Top Stories

April 27, 2018


Starbucks reports 150% increase in reusable cup use since introduction of 5p charge

A charge placed on disposable coffee cups in select UK Starbucks outlets has led to a 150 percent increase in reusable cup use, according to a preliminary assessment by the company. As part of the coffee chain’s efforts to tackle disposable coffee cup waste, it added a 5p charge to all paper cups sold in 35 shops across parts of central and west London. The increase, measured by the number of customers redeeming the 25p reusable cup discount, was observed just six weeks into the company’s three-month trial in the selected outlets. However, the proportion of customers bringing in their own cups is still fairly modest – only 5.9 percent compared to 2.2 percent in the same stores before the trial began. “We are encouraged by the initial results of our trial that show that by charging 5p and increasing communication on this issue, we can help to reduce paper cup use,” said Jason Dunlop, the chief operating officer of Starbucks in the UK. (Independent)

Supply Chain

IBM teams up with jewellery companies to tackle blood diamonds with blockchain

IBM, a group of four gold and diamond industry companies and an independent laboratory are developing a blockchain network for tracing the provenance of finished pieces of jewellery from mine to store. The TrustChain Initiative, which will run on IBM’s technology, includes precious-metals refiner Asahi Refining, U.S. jewellery retailer Helzberg Diamonds, precious-metals supplier LeachGarner, jewellery-maker the Richline Group and verification service UL. Products being tracked through the program should be available to consumers shopping for jewellery by the end of 2018 according to a joint statement released by those involved. TrustChain has just completed its first proof-of-concept test, in which gold went from a mine in South Dakota to a refinery in Utah, to a fabricator in Massachusetts that converted the gold into casting nuggets and grains. Those then went to a manufacturer in India that made engagement rings and set diamonds in them. The rings went to a distribution facility and then to Helzberg. (Bloomberg)


Report: Oil company values likely to fall within five years, warn asset managers

A new survey reveals that the share of fund managers who expect the value of oil firms to drop in coming years has doubled in the last 12 months. The survey, of 30 influential fund managers, found that 89 percent of managers agreed energy transition risks – such as increasing emissions regulations or growing competition from clean tech alternatives – will significantly impact the valuations of the oil companies in the next five years, compared to 46 percent when the survey was conducted in 2017. The research published by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and the Climate Change Collaboration additionally states that, despite efforts from the likes of Shell, BP and Exxon to reassure investors their business models are compatible with a low-carbon economy, 71 percent of fund managers said they have not yet decided whether they think oil companies can make a successful transition to a low carbon economy, and 41 percent do not have a strategy for engaging with oil companies on the issue. (BusinessGreen)


Singaporean data privacy watchdog proposes new law to merge rules on spam & unsolicited calls

A proposal to merge the rules governing telemarketing and spam messages into a new law was announced by Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), which said that this is aimed at better protecting people from unsolicited commercial messages. For instance, consumers will be able to block unwanted marketing messages received via instant messaging apps under the proposed law. The data privacy watchdog also wants to streamline processes. Consumers can expect a shorter withdrawal of consent period under the Do Not Call provisions (DNC), from the current 30 calendar days to 10 business days, if the proposals are approved. In a press release, PDPC said the proposal is part of the second round of public consultation on the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), to ensure that the law stays relevant with technological developments and changes in business practices. (Channel News Asia)


Global warming and plastic waste top UK environmental concerns

New research has shown that global warming tops a list of environmental concerns in the UK, closely followed by plastic waste. Good Energy, a green electricity company, commissioned the research from YouGov. 2,110 people took part in an online poll which quizzed them on their greatest worries for the environment and what they are doing about it. 29 percent of people cited global warming as a top threat, followed by plastic waste on 24 percent. Below these were threats to wildlife (16 percent), air pollution (12 percent) and deforestation (10 percent). 5 percent of respondents said they had no concerns. The results also showed generational division with global warming being highest among 18 to 24-year olds, while older people are more concerned about plastic waste. When it came to taking action on these concerns the highest responses were recycling rubbish (86 percent) and using a bag for life (85 percent). (Climate Action Programme)


Image Source: Jewellery by Gary Campbell-Hall on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.