Top Stories

March 23, 2021


Tech giants form Circular Electronics Partnership to tackle e-waste

A group of companies including tech giants Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Vodafone and Dell have partnered with organisations like the Global Electronics Council and the World Economic Forum to launch the ‘Circular Electronics Partnership’ (CEP), aiming to tackle the growing environmental problems caused by electronic waste (e-waste) and to develop a circular economy for electronics. The partners will set a vision and roadmap committing to a circular economy for electronics by 2030, setting objectives for key areas of the electronics value chain, from design to sourcing and manufacturing through to reverse logistics and recycling. According to the CEP, e-waste is currently the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, with only 17.4% currently collected and recycled. The CEP is also targeting social impact, promoting the use of safe and fair labour. (ESGToday)


EU considers labelling gas as sustainable in investor rule book

Brussels is considering classifying gas as a partially sustainable technology under its landmark green labelling system for sustainable finance. In a draft legal text, the European Commission has paved the way for controversial technologies like gas generated by fossil fuels to be recognised in its “taxonomy for sustainable finance”, raising fears that Brussels is engaging in “greenwashing”. The EU’s taxonomy is designed to be the world’s first classification system for green financial products by establishing science-based criteria on what should count as sustainable economic activity, in order to guide investment into green financial products. Brussels revised its proposals after its first draft text was rejected by EU governments for excluding technologies including gas and nuclear power. Environmentalists are arguing for total exclusion of fossil fuels from the taxonomy’s highest green label. (Financial Times*)


Starbucks targets carbon-neutral coffee and water-efficient farms

Coffeehouse chain Starbucks plans to deliver carbon-neutrality and boost water stewardship across parts of its coffee supply chains to become 'resource positive' by 2030. It hopes to decrease its Scope 3 emissions by equipping farmers with precision agronomy tools that help prevent the over-use of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Starbucks will finance and support forest conservation and restoration projects in at-risk landscapes across its value chain, partnering with non-profit Conservation International. It believes this will enable it to certify the ‘green coffee’ portion of its value chain as carbon neutral this decade. The company also intends to halve its water footprint by 2030, by ensuring new and existing wet mills are water-efficient, and contributing to water replenishment projects “at origin” – in river basins used by communities across its coffee supply chain. (Edie)


Amazon workers go on strike in Italy over labour conditions

Warehouse and delivery employees at e-commerce major Amazon have gone on a 24-hour strike in Italy to raise concerns around working conditions. The strike is the first national strike to affect Amazon’s entire logistics operations in Italy, and comes as tensions have grown between Amazon and its front-line workforce in Europe and the US over safety measures amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Workers and unions are calling on Amazon and Assoespressi –an employer association representing last-mile and e-commerce couriers –to engage in discussions around shifts, the pace of work, job security when contracts change, fewer working hours for drivers, and more job stability for temporary workers, among other issues. Strikers are also calling for access to a Covid-19 allowance for operations in constant pandemic conditions. (CNBC)


Sweden plans to increase airport fees for high-polluting planes

Sweden plans to charge airlines more at take-off and landing if their aircrafts are more polluting, the government has said, adding the move would be a world first. The measure, which is set to go into effect in July, would mean lower fees for newer, more efficient aircraft or those using bio-fuels, while older planes will be hit with higher fees. The project, which must be approved by parliament, covers both passenger and freight flights to and from Arlanda airport in Stockholm and Landvetter in Gothenburg. The government will leave it up to the airports and the airline companies to agree how the system will work, but warned it is prepared to regulate if that failed. (The Guardian; Reuters)

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2021 Actions for Business