Top Stories

March 15, 2017

Corporate reputation

Apple found guilty of price-fixing in Russia over iPhone prices

Apple has been found guilty of price-fixing in Russia, after the country’s anti-monopoly agency said the US company had arranged for retailers to co-ordinate the prices of its iPhone models. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service on Tuesday said Apple’s Russian subsidiary had illegally ordered retailers to fix prices of its iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 products, a charge that could lead to the California-based company being fined. Apple had instructed 16 Russian retailers to hold the prices of its iPhone models and contacted them in the event that any products were being sold at “inappropriate” prices, the FAS said in a statement after a seven-month investigation, adding that it suspected Apple was able to terminate sale agreements with retailers if pricing guidelines were not met. The ruling comes seven months after Russia’s anti-monopoly agency found Google guilty of violating competition regulations by forcing smartphone manufacturers to give Google products prominence on their devices. (Financial Times)*


Ikea drivers living in trucks for months

Lorry drivers moving goods in Western Europe for Ikea and other retailers are living out of their cabs for months at a time, a BBC investigation has found. Some drivers –employed by companies based in Eastern Europe- say their salary is less than three pounds an hour as they cannot afford to live in the countries where they work. Ikea said it was “saddened by the testimonies” of the drivers. EU rules state that a driver posted temporarily away from home should be ”guaranteed” the host nation’s ”minimum rates of pay” and conditions. But companies can exploit loopholes in the law. In Dortmund, Germany truck drivers neither have toilet nor running water available. A court in the Netherlands ruled last month against Brinkman, which delivers Ikea flowers to the UK and Scandinavia. It found that drivers’ pay was “not consistent” with Dutch wages law. (BBC)


Eneco secures approval of Science-Based Targets for carbon cuts goal

Energy supplier Eneco Group has become the first Dutch firm to have its emissions reduction plans for electricity, heat and gas distribution approved under the Science-Based Targets (SBT) climate change initiative. The company has set a target of cutting emissions from its gas and district heating offer by 16 per cent per household. And, for its own operations, the firm is seeking to reduce greenhouse gases per GWh of electricity used by its employees by half by 2020. Guido Dubbeld, Chief Financial Officer at Eneco Group, said the firm has already “substantially” reduced emissions from its purchasing, business operations, and supply business thanks to investment in offshore wind, smart metering, and other energy saving innovations by developing the One Planet Plan. The initiative has so far secured the support of some of the world’s biggest corporations including: Walmart, Tetra Pak, Nestle, PepsiCo and Portuguese energy giant EDP. (Business Green)


DHL targets zero logistics-related emissions by 2050

Deutsche Post DHL Group has set a goal to reduce all of its logistics-related emissions to net zero by the year 2050. This applies both to the company’s own activities and to those of its transport subcontractors, DHL says. In a blog post, DHL CEO Frank Appel says the company’s environmental management program, called GoGreen, has business benefits as well as environmental benefits. “While improving our own operations, we’ve developed solutions in all areas of green logistics. More and more customers are relying on us for sustainable and efficient supply chains”, he points out. DHL has also set four interim milestones to be achieved by 2025 such as those consisting of increasing carbon efficiency by 50 percent, and to train and certify 80 percent of its employees as GoGreen specialists by 2025 amongst others. DHL, which even purchased an electric vehicle manufacturer (the StreetScooter) also supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and Goal 13 (climate action). (Environmental Leader)

Supply Chain

Brazil launches database to fight illegal Amazon logging

Brazil’s federal environmental agency, Ibama, launched on Tuesday a centralized database to track timber from source to sale, a vital step in the fight against illegal logging in the Amazon. The system, known as Sinaflor, allows individual trees to be electronically tagged and monitored as they are cut down and pass through the supply chain, with regulators able to check the database via their cell phones while on patrol. The system marks a step change from the current system, which environmentalists criticize as being open to fraud and human error as databases are isolated, poorly managed and cannot be easily accessed to verify documentation attached to timber. Suely Araújo, president of Ibama, said in an interview in her office in Brasilia. “What’s not in Sinaflor will be illegal timber.”Sinaflor has already been piloted in the state of Roraima and is being introduced this week in Rondonia. (Thomson Reuters)

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Image source:  Amazon Manaus forest. CC BY-SA 2.5