Top Stories

August 10, 2021


HSBC joins Walmart to improve access to capital for diverse suppliers

HSBC Bank USA announced today that it has joined a Walmart initiative aimed at making access to working capital for diverse and minority suppliers affordable, transparent and more equitable. The bank will provide funding capabilities for a programme that provides faster payments at improved rates for the suppliers, enabling them to apply the capital to growth initiatives and improved business. Under the programme, qualified diverse or minority-owned suppliers select invoices they would like to request early payments on.  Retailer Walmart announced the launch of the programme in April 2021, in partnership with financial technology company CF20. At the time of the programme launch, Walmart explained that diverse suppliers had told the company that gaining access to capital was their biggest challenge to achieving growth and increased business resiliency. (ESG Today)


Just one in ten UK SMEs measure and report their carbon emissions

Just one in ten UK-based small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are measuring the carbon footprint of their operations, according to a poll of 1,072 SMEs conducted by O2 and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Of the respondents from SMEs, just 11% said their firm is measuring greenhouse gas emissions annually or more regularly. In comparison, the BCC estimates that the portion of UK businesses with 50 or more employees that measure emissions is 26%. SMEs most commonly cited cost and lack of in-house expertise as barriers for measuring their greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there is no legal requirement in the UK for SMEs to measure and report their emissions, but further requirements could be introduced in the near future to meet the legally-binding UK’s 2050 net-zero target. (Edie)


Pets at Home and Wilko boost packaging and mask recycling schemes

British retailer Pets at Home has introduced in-store recycling points for flexible pet food packaging at 40 stores, working with pet food producers Mars and Nestle-owned Purina PetCare to run the trials. Customers will be encouraged to deposit flexible pet food packaging, which is not collected by 84% of UK local authorities due to cost inefficiencies in the process. Collected packaging will be processed by recycling firm Enval, which is capable of processing problem plastics. In related news, home and garden retailer Wilko has extended its recycling scheme in 150 stores for single-use face masks operated in partnership with recycling firm ReWorked, until the end of September. The recycled end product can be mixed with other recycled plastics to produce rigid products like furniture. (Edie)


Retailer Shein lacks disclosures & made false statements about factories

Chinese online fast fashion retailer Shein, has not made public disclosures about working conditions along its supply chain required by UK and Australian law. In addition, until recently,  Shein falsely stated on its website that conditions in the factories were certified by international labour standards bodies. In Britain, companies over a certain size must prominently state on their websites the steps they are taking to combat forced labour as part of the country’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. A similar law in Australia requires companies with revenues over A$100 million to submit an annual modern slavery statement to the Australian Border Force. Shein’s website statement that it “never, ever” engages in child or forced labour, does not meet legal requirements. It claims it is now finalising statements required by UK law. (Reuters)


Amazon makes it easier to file complaints for faulty goods from sellers

Tech giant Amazon is making it easier for consumers to file a complaint when they believe they have been harmed by a product from a third-party seller. From September, through its updated returns policy, consumers can contact Amazon with a personal injury or property damage claim. Amazon will then vet the claims using a combination of independent insurance fraud experts and its own fraud and abuse detection systems. It will then connect the consumer with the seller and take over the claim if the seller is unresponsive. Counterfeits, unsafe products and expired goods have become a notorious problem on Amazon’s ecommerce platform. Currently, buyers are encouraged to contact the seller with any issues, with Amazon shielding itself from liability,  arguing it is just the platform and largely uninvolved in sales. (CNBC)


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Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America