Top Stories

June 16, 2017



South Africa raises black ownership threshold for mining firms

South Africa has raised the minimum threshold for black ownership of mining companies from 26 to 30 percent. An industry body said it would try to block the regulatory changes in court. The Chamber of Mines, which represents mining firms, said it had not been consulted sufficiently, and feared the new rules would create regulatory uncertainty and scare off investors. Johannesburg’s Mining Index ended the day more than 3 percent lower, underscoring investor concerns. The government has said in the past that companies must stick to ownership targets even if black shareholders sell their stakes, but the Chamber of Mines argues that companies should only be obliged to meet the targets once. The Mining Charter was introduced in 2002 to increase black ownership of the mining industry, as part of a wider empowerment drive designed to rectify the disparities of apartheid. (Reuters)

Circular Economy

HP rolls out ink cartridges made from recycled plastic bottles

Building on its efforts to reinvent how products are designed, manufactured and used, tech firm HP Inc has launched printer ink cartridges made from plastic bottles recycled in Haiti. The sustainable ink cartridges were made possible through a partnership with Thread, a B Corporation that transforms rubbish from the developing world into recycled fabric. While Thread usually makes yarn for apparel brands, such as Timberland, some of the waste Thread entrepreneurs process is more suited for other products, such as ink cartridges. The initiative delivers on HP’s recent commitment to purchase recycled plastic collected in Haiti and allows the global technology company to work towards its goal of shifting to a low-carbon, circular business model. (Sustainable Brands)


Major fashion brands linked to polluting viscose factories in Asia

Major fashion brands including H&M, Zara, Tesco and Marks & Spencer have been linked to viscose produced in polluting factories, according to a new report by the Changing Markets Foundation. Viscose, touted as a sustainable alternative to cotton or polyester, is often used as a cheaper and more durable alternative to silk, commonly in skirts and dresses. Experts say it is just as likely to be found in a £10 t-shirt as a £2,000 suit. Investigators for the Changing Markets Foundation visited ten manufacturing sites in China, India, and Indonesia, and found severe environmental damage, including water and air pollution. Viscose production is chemical-heavy, and the report cites evidence that chemical exposure is harming both factory workers and people living near viscose plants. (Guardian)


Federal judge orders more environmental analysis of Dakota pipeline

A federal judge has ruled that the US Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the possible impacts of an oil spill where the controversial Dakota Access pipeline passes under the Missouri river. US district judge James Boasberg said that the corps failed to take into account how a spill might affect “fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial”. The judge said the army must redo its environmental analysis in certain sections, and he would consider later whether the pipeline must halt operations in the meantime. The $3.8 billion Dakota line began service at the beginning of the month, with commitments to ship 520,000 barrels of crude a day. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners maintains that the 1,200-mile pipeline is safe, but the Standing Rock Cheyenne River, Yankton and Oglala Sioux tribes in the Dakotas fear environmental harm. (Guardian, Reuters)

Corporate Reputation

Google faces big fine in first EU case against search practices

Google is braced for a fine of potentially more than €1 billion as Brussels prepares to make the first of three antitrust decisions on the search group’s practices. EU officials are expected to say in the coming weeks that the company abused its search market dominance to build its Google Shopping service. Europe’s seven-year Google investigation is a landmark case – focusing on whether the technology group has exploited its dominance in general search to give preference to its other services, such as shopping, travel and local search, to the detriment of its competitors. The regulator’s decision that an abuse of monopoly power took place would open the way for shopping comparison competitors or customers to file damages claims against Google. (Financial Times*)


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Image source: Table mountain by HPBotha at Pixabay. CC 1.0