Top Stories

August 10, 2022


Garments from fashion giants found to be used in unregulated kilns

An investigation by Greenpeace’s investigative journalism arm Unearthed has found that garment waste from major fashion brands is being used to fuel unregulated kilns for brickmaking in Cambodia. Products from Ralph Lauren, Nike, Reebok, Michael Kors, Clarks, Next and Diesel were being used as feedstocks for industrial processing, often because the waste material is cheaper than wood. A separate study found that at least 23 kilns in the country were regularly burning garment waste. Unearthed heard evidence that fashion suppliers will place waste on trucks bound for landfill and pay for certification that it reached landfill. However, these trucks can be intercepted by those looking to buy garment waste to sell to kiln operators. Unregulated kilns contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, create toxic fumes, and are often manned in poor working conditions. (edie)


Tesla to improve water risk reporting after shareholder pressure

A shareholder resolution requesting that electric carmaker Tesla produces better quality information about water risks related to its manufacturing has passed with more than 63% of its independent shareholders voting in favour. The proposal, filed by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow includes regular assessment and reporting of water risk exposure, and clearer details around policies and practices to reduce risk. Specifically, it requests disclosures on how much water is used at each facility, with a list of location-specific targets to reduce use. Also requested were details on water risk scarcity identification and risk assessments for pre- and post-siting processes for manufacturing locations. The resolution also pressed Tesla for water risk assessments for the supply chain. However, as the resolution is non-binding, Tesla can still decline to disclose information without breaking agreement. (edie)


New Colombian tax bill aims at oil exports to fund social spending

Colombia’s government has proposed a tax reform bill which could raise $5.76 billion in 2023 to increase revenues for anti-poverty programmes. The government said the bill would eventually collect $11.53 billion annually for the government budget. The funds, raised by levying more charges on high-earning individuals and exports of coal and oil, will be directed toward an ambitious agenda of social programmes, including anti-hunger efforts, free public universities, and aid for elderly people without pensions. The reform will levy higher taxes on those earning more than $2,300 monthly, about 2% of Colombia’s population. It would instate a permanent wealth tax and charge a duty on the sale of shares. Exports of coal, oil and gold will see a 10% levy on income earned when each commodity exceeds certain price thresholds. (Reuters)


Levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in rainwater exceed safety levels

New research shows that rainwater in most locations on Earth contains levels of chemicals that “greatly exceed” safety levels. Synthetic substances called PFAS – known as forever chemicals – have been found to contaminate every environment on Earth. Researchers from Stockholm University argue it is essential that the use of these substances is rapidly restricted. Scientists fear PFAS may pose health risks including cancer, though current research is inconclusive. There are around 4,500 of these fluorine-based compounds and they are found in almost every dwelling on Earth in hundreds of everyday products, including food packaging, non-stick cookware, rain gear, adhesives, paper and paint. The study found that levels of PFAS in rainwater around the globe often exceed US drinking water advisory standards. The research found that soil around the world was similarly contaminated. (BBC News)


Almost quarter of UK consumers owe debt to energy providers

British consumer energy debt is already at an all-time high, a survey has found, with 6 million households owing an average of £206 to providers before bills rise in October and again in January. The UK is expecting an 82% rise in energy bills in October, with charities warning that millions of people could be forced into poverty if the government does not reach a multi-billion-pound support package to soften the blow. Energy bills rose by 54% in April and consumer website Uswitch said energy debt was already at an all-time high, with £1.3 billion owed to providers. Almost a quarter of households now owe at least £206, a sum that has risen by 10% in just four months. Uswitch added that 8 million households also have no credit balance at all. (Reuters)







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