Top Stories

May 09, 2016

Supply Chain

Top palm oil producer sues RSPO over deforestation allegations

IOI, one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, is suing the green body that suspended its sustainability certification last month because of allegations it had deforested Indonesian rainforests. The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a body set up by industry and NGOs to address environmental concerns about the commodity’s production, confirmed it had been served with a lawsuit by the Malaysian palm giant. IOI was suspended by the RSPO in early April, leading major buyers including Unilever, Mars, Kelloggs and Nestlé to cut back on the palm oil they buy from the company. IOI is understood to claim it did no wrong and the RSPO had no right to suspend its sustainability certification. In a statement, Dato’ Lee, IOI’s CEO, said that while the company was committed to the RSPO, it had been “unfairly affected” by the suspension. (Guardian)


Blacklisted workers win £10 million payout from construction firms

About £10 million will be paid in compensation to more than 250 building workers who were “blacklisted” by some of Britain’s biggest construction firms. The total payout from the out-of-court deal secured from Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and six other building companies on behalf of almost 800 unfairly targeted workers could be as high as £75 million. The blacklist resulted in hundreds of workers losing their jobs and being unable to secure new ones, after being deemed troublemakers while raising legitimate workplace issues. The blacklist is believed to have operated for 30 years through a shadowy organisation, the Consulting Association. Secret files seized by the Information Commissioner’s Office apparently included defamatory references to workers such as: “will cause trouble, strong TU [trade union]” and “Irish ex-army, bad egg”. (Guardian)


Tax havens have no economic justification, say top economists

More than 300 economists, including Thomas Piketty, are urging world leaders at a London summit this week to recognise that there is no economic benefit to tax havens, demanding that the veil of secrecy that surrounds them be lifted. More than half of the companies set up by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers leak, were incorporated in British overseas territories such as the British Virgin Islands. British officials are locked in negotiations with the territories, trying to persuade them to agree to a form of automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership of companies. Oxfam, which coordinated the letter, is urging the UK government to introduce full public registers showing who controls and profits from companies incorporated there. (Guardian)


London set for ‘clean energy revolution’ as Sadiq Khan wins mayoral election

Labour’s London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan – the contender proposing to become the “greenest Mayor ever” – is poised to be swept into City Hall after last week’s elections. Khan has previously outlined his ambition to ignite a “clean energy revolution” in the capital, with the ultimate aim of running London on 100 percent green energy by 2050. Other green manifesto pledges including banning fracking in London, planting two millions trees, providing more electric buses, and expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone – as well as attempts to divest the London Pension Fund Authority. “London has the potential to be at the leading edge of the fight against climate change… Green issues aren’t just some add-on to the things we do as a city – they must run through the way we manage our transport system, build new homes and generate the city’s energy,” said Khan. (edie)


Housebuilder ‘takes a stand’ against UK green policy changes with new carbon positive goal

Britain’s Berkeley Group has revealed a new two-year plan to deliver a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions per person, while utilising an internal carbon tax and carbon offsetting schemes to reach the new ambitious target, which will see the group offset more carbon than it produces. The FTSE-100 firm hopes that this decision to focus on sustainability during a tumultuous period of green policy support for the housebuilding sector will inspire others to follow suit. Last month, the influential public-private body Zero Carbon Hub was forced to shut down following the Government’s controversial decision to stop pursuing zero-homes targets. The House of Lords has since blocked the decision, but uncertainty remains across the built environment sector. Berkeley will be using ESOS frameworks to drive an immediate in-house energy efficiency transition, before elements such as carbon taxes and green tariffs are introduced after April 2017. (edie)


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