Health, Safety and Environment

O2 Announces Sustainability Plan
Europe, Middle East and Africa

Mobile company O2 has announced a three-year sustainability plan, Think Big Blueprint (undated), which, amongst other things, outlines the company’s three key objectives, as follows:

  • Think Big for planet – “a commitment aiming to deliver carbon reductions for customers that are ten times greater than the impact of O2′s network”;
  • Think Big for customers – “an undertaking to help ten million people live in easier and more sustainable ways through O2′s products and services”, including to save 350,000 UK households over 300,000 tonnes of carbon;
  • Think Big for people – “a pledge to help one million young people to develop skills for life and lead community projects across the UK”, including to help over 600,000 young people develop skills through local community initiatives.

O2′s media release (7 February 2012)
(Source: O2)

Tesco to Try New Packaging to Reduce Food Waste
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Guardian reports that supermarket giant Tesco is set to trial new packaging in a bid to keep fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. Reportedly, according to Tesco’s estimates, the new packaging could save 1.6 million packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocado each year. The packaging reportedly contains a strip, developed by It’s Fresh Ltd, which absorbs ethylene, the hormone that causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy.
Guardian: Tesco trials new packaging to reduce food waste (7 February 2012)
(Source: Guardian)

Chemical Company Fined US$1.4 Million for Unlawful Use of Chemicals

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that chemical company Dover Chemical Corporation has agreed to pay a US$1.4 million penalty for the unauthorized manufacture of chemical substances at facilities in Dover (Ohio) and Hammond (Indiana). In addition to paying the fine, the company has stopped manufacturing short-chain chlorinated paraffins, which cause health risks, including genetic impacts, effects on the nervous system and cancer, and will also submit pre-manufacture notices to EPA for various medium-chain and long-chain chlorinated paraffin products.
DoJ’s media release (7 February 2012)
(Source: DoJ)

GM to Pay Almost US$24 Million to Settle Environmental Damage Claim

Reuters reports that General Motor Co, successor to the former General Motor Corp, has agreed to pay $23.8 million to settle liability arising out of the damage to the environment caused by the release of hazardous substances in New Jersey, Maryland and Missouri. The US Environmental Protection Agency will reportedly receive US$20.9 million of stock and warrants of General Motor Co, with an additional US$2.89 million to be provided for cleanup work at the sites.
Reuters: Old GM in $23.8 million U.S. environmental settlement (31 January 2012)
(Source: Reuters)

Supermarket Giant Tesco Drops Carbon Label Plans
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Guardian reports that supermarket giant Tesco has shelved plans to put carbon footprint labels on its products, citing the increased amount of work involved and the failure of other supermarkets to follow suit. Reportedly, in 2007, the company had pledged to put carbon labels on all of its 70,000 products, but has dropped the plans on the eve of a major report on retailers’ green programmes. A Tesco spokesperson reportedly stated that although the company was phasing out the carbon labels, “it still wanted to provide carbon information on products”, but did not specify how this would be done. On the other hand, a Carbon Trust representative stated that it is “disappointed that Tesco has decided to phase out over time the use of the label on cost grounds” as “[t]he annual sales value of goods carrying the label is some £3 billion”, reports the Guardian.
The Guardian: Tesco drops carbon-label pledge (30 January 2012)
(Source: The Guardian)