Top Stories

March 29, 2017


Met chief: tech industry must put house in order after Westminster attack

The acting chief of the Metropolitan police has said the Westminster attack and other terrorist atrocities across Europe are a wake-up call to the tech industry to put its “house in order”. Craig Mackey, who was yards away from PC Keith Palmer as he was stabbed to death by Khalid Masood in the courtyard of the Palace of Westminster, said ethical statements put out by digital giants “had to mean something”. Encrypted messaging apps including WhatsApp have come under increased scrutiny after it emerged Masood, who killed four people and was shot dead, may have communicated on the platform moments before the attack. Websites such as YouTube, owned by Google, have also faced criticism for hosting extremist material such as Isis propaganda videos. Mackey told the London assembly’s police and crime committee, “It’s a challenge when you’re dealing with companies that are global by their very nature because they don’t always operate under the same legal framework as us. But it is something we continually push for.” (Guardian)


Wind developers at risk as India copes with dual payment system

India is among a growing list of countries which have used auctions to make clean energy more affordable. Those contests, in which developers seek to offer the lowest price possible to deliver clean electricity, have helped Modi’s government advance on its ambition to install 175 gigawatts of renewables by 2022 and spurred debate about whether wind and solar can replace coal as India’s dominant source of energy. But the result is threatening the economic viability of work by developers and turbine manufacturers. They say that more projects will fall into disarray without a uniform policy setting out how the industry gets paid, as the country’s first wind auction last month which saw prices fall below initially fixed rates. “Half fixed tariffs, half bidding doesn’t work and we’re telling the government to come up with a policy fast, don’t delay it anymore,” said Ramesh Kymal, the chief executive officer in India for Spain-based turbine manufacturer Gamesa. (Bloomberg)


UPS to trial electric vehicle ‘smart grid’ in London

UPS is partnering with distribution network operator UK Power Networks to trial new smart grid technology in London as part of a two-year testing project. UPS will deploy a ‘small’ local battery storage system at its Kentish Town base, which will be used to systematically charge the firm’s fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) that are in operation around the city. Currently, UPS operates around 50 EV trucks in London, but as part of the trial the fleet will be increased to 72. The two-year trial will attempt to provide the framework to implement this idea, and UPS has plans to disseminate the results of the trial to the wider sector. UPS’s original foray into EV and its infrastructure began around 10 years ago, under the ‘Rolling Laboratory’ initiative. Upwards of $750m was invested by the end of 2016 in alternative fuel and advanced technology fuelling stations globally, including hybrid-electric trucks. (Edie)

Corporate Reputation

Nigerians boycott Coca-Cola drinks after court rules them ‘poisonous’

A high court judge in Nigeria has ruled that some popular soft drinks sold under the Coca-Cola brand could be poisonous. Bottles and cans of Fanta and Sprite in Nigeria may soon come with written health warnings after Justice Adedayo Oyebanji ordered the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) – the local manufacturer of the soft drinks – to place labels on the beverages to inform consumers against drinking them with vitamin C. Coca-Cola said the claims are inaccurate and unsupported by science. “All our products are safe and strictly adhere to regulations in the countries where they are sold while complying with our company’s stringent global safety and quality standards,” a spokesperson for Coca-Cola told the Independent. The ruling was the result of a nine-year-long court battle initiated by Nigerian businessman Fijabi Adebo. Mr Adebo’s drinks company attempted to export the drinks to the UK in 2007. However, the beverages were confiscated by UK customs and after being tested by UK health authorities they were deemed unsafe for human consumption and destroyed. (Independent/CNN)

Circular Economy

Garnier, target team up with Detroit urban farm to build community assets

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), an all-volunteer organization seeking to revitalise Detroit’s North End neighbourhood through agriculture, will debut a new recreational space and water-harvesting cistern this summer in partnership with GarnierTerraCycle and Target Corporation. Once the water-harvesting cistern  is completed, MUFI will then create an outdoor neighbourhood gathering space for residents and visitors. This will feature outdoor furniture made from recycled beauty packaging collected through Garnier and TerraCycle’s Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program. The new recreational space and water cistern are an important part of the organization’s larger plan to create America’s first sustainable urban agrihood, a community development model that focuses on agriculture to uplift and build value in a struggling urban neighbourhood. (Sustainable Brands)

Image source: Lafayette Building. Detroit, Michigan. Public Domain.