Top Stories

September 06, 2017


Mars to invest around $1 billion in sustainability plan

Global food producer Mars, which owns brands such as Snickers and Uncle Ben’s, has unveiled a near $1 billion investment into its “Sustainable in a Generation Plan” that uses science-based targets to “drastically expand” on previous goals. “Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations,” said Grant F. Reid, the food company’s chief. The plan will focus on a range of goals across Mars’ entire value chain, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 67% by 2050, “holding flat” total land use and “meaningfully improving the working lives” of one million people by focusing on boosting income, unlocking opportunities for women and respecting human rights. Mars will also aim to engage consumers on climate change in the coming weeks by featuring renewable energy in M&M’s adverts, and will engage corporate peers, NGOs and governments at the UN General Assembly this month. (edie; CNBC; Financial Times*)


Companies to offer ‘dreamers’ legal protection as Trump scraps DACA

In the hours following the Trump administration’s decision to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, some executives have reassured employees, saying the companies have no plans to fire DACA recipients and will offer legal protection. The programme, which allows young undocumented immigrants to work in the US, will fall most heavily on the hospitality, retail and construction industries. According to an analysis by the US business coalition New American Economy, these industries employ nearly half of the 1.3 million DACA-eligible immigrants, or ‘dreamers’. The impact will also be felt across tech, health care and education.

Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer said that the firm would “vigorously defend” the legal rights of its 39 dreamers, while Apple said it would make immigration lawyers available to its 250 dreamer employees. 500+ executives recently signed onto a petition asking Trump and Congress to preserve DACA’s provisions. (Washington Post)


Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, according to an investigation of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations by Orb Media. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres. Samples from the US, Lebanon and India had the highest contamination rate, above 90%. The UK, Germany and France had the lowest rate, although still 72% of samples were contaminated. The atmosphere is thought to be one source of the fibres, which are shed by wear and tear of clothes and carpets. A recent study found that each cycle of a washing machine could release 700,000 fibres into the environment. Microplastics are known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals, and research on wild animals shows these are released in the body. (Guardian)


Australia must ban cladding of type linked to Grenfell disaster, inquiry finds

Australia federal government must immediately implement a “total ban” of the use of polyethylene composite panels, an inquiry has found. It follows an investigation into the type of highly flammable cladding linked to the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne in late 2014 and the Grenfell disaster in London in June 2017. Evidence showed widespread fraud to certify unsafe building products, a reduction in mandatory inspections and an allowance to import non-compliant products. A leaked New South Wales (NSW) government document also suggested there were 2,500 buildings with the cladding in NSW alone. The inquiry recommended the development of a national licensing scheme for builders, a nationally-consistent duty of care protection and the government to consider a penalties regime for non-compliance with the national construction code. (Guardian)


Tesla’s Tiny House takes renewable energy solutions across Australia

Electric vehicle and energy storage giant Tesla is touring Australia with a tiny house in a bid to increase renewable energy adoption and educate the public on how to generate, store, and use solar power at home. The house is 100% renewables-powered and fitted with a rooftop solar panel system and the Powerwall home battery. It is expected to stop in major Australian cities at key events such as sustainable living fairs and home expos. Visitors to the Tiny House can speak to Tesla staff and see the Powerwall’s energy storage capabilities in action, and also design their own home energy solutions. Australian consumers will soon be able to buy Tesla’s solar roof tiles, which Tesla says it began production in mid-2017 and is about to start customer installations. (Eco-Business)


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Image Source: Tap water by flyupmike at Pixabay. CC 0.