Top Stories

March 07, 2016

Supply Chain

Greenpeace: Leading brands still unsure if palm oil comes from rainforest land

Some of the world’s largest consumer companies are still clueless as to whether palm oil they buy from Indonesia is linked to rainforest destruction, according to new analysis from Greenpeace. Despite many brands having made zero-deforestation commitments in recent years, only two companies, Nestlé and Ferrero, were considered to be fully “on track”. Of the 14 companies analysed by the environmental group, most were graded as “getting there”, for making some progress toward their zero-deforestation goals. PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive were placed in the lowest “failed promises” category. According to Dr Eric Meijaard, a conservation scientist from Borneo Futures, the realities of operating in Indonesia, including issues such as overlapping concession maps and corruption, can complicate well-intentioned pledges from companies. (Guardian)


London builds ‘circular economy hierarchy’ into public procurement

The Greater London Authority (GLA) is redefining its public procurement policies in a bid to position London as a global circular economy hub. Matthew Pencharz, deputy Mayor for environment & energy at GLA, said the Authority would be drawing up new specification requirements and publishing a “circular economy hierarchy” for suppliers as part of this process. This would send a strong message out to the market – particularly as London’s collective public sector procurement spend amounts to about £11 billion a year. Going forward, the GLA will also look at reframing other policies such as planning, infrastructure and transport to encourage greater reuse of materials and asset utilisation. Pencharz said that by 2050, London would need 40 new waste facilities to keep pace with its accelerating population – but that these facilities would be based around more industrial materials recovery and remanufacturing than traditional mass burn. (edie)


GE and Unilever top 6th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index

GE and Unilever have been named joint leaders of the 6th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index. According to membership organisation Sustainly, which published the research, both leading companies have multiple products, engagement strategies and awareness campaigns devoted to backing up their sustainability credentials and commitments. The index looks into what companies stand for and how effectively they communicate their sense of purpose. It takes an exhaustive look at how 475 global companies communicate their sustainability actions and initiatives using social media. Patagonia, Sainsbury’s, H&M, CVS, Microsoft, Aetna, General Mills and Philips all feature in this year’s Top 10. The likes of Intel, Pearson, RB, Ikea, AT&T, Procter & Gamble and Danone also are communicating sustainability in ways to be applauded. (Sustainly)

Responsible Investment

Rio Tinto shareholders push for stricter carbon disclosures

Rio Tinto could be forced to ramp-up its disclosure on carbon emissions and climate issues, if a motion demanded by a group of UK shareholders is successful at shareholder meetings over the next two months. The activist ‘Aiming for A’ coalition of shareholders has forced the Rio board to put a resolution to a shareholder vote that, if successful, would compel the company to disclose its resilience to a range of climate scenarios beyond 2035 and improve management of its own emissions. The coalition seized on a UK law that enables shareholders to force a resolution upon the board so long as their ranks contain 100 shareholders with at least 100,000 shares in the company. The coalition, which is led by Britain’s Church Investors Group, has already succeeded in having similar proposals approved by shareholders of oil and gas companies Shell and BP. Co-filers to the resolution include some of the UK’s largest asset managers and pension funds, including AvivaAmundi and Schroders. (Sydney Morning Herald; Church of England)


Brazil Petrobras scandal: Former president Lula questioned

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been questioned by police and his house raided as part of a major fraud inquiry into the state oil company Petrobras. Lula, who left office in 2011, has denied allegations of corruption. The long-running inquiry, known as Operation Car Wash, is probing accusations of corruption and money laundering at Petrobras. Police said they had evidence that Lula received illicit benefits from the kickback scheme. But no charges have been brought against him so far. “This is one of the biggest corruption cases in Latin American history. We are pleased to see that in the ongoing investigation no current or former politician has been considered too powerful or untouchable by investigative authorities,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International. “If found guilty as charged by the investigation this will send a message to the corrupt that no one is immune from the law.” (BBC, Transparency International)


Image source: Palm Oil Fruit Harvest by Craig Morey / CC BY-SA 2.0