Top Stories

November 12, 2014


China and US strike deal on carbon cuts in push for global climate pact

The United States and China have unveiled a secretly negotiated deal to reduce their greenhouse gas output, with China agreeing to cap emissions for the first time and the US committing to deep reductions by 2025. The agreement provides an important boost to international efforts to reach a global deal on reducing emissions beyond 2020 at the UN meeting in Paris next year. China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, has agreed to cap its output by 2030 or earlier if possible. The US has pledged to cut its emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The European Union has already endorsed a binding 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030. Senior US administration officials said the commitments, the result of months of dialogue between the world’s top two carbon emitters, would encourage other nations to make pledges and deliver “a shot of momentum” into negotiations for a new global agreement. (Guardian)

Supply Chain

HP reinforces protection of foreign migrant workers

HP has taken a major step towards preventing exploitative labour practices and forced labour in its supply chain, becoming the first company in the IT industry to require direct employment of foreign migrant workers by suppliers. Announced by the company this week, the HP Foreign Migrant Worker Standard combines the direct employment requirement with rights relating to worker retention of passports and personal documentation and the elimination of worker-paid recruitment fees. The standard was developed in consultation with Verité, an international non-profit that promotes safe, fair, and legal working conditions. Dan Viederman, CEO of Verité, commented: “HP’s standard sets a new bar and will likely result in substantial financial benefit to foreign migrant workers… We hope other companies will adopt similar policies.” The standard forms part of HP’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which already expressly forbids any forced, bonded, indentured, involuntary prison labour, slavery or trafficking of persons. (HP)

Innovation & Technology

Ford to debut wind and solar powered dealers

Auto giant Ford has this week announced innovative new plans that could see its dealers across the US become renewable energy hubs. The company has entered into partnership with Wind Energy Corporation, which will see the renewable energy developer deploy solar panels and vertical axis wind “sails” at four Ford dealerships as part of a pilot programme. The company said each installation is expected to provide around 20,000kWh of clean electricity a year, equivalent to that needed to power two average size US homes or recharge Ford’s new Focus Electric 870 times. The system will offset 14 tons of greenhouse gases a year. Ford said the clean energy generated onsite would be used to power the buildings, electric vehicle charging stations, and lighting systems at the four dealers in New York, Michigan, and California. (Business Green)

Circular Economy

UK government promotes circular economy with new waste assessment tool

The UK’s Environment Agency has launched the IsItWaste assessment tool to help businesses in England identify whether a waste material is a by-product or holds ‘end-of-waste’ status. Developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded ‘Ensuring Quality’ of waste-derived products (EQual) programme, the web-based IsItWaste tool takes users through key decision stages including material composition, risk assessment, product use and end markets. It can also be used to submit an application to the Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste panel for a formal decision if need be. Commenting on the launch, Steve Lee, the chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, said: “Deriving value from waste materials by turning them back into safe, high quality products is an essential element in the move towards a more circular economy.” (Edie)

Corporate Reputation

Regulators slap $3.2bn fines on five banks in global forex probe

US, UK and Swiss regulators on Wednesday imposed $3.2 billion in fines on five banks, in the first cases to come out of a global probe into allegations of rate-rigging in foreign exchange markets. UBS, RBS, Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase agreed in simultaneous settlements with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority that they did not have the necessary controls in place to prevent manipulation of what is the largest financial market in the world, with $5.3 trillion a day in trades. The FCA fined those banks a record $1.7 billion for “failing to control business practices“, it said in a statement on Wednesday. The unprecedented group settlement between several regulators and multiple banks is yet another reputational and financial setback for global lenders. The sector has been hit by billions of dollars in fines over the past few years for misbehaviour ranging from the manipulation of Libor interbank lending rates to mortgage fraud. (FT*)

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Image source: “Migrant Worker by David Shankbone” by David Shankbone / CC BY 2.5