Top Stories

October 07, 2014


Rival corporate giants join forces to get millennials acting on climate change

A coalition of the world’s biggest companies has launched a global digital platform to drive conversation and momentum around sustainability. Many of the 29 partners behind are fierce competitors – such as drinks giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and consumer goods companies Unilever and Nestlé – but they have set aside their differences in a bid to engage and activate millennials between the ages of 18 and 30. The platform’s goal is to engage and showcase the efforts of a global audience that is already starting to make life choices that strengthen society and minimise their environmental impact, “making it easy for them to act, buy, invest and promote the ideas that they believe in”, according to the website. The platform represents an increasing willingness by companies to join forces in the public arena. The companies said that “the pace and scale of what’s required now demands new business models, based on radical collaboration with each other, with NGOs and with consumers”. (Sustainable Brands) (The Guardian)


Chemical giants publish environmental footprint guide

Major chemical companies including AkzoNobel, BASF and Eastman Chemical, in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, have published a guide to help chemical industry customers and stakeholders use more sustainable products. The guide, Life Cycle Metrics for Chemical Products, is the result of a collaboration between leading chemical companies that are part of the WBCSD’s Reaching Full Potential project. Focused on life cycle assessment methods, a key objective of the new guide is to provide and communicate material information about the environmental footprint of products that customers and stakeholders can compare. Ton Büchner, CEO at AkzoNobel, writes in the guide: “AkzoNobel is committed to work towards a more sustainable world. By collaborating with peers and partners in WBCSD to agree shared and transparent life-cycle metrics and tools we can be sure to compete on customer solutions and performance, rather than methodology”. (Environmental Leader)

Corporate Reputation

FBI director accuses China of hacking every major American company

FBI director James Comey has accused China of engaging in widespread corporate hacking in an attempt to steal trade secrets from America’s biggest companies. Comey said Chinese hackers have repeatedly and deliberately targeted US firms in cyber-attacks, costing them billions of dollars. “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States”, he said. “There are those who’ve been hacked by the Chinese, and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked by the Chinese”. His comments come just days after JPMorgan, America’s biggest bank by assets, revealed information belonging to more than 70 million clients had been compromised following a hack attack. Earlier this year, the US Justice Department levelled criminal charges against five Chinese military officials, accused of masterminding government-led cyber-attacks to steal trade secrets from six major American companies in the energy and metals industries. (Independent)


Business wants affordability over sustainability, energy report finds

Four out of five business leaders say energy affordability is important to their company; nearly twice the amount prioritising a low-carbon economy. The findings come from a YouGov survey of 600 senior business decision-makers, commissioned by UK energy company Npower. In a similar vein, 58 percent of respondents said their firms would be ‘unwilling’ or ‘unlikely to be willing’ to increase their energy bills to fund low-carbon government schemes. The poll also highlighted that only 22 percent of business leaders are confident that current government energy policies reflect their needs. Npower head of industrial and commercial, Wayne Mitchell, said: “This survey has revealed just how sceptical businesses are about the effectiveness and impact of energy policies – the very policies that are going to have far-reaching and long-term impacts on their businesses”. (Edie)


West African solar energy on the rise

In an effort to boost solar in sub-Saharan Africa, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced it will funnel €23 million into one of the largest solar plants that is currently planned for the region. The 30MW photovoltaic power station will be constructed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and operated by national electricity utility, Sonabel. Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Burkina Faso, called Sonabel’s investment “an important milestone in the long-standing cooperation between Burkina Faso and Europe”. He also highlighted EIB’s significant role in improving new water and energy infrastructure that has created jobs across the country. Burkina Faso’s annual power demand has increased by 10 percent in recent years, and more than 75 percent of the country’s total inhabitants have no access to electricity. (The Climate Group)


Image source: “DEF CON 17 CTF competition” by Nate Grigg / CC BY 2.0