Top Stories

July 11, 2017

Employees / ‘Gig Economy’

Report calls for increased protections for UK’s ‘gig economy’ workers

A government review into the employment of the UK’s “gig economy” workers has called for better quality jobs and “dignity at work”. The Taylor Review, released today, sets out a number of recommendations to “protect” people working for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. But the report, which took nine months to produce, has been attacked as “feeble” by unions and employment lawyers, with critics saying it does not go far enough to protect workers from “insecurity and exploitation”. Some of the key recommendations of the report include: no guarantee of minimum wage for workers, a new category of workers called ‘dependent contractors’ (to be given sick pay and holiday leave) and strengthened access to employment tribunals. (Huffington Post)


Shipping companies urged to stop using dirty fuels in the Arctic

The International Maritime Organisation has approved an environmental review of the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by ships in the Arctic, putting pressure on shipping companies with a potential ban on their use in the Artic. Already banned in Antarctica, HFO is a dense and viscous by-product of other fuel refining processes. Oil leaks would be severely toxic, and devastating to flora, fauna and indigenous communities as the sludge breaks down particularly slowly in cold water. As more polar sea lanes become accessible, the risks to fragile Arctic ecosystems are likely to soar. More than 850 ships operating in the Arctic today are thought to use HFOs, which represent around three-quarters of total Arctic ship fuel use. (Guardian)

Supply Chains

Mars launches Farmer Income Lab to help eradicate smallholder poverty

Nutritional giant Mars has launched a programme aimed to foster cross-sector collaboration to improve smallholder farmer incomes across agricultural supply chains. Farmer poverty poses a serious risk to long-term business reliance, therefore the Farmer Income Lab will commission research to develop measurable frameworks and new business models to tackle farmer poverty. It will be tested through Mars’ Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming scheme, which aims to improve farming and production methods, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improve the living standards of local communities in developing countries. The project will adhere to SDG1 which calls for an eradication of poverty. (edie)


Asian banks are world’s biggest investors in fossil fuels, study finds

Despite their vocal support of the Paris Climate Agreement, leading global banks are still investing billions into the direct and indirect financing of fossil fuels. According to the new 8th annual Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card report, the biggest offenders are Asian banks – with the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and ICBC in the top 5. Contributing over US$95 billion since 2014, Asian banks appear to be unaware of the many financing opportunities and the risks associated with fossil fuels, but also experience less external pressure than their Western peers. Despite China’s efforts to uphold the Paris Agreement, political commitments and the actions of China’s banking sector are still disconnected. In order to ensure banks make a change, they should adopt the measures outlined in the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) Final Recommendations Report, which helps organisations and investors to assess climate-related risks and opportunities. (Eco-Business)


19 U.S. aquariums join forces to fight plastic water pollution

According to a 2016 WEF study 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging generated globally ends up in waterways and eventually flows into oceans every year. To address this, 19 aquariums across the U.S. are joining forces to raise awareness and push society into finding innovative alternatives to single-use plastics. The ‘In Our Hands’ initiative aims to educate consumers about a wide range of tactics they can adopt to stop the growth in plastic waste that has occurred worldwide since the early 1960s. Part of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP), they all have eliminated plastic straws and single-use plastic bags from their premises and have promised to sharply reduce or eliminate all plastic beverage bottles by 2020. As aquariums are popular places for families and school field trip visits, it is hoped that the message about plastic marine pollution can send a strong message to children and adults. (Triple Pundit)


Image Source: Icebreakers in the Arctic Ocean by tpsdave at Pixabay. CC 0