Top Stories

March 09, 2016

Supply Chain

Kellogg’s new push to help female smallholder farmers

Kellogg and TechnoServe, an NGO that works with entrepreneurs in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries, launched an initiative to expand their work in India to help 12,000 female smallholder farmers receive training in “climate smart agriculture” and get access to financing, tools and agricultural inputs such as drought-resistant seeds.  According to Diane Holdorf, Kellogg’s Chief Sustainability Officer, it is estimated that 43 percent of smallholders are female who play a critical role in supporting families, communities and providing sufficient food supply for the world. The food giant and the NGO are developing a franchise network or “micro shops at the village level in remote areas that could support farmers with high quality inputs.” explained Samantha Krause, senior manager of strategic initiatives at TechnoServe. (GreenBiz)


Mark Zuckerberg joins tech bosses in supporting Obama on immigration

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley leaders, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, have urged the Supreme Court to uphold Barack Obama’s efforts to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the US. It marks the latest step in what has largely been a tough political sell by US technology firms to the rest of the country that additional immigrants would benefit the American economy. “Instead of inviting the economic contributions of immigrants, our immigration enforcement policies have often inhibited the productivity of US companies and made it harder for them to compete in the global marketplace,” said a court brief by advocacy group, of which Zuckerberg is a founder. “America’s immigration enforcement policies should ensure that immigrants’ ingenuity, skills, and entrepreneurial spirit are contributing to the US economy.” (Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Volkswagen may cut jobs to pay for emissions scandal

Volkswagen (VW) may have to cut jobs in the US and Europe, depending on how much it is fined for manipulating diesel emissions tests, a company official has told workers at its German headquarters. The US Department of Justice is suing VW for up to $46 billion for breaching US environmental laws. There is still no fix for nearly 600,000 cars affected in the US almost six months after the scandal erupted. The extent to which VW may be forced to cut jobs to meet the costs of scandal depends “decisively” on the level of fines, according to Bernd Osterloh, VW’s works councils chairman. He called on the US authorities to consider the risk of possible job cuts in deciding on penalties. “We very much hope that the US authorities also have an eye for this social and employment-political dimension.” (Guardian)


Report: Time short to protect Africa’s food supply from climate change

Without action to help farmers adjust to changing climate conditions, it will become impossible to grow some staple food crops in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, with maize, beans and bananas most at risk. A new study, from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, found that up to 30 percent of areas growing maize and bananas, and up to 60 percent of those producing beans could become unviable by the end of the century. In a few places, the need to adapt to climate change is already urgent, the researchers said. Those include pockets in highly climate-exposed areas of the Sahel in Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger. Banana-growing regions of West Africa, including areas in Ghana and Benin, will need to act within the next decade, as the land is expected to become unsuitable for bananas by 2025. Maize-growing areas of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Tanzania also have less than 10 years left to change tack under the most extreme climate change scenarios. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Responsible Investment

Obama administration pays out $500 million to climate change project

The Obama administration has made a first instalment on its $3 billion pledge to help poor countries fight climate change – defying Republican opposition to the president’s environmental plan. The $500 million payment to the Green Climate Fund was seen as critical to shoring up international confidence in Barack Obama’s ability to deliver on the pledges made at the United Nations’ climate change conference in Paris in late 2015. Administration officials said the initial $500 million payment to the fund demonstrated that Obama would follow through on the promises of last December’s Paris climate agreement – despite February’s setback at the Supreme Court and threats by Republican presidential candidates to dismantle Obama’s agenda. (Guardian)


Image source: Mark Zuckerberg f8 Keynote by Brian Solis / CC BY 2.0