Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Human Rights, Policy & Research, Supply Chain, Sustainable Investment, Technology & Innovation, Water

Top Stories

January 23, 2019

Circular Economy

Report: AI could offer £167 billion circular opportunity for food and electronics sectors each year

AI could unlock almost £170 billion in value a year for the food and consumer electronics industries alone by designing out waste by 2030, according to a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Google. Published today, the study looks at how AI could be applied to deliver a circular economy at scale. It claims that the potential value delivered by AI in helping design out waste for food is up to $127 billion a year in 2030, and $90 billion for consumer electronics. The report highlights that AI can improve the reverse logistics infrastructure required to ‘close the loop’ on products and materials, by improving the processes to sort and disassemble products, remanufacture components and recycle materials. Researchers also identify the potential for AI to extend the lifetime of electronics through predictive maintenance. In the food sector, AI can suggest new recipes for plant-based food by combining characteristics of vast amounts of materials, researchers say. (Edie)

Indices & Rankings – Global 100

Global 100 ranks the most sustainable companies in 2019

The Global 100 list has been launched at this week’s World Economic Forum. The list ranks large corporations across the globe on their performance reducing carbon and waste, gender diversity among leadership, revenues derived from clean products, and overall sustainability. In its 15th year, the ranking is compiled by a Canada-based sustainability-focused financial information company and magazine, Corporate Knights.  The research universe consists of roughly 7,500 companies, which generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue. The top two positions are held by Danish bioscience firm Chr. Hansen Holding and Kering SA, known for consumer-facing brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Third in the Global 100 ranking is petroleum refinery and marketing company Neste Corporation, which has shifted more than 50 percent of its investments into products like renewable biofuels. Tracked between 2005 and 2018, Global 100 companies made a net investment return of 127.35 percent, compared with 118.27 percent in returns from companies on the MSCI All Country World Index. (Forbes)

For more information on the methodology behind the ranking, click here.

Supply Chain/Environment

Kingfisher to phase-out ‘harmful’ chemicals across supply chain

Home improvement retailer Kingfisher will phase-out three potentially harmful chemical groups from its own branded products by 2025, with plans in place to extend the ban across its supply chain as part of the firm’s Chemicals Roadmap. The retailer will phase out phthalates, PFCs and halogenated flame retardants from own-branded products such as paint, textiles and PVC flooring. Kingfisher claims the majority of these chemicals are not currently regulated, but have been identified by the Roadmap as potentially harmful for consumers, factory workers and the environment. The chemicals will be removed from more than 1,300 Kingfisher-owned stores across Europe, including B&Q and Screwfix outlets in the UK. The retailer will replace the chemicals with “more sustainable alternatives”. Kingfisher’s head of sustainable chemicals management Paul Ellis said: “Achieving this aim takes time and requires collaboration across the global value chain and we welcome like-minded retailers to join us on this journey.” (Edie)

Responsible Investment

BlackRock plans new environmentally conscious money market fund

BlackRock Inc is planning a new fund for investors looking to balance financial performance with an improved environmental impact profile, a filing with U.S. market regulators showed on Tuesday. The world’s largest fund manager told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it wants to launch a money-market fund that will invest primarily in debt from issuers who have better-than-average environmental practices. BlackRock, which oversees nearly $6 trillion in assets, also planned to commit 5 percent of the net revenue from its management fee on the BlackRock Liquid Environmentally Aware Fund (LEAF) to purchase carbon offsets. BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink has been under increasing pressure by activist groups to address the perceived social and environmental shortcomings of companies held by his funds. (Reuters)

Modern Day Slavery

Lawmakers urge UK to punish big companies that fail to tackle modern slavery

Britain should give its landmark modern slavery law more bite and punish businesses and public bodies that fail to combat slavery in their supply chains, lawmakers said on Tuesday. The 2015 Modern Slavery Act requires private firms whose turnover exceeds £36 million to produce an annual statement outlining the actions they have taken to avoid slavery in their operations. Yet a lack of enforcement and penalties, and confusion around the reporting requirements, have resulted in many companies flouting the law, three politicians said in a government-ordered review of the first-of-its-kind legislation. The review said the law should be sharpened to specify the scope of the anti-slavery statements, and remove a section that allows companies to comply by stating they have taken no action. (Reuters)


Image source: Chinese Factory Worker by Cory M. Grenier on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.