Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: August 3rd 2015

03 Aug 2015

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

Forests

  • What can certification schemes do to create sustainable and ethical palm oil production? Researchers have criticised the 'Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil'— a palm oil certification scheme – for 'greenwashing'. The researchers argue that for the RSPO to work countries need to have strong regulations and monitoring systems, and an active civil society. These are often lacking in developing countries. Furthermore, palm oil consumers aren’t demanding RSPO certified palm oil in sufficient quantities to drive a price premium to incentivise sustainable production. This necessitates a need to raise greater awareness of the need for sustainable palm oil production.

Palm oil plantation in Indonesia. Source: Wikipedia

Climate finance

  • A number of climate finance experts have cautioned that the primary UN finance vehicle to disperse funds to developing nations – the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – may not have the necessary transparency processes to guard against corruption or misuse of funds. Saleemul Huq of the IIED said that for many funds “It’s very hard to know who is giving money to whom" and the GCF must ensure it didn’t follow bad practice, echoing calls from NGO Transparency International. 

Fisheries

  • Five of Europe's largest companies with interests in fisheries have committed to full transparency of their supply chains, along with data on their sustainability processes. Dubbed the 'Ocean Disclosure Project', the five companies: Asda, Morrisons, Co-operative Food, Biomar and Skretting have been brought together through the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, an NGO working to raise transparency in the seafood industry. 

Coral reef, vulnerable to bleaching. Source: Wikipedia

Certification

  • The International Institute for Sustainable Development have launched a dedicated webpage for their 'State of Sustainability Initiatives' review – a comprehensive look at the characteristics, performance and market trends of sustainability initiatives. See here for more info.
  • The Carbon Trust, has launched a 'Standard for Water' aimed at improving organisations' consumption and reducing water waste. Companies like Sainsburys, Coca-Cola, AzkoNobel and Branston have become some of the first companies to gain recognition for their water sustainability standards.
  • Companies are gaining certification for ingredients in their products, but are not advertising these credentials; whether Fairtrade, organic or broader sustainability standards. According to research by the IISD, only 35 percent of Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or UTZ certified cocoa bears the appropriate logo. A range of reasons have been cited by the researchers, including companies only revealing certification when wanting to create a niche product – with a premium attached. To read more about this trend, see here.

Ethical trade

  • Ethically produced Footballs may now be more readily available, with a Scottish co-operative partnering with manufacturers in Pakistan (where 70 percent of the world's hand-stitched footballs are produced). Average annual wages for Pakistani workers are £700, something which the partnership aims to address, with price premiums and funding for health and education programmes in local communities.