Top Stories

October 06, 2014


Dell and UN partner to eliminate E-waste in the developing world

Computer technology company Dell and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have signed an agreement to cooperate on identifying and implementing a sustainable solution model for e-waste management for developing countries. Developing countries are expected to account for the majority of discarded electronics by 2016, and twice that of more developed regions by 2030. The aim of this agreement is to create awareness, build capacity, and engage in knowledge sharing and policy advocacy with regard to sustainable e-waste management. Dell’s Executive Director of Sustainability, David Lear, said: “Enabling recycling infrastructure in developing countries has significant benefits for the environment and local community”. Where inadequate data exists, UNIDO and Dell will carry out the inventory and mapping of e-waste dismantling and recycling technologies and facilities, and will support the development of feasibility studies supporting the design of collection programs and networks or the up-scaling of recycling centres. (Sustainable Brands) (Dell)

Corporate Reputation

UK Chancellor faces backlash after branding charities ‘anti-business’

George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, has triggered a backlash from charities after he urged companies to defend the economy against their “anti-business views”. Osborne told the annual convention of the Institute of Directors in London: “You have to get out there and put the business argument, because there are plenty of pressure groups, plenty of trade unions and plenty of charities and the like, that will put the counter view”. Osborne did not name any of the charities that had antagonised him, but his remarks are the latest in a string of comments by senior Conservatives suggesting they believe charities have got too political and left-wing. Oxfam, which has a large trading arm, rejected the idea that charities were in any way anti-business. Nick Bryer, its head of UK campaigns and policy, said the charity agreed with the chancellor about the importance of enterprise. “It is vital to tackling poverty around the world, which is why we help poor people set up their own businesses and access markets”, he said. “We don’t recognise the divide he draws between the concerns of businesses and charities”. (Guardian)


Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitments

A new report published by Forest Heroes, an advocacy campaign group pushing for an end to deforestation, ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments. The Green Tigers report, reviews the recent history of environmental policies in the palm oil sector, beginning with the formation of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004 through to the wave of comprehensive zero deforestation commitments in 2013-2014. It then looks at individual companies’ commitments, ranking these firms on criteria such as human rights, conservation of wildlife-rich forests (HCV), preservation of high carbon stock (HCS) areas, and peatlands protection. Coming out on top of the ranking are several companies that have signed “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” commitments. These include Golden-Agri Resources, Wilmar and Cargill. The report argues that there has been a structural shift in key markets for palm oil from an “anything goes” approach to one where preference is given to deforestation and conflict-free palm oil. It states that companies who fail to adopt stricter sourcing policies are “at serious risk of losing market share in key commodities”. (Mongabay)

Technology & Innovation

Tesla offers affordable package for new electric car

Tesla has launched a new financing programme in the UK that will offer customers the chance to drive its Model S all-electric sedan from £820 a month. The company has teamed up with Alphera Financial Services, a division of BMW Financial Services, to launch a specially tailored financing model for the electric car that offers customers a guaranteed price at which Tesla will buy back the car after 37 months. One of the barriers to adoption of electric vehicles has been concerns about the resale value for such a new technology. But Tesla is aiming to address those fears by promising to buy the Model S back from private customers during the 37th month of the hire purchase term for 50 per cent of the base purchase price of the 60 kWh Model S. Georg Ell, Tesla’s UK country director said: “We want to do the right thing for customers, so we’re delighted to be able to offer this transparent and fair financing programme”. (Business Green)


Thousands of jobs to go in Lloyds revamp

Lloyds Banking Group will cut thousands of staff and close more branches as Britain’s largest retail lender embraces a “digitisation” strategy and automates its entire business. Jobs are expected to go in areas such as mortgage processing and new account opening as work completed manually at the moment is computerised to reduce costs and improve customer service. According to City sources, António Horta-Osório, the chief executive of Lloyds, believes that complete automation of the bank is essential to modernise the business and ensure that it retains a cost advantage over rivals such as Barclays and Santander. Thousands of Lloyds workers will lose their jobs, although the cuts are not expected to be on the same scale as those that hit the bank in the aftermath of the financial crisis, which led to more than 30,000 redundancies. Despite the job losses, Lloyds will also be hiring to build up its digital services and some staff might be able to transfer to the new operations. (The Times*)


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Image source: “Guiyu-ewaste” by bleahbleahbleah / CC BY-SA 3.0