Top Stories

May 05, 2015

Supply Chain

Palm giants ask Indonesian government to clear path toward sustainability

Executives from palm oil giants Wilmar, Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) appeared at a green investment summit in Jakarta last week, providing a window into the nature of a high-profile, joint sustainability pact, known as the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP). At the summit, the executives called on the government to change regulations that hinder their attempts to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. The executives also asked the government to improve its policy on land swaps, which would help companies shift their operations from forested to degraded land. IPOP members, who also include Asian Agri and Musim Mas, have all made their own zero-deforestation commitments. However, despite their control of at least four fifths of global palm oil refining capacity, questions remain about how much influence they can exert over their vast, often opaque supplier networks, especially in light of Indonesia’s antitrust regulations. (Eco-Business)


Panera Bread plans to drop a long list of ingredients

Artificial sweeteners, preservatives and flavour enhancers are some of the ingredients that US bakery chain, Panera Bread, wants to eliminate from its kitchens by the end of 2016, working with its first- and second-tier suppliers. “We’re trying to draw a line in the sand in the industry so that consumers have an easy way to know what’s in the food they buy,” said Ron Shaich, chief executive of Panera. Panera will join the ranks of food companies and restaurants that have announced plans to reformulate products to eliminate a variety of ingredients. Nestlé USA, Hershey, Kraft and PepsiCo have all announced plans in recent months to replace flavourings, colours, sweeteners and other additives. Last month, McDonald’s became the latest major restaurant chain to say it would no longer sell products made with chicken treated with human antibiotics. (NY Times)


Young people want to work for employers committed to values and ethics

Almost half the UK workforce now want to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world, according to research carried out by consultancy Global Tolerance. The survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK found 44 percent thought meaningful work that helped others was more important than a high salary. The change, it would appear, is being driven by young people: 62 percent want to work for a company that makes a positive impact, half prefer purposeful work to a high salary, and 53 percent would work harder if they were making a difference to others. According to Global Tolerance’s Simon Cohen, this has serious ramifications for employers, as ignoring the mood of the next generation means closing yourself off to two thirds of the young talent pool. National Grid resourcing manager Sharon Goymer agrees, saying that the growing trend for more values-driven business models has had a massive impact on recruitment. (The Guardian)

Policy and Research

Severe heat costs the Australian economy $6.2 billion a year

Heat stress costs the Australian economy a whopping US$6.2 billion a year – a finding that shows what other countries might be facing in areas where global warming will make extremely hot days more common. Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia, surveyed 1,726 employed people to map the impact of hot weather on the economy. People reported taking an average of 4.4 days a year off work because of heat stress, while 70 percent of respondents said heat had made them less productive on at least one day in the past 12 months. The team calculated that heat-related absenteeism was costing the country US$845 per head of population per year. The figure for loss of productivity at work was even higher at US$932. Together, that amounts to roughly 0.4 percent of Australia’s GDP, which researchers say is greater than the cost for Australia to cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, estimated at as little as 0.1 or 0.2 percent of its GDP. (New Scientist)


Shell’s Arctic return faces hurdle at Seattle port

Oil giant Shell‘s quest to return to Arctic drilling for the first time in three years could face delays after Seattle ruled that the city’s port must apply for a permit for the company to use it as a hub for drilling rigs. Shell has been planning to base a drilling rig and tug boats in Seattle before heading up to Arctic waters off Alaska. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat who has fought against new projects by coal and oil companies, applauded the requirement by the city’s planning department. While the port is expected to eventually get the permit, a spokesman said the process was likely to take weeks. Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement: “This is an opportunity for the port and all of us to make a bold statement about how oil companies contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters – and reject this short-term lease.” (Reuters;

Image Source: Panera Bread by Mike Mozart/ CC BY 2.0