Top Stories

October 07, 2015

Corporate Reputation

APP denies contributing to Singapore haze after products withdrawn

Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, NTUC FairPrice, has announced that it will withdraw all paper products sourced from Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP). This comes after the Singapore Environment Council said it had instituted a temporary restriction on the Indonesian firm’s use of the “Singapore Green Label” certification, due to alleged links to the region’s haze crisis. NTUC FairPrice CEO Seah Kian Peng said: “We initiated meetings with the various parties concerned when the list of firms including APP, was named by the authorities as suspects for contributing to the haze.” However, APP has said it has “nothing to hide” and “no supplier has been proven to be involved” in raging forest fires in Indonesia contributing to hazy conditions around the region. “If a supplier were found to have been involved in setting forest fires, our policy is clear and we would disengage that supplier,” the company said. APP added that it has invited officials from Singapore’s National Environment Agency to visit its operations in Indonesia to demonstrate the company’s no burning policy. (Channel NewsAsia)

Sustainable Development

Shell-funded Factor(E) delivers energy solutions to developing nations

Colorado-based Factor(E), a non-profit enterprise, was started by the London-based Shell Foundation, when the foundation decided it needed better ways to encourage the growth of energy innovation enterprises. Factor(E) describes itself as a “venture development firm”: part seed investor, part accelerator and part business advisor. It aims to nurture young businesses with the potential to improve energy access in developing countries. The growth of Factor(E) comes following the launch of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals, including one which calls for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. The seven-person staff hunts out promising young companies and provides funding, technical and business advice, as well as professional connections. In the two years since it launched, the company has funded seven companies, developing projects like small scale biomass fuel power production, hardware and software for creating smart grids in remote areas and a system for converting trucks and buses into hybrid vehicles. (Guardian)


Jaguar Land Rover launches clean water program in Kenya

Yesterday the United Kingdom-based premium automobile manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, kicked off a new project in western Kenya that adds to what the company describes as its “ambitious” worldwide corporate social responsibility program. Working with the social enterprise ClimateCare and the Swiss company Vestergaard, Jaguar Land Rover will provide smart water-filtration systems that the company claims could provide up to 300,000 students in the Bungoma region of Kenya with clean, drinkable water. Over the next five years, 375 schools will benefit from these water systems, which Jaguar Land Rover says will improve the health, education and employment projects of students who live in this corner of Kenya. The key to this program’s success is Vestergaard’s technology. The company has been in business for almost 60 years, and is known best on both sides of the Atlantic for its water filters coveted by hikers and trekkers. (Triple Pundit)

Responsible Investment

Report: Two-thirds of investors could be unwittingly supporting unethical industries

An alarming number of UK investors are unaware of which industries their investments are financing, and could potentially be invested in activities they are morally or ethically opposed to, new research by Netherlands-based Triodos Bank shows. The study reveals that almost two-thirds (63 percent) of investors don’t know whether the activities of industries or companies they are investing in are ethical or not, finding UK adults at risk of investing in companies or industries to which they are personally opposed. Human trafficking, forced/child labour and pornography top the list of investment turn-offs. A further 71 percent of investors want more of their pensions and investments to be invested in environmental and social sectors, such as renewable energy and sustainable business. Huw Davies, head of personal banking at Triodos Bank, comments: “Individual investors can make a difference by taking a look under the bonnet of their pensions and investments, and doing something about it if they’re not happy with what they discover.” (Triodos Bank)

Climate Change

Paris climate talks should not put figure on finance, says World Bank vice-president

The Paris conference on climate change should not set a target for future financial assistance to developing countries, according to the World Bank’s top official on climate change. At the last landmark climate conference, in Copenhagen in 2009, rich countries agreed that $100 billion a year should flow to the poor world in “climate finance” by 2020, a figure still to be met. Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice-president and special envoy for climate change, said: “I hope there is not a number [on climate finance] for beyond 2020 at Paris. I understand the need of developed countries to ensure that finance is going to those countries but that is not it.” She accused governments at the Copenhagen meeting of making up a symbolic number in the closing days of the talks, just to try to get a last-minute deal. “The $100 billion was picked out of the air at Copenhagen,” she argued. Climate change now affects many aspects of a country’s development and economy, she said, so that it would be difficult in future to separate out “climate finance” from other funds. (Guardian)

Image Source: The Land Rover Badge by Josh Hallett / CC BY-SA 2.0