Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: 15th April 2015

15 Apr 2015

Here you will find a round-up of all the latest news and events in mechanisms from around the world. 

Fairtrade

  • A reminder that researchers and stakeholders have just a few more weeks to contribute to a consultation process for the Fairtrade Textile Standard, which is under development. Despite many companies in the garment industry changing their practices, particularly following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, there has not been sufficient industry-wide change to the conditions of textile workers. The current draft of the standard focuses on requirements relating to unionization and freedom of association, environmental regulation and workers' health and safety. The consultation runs until May 8, and will inform the final development of the standard.
  • The Canadian Fair Trade Network has begun campaign to raise awareness around the condition of garment workers by featuring the stories of workers printed on clothing labels. Find out about the campaign here.
  • Fairtrade has launched a new 'Fairtrade Sourcing Program' (FSP), which allows manufacturers to buy single commodities on Fairtrade terms (such as cocoa, sugar or cotton) and then carry a new FSP logo conditional that they source 100% of the specific Fairtrade ingredient. Under previous schemes, companies had to ensure all ingredients in a product were certified (such as a Mars bar) to earn labelling certification. Read the debate over this new standard here.

Sri Lankan garment workers. Source: Wikipedia

Sustainable business

  • The Environmental Leader recently reported that despite an increase in corporate sustainability initiatives across a range of sectors, there was a paucity in solid data and analytics. Analysis by Lux Research also found that while reporting on emissions reductions and electricity usage had increased, (through schemes such as the Carbon Disclosure Project) corporate reportage on areas such as water usage was lacking.
  • A conference for the UN's Principles for Responsible Investment initiative gave prominence to the concept of 'natural capital'. Indicators around natural capital can be used to understand and manage financial risks. Read more about natural capital in this blog by the IIED's senior researcher in environmental economics, Essam Yassin Mohammed. The conference also discussed the 'Montreal Pledge' – a measure designed to increase company disclosure of carbon footprinting. Currently, 39 financial institutions have signed the pledge.

Mining

  • The Cambodian Government have announced plans to decentralise the licensing of small-scale miners and dredgers to provincial authorities, away from the central Ministry of Mines and Energy. Combined with new training to promote environmental protection and safety, the Minister Meng Saktheara said that provincial mining authorities "will have the right to monitor, review and evaluate artisanal mining operations once they are registered." However, concerns have been raised by some provincial governments as to whether they will have sufficient capacity to manage the new responsibilities.

Fisheries

  • The World Bank has announced a series of grants to promote marine conservation and sustainable fisheries. Dispersed among five international organisations, and totalling US$ 9.17 million, the grant funding will go to organisations such as the Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organisation, Conservation International, the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries agency, as well as the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Wildlife Fund.

Fishers in Bangladesh. Source: Wikipedia

Carbon pricing

  • The framework for negotiations around a carbon market stability reserve was signed off by EU Parliamentarians recently. Flagged for a 2021 start date, the reserve would act as a price buffer, removing surplus allowances from the European emissions trading market and placing them into reserve, to be fed back into the system should it be later decided that there was too few allowances. The overall aim is to stabilise prices and limit the impact of shocks from broader economic trends or downturns.