Top Stories

March 10, 2016


Report: Only a fifth of companies believe that their impacts are understood

Just one in five companies believes that external stakeholders understand their impacts on the world, according to Corporate Citizenship’s new report. The research shows that business impacts are not being understood or communicated effectively today. In a global survey of sustainability practitioners, just one in five said that external stakeholders had a “good understanding” of their business’s impacts. Corporate Citizenship says this ‘impact knowledge gap’ is preventing companies from achieving maximum success. “We need to close the impact knowledge gap if we are to make progress on sustainability… [Companies] need to focus where they can make the biggest difference. The exciting opportunity is for businesses to work out their impacts, and then make the change where it really matters in their value chain,” said Amanda Jordan OBE, cofounder of Corporate Citizenship. The report was launched in London this week at an event chaired by Baroness Tessa Jowell, with panellists from Mars, Old Mutual Group and Civicus. (Corporate Citizenship 1; 2)


Report: US businesses could save nearly $2 billion a year by cutting food waste

US businesses could save nearly $2 billion a year by cutting the amount of half-eaten entrees, unsold milk and other foods that get tossed into trash bins across the US by 20 percent over the next decade, according to a new report. The report, published by ReFED, lays out strategies that companies, along with governments, consumers and foundations, can implement to reduce the amount of discarded food in the country by 13 million tonnes a year. The $18 billion plan outlined in the report comes after the US government set the first ever national goal to cut the country’s edible food waste, aiming for a 50 percent reduction by 2030. It claims that strategies in the report, if implemented, would create 15,000 more jobs and provide 1.8 billion meals of recovered food donations to non-profits a year, double the current amount, as well as save 1.6 trillion gallons of fresh water, and cut carbon emissions by 18 million tonnes per year. (Guardian)

Responsible Investing

JPMorgan will not back new coal mines to combat climate change

JPMorgan Chase & Co has become the latest big bank to pull back from coal. The New York bank will no longer finance new coal mines around the world and will end support for new coal-fired power plants being developed in “high income” countries of the OECD, JPMorgan said in the latest version of its environmental and social policy. Outside the OECD, it will only fund the most efficient plants. The bank is joining a growing list of financial institutions including Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo that have pledged to stop or scale back support for coal projects. “We believe the financial services sector has an important role to play as governments implement policies to combat climate change,” JPMorgan said in the document. However, the National Mining Association, which represents US coal producers, called JPMorgan’s changes “hardly a heroic gesture” given challenging market conditions for all fossil fuels. (Bloomberg)

Supply Chain

Food and drink firms urged to promote water stewardship across supply chains

A new report outlines an action plan that promotes water stewardship in the UK food and drink sector and builds supply chains that are more resilient to ‘precarious’ flooding and water shortage risks. The six-step plan, outlined in the ‘smartwater’ report by Business in the Community (BITC), urges businesses to work with suppliers to create an action plan to improve water quality and reduce water usage across their operations. With only 17 percent of UK water bodies currently meeting ‘good’ standards, and scarcity provoking civil unrest across the globe, the plan begins by asking businesses to build a relationship with water usage that creates an understanding of its scarcity, and the risks and opportunities that it can create. “While tools and resources are available, it can be difficult for food and drink manufacturers to know where to start. By understanding their relationship with water, businesses can collaborate better to improve quality and use,” said BITC’s environment director Gudrun Cartwright. (Edie)

International Development

World Bank and GEF launch $150 million green cities project in Singapore

A new multi-million dollar project to promote sustainable development in more than 23 cities around the world has been launched in Singapore. The Global Platform for Sustainable Cities, backed by the World Bank and Global Environment Facility (GEF), aims to boost investment, data sharing, and greener planning practices in key developing cities around the world. The GEF is contributing $151.6 million to the pilot project, but the programme is expected to drive up to $1.15 billion of co-financing investment into urban sustainability programmes over the next five years. Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam are among the core group of countries backing the initiative. “In a rapidly urbanising world, how we design and build the cities of the future will play a critical role in protecting the global commons,” said Naoko Ishii, chief executive of the GEF. (Business Green)