Top Stories

October 21, 2014

Corporate Reputation

Oxfam: Fossil fuel industry sustained by ‘toxic triangle’ that puts 400 million at risk

Political inertia, financial short-termism and vested fossil fuel interests have formed a “toxic triangle” that threatens to push up global temperatures, putting 400 million people at risk of hunger and drought by 2060, according to Oxfam. In its Food, Fossil Fuels and Filthy Finance report, Oxfam warns that EU leaders must resist pressure from the fossil fuel industry, which spends at least €44 million a year on lobbying the European bloc. EU leaders are meeting this week to finalise a new climate and energy policy framework, ahead of the UN climate change conference in Paris next year. They are expected to agree an emissions cut target of 40% from 1990 levels, but Oxfam said this would not be enough for Europe to make a fair contribution to tackling climate change. Oxfam has launched a counter on its website visualising the amount spent on lobbying by fossil fuel companies, which it says “amounts to more than half a million dollars a day to protect the status quo, [keeping] the ‘toxic triangle’ in place”. (The Guardian)


US Marines turn to female executives for advice on recruiting women

US Marines are reaching out to female executives in the private sector to get advice on recruiting more women into the Corps. Women only account for about 7.5 percent of the Marines and only about 15 percent of all active duty branches of the military. Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos began reaching out to female executives this spring as the Marine Corps grappled with decisions about opening ground combat roles to women, stamping out sexual assaults, and how to attract and retain more women. Amos has met with corporate leaders including Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, Gisel Ruiz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart, and Linda Hudson, the former CEO of the US unit of BAE Systems. “They helped me see what I’m not seeing, simply because I’m a guy, and as my wife tells me, an old, white guy,” Amos said. (Reuters)

Supply Chain

H&M CEO calls for annual wage reviews in Bangladesh

H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson has called for annual wage revisions in Bangladesh in line with local price inflation. His comments followed a meeting with the country’s Minister of Commerce, Tofail Ahmed. For several years, the retailer has worked towards establishing a fair living wage in Bangladesh – a key supplier country. “We see that costs in society are negating many of the positive effects of increased wages. This is due to the absence of efficient systems of control leaving both workers and business owners in a difficult situation,” Persson said.  He also emphasised that further actions are required to ensure the needs of workers, particularly through annual wage reviews, as well as the continued competitiveness of the Bangladeshi textile industry. Persson also drew attention to the significance of establishing a structure for compensation in case of workplace accidents, in line with H&M’s commitment to support workplace safety following the catastrophic 2013 Savar factory collapse which claimed more than 1,000 victims. (Sustainable Brands)


General Motors expands zero-waste agenda worldwide

General Motors (GM) continues to expand its global zero-waste program, inching closer to its goal of having 125 total facilities landfill-free by 2020. Eleven new facilities are now zero waste, ranging from assembly plants to regional headquarters. Following its own mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle and compost,” GM has expanded this program to 122 facilities — over half of them outside of North America. According to GM, the conversion of these factories and offices to landfill-free status helps the automaker prevent more than 600,000 tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere annually. At last count, the company estimates that 97 percent of all waste at its landfill-free plants is recycled or reused; the remainder is converted into energy within the plants. The blueprint for GM’s zero-waste program has been a central part of the company’s sustainability plan since its launch in 2011. (Triple Pundit)

Renewable Energy

Wind power now the cheapest form of energy in Denmark

Wind power is now the cheapest form of new electricity in Denmark, government officials have announced. In 2013, Denmark covered one third of its electricity needs using wind power and it is likely that, with declining costs, the renewable energy source will continue to grow in popularity. Energy from onshore wind plants due in 2016 will cost half the price of coal and natural gas plants. Rasmus Petersen, Danish minister for energy, climate and buildings attributed the success to the commitment and professionalism in the field demonstrated by researchers, politicians and companies and commented on the need of a long-term energy policy to ensure that renewable energy becomes the default choice. The EU Commission is pushing for member states to boost their share of renewable energy. The EU’s upcoming governance framework will grant more autonomy to member states regarding how they help meet the EU’s collective targets. (Positive News)


Image Source: ‘20051029 Belchatow power station‘ by Petr Štefek / CC BY-SA 3.0