Top Stories

October 16, 2020


Governments urged to reform food systems as part of Covid-19 green recovery efforts

World leaders must reform food systems to protect the environment and improve public health and should use their Covid-19 recovery plans to accelerate action in this area, according to a new policy paper published by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. The Alliance is a collation of major foundations across the agri-food sector including the Ikea Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation and Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition. Agri-food accounts for almost one-quarter of emissions and is to blame for three-quarters of deforestation. While most national green recovery plans centre around decarbonising sectors like energy, industry and transport, the report details how policymakers can also create measures to improve food security, make supply chains more climate resilient and decrease the negative environmental and social impact of the agri-food sector. (Edie)*


Disney updates content warning for racism in classic films

A content advisory notice for racism in classic Disney films, in place since last year, has been updated with a strengthened message. When played on the Disney+ streaming service, films such as Dumbo, Peter Pan, Jungle Book and The Aristocats now flash up with a warning about stereotypes. “This programme includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures…these stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now ” the warning says. The message adds that rather than remove the content, “we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together”. Disney first added a shorter warning about racism last November reading: “This programme is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.” (BBC)


Japan to release 1m tonnes of contaminated Fukushima water into the sea

Japan’s government has decided to release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific. Media reports said work to release the water, would begin in 2022 at the earliest and would take decades to complete. Local fishermen say it will undo years of work rebuilding their industry’s reputation since the plant was wrecked by a huge tsunami in March 2011. In response, the government said it will promote Fukushima produce and address concerns among fishermen that consumers will shun their seafood once the water is released. Environmental groups also oppose the move, while neighbouring South Korea, which still bans seafood imports from the region, has repeatedly voiced concern, claiming that discharging the water represented a ”grave threat” to the marine environment. (The Guardian)

Human Rights

Fashion brands accused of exploiting workers at risk of layoffs

Millions of garment workers could lose their jobs as global brands demand price cuts and delay payments to suppliers amid the pandemic, according to the Centre for Global Workers’ Rights. Suppliers have been asked to make prices an average of 12% cheaper than last year. In a global survey of factories, suppliers said they had to wait an average of 77 days for payment, compared to 43 days before the pandemic. Suppliers in countries including Cambodia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam said they had already laid off 10% of their workers and would have to cut another 35% of their labour force if order reductions continued. Fashion companies cancelled orders worth billions of dollars as COVID-19 closed stores worldwide, causing wage losses of up to $5.8 billion. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Sustainable Transport

BlackRock delivers $118m investment boost for electric van trailblazer

UK electric van developer Arrival has secured a $118m investment from funds managed by BlackRock, providing a major boost to its ambitious expansion plans. The company said the latest funding would support the ramping up of its vehicle production capacity, including the launch of its first US ‘microfactory’ in South Carolina. In January this year, Arrival announced auto giants Hyundai and Kia had invested £85m in the company, before then confirming that it had secured an order for 10,000 electric vans from UPS as part of a deal that also saw the logistics giant invest in the firm and take out an option for a further 10,000 vans. Arrival said the latest investment is a “reflection of the significant market opportunity for electric vehicles”. (Business Green)

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Image source: grass field photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash.