Top Stories

October 20, 2016


Annual Review of Social Partnerships: bridging the gap between theory and practice

The 2016 Annual Review of Social Partnerships (ARSP), written by academics and practitioners, aims to bridge the “research-practice gap” between the two groups. The report argues that collaboration is key to solving social problems such as climate change, economic inequality, poverty, or biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. It cites issues such as the inaccessibility of academic journals, and a “superficial search for best practice guidelines” by practitioners, as preventing effective collaboration. The report offers new directions for research and compiles papers from a variety of academic sources. It also captures and presents insights on partnerships from practitioners, from groups including Skanska, LEGO and the UN Global Compact. (Greenleaf Publishing)


Wal-Mart to invest $25 million in China food safety research

Wal-Mart and its foundation are investing $25 million over five years in food safety research in China, as the world’s largest retailer seeks to strengthen its foothold in the country. The funding will support projects in applied science, education and communications. The new Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center will facilitate research in areas such as the root causes of food-borne illnesses, and developing solutions for China’s food supply chain. It has announced three projects, including one that brings US and China academics together with local poultry producers to study safety in poultry supply chains. (Bloomberg)


ISO publishes new standard to combat bribery

A new business tool designed to fight bribery has been published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 37001 is the first international anti-bribery management system standard designed to help organizations combat bribery risk in their own operations and throughout their global value chains. It has the potential to reduce corporate risk and costs related to bribery by providing a manageable business framework for preventing, detecting and addressing bribery, according to the ISO. Using a series of related measures and controls, including supporting guidance, the anti-bribery management system specifies requirements for anti-bribery policy and procedures; anti-bribery training; risk assessments and due diligence; reporting and monitoring; and corrective action. (ISO)

Human Rights

Report: the impact of the Modern Slavery Act on business

Ergon Associates and Historic Futures have published the results of a survey providing insight into what impact the UK’s Modern Slavery Act is having on businesses. The results show that there is more focus on policy development, risk assessment and monitoring of modern slavery within businesses, with increased engagement, especially at a Director level, on the issue of modern slavery. According to the Act guidelines companies need to demonstrate how they collect data about the structure and complexity of their supply chains. The findings indicate that increased engagement on issues of risk within supply chains has led to a greater focus on policy development, risk assessment and risk monitoring.  However, they also suggest that most businesses do not yet have a systematic approach to assessing risks and few do so below their first tier suppliers. (Ergon)

Sustainable Development

Air pollution more deadly in Africa than malnutrition or dirty water, study warns

Africa’s air pollution is causing more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition, and could develop into a health and climate crisis reminiscent of those seen in China and India. The annual human and economic cost of tainted air runs to 712,000 lost lives and £364 billion, according to the OECD report. The study’s author, Rana Roy, says used cars and trucks imported from rich countries are adding to urban pollution caused by household cooking on open fires. The study stresses that there is not nearly enough knowledge of the sources of air pollution and its impact in much of Africa. Whereas China has reached a level of development that has allowed it to concentrate on solving air pollution, most African countries must grapple with several major environmental burdens at the same time, says the report. (Guardian)


Image source: Walmart Store sign by MikeMozartJeepersMedia / CC BY-SA 3.0