Top Stories

May 18, 2017


Tesla factory workers reveal pain, injury and stress: ‘Everything feels like the future but us’

Workers at Tesla’s electric car factory in Fremont, California have complained of gruelling work pressure they attribute to aggressive production goals. 15 current and former factory workers described working long hours under intense pressure, sometimes through pain and injury. In a phone interview Tesla CEO Elon Musk conceded his workers had been “having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs”, but said he cared deeply about their health and wellbeing. “We’re a money losing company,” Musk added. “This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends.”

Tesla released data that shows its safety record improving in early 2017, to 32% above the industry average. But it declined to release data from its first four years of operation. The company said that its decision to add a third shift, introduce a dedicated team of ergonomics experts, and improvements to the factory’s “safety teams” account for the significant reduction in incidents since last year. “I’ve seen people pass out, hit the floor like a pancake and smash their face open,” said Jonathan Galescu, a production technician at Tesla. (Guardian)

Sustainable Development

Barry Callebaut rolling out traceability app to Indonesian cocoa farmers

Barry Callebaut, one of the world’s largest cocoa producers, is helping cocoa farmers in Indonesia to improve their sustainable farming practices and prosper through specialist training in agricultural practices and improving traceability by introducing teams of “field facilitators”. And on top of this, a new app designed to improve data collection and traceability is being rolled out in Indonesia. Last year, Barry Callebaut announced a new strategy, “Forever Chocolate”, for 100 percent cocoa and chocolate sustainability by 2025. In collaboration with enterprise software firm SAP, it launched of an innovative cloud-based solution for cocoa bean traceability and better sustainability data management. The new app not only enables traceability from the farmer to Barry Callebaut’s warehouse but it also records all information on farmers, their farms, communities and more. (Food Ingredients First)


Nigerian government to support ICT stakeholders for sustainable development

The Nigerian government has announced it will support stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to create and strengthen a national data ecosystem for sustainable development. The announcement was made as part of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, whose 2017 focus is “Big Data, for Big Impact”. Mr Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, said insight brought by advanced data analysis could help drive success towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. He added that new digital trends were radically changing the business landscape, reshaping the nature of work, boundaries and responsibilities of business leaders. (Guardian Nigeria)

Corporate Reputation

McDonald’s apologises for ‘offensive’ television advert

McDonald’s has apologised for “upset” caused by a UK TV advert that charity campaigners have said “exploits childhood bereavement”. In the advert, a boy asks his mum about his absent dad, wondering whether he and his father had anything in common. When he arrives at a McDonald’s restaurant and orders a Filet-o-Fish, the mother says: “That was your dad’s favourite too”. Bereavement charity, Grief Encounter, said it had received “countless calls” from parents saying their bereaved children had been upset by the advert. A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “This was by no means an intention of ours… We wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in our customers’ everyday lives – both in good and difficult times.” (BBC)


District energy systems taking off in cities around the world

District energy systems, a more sustainable way of cooling and heating buildings, could be key to Malaysia’s climate change mitigation plans. In April 2017, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and the District Energy in Cities Initiative announced that they would develop planning guidelines and other policies to encourage the installation of district energy systems. District energy systems can help cities to reduce their primary energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 50 percent, and form the central infrastructure for many cities’ 100 percent renewables or carbon neutral targets. The UN-led District Energy in Cities Initiative consists of 38 public and private partners, including French energy company ENGIE Group, as well as 45 cities across the world. It is also helping China, Chile, India, Morocco, Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina to adopt the technology or improve their systems. (Eco-Business)

Image source:Power Racing Hot Rod Supercharger Blower at Max Pixel. Freely distributed with a Creative Commons Zero – CC0.