Top Stories

April 15, 2019


Guinness maker, Diageo, removes plastic from multipacks

Multinational alcoholic beverages company, Diageo, has announced that it is removing plastic from multipacks of its Irish stout brand Guinness. Plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap will be also removed from packs of Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick‘s beers, as part of Diageo’s £16 million initiative. The change will be phased in with multi-can packs sold in “100 percent recyclable and biodegradable cardboard” in Ireland from August this year. The new packaging will then be used in the UK and globally from 2020. Last year, rival brewer Carlsberg switched to using a glue instead of plastic to hold together its cans. Diageo’s bottling and packaging plant in Northern Ireland will be the first site producing the new packs, with the firm investing £8 million in its east Belfast plant. Diageo says under 5 percent of its current total packaging is plastic, and the changes will reduce usage by over 400 tonnes annually. (BBC)


The World Bank accused of dodging ‘no-coal’ pledge by funnelling billions of dollars into fossil fuels

A study on active energy projects commissioned by The World Bank Group has concluded that the body is currently financing $21 billion of fossil fuel projects, compared to $7 billion in the renewables sector. Commissioned by German NGO Ungewald, the study analysed the 675 global energy sector projectswhich have been funded and are still in operation and are listed in the Bank’s public databases. It found that for every dollar the Bank currently holds in the clean power sector, it holds three across coal, oil and gas. This figure does not consider The World Bank’s $7 billion investment in large-scale hydropower projects, as Ungewald believes these facilities are often associated with “significant negative social and environmental impacts”. A further key conclusion of the research is that $12 billion, of the $21 billion allocated for projects associated with fossil fuels, was made during the past five years. Responding to the new accusations, a spokesperson for The World Bank said Ungewald’s methodology “paints a distorted picture of [its] energy sector work”. (Edie)

Transparency/ Modern Day Slavery

Tea brand, Typhoo, joins Britain’s ‘big six’ in fight against modern slavery

Typhoo became the final major British tea brand to pledge to release a list of its suppliers in efforts to tackle slavery in the the industry’s supply chain. Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, Tetley, Clipper and PG Tips all made the same decision in the last year. Typhoo’s move comes in the wake of advocacy group Traidcraft Exchange‘s ‘Who picked my tea?’ 2018 campaign to improve working conditions and low pay in Assam, India. The Ethical Trading Initiative, an alliance that aims to protect workers’ rights and promote ethical standards, welcomed the decision, and said that moves like this enable consumers to make more informed decisions. Much of Britain’s tea comes from Assam, in northeast India, where research has shown many plantation workers are paid below minimum wage and live in poverty. Mary Milne, head of campaigns and communications for Tradicraft Exchange, said “Typhoo’s tea declaration means that we now know where the vast majority of the tea we drink in the UK comes from.” Typhoo will publish its suppliers list later this month. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Campaigns & Activism

Environmental NGO urges closure of Chinese hotel ‘spewing raw sewage’ on Cambodian resort island

Environmental watchdog, Mother Nature, has called on Cambodia’s government to shut down a Chinese-owned hotel and casino for pouring raw sewage into the sea off of the coast of the popular resort town of Sihanoukville. This follows the closure of another on the same island last month. In a video, Mother Nature activist, Meng Heng, said the Sunshine Bay Hotel and Casino is polluting the water off the southern tip of Koh Rong Samloem Island’s Independence beach. Overhead drone footage shows a large stream of discoloured water flowing across the beach behind the resort and into the sea. While Meng Heng acknowledged that it was impossible to tell whether all of the pollution comes solely from the hotel, it is clear that “large amounts of sewage are being dumped onto this part of the beach on a daily basis.” Sihanoukville provincial spokesman, Or Saroeun, said authorities are targeting serious polluters first, and they will issue warnings to buildings found in breach of the city’s regulations before punishing them for continued violations. (Eco Business)


McDonald’s hopes biofuel boost can help fight the ‘fatbergs’

American fast food company, McDonald’s, is working with appliance manufacturer, Miele, to adapt its washing machines to extract grease, creating additional biofuel feedstocks and curbing potentially damaging waste. Working with domestic appliances manufacturer Miele, the fast food giant is set to adapt the washing machines used in its 1,300 UK restaurants to better enable the extraction of grease and fats and minimise drainage issues. Sewer blockages by ‘fatbergs’ are estimated to cost the UK £100 million each year and contribute to harmful sewer flooding. McDonald’s will use the grease extracted in wash cycles to boost its biofuel production, which helps fuel its lorry fleet. Dave Holden, building services consultant at McDonald’s, said “Miele continues to assist us with our washing requirements to make our grease recovery process more effective and help McDonald’s Restaurants become more sustainable.” McDonald’s has used grease recovery units (GRUs) for several years, but high temperatures used for grease removal limits the lifecycle of the machines, making it difficult to separate and extract the grease, unlike new modifications. (Business Green)*

Read Corporate Citizenship’s recent review of McDonald’s sustainability journey here


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Image Source: Tea plantations by Kosala Bandara on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.