Top Stories

January 27, 2016

Supply Chain

Report: Companies blind to climate risks in half their supply chains

The largest-ever study of climate data from suppliers and their corporate customers, produced by CDP and written in partnership with BSR, finds that half of the key suppliers of major companies fail to respond to requests for climate information, hindering efforts to understand and manage climate risk. The COP21 Paris Agreement requires global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to reduce to net zero well before the end of the century. With supply chains responsible for up to four times the GHGs of a company’s direct operations, they house sizable regulatory risk but also present ample opportunity for businesses to lower emissions. “The science and the policy have never been clearer. Greenhouse gas emissions must decrease to net zero as early as possible in the second half of the century” said Paul Simpson, chief executive officer of CDP. “Companies have a vital role to play in implementing the Paris agreement. Those that are unable to do so risk being the losers from this inevitable transition.” (3BL Media)

Corporate Reputation

Yahoo Japan sold 12 tons of elephant ivory in two years, activists claim

Yahoo has been accused of allowing the trade of ivory on its Japanese auction site. Activist network Avaaz has launched a petition calling for an end to Yahoo’s sales of ivory. The petition, which has more than 1 million signatures, urges Yahoo to “urgently stop all ivory sales from sites/platforms in Japan and all other markets”. It is estimated that more than 12 tonnes of elephant tusks and fashioned pieces of ivory were sold on the Yahoo Japan site between 2012 and 2014. Despite Amazon and Google both having banned the sale of ivory on their platforms, conservation groups said they have made little headway with Yahoo’s Japanese operation. “It is truly unfortunate and there are indications this trade is fuelling poaching of elephants and the illegal trade of ivory into Japan and on to places such as China, aided by corruption in the registration system,” said Adam Peyman, wildlife program manager at Humane Society International. (Guardian)


Cruise lines team up with NGOs to help improve ocean health and wealth

The world’s two largest cruise lines, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises, have announced that they are each teaming up with environmental NGOs in the name of ocean conservation. Carnival will host representatives from leading conservation, science and sustainability organizations for The Nature Conservancy’s annual Mapping Ocean Wealth forum, at its Miami headquarters. The Mapping Ocean Wealth project aims to improve investments in conservation, restoration and economic development by identifying and mapping the areas where ocean benefits are produced. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean announced a five-year global partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help ensure the long-term health of the oceans. The partners will set measurable and achievable sustainability targets that will reduce Royal Caribbean’s environmental footprint, raise awareness about ocean conservation among the company’s more than five million guests, and support WWF’s global oceans conservation work. (Sustainable Brands)

International Development

Report: At least six billion people locked in poverty by public sector corruption

More than six billion people live in countries where serious levels of public sector corruption are fuelling inequality and exploitation and locking millions into poverty, according to Transparency International’s annual index of perceived corruption. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, which ranks 168 countries on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), is once again topped by Denmark, which scored 91. Close behind are Finland (90), Sweden (89), New Zealand (88) and the Netherlands (87). Germany, Luxembourg and the UK are equal 10th with a score of 81, while the US comes in 16th on 76. The five countries at the bottom are: Somalia (8); North Korea (8); Afghanistan (11); Sudan (12), and South Sudan (15). Despite the overall picture – and the fact that 53 percent of G20 countries scored less than 50 – Transparency International said triumphs in Guatemala, Ghana and Sri Lanka in 2015 showed that corruption could be tackled if people worked together. (The Guardian)


Research: Solar panel costs predicted to fall 10 percent a year

Solar power costs are tumbling so fast the technology is likely to fast outstrip mainstream energy forecasts. That is the conclusion of Oxford University researchers, based on a new forecasting model published in Research Policy. Since the 1980s, solar panels have got 10 percent cheaper each year. That is likely to continue, the study said, putting solar on course to meet 20 percent of global energy needs by 2027. By contrast, even in its “high renewable” scenario, the International Energy Agency assumes solar panels will generate just 16 percent of electricity in 2050. Its widely cited future energy scenarios in previous years failed to predict solar’s rapid growth. “Sceptics have claimed that solar PV cannot be ramped up quickly enough to play a significant role in combatting global warming,” said Doyne Farmer, mathematics professor and co-author of the study. “In a context where limited resources for technology investment constrain policy makers to focus on a few technologies… the ability to have improved forecasts and know how accurate they are should prove particularly useful.” (The Guardian)