Top Stories

September 12, 2016

Supply Chain

Gap takes a stand on supplier transparency

Clothing retailer Gap has publicly released a full list of factories from which it sources apparel, in a step for supply chain transparency. The extensive roster of factories will make it far easier for Gap’s stakeholders and partner NGOs to assess the environmental and social impacts of the company’s supply chain. Previously, Gap had refused to release such information, citing what the company described as “competitive reasons.” Human Rights Watch applauded the move, saying it was good news for workers, the fashion industry and consumers. Gap joins other companies including Marks & Spencer, C&A, H&M and Nike who have publicly released their lists of supplier factories. Gap was also followed last week by VF Corp, which owns brands including Timberland, Vans and The North Face. The company released a list of 1,800 supplier factories spread across 60 countries. (Triple Pundit)


JD Wetherspoon to offer staff chance to escape from zero-hours contracts

JD Wetherspoon is the latest British company to offer staff on zero-hours contracts the opportunity to move to permanent hours. It follows Sport Direct and McDonald’s in offering staff on casual contracts the opportunity to become permanent employees. Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of the company, said that a trial of offering staff guaranteed hours earlier in the year had proved so successful that it would be rolled out across the country. More than two-thirds of staff took up the offer during the trial. Last week, controversial sports retailer Sports Direct also pledged to offer its retail staff guaranteed hours. But the firm now says employees who want to move to a permanent contract could be on zero-hours deals until the end of the year. (Guardian)


Courier firm Hermes may face investigation over low pay

Delivery firm Hermes is facing a possible investigation in the UK after a report alleged some of its drivers receive below the minimum wage. A report into complaints from 78 current and former Hermes couriers says Hermes’s practice of employing its drivers as self-employed workers sees many of them “paid an hourly rate that is much lower than the National Living Wage”. It also alleges “serious bullying from some of the middle-men and women who manage the operation for Hermes and who seem to be enforcing an employee contract under the cover of self-employment”. Hermes said it would co-operate with an investigation, but that the report “does not reflect” the way it operates. It also pointed out that of the 10,500 couriers who provide services to Hermes, less than 1 per cent have commented in the report. (BBC)


Ban on domestic ivory trade passes at international summit

Nations and environmental groups have agreed to shut down the domestic ivory trade, despite the objections from countries including Japan and South Africa. After three days of meetings, delegates at the International Union for Conservation of Nature congress in Hawaii have agreed on a text that calls on countries to close the internal trade of ivory “as a matter of urgency”. The motion holds no legal power but conservationists hope it will spur countries to ban the sale of ivory within their own borders. Even though the international trade in ivory has been banned for more than 25 years, a flourishing black market has led to the slaughter of elephants, whose population has wiped out nearly a third between 2007 and 2014. (Guardian)


UK set to miss renewable energy targets, warn MPs

The UK will miss its EU renewable energy targets, the House of Commons’ Energy and Climate Change select committee has warned. Good progress in decarbonising electricity will not compensate for slow progress on heat and backwards progress on transport, says the committee’s report. “Our overarching concern is that the UK is at risk of failing to meet the targets not because they are impossible, but because Government departments have not cooperated effectively,” the report says. In 2015, the UK sourced 22 per cent from renewables and is expected to surpass the 30 per cent mark by 2020. But the report argues that the government’s renewable heat strategy relies too heavily on heat pump technology, and that energy efficiency and decarbonisation options have been overlooked. (Carbon Brief)


Image source: Ivory tusk tower by USFWS Mountain-Prairie / CC BY 2.0