is by pooling resources and working together”, she said. (Edie)


Image source: “Pelamis at EMEC” (public domain)