Health, Safety and Environment

Company Group Psychology Could Cut Emissions
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Guardian reports that the same behavioural science that demonstrates that people are more likely to achieve a goal when they make a public commitment to do so, or to reduce their energy consumption when confronted with a more efficient neighbour’s bill, could be utilised to “nudge” UK businesses to adopt more energy efficient measures.

According to The Guardian, a new requirement for the UK’s largest 24,000 companies to publish their annual carbon emissions could be a crucial first step to promoting “behaviour economics” that would provide businesses with incentives to reduce their emissions.
The Guardian: Can the ‘nudge’ agenda help the UK’s businesses cut emissions? (2 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Efficient Use of Space Boosts Office Sustainability

The Guardian has reported that companies concerned about their carbon emissions are being encouraged to look at how efficiently they are using their day to day office space as a cost-effective way to improve their overall sustainability.

According to The Guardian, the Low Carbon Workplace partnership involving the not-for-profit company Carbon Trust has developed a unique method to create a Whole Building Carbon Regime in its Cutting workplace carbon, not competitiveness report (undated).

These measures reportedly include:

  • creating a carbon league table across all premises;
  • examining space utilisation;
  • linking carbon to energy consumption;
  • co-ordinating improvements;
  • using enhanced benchmarks; and
  • embedding stakeholder engagement in the strategy.

The Guardian: Increasing workplace efficiency and cutting carbon emissions (7 July 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Food Retailers Should Reduce Food Waste

The Guardian reports that food waste is becoming a major sustainability problem in the developed world, with an estimated 40% of produce in America going to landfill. The mounting food crisis caused by rising food prices and economic volatility will reportedly put further pressure on retailers to reduce waste, highlighting problems of distribution and efficiency in the food industry.
According to The Guardian, several retail factors contribute to excessive food waste, including large portion sizes, confusing best-before and use-by date labelling, regulations that prevent surplus food being donated to charity and marketing strategies that encourage consumers to buy in bulk when it is unrealistic to consume the quantity before it spoils.
The Guardian: Food retailers must do more to reduce food waste (26 July 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Sustainability Requires Co-operation, Not Competition

The Guardian reports that “zero-sum competition”, a competition model which involves one side winning customers from another, is an “enemy of sustainability”. Reportedly, industries locked in price wars need to rise above this business model in order to achieve shared environmental, social and economic goals.

The pressure to drive down prices reportedly forces suppliers to cut corners, often at the expense of the environment, society or both. According to The Guardian, this form of competition removes incentives to develop and share environmentally and socially responsible innovations, rather than encouraging companies to co-operate in “grow[ing] and provid[ing] solutions to enable the global pursuit of sustainability”.
The Guardian: Zero-sum competition makes business unsustainable (8 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Shell accepts millions in liability for Nigerian pipeline incident
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Guardian reports that oil company Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has accepted liability for the double rupture of the Bodo-Bonny trans-Niger pipeline in 2008, which destroyed a 20 kilometre network of creeks and inlets and devastated a Nigerian community of 69,000 people. According to The Guardian, the admission exposes the company to millions of dollars in compensation claims and the potential for other impoverished communities affected by the pollution to seek damages against the company. Shell is reportedly responsible for an average of three oil spills a day in the Niger delta, with estimates that over 13 million barrels of oil have been spilt since the company commenced its operations.
The Guardian: Shell accepts liability for two oil spills in Nigeria (3 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Related media and news items:
Leigh Day & Co’s media release (3 August 2011)
BBC News: Ogoniland oil spills: Shell admits Nigeria liability (3 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian; Leigh Day & Co; BBC News)