Top Stories

April 30, 2015


Report: 80 percent of deforestation will occur in just 11 areas

Eleven places in the world will account of over 80 percent of deforestation by 2030, according to The Living Forests Report published by WWF. Between 2010 and 2030 these deforestation fronts could lose up to 170 million hectares of forest unless action is taken. The report builds on previous analysis that suggested more than 230 million hectares of forest will disappear by mid-century if no action is taken. WWF argues that forest loss must be reduced to near zero by the end of this decade in order to avoid “dangerous climate change and economic losses”. The eleven ‘deforestation fronts’ identified are the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Borneo, the Cerrado, Chocco-Darien, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Eastern Australia, Greater Mekong, New Guinea and Sumatra. The report notes that the biggest cause of deforestation globally is expanding agriculture, including commercial livestock, palm oil and soy production. A separate study released earlier this year linked EU imports to driving illegal deforestation. (Blue and Green Tomorrow)

Humanitarian Relief

Companies mount CSR response to Nepal quake

Two global social media giants acted quickly to bring aid to the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal, while a translation service vowed to eliminate language as a barrier for rescue workers. Google deployed its Person Finder tool in the wake the earthquake in Nepal, whilst Facebook launched its new Safety Check application, which texts Facebook users in disaster-stricken regions to determine if they are safe and then shares their status with friends online. A Washington-based translation provider, One Hour Translation, issued a press release dropping its fees for translations that rescue and aid workers could use on the ground in Nepal.  Telecommunications company, Verizon, announced it would both waive texting and calling charges to Nepal. Free calling to Nepal was also put into place by other telecommunications companies, Time Warner Cable, Microsoft’s Skype unit and Vonage. (3BL Media)


Indian government cancels almost 9,000 NGO licences

After suspending the FCRA registration of Greenpeace India and putting foreign donor Ford Foundation on a watchlist, the Indian government has now cancelled the licences of 8,975 NGOs for failing to file annual returns between 2009 and 2012. The Union home ministry said that it had issued notices to 10,343 NGOs on October 16, 2014, stating that they should file their annual returns within a month, specifying the amount of foreign funds received, sources of such funds and the manner in which they were utilised. India’s security establishment has advocated a hard line on foreign-funded NGOs for years, but it is only in recent months that the Modi government has begun to tighten its grip. Earlier this month, Greenpeace India said the restrictions were “clear attempts to silence criticism and dissent”. (The Times of India; Hindustan Times)


Supreme Court orders UK Government to slash pollution

The UK is in breach of European air quality standards and must draw up plans to reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, the Supreme Court has ruled. The decision, announced Wednesday morning, marks a major victory for environmental NGO ClientEarth, who brought the case to court in an effort to force the government to act. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by diesel vehicles and can cause breathing difficulties for children, older people and asthmatics. The five Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously that “the Government must prepare and consult on new air quality plans for submission to the European Commission … no later than December 31 2015”. Air pollution causes 29,000 premature deaths a year in the UK – more than obesity and alcohol combined. The World Health Organisation claims the UK could save £53 billion a year if pollution levels dropped. (Edie)


Ikea, Interface and Aimia scoop Sustainable Business Awards

UK newspaper, The Guardian, has celebrated the achievements of organisations meeting the challenge of sustainability head on in its latest Sustainable Business Awards. The awards recognise best practices and influential ideas, with companies championing renewable energy and fair supply chains featuring heavily amongst the winners. Cafeology, which buys its beans from a co-operative in the Guatemalan rainforest, and Fairtrade chocolate company Divine Chocolate won innovation prizes for Natural Capital and Social Impact. Ikea UK&IE took the impact prizes in the Supply Chain and Net Positive categories, Marks & Spencer received the Natural Capital impact prize, and data company Aimia was awarded for Social Impact through its ‘data philanthropy’ programme. Carpet-maker Interface was awarded the Collaboration prize alongside the Zoological Society of London, with whom it is working in the Philippines to recycle discarded fishing nets into carpet tiles. (The Guardian)

Image Source: Burned jungle  by Jami Dwyer / CC BY-NC 2.0