Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

German Sportswear Co Tops Ethical Companies List

The CNN reports that German sportswear company Puma has ranked number one in a sustainability report produced by British-based corporate research company EIRIS. Reportedly, factors considered included companies’ “social, environmental and governance risks and impacts, taking into consideration human rights and supply chain [labour] standards”. The report noted that Puma has shown “a strong environment record and demonstrates improvements in supply chain [labour] standards”, reports the CNN. On the other hand, the lowest performing companies reportely included ExxonMobil and Chevron. Apple too received a poor grade “because of its links to suppliers in other countries with human rights and [labour] issues”, reports the CNN.

CNN: Puma takes bite out of Apple to head ethical business list (3 May 2012)
(Source: CNN)

Nike Sets Bigger CSR Targets

Nike has released its FY10-11 Sustainable Business Performance Summary, which contains its corporate social responsibility targets as well as key challenges in implementing these aims. Reportedly, the company “also unveiled its new factory rating system, the Manufacturing Index, which looks comprehensively at a contract factory’s total performance and includes a deeper look at how a factory approaches sustainability”. Within the Manufacturing Index, Nike has reportedly developed a Sourcing and Manufacturing Sustainability Index, “which assesses contract factory performance on sustainability measures including measures of lean, environmental performance (including water, energy and carbon, and waste), health and safety, and [labour] management factors” and is now being put into action.

Nike’s 2011 CSR achievements reportedly include a decrease in factory audits showing serious and repeat violations, Human Resource Management training in 76 out of 98 factories, and a 6% decrease in CO2 emissions between 2008 and 2011 “despite a 20[%] increase in production”. Yahoo Finance reports that Nike now intends to implement further CSR measures in relation to product design, cut CO2 emissions by 20% by 2015, source labour “only from contracted factories that demonstrate their commitment to workers and sustainability” by 2020, “[a]chieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals for all products … by 2020″ and improve efficient water use. The company reportedly also intends to cut waste by 10% by 2015 and “[i]nvest a minimum of 1.5[%] of pre-tax income in communities annually”.

Yahoo Finance: NIKE, Inc. Introduces New Targets Elevating Sustainable Innovation Within Business Strategy (3 May 2012)
(Source: Yahoo Finance)

Energy and Car Companies Collaborate to Boost Electric Vehicles in Spain
Europe, Middle East and Africa

Gamesa Corporation (Gamesa) has announced that it has agreed to collaborate with Toyota Spain (Toyota) “to boost the use of electric vehicles in Spain”. The agreement involves Toyota “lending Gamesa a plug-in hybrid vehicle for a six-month period so it can test and verify the car’s technology, identify potential limiting factors and analyse its charging requirements in order to facilitate the mass market rollout of vehicles of this nature in Spain in the near term”. Gamesa will then test drive the Prius Plug-in in urban areas as well as at a wind farm and provide the data to Toyota for the purposes of furthering its energy-saving initiatives. According to Toyota Spain president and CEO Jacques Pieraerts, the Prius Plug-in produces no emissions and requires no fuel yet provides “the unlimited driving range of a hybrid vehicle with a petrol engine”.

Gamesa’s media release (24 April 2012)
(Source: Gamesa)

World Bank Achieves Huge Reductions in Environmental Footprint

The World Bank has announced that it has greatly reduced its carbon footprint since 2006, stating that it has “cut greenhouse gas emissions from its US-based facilities by 7[%], water usage by 54[%], and paper by 47[%]“. Furthermore, the bank plans to “reduce the amount of waste going to landfill through a communication campaign for staff, and further integrate sustainability into its corporate procurement”. Other corporate social responsibility (CSR) achievements include being ranked as the highest-performing donor in the 2010 fiscal year, in a study conducted by a United Kingdom coalition of civil society organisations, and leading the way in “[i]nnovative financing flows for climate-smart investment” with the issuance of Green Bonds. World Bank staff have also actively participated in community service in Washington DC.

Further information from the World Bank’s CSR Division
World Bank’s media release (3 May 2012)
(Source: World Bank; World Bank’s CSR Division)

Hess to Install Pollution Controls and Pay Fine for Clean Air Act Violations

The United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that global energy company Hess Corporation (Hess) “has agreed to pay an [US]$850,000 civil penalty and spend more than [US]$45 million in new pollution controls to resolve Clean Air Act [CAA] violations at its Port Reading, N.J., refinery”. The pollution controls will greatly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause breathing difficulties like asthma and environmental issues like smog. As well as the pollution controls, the settlement requires “more stringent emission limits, and aggressive monitoring, leak-detection and repair practices to reduce emissions from refinery equipment and processing units”. The US Government’s complaint against Hess “alleged that the company made modifications to its refinery that increased emissions without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing required pollution control equipment”, which is a breach of the CAA.
Further information from the DoJ
Further information from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) #1
Further information from the EPA #2
(Source: DoJ; Government Printing Office; EPA)