Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Energy, Human Rights, Sustainable Investment, Waste

Top Stories

March 06, 2017

Responsible Investment

Kraft Heinz faces 3 shareholder proposals to push sustainability

When the Kraft Heinz Co. recently grabbed the market’s attention with an audacious $143 billion bid to buy consumer goods giant Unilever, one subject that interested some observers was how the two corporate cultures might mesh on issues such as sustainability. Kraft Heinz ended up backing off the Unilever offer but the issue of the food company’s commitment to being a good corporate doesn’t appear to be going away as quickly. Three shareholder proposals will go up for a vote at the company’s annual meeting, slated for mid-April in Pittsburgh, according to a proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday (3rd March). The proposals call for Kraft Heinz to: issue a comprehensive sustainability report, address non-recyclable packaging in its product lines, and assess the company’s supply chain impact on deforestation. In response to the resolutions the company has noted that it already plans to begin producing global corporate social responsibility reports starting in the second half of 2017. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Human Rights

Financial speculation led to unsustainable global housing crisis, UN expert says

The world’s money markets have priced people out of cities, a United Nations independent expert has said, blaming financial markets and speculators for treating housing as a “place to park capital.” “Housing has lost its social function and is seen instead as a vehicle for wealth and asset growth. It has become a financial commodity, robbed of its connection to community, dignity and the idea of home,” said Leilani Farha, the Special Rapporteur on the right to housing. Her latest report, examines how housing has become a repository for global capital, and the impact that commodification has had on affordability of housing and homelessness. Her report recommends stronger rights-based frameworks both domestically and internationally to address the problem. It suggests that States must regulate private actors not simply to prevent blatant violations of human rights but also to ensure that their actions are consistent with the obligation to realise housing as a human right for all. (Eco-Business)

Corporate Reputation

LafargeHolcim suspects Syrian plant funded armed groups

LafargeHolcim said one of its cement plants probably paid protection money to armed groups in Syria to keep the factory running in the war-torn country. The embarrassing disclosure follows an internal investigation and highlights the dilemmas companies face when working in conflict zones. French prosecutors are also investigating the cement group’s activities in Syria. French newspaper Le Monde reported in June that Lafarge, which merged with Switzerland’s Holcim in 2015, had paid taxes to Islamic State to continue operating. Lafarge which owned a cement factory in Jallabiya in northern Syria, said the site was an important source of employment in the region and played a vital role in supplying Syria with essential building materials. “Shutting down the operations while we were providing basic goods to civilians and had several hundred people making a living from our operations was a difficult decision and one that we considered very seriously,” a LafargeHolcim spokesman said. (Reuters)


Back to the Roots, New York City schools take ‘Undo Food’ movement one step further

A recent move by the New York City public school system signals a major win for small food companies and champions of better nutrition. The pressure to provide wholesome, nutritious foods is considerable for public schools across the U.S. following the introduction of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010, and many rely on products from large companies such as Kellogg, Post Foods and General Mills, which are both affordable and accessible, for their breakfast programs. Schools have now decided to take up something different with California  startup Back to the Roots . It offers a lineup of organic cereals with half as much sugar as conventional brands and no preservatives or added vitamins. The cereals’ nutritional profiles and organic ingredients made them the ideal candidates for New York City’s free breakfast program, which currently serves 254,000 students on average. Administrators weren’t the only ones keen about the new addition —after a lengthy test period, students gave the brand’s Purple Corn Flakes their seal of approval. (Sustainable Brands)


Mexico tequila maker has a shot at turning agave waste into fuel

One of Mexico’s most famous tequila companies, Herradura, Owned by U.S. company Brown-Forman Corporation which makes Jack Daniel’s whisky, hopes to turn into fuel the thousands of tonnes of waste it generates each year from the spiky blue agave plants used to make the spirit, and cut its energy bill, said its engineering director Guillermo Rodelo. The company says that by drying out the 150 tonnes of fibrous agave waste it generates per day and turning it into biomass to fire up the huge boilers it uses to steam the plant, it could potentially generate 30 percent of the energy it needs. The company hopes to have its system up and running within a year. Herradura has already shaved its energy bill by converting the residues known as stillage from its tequila-making process into biogas, which now provides about 20 percent of the energy used by the company, he explained. (Thomson Reuters)

Source of information: Neo Communist Housing I by Marcel Oosterwijkl at Flickr. Creative Commons:(CC BY-SA 2.0)