Top Stories

August 04, 2022


Apparel brands linked to abuse under Myanmar’s military rule

At least 60,800 garment workers in Myanmar have experienced alleged labour and human rights abuses according to a new report by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRC). Since February 2022, when a military coup illegally gained power, Myanmar’s garment workers, of which 90% are women, have been at the frontlines of the country’s civil problems under new military rule. The BHRC said its monitoring tracker has captured over 100 cases of abuse across 70 factories. These factories produce garments for 32 global brands and retailers, including adidas, Bestseller, C&A, Inditex, Fast Retailing, Guess, H&M, Lidl, Next, Matalan and Primark. Myanmar’s garment workers often earn less than $2 a day, according to the report. BHRC called on global apparel brands to undertake heightened, ongoing human rights due diligence assessments. (Fashion United)


Tesco, Waitrose Sainsbury’s back $11m deforestation drive

UK supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have invested $11 million in a new facility that will incentivise soy farmers in Brazil to use deforestation-free cultivation methods and eliminate land-use conversion. The funding, raised through green bonds, will provide incentives to 36 farmers for a year-long trial which should then be extended to four years. Farmers will receive incentives for making top-level commitments in the first instance, and then for delivering on them. The farmers set to participate in the scheme, called the ‘Responsible Commodities Facility’ (RCF) are located in Brazil’s Cerrado. An independent committee will oversee the management of the RCF and its environmental impacts. Sitting on the committee are the UN Environment Programme, The Nature Conservancy, BVRio, WWF, Conservation International, Proforest and the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia. (edie)


Unilever stops paying Ben & Jerry’s board members in Israel dispute

FMCG giant Unilever has ceased paying Ben & Jerry’s independent board members in an escalation of a dispute over the brand’s attempt to stop its products being sold in occupied Palestinian territories. Ben & Jerry’s retained its own independent board under an agreement following its takeover by Unilever in 2000. The five independent board members are not appointed by the parent group. Board members have accused Unilever of conducting a “pressure tactic” after the board sued its parent company for continuing to sell to an Israeli licensee. Ben & Jerry’s said it was inconsistent with the company’s values to trade within an “internationally recognised illegal occupation”. Unilever did not respond to questions related to board pay, but said the company reserved primary responsibility for financial and operational decisions. (Financial Times)*


Chile's Codelco reports accident at mine where worker died

Top global copper producer Codelco reported an accident at its Chuquicamata mine, weeks after a mishap killed a worker there and drew scrutiny to the Chilean state company’s safety practices. Although no one was hurt in the "operational incident," Codelco said it had launched an investigation to determine the cause. Social media images showed the rupture of the top of a structure at the mine. Codelco has been under pressure to improve safety policies since two people died at its mines in June, one at Chuquicamata. Mining regulator Sernageomin said that the national mining industry had deficiencies in safety protocols and had to improve practices. In a statement, the company said it would implement a contingency plan to “address operational continuity”. (Reuters)


Australian pension divests A$191m in oil, gas stakes in net-zero drive

Australian pension fund NGS Super said it had sold all its holdings in oil and gas companies, worth A$191 million ($133 million), in a drive to achieve a portfolio with net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. It is the first of Australia's 12 low-fee "industry" pension funds to totally divest from fossil fuel companies. Most of NGS Super's oil and gas holdings were in Australia's top two independent gas producers, with A$75 million worth of shares in Woodside Energy Group and A$50 million in Santos. The fund said that while it found ways to take advantage of short-term rallies in oil prices to boost returns while not holding oil and gas companies, it made sense to build a portfolio with companies that had clear plans to decarbonise. (Reuters)

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