Top Stories

November 07, 2014


Study: Current and future business leaders agree on most sustainability challenges

Current and future leaders believe the most significant leadership challenge facing business today is the integration of sustainability into core business operations, according to a new study by BSR, GlobeScan and Net Impact. The sixth annual State of Sustainable Business survey shows a remarkable alignment between the perspectives younger and more tenured leaders on the state of sustainable business. For the first time this year, the survey questions were extended to undergraduate and graduate student members of Net Impact, a non-profit that empowers a new generation of sustainability leaders. Results suggest that prospective business professional are fairly realistic about the challenges that current sustainability professionals face. Overall, the report found that next generation business leaders have high expectations for business in addressing sustainability issues, particularly regarding consumption. (Sustainable Brands)


Companies urged to ‘unite to combat water shortage’

Global beverage firm SABMiller has called for businesses to invest in partnerships to secure water availability and quality and protect both the environment and long-term profitability.  Addressing the Economist World Water Summit this week, SABMiller Latin America president Karl Lippert called for partnerships to be formed between communities, central and local governments, businesses and NGOs to tackle shared resource risks such as water scarcity. SABMiller has partnered with The Nature Conservancy and local utility companies to develop water funds across Latin America, aimed at encouraging agricultural communities to develop more sustainable farming methods at the same time as protecting vulnerable watersheds. Lippert said: “Water needs to be seen by both businesses and policy-makers as far more than simply an environmental issue. It is a social issue, a health issue, a development issue, a business issue and an economic issue.” In July, the beverage maker announced a set of new sustainability targets to cut water consumption and CO2 emissions by 2020. (Edie)


GRI unveils new structure to reinforce global standards in sustainability reporting

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has unveiled a new governance structure that will strengthen its commitment to providing robust global standards for sustainability reporting. The new structure recognises the significance of setting standards, and is aimed at further consolidating the independence of GRI’s standard-setting activities, without diluting the organisation’s unique multi-stakeholder principle. Key features of the newly introduced governance structure, which will be implemented by 31 January 2015, include the creation of an organisational firewall between standard-setting activities and all other organisational activities. GRI’s Chief Executive, Michael Meehan, said that the new structure will ensure the long term credibility of its standards and will continue to enable organisations and stakeholders to benefit from the standards as a basis for greater innovation. (Just Means)

International Development

Kenyan law aimed at luring mining giants sparks ‘resource curse’ fears

Community and human rights advocates in Kenya are raising the alarm about a new mining bill that is on the verge of being passed into law. Kenya’s national assembly has voted to overhaul its 74-year-old colonial mining act, as it aims to ramp up the country’s fledging sector. The legal changes have been prompted by recent new discoveries of minerals, oil, coal and gas that communities say could bring abuses or leave them out of pocket. The changes to the act aim to attract international mining companies, which have been eager to invest in the largely unexplored region, but unwilling to enter a market with uncertain regulations. The mining ministry’s public communications division said the “legislation needed to be repealed to enact a law that will address the current needs of the mining sector in Kenya”, following the recent discoveries. However, local communities claim they have been left out of the consultation process to change the law. Mining companies, including Africa Barrick Gold, are already exploring for minerals in Kenya. Base Resources – the first major, direct foreign investor in Kenya’s mining sector – exported its first shipment of mineral sands from its mine in Kwale county this year. (Guardian)


Luxembourg vows to end banking secrecy amid tax allegations

Luxembourg has pledged to overhaul its culture of financial secrecy, and has fought back against accusations that it helped leading multinationals avoid billions of dollars of tax. Officials were responding to a report published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists which accuses more than 340 multinationals, including such global names as Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, and JPMorgan, of making secret deals with the Grand Duchy between 2002 and 2010 that saved them millions of dollars in taxes. The Commission is already investigating similar allegations about rulings agreed by the Luxembourg tax authority with Fiat and Amazon. Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s finance minister, refused to blame former prime minister Jean Claude Junker, the recently appointed president of the European Commission, but insisted that his own government is forging a new culture of financial transparency. (FT*)

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Image Source: “Strip coal mining” by Codrington, Stephen / CC BY 2.5