Top Stories

June 19, 2018

Climate Change

All of Interface’s flooring is now carbon neutral – at no extra cost to customers

Interface has become the first global flooring manufacturer to declare that all of its products – including all carpet tile and luxury vinyl tile – are carbon neutral across the entire product lifecycle. The company is now offering its Carbon Neutral Floors™ program as standard to every customer, at no extra cost, to help them meet their own sustainability goals while also allowing them to reduce the emissions impact of their projects or spaces. Through the program, Interface will also offer to provide information to each customer to help them understand the carbon impact of their purchase. For example, for every 1,000 sq. meters of Interface flooring sold, the company will offset carbon emissions equivalent to a car travelling 25,000 miles, or one trip around the Earth. The company further hopes that customers will not only see their products as opportunities to directly address global warming with a flooring specification decision, but also initiate a new conversation in the industry about its impacts. (Sustainable Brands)

Corporate Reputation

Amazon shareholders demand company stop selling facial recognition technology to governments

A group of nineteen Amazon shareholders is asking CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling and marketing pattern-recognition technology to governments after civil liberties groups warned of the potential for abuse. Earlier in 2018, a group of advocacy organisations led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a letter detailing how Amazon was marketing its Rekognition tool to American law enforcement agencies. In addition to positioning the technology as helping to find suspects by allowing law enforcement to sift through images of faces, Amazon has also said it could be used to pre-emptively identify “persons of interest” and prevent crimes. “While Rekognition may be intended to enhance some law enforcement activities, we are deeply concerned it may ultimately violate civil and human rights”, the letter said. “We are concerned the technology would be used to unfairly and disproportionately target and surveil people of colour, immigrants, and civil society organisations”. (Independent)

Apple fined AU$9 million for misleading customers with faulty iPhones and iPads

Apple has been fined AU$9 million for making false or misleading representations to customers with faulty iPhones and iPads about their consumer rights. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) took action against Apple US and its Australian subsidiary, Apple Pty Ltd, in the Federal Court. The court action was the result of the ACCC’s investigation into consumer complaints relating to “error 53”. This error disabled some iPhones and iPads after customers downloaded an update to Apple’s iOS operating system. The US-based technology company admitted that it misled at least 275 Australian customers — by informing them they were no longer entitled to remedies, like a repair or replacement, if their device had been repaired by a third party. “The court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court. (ABC News – Australia)

Technology & Innovation / Waste

Volvo urges auto industry to increase recycled plastics offering

Volvo has announced a new target to ensure at least 25 percent of the plastics used in its cars are made from recycled material by 2025. The company has called on suppliers in the auto industry to work closely with manufacturers to develop more sustainable materials and components. Volvo has also unveiled a specially built version of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid designed to highlight how recycled materials can be used without compromising the end product. The car’s interior features a tunnel console made from renewable fibres and plastics from discarded fishing nets and maritime ropes, while the carpet contains fibres made from PET plastic bottles and a recycled cotton mix from clothing manufacturers’ offcuts. The new goal follows the company’s recent pledge to axe single use plastics from all its facilities by the end of 2019 and it high profile commitment to only launch electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019. (BusinessGreen)


Former France Telecom CEO to stand trial after wave of suicides

Didier Lombard, the former chief executive officer of France Telecom, will stand trial for moral harassment, a decade after a wave of employee suicides coincided with the structuring he led. The onetime monopoly, now known as Orange SA, and six of its executives have also been indicted on charges of moral harassment or abetting moral harassment, according to a statement from the company’s telecommunications workers union, CFE-CGC. More than 30 employees of France Telecom committed suicide between 2008 and 2010 as reorganization efforts to make the former monopoly more competitive contributed to workers’ psychological issues, a labour union said at the time. France Telecom suspended its restructuring plans in 2009 and Lombard stepped down in 2010. In those years, most of its workers had protected status that made it difficult to fire them, so the company gave some employees meaningless jobs to force them out, driving some to take their own lives, the union said. (Bloomberg)


Image source: iPhone lens and flash by Simon Yeo on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.