- Amazon pauses Seattle expansion in response to proposed tax that would help the homeless
- Walmart takes on Amazon in India with Flipkart deal
- Sainsbury’s drops project to halve food waste
- Report: Textile certification schemes slammed for false promises
- Tourism responsible for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions
Event: Net Impact Approaches Conference on Tuesday 22nd May 2018
See below for more information on a conference exploring the latest in companies measuring, valuing, and setting target for environmental and social impacts for reporting and decision-making.
Amazon has suspended part of its expansion plans in Seattle, pending the outcome of a City Council vote on a new tax on large employers that would fund programs aimed at providing affordable housing and helping the homeless. Under the proposal, companies pulling in more than $20 million a year in the city would have to pay 26 cents for each hour worked by a local employee. This head tax would apply in 2019 and 2020, after which it would be replaced by a 0.7 percent payroll tax. “I can confirm that pending the outcome of the head-tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sublease all space in our recently leased Rainier Square building,” Amazon VP Drew Herdener told the Seattle Times. (Fortune)
Walmart is to announce a deal worth nearly $15 billion to take a majority stake in Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer, setting up a fight with US rival Amazon for the fast-growing Indian ecommerce sector. This move comes as Walmart overhauls its international strategy, having ceded control of its UK subsidiary Asda through a merger with Sainsbury’s and will be the biggest foreign direct investment in India’s history. Analysts at Forrester Research predict that Indian ecommerce sales will amount to $27 billion this year, compared with $1.1 trillion in China. But they estimate that online sales in India grew 26 percent last year — a pace they expect to be maintained over the next five years, making India the fastest growing large ecommerce market, helped by the spread of smartphones and cheap mobile data. (Financial Times*)
Sainsbury’s has abandoned a £10 million project to halve food waste across Britain after a year-long trial produced disappointing results. The supermarket group gave families in one town, Swadlincote in south Derbyshire, free gadgets to cut food waste – such as devices to measure the correct amount of spaghetti to cook, “smart” fridges to control content and temperatures more accurately, food planners and magnetic shopping lists – and monitored the results. However, the year-long experiment fell far short of its 50 percent target, with households believed to have cut food waste by only 9 percent – and telling Sainsbury’s the issue was not a priority for them. The £10 million Waste Less, Save More programme was launched in 2015 to find out why consumers throw so much edible food away, with £1 million spent on an “experimental testbed” in Swadlincote. The Waste Less, Save More slogan and branding have now been dropped and all the retailer’s work on food waste will be absorbed into a wider “wellbeing” campaign. (Guardian)
A new report from the Changing Markets Foundation, The False Promise of Certification, has called for the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to be scrapped, and suggest most certification schemes in the textile sector are guilty of making false promises on sustainability. The report investigated whether voluntary certification schemes for textiles, seafood and palm oil are accurately guiding consumers towards sustainable products – finding that in most cases the evidence of schemes’ benefits is lacking. “With its support for GM cotton and tolerance of the use of pesticides, the BCI is failing to promote cotton that is truly better for the environment and to protect the health of cotton growers. Serious reform would be required for it to deliver on its promise; in its current state, it appears unreformable and should be scrapped,” the report outlines. (Just-Style)
BCI has since released a written statement saying that the report was “factually inaccurate,” contains unsubstantiated claims and makes “misleading” assertions. “BCI is a credible sustainability standard system that brings much-needed training to millions of farmers around the globe and demonstrates the positive results that these farmers are experiencing,” the organization said in a written statement. “Sustainability standards and certification are the most proven tool in the sustainability movement today. BCI is keen to consider opportunities to improve the way we work. However, this report does not open a constructive dialogue that can result in progress.” (GreenBiz)
Worldwide tourism accounted for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions from 2009 to 2013, new research published in Nature Climate Change finds, making the sector a bigger polluter than the construction industry. The study, which looks at the spending habits of travellers in 160 countries, shows that the impact of tourism on global emissions could be four times larger than previously thought and that it may threaten the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement. The research finds that, between 2009 and 2013, tourism’s annual global carbon footprint increased from 3.9 to 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, attributed to increased demand for goods and services. However, the results may still be underestimating the total carbon footprint of tourism as they do not consider the impact of non-CO2 emissions from the aviation industry. (Carbon Brief)
2018 Net Impact Approaches Conference (22.05.2018), 15 Hatfields, London
Building upon the success of the 2017 event, this conference will bring together the different communities involved in Net Impact Approaches to: share best practice, highlight key initiatives and approaches, move the topic forwards by addressing pressing issues, and facilitate collaboration with key players.
Corporate Citizenship Briefing is delighted to be supporting the conference again. We are pleased to be able to offer a 10% discount for CCB subscribers members using this link https://netimpactapproaches2018.eventbrite.com/?aff=CCB and promotional code CCBNIA18).
Sustainability leaders contributing to this event include: Schroders, UNEP WCMC, Solvay, Olam, Yorkshire Water, Interface, Novartis, Forum for the Future and more.