Europe, Middle East and Africa

Biofuel Industry Split Over Environmental Impacts
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Reuters reports that a rift in the European biofuel production industry is emerging, with some producers calling on European Union (EU) policy-makers to regulate the indirect land use changes (ILUC) and negative environmental impacts associated with the expanding production of biofuel. Bioethanol industry body ePURE has reportedly written to EU climate and energy officials, calling for a policy that “penalizes crop-specific biofuels for their indirect side-effects”.

Reportedly, ILUC occurs when food crops are diverted to biofuel production, requiring rainforests to be cleared or peat land to be drained in order to create more arable land for food production. The effect of ILUC can consequently create as many emissions as it saves by reducing “carbon sinks” which absorb harmful emissions. Reportedly, biodiesel produced from European rapeseed, Asian palm oil and South American soy beans have a greater climate impact than diesel fuel, whilst bioethanol produced from corn, wheat and sugarcane produces comparatively fewer emissions. According to Reuters, EU policy makers are considering how to address ILUC as part of its target to increase biofuel use to 10% of all European road fuels by 2020.
Reuters: Industry split emerges over biofuels’ indirect impact (5 October 2011)
(Source: Reuters)

Investment Co Fined for Misleading FSA, Client Money Breaches
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Consumer Protection, Financial Integrity

The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Towry Investment Management Limited (Towry) £494,900 for misleading the FSA and for compliance breaches that “could have placed clients’ money at risk of potential loss or delay in distribution”. The FSA sent Towry a “Dear CEO” letter requesting the firm to ensure that it fully understood and was fully compliant with the FSA’s Client Asset Sourcebook (CASS) rules. Towry issued a response stating that it was fully compliant, but “failed to ensure the response was properly considered before submitting it to the FSA”. The FSA later discovered Towry to be in breach of the CASS rules, contrary to the misleading representations it made to the FSA.
FSA’s media release (29 September 2011)
(Source: FSA)

Six Convictions Over Advance Fee Fraud
Consumer Protection, Financial Integrity

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced that six individuals operating as Gresham Ltd (Gresham) have been successfully prosecuted in relation to a £4 million commercial loans advance fee fraud between 2006 and 2009. Three defendants who directed and operated the fraud, Edward Davenport, Peter Riley and Borge Anderson were convicted in May 2011 of conspiracy to defraud. On 5 October 2011, a solicitor and two professional advisors engaged by Gresham pleaded guilty to false representation and conspiracy to defraud. According to the SFO, this concludes the prosecution of the Gresham fraud, with all six defendants to be sentenced on 10 November 2011.
SFO’s media release (5 October 2011)
(Source: SFO)

EU Data Breach Notification to Come
Information Security, Privacy and Data Protection

 SC Magazine reports that it is almost certain that forthcoming proposals to reform European Union data protection laws will include mandatory breach notification requirements. Field Fisher Waterhouse partner Stewart Room reportedly noted that the requirements will necessitate a number of changes for businesses, including incident detection, internal incident reporting, and policy rewrites.

Additionally, the reforms are reportedly expected to make cloud providers, not the outsourcing company, liable for data breaches. Consequently, a de facto accreditation scheme is expected to ensue, though this might reportedly be used as a selling point for vendors.
SC Magazine: Data breach disclosure hits EU businesses (29 September 2011)
SC Magazine: EU cloud vendors liable for breaches (29 September 2011)
(Source: SC Magazine)

Gold Miners Sue Mining Company For Causing Illness
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues, Health, Safety and Environment

The Australian reports that close to 500 South African miners suffering from the lung disease silicosis are suing mining company Anglo American for compensation. The miners reportedly claim they were exposed to dangerous levels of dust in the company’s South African gold mines. According to The Australian, “black miners undertook the dustiest jobs underground, exposed to hazardous conditions not experienced by white employees”.
The Australian: Sick South African miners sue company (22 September 2011)
(Source: The Australian )