Top Stories

July 08, 2022


Ofcom to get more powers over tech in online safety drive

UK authorities will be granted power to order tech companies to redesign their platforms and impose fines if they fail to police child sexual abuse material under new online safety legislation. The rules will target end-to-end encrypted platforms, where messages can only be viewed by the sender and recipient. Ofcom will also have powers to fine tech companies £18 million, or 10% of their annual turnover, whichever is higher, if they fail to comply with child protection standards. Under the proposals, the regulator could be allowed to order tech companies to install yet-to-be-developed software into encrypted platforms, or develop their own technologies to detect inappropriate material. The move comes as tech companies seek to safeguard the privacy of their users’ data without compromising protection for vulnerable users. (Financial Times)*


Costa teams up for coffee cup recycling scheme across UK

Motorway service station operator Roadchef is set to add coffee cup recycling points to all its UK sites in collaboration with coffee chain Costa Coffee and fast-food company McDonalds. The 30 service stations will collectively host 65 recycling points. At these points, customers will be able to separate cups, lids and leftover drinks. The cups will then be sent back through Costa Coffee’s stores, to specialist recycling facilities. Most coffee cups sold in the UK are multi-layer, containing plastics alongside fibre materials which makes them challenging to recycle. The specialist recycler for Costa can convert used cups into materials that can create reusable cups or new paper packaging. The coffee chain pledged in 2018 to help enable the recycling of up to 500 million coffee cups annually by 2020. (edie)


Study detects microplastics in meat, milk & animal blood

Microplastic contamination has been reported in beef and pork for the first time, as well as in the blood of cows and pigs on farms. Scientists at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam found the particles in three-quarters of meat and milk products tested and every blood sample in their pilot study. Microplastics were also found in every sample of animal pellet feed tested, indicating a potentially important route of contamination. The food products were packaged in plastic, which is another possible route. The impact on human or farm animal health is as yet unknown, but researchers are concerned because microplastics have been shown to cause damage to human cells in laboratory conditions and air pollution particles are already known to enter the body and have caused millions of early deaths annually. (The Guardian)


KLM sued by environmentalists for ‘greenwashing’

Environmental groups are suing Dutch airline KLM, alleging that adverts promoting the company's sustainability initiative are misleading. Netherlands-based activist group Fossielvrij NL – supported by ClientEarth and Reclame.NL – is taking aim at the company's ‘Fly Responsibly campaign’, launched in 2019. The campaign declared the airline is "creating a more sustainable future" and is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. It also features a carbon offset product called ‘CO2Zero’, which it says funds reforestation projects and biofuel purchases. The campaigners criticise the company for trying to return to pre-pandemic levels of flights, and argue offset products like CO2Zero do nothing to limit environmental damage. If the case is successful, KLM will have to withdraw the advertising and stop any similar advertising in the future and issue corrections. (BBC News)


Study finds continued anti-climate lobbying by largest airlines

Research from lobbying database InfluenceMap claims that airlines British Airways and Ryanair lobbied the UK government against a frequent flyer levy to drive decarbonisation. The research warns that the world’s biggest airlines continue to lobby the EU for policies that undermine global climate goals, despite their public support of net-zero goals. The research notes the aviation sector continues to lag behind other industries on corporate climate lobbying, with no scoped airline achieving higher than a ‘C+’ grade on its ‘A to F’ scale. Legacy airlines such as IAG and Air France-KLM have targeted the EU’s carbon trading scheme and lobbied against minimum requirements for sustainable aviation fuels. However, analysists have noted that over the past 12 months budget airlines have more vocally supported EU policy. (Business Green)*


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