Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: September 16th 2015

16 Sep 2015

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

Farming

  • An investigation by the BBC of tea producers in India has exposed extreme and dangerous working conditions. These included lack of sanitary working sites and unsafe working practices, for instance related to pesticide use. On one estate owned by global producer, McLeod Russel, the manager admitted there is a "huge backlog of repairs". Companies supplied by McLeod Russel include Twinings, Lipton, PG Tips and Tetley. A number of the estates were producers for companies signed up the Ethical Tea Partnership, a UK initiative, and the global Rainforest Alliance certification. Director of the Rainforest Alliance Edward Millard said that: "Clearly an auditing process, because it rests on an annual inspection, is not going to be perfect." He said that any estates found to be employing child labour or unsafe practices would be decertified.

Mining

  • Is the Kimberley Process (KP), which aims to prevent sales of conflict diamonds, still working? The KP has been incorporated into legislation in 81 countries, and covers 99.8 per cent of the global rough diamond trade. However, there is a need for the KP to address other systemic problems. These include human rights abuses, and the environmental impacts of production. Read this analysis of the challenges faced by the KP in addressing these problems.

Fairtrade bananas. Source: Wikipedia

Fairtrade

  • There was a massive increase in sales of Fairtrade bananas in 2014. Compared with the previous year there was an 18 per cent jump. Fairtrade reported that this was part of a broader growth in Fairtrade sales, with a 10 per cent increase across products carrying the Fairtrade label.  Lagging Fairtrade markets in the UK were offset by increases in Sweden, Germany, Canada and Hong Kong. 
  • The story of how the Nsangano gold mine in Tanzania will soon be supplying Fairtrade Gold to the UK market attests to shifts in the industry. However, there are still challenges to address, with consumers not fully aware of the existence of Fairtrade Gold. This may change with the increasing proliferation of designers and brands, now standing at 200, willing to bring Fairtrade Gold to the UK market. 

Supply chains

  • The pursuit of socially-responsible supply chains is increasingly imperative to business success around the globe. Analysis by Marie Wilke, a lawyer working in conflict minerals regulation, has pointed to a number of rules and regulations emerging to impel companies to identify risks in their supply chains and implement strategies to address any concerns. These include national and regional laws like the UK Modern Slavery Act, the US Dodd-Frank-Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. She argues that such processes have emerged from a focus on due-diligence within organisations like the OECD. The OECD has been working towards tools that address specific risks within five selected sectors: minerals supply chains, textile and garments, agricultural, extractives and finance. 

Forest in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Source: Wikpedia

Fishing

  • A new pilot project launched at the World Seafood Congress aims to create more sustainable tuna fisheries in Indonesia. The project will help Indonesian pole-and-line and handline tuna fishers join the Proactive Vessel Register (PVR), and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation. The PVR allows buyers to check if vessels are fishing sustainably, according to certain criteria, including size of the vessel, and whether or not it has appeared on an illegal fishing list. The pilot Project will continue until February 2016. The Indonesian Government has committed to having all its vehicles registered over the coming 3 years. 

Forests

  • Sri Lanka is embracing the UN REDD+ programme to combat deforestation and forest degradation. The UN is supporting Sri Lanka to develop a national REDD+ plan. It aims to improve land management, increase environmental services, conserve biodiversity and minimize natural disaster risk. President Maithripala Sirisena attended a recent launch of the REDD+ Sri Lanka website, with subsequent meetings and workshop to drive the initiative in the country.