Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Human Rights, Policy & Research, Strategy, Supply Chain, Technology & Innovation

Top Stories

July 01, 2016

Technology & Innovation

More than 100 Nobel’s blame Greenpeace for anti-GMO obstruction in developing world

More than 100 Nobel Prize recipients have signed a letter challenging Greenpeace to halt its campaigns to prevent the introduction of potentially lifesaving options for the world’s poor. Biotech scientists have developed lines of rice with two plant genes so that it makes beta-carotene in the grain.  This is called Golden Rice. The goal was to offer this rice for free to poor farmers. This rice was designed as a solution to vitamin A deficiency, which some 250 million people worldwide suffer from, including 40 percent of the children under 5 in the developing world. From the beginning, this offer has been vigorously opposed by Greenpeace and other NGOs. “We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against ‘GMOs’ in general and Golden Rice in particular,” the letter says. (Forbes)


Obama quietly approved thousands of offshore fracking permits in Gulf of Mexico

The Center for Biological Diversity has released uncovered documents that reveal the Obama administration approved over 1,200 offshore fracking applications between 2010 and 2014. Hundreds of wells were located in the Gulf of Mexico including within the habitat of loggerhead turtles. “The Obama administration is essentially letting oil companies frack at will in Gulf ecosystems and dump billions of gallons of oil waste into coastal waters,” said Kristen Monsell, a CBD lawyer. In 2014 alone, oil companies dumped over 76 billion gallons of wastewater into the Gulf waters. The documents also show offshore fracking is being permitted without conducting analysis of the risk to the environment. Over 300 exclusions were issued to exempt drilling plans from environmental reviews. “Nobody can say how much of any type of waste is being produced, what it is, and where it’s ending up,” said Nadia Steinzor of the group Earthworks, which is involved in a lawsuit that seeks to compel the US Environmental Protection Agency to take a larger role in tracking and regulating hazardous drilling waste. (Sott)

Supply Chain

Most auditors in Asia find child labour in supply chains, survey finds

The majority of supply chain auditors across Asia have encountered child labour in the last two years and in only a third of cases could they confirm the children were removed from the factories, a survey conducted by the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) has found. “Right now it is more like ‘let’s just make sure the child is not in the factory’ and not ‘what do we need to do to make sure the child is protected?'” CCR CSR executive director Ines Kaempfer said. They reported dropping out of school and poverty as two of the main reasons behind child labour. However, the consultancy said it encouraged remediation plans such as engaging parents and social workers to assess the child’s needs, or providing skills training for the children until they re-enter workforce at the legal working age. (Reuters)


Hershey rejects mega-bid to create the world’s biggest candy company

Chocolate giant Hershey has rejected a takeover bid that would have created the world’s largest candy maker. Mondelez International offered nearly $23 billion in cash and stock to buy America’s biggest chocolate conglomerate but Hershey announced that its board of directors had unanimously rejected the bid. The deal would have combined the world’s second-largest candy company, with one of the quintessential American brands. “This is a highly ambitious move by Mondelez given the symbolic status of the Hershey brand in the U.S.,” said Jack Skelly, a food analyst with market researcher Euromonitor. Food conglomerates have increasingly bought or absorbed rivals in hopes that they can save money by sharing ingredients and streamlining production. For example, Ketchup giant Heinz and Kraft merged last year to create Kraft Heinz, one of the world’s biggest food empires. Although the food business is increasingly dominated by multinational brands, Hershey’s sweets still reveal strong ties to the regions where they first took shape. (Washington Post)

Human Rights

Myanmar human rights group ‘forced’ to cancel launch of report on army torture

The Ta’ang Women’s Organisation (TWO) has claimed it had to cancel the public launch of a report on alleged army torture and war crimes after two hotels backed down from agreeing to host the event. The Myanmar rights group blamed the regional government for forcing the hotels in Yangon to drop plans to host a press conference this week. The report highlighted what it said were “systematic war crimes” in Ta’ang areas over the past five years, committed by the armed forces. The study documented torture of more than 100 civilians in 33 villages, who were accused of fighting with resistance forces. Ethnic minorities such as the Ta’ang make up about 40% of modern-day Myanmar and complaints of discrimination and a lack of services in border regions are common. (Guardian)


Image source: Golden Rice by International Rice Research Institute / CC BY 2.0