Top Stories

March 14, 2017


Shipping giants trial use of wind-power to cut tankers’ fuel bills

Royal Dutch Shell and Maersk Shipping Group are about to figure out whether the world is ready for wind-powered oil tankers, as they prepare themselves to fit a tanker with two “rotor sails” to see if the futuristic devices can make a serious dent in fuel bills. The UK Energy Technologies Institute, a government-funded research group, is footing most of the £3.5m bill for the project in the belief that rotor sails are one of the few fuel-saving technologies to offer double-digit percentage improvements. If the devices  to save as much fuel as expected — up to 10 per cent on average on a typical global route — Maersk Tankers could use them on its larger vessels, as Tommy Thomassen, Maersk Tankers’ Chief Technical Officer points out. What’s more, groups such as Maersk have eyed several ideas to cut marine fuel use over the years, from solar-powered sails to kites that tow a vessel. Interest in such developments has grown as companies prepare for pollution rules coming into force in 2020 requiring them to use fuel with a much lower sulphur content that is expected to be more expensive than current fuel oils. (Financial Times)*

Supply Chain

HP to IT Industry: bring transparency to E-Recycling Supply Chains

HP says transparency is key to ensuring responsible electronics recycling, the tech company has disclosed the names and locations of all of its recycling vendors — and is challenging the IT industry to follow suit. The company says this transparency assures its customers that their e-waste is handled responsibly at its end of life, which is not always the case. In a blog post, HP cites an investigation from environmental watchdog organization Basel Action Network (BAN), which found 40 percent of e-waste given to recyclers is illegally shipped overseas to unsafe, polluting operations. Last year BAN deployed GPS trackers to verify e-waste recyclers’ claims. The tech giant also offers takeback, recycling and re-manufacturing programs through its HP Planet Partners program. Additionally, HP requires its recycling vendors to comply with government regulations and attain third-party certification. The company regularly audits it recycling partners to ensure compliance with e-waste laws and HP’s standards. (Environmental Leader)


Tesco unveils online supplier food waste ‘hotline’

Tesco has made an overarching pledge that no surplus food will be wasted in its UK operations by the end of this year. The retailer has on Monday (13th March) launched an innovative online platform that will serve as a link between Tesco and its 5,000 partners via the online community Supplier Network, which enables members to share knowledge. Last week, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis exclusively told edie that innovative methods of encouraging both supplier and consumer waste reduction will play a central role in helping the supermarket chain to achieve that goal. Another key driver to eliminate food waste is Tesco’s partnership with food redistribution organisation FareShare under the Community Food Connection, which has seen the retailer pass on around 13 million meals for more than 2,200 charities. Lewis confirmed that the scheme will be rolled out across all Tesco stores by the end of the year. (Edie)


Indonesian Supreme Court orders Jokowi administration to hand over palm oil permit data

Indonesia’s highest court on Thursday last week ordered President Joko Widodo’s administration to hand over detailed maps of land on which oil palm companies have been licensed to operate. A year and a half ago in response to a freedom of information request filed by Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), the country’s Central Information Commission ordered the Ministry of Land and Spatial Planning to release the documents, known as HGUs. The ministry’s appeals have proven unsuccessful. Pressure groups like FWI and Greenpeace, which are fighting a battle of their own over data held by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, want the HGUs in order better monitor an industry rife with illegality. Companies have been reluctant to share their maps, even though many promised to do in 2013 as part of their obligation as members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the world’s largest association for ethical production of the commodity. FWI chief Christian Purba said that once the ministry hands over the hard copies, the NGO will scan and upload the data to its website. (Eco-Business)


Asda offers staff a pay rise for ‘flexible’ contract

Asda is offering staff a higher wage in exchange for a new contract which will introduce unpaid breaks and a requirement to work over Bank Holidays. The supermarket group will pay its workers £8.50 an hour, above the £7.50 National Living Wage rate due to come into force in April. It means Asda’s 135,000 staff can work around the store, on different days and hours. Asda says signing is voluntary and it is not a zero hours contract. However, it means that employees must work on bank holidays if the store needs them to, or, if they want to take the time off, it must come out of their 28 days of annual leave. However, Living Wage Foundation, which campaigns for pay levels based on the cost of living, said that Asda should go further. “This is a welcome pay rise for Asda’s staff, however large national retailers like Ikea, Lush and Majestic Wine are already paying all their staff the real Living Wage or above at £8.45 in the UK and £9.75 in London for every hour worked,” said Katherine Chapman, director of Living Wage Foundation. (BBC)

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Image source: Almost there. A Maersk Line container vessel approaching the terminal quayCC BY-SA 2.0