GREEN SHOOTS MARCH 2014

New pledge from Kellogg’s on sustainable palm

Kellogg’s has made a significant new commitment in the past month to the use of fully traceable palm oil – a boost to the global campaign to ensure that this ubiquitous ingredient is sourced responsibly without damage to forests, wildlife and communities. The Kellogg Company will require all its palm oil suppliers to be able to trace the ingredient to plantations independently verified as both legally compliant and conforming with all Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria.

This new commitment is in line with Kellogg’s CSR principles for protecting forests, peat lands and communities. By the end of 2015, the Kellogg Company will require all its palm oil suppliers to be able to trace the ingredient to plantations independently verified as compliant with RSPO principles and criteria.

Palm oil is a key ingredient in about half of all packaged foods as well as in a huge range of soaps, cosmetics and fuel products. Around 85% of the world’s palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. In some areas, its cultivation has created major issues in terms of deforestation and biodiversity damage, although a growing number of palm oil producers are now committing to responsible practice within the RSPO framework.

Other manufacturers making recent commitments to traceable palm oil include Mondelez, Unilever and the Hershey Company. Procter & Gamble last month found itself the target of a new global campaign by Greenpeace about its palm oil sourcing, particularly focused on the Head & Shoulders brand.

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Partnership with Tesco brings £10M for Diabetes UK

The first year of a fundraising partnership between Tesco and Diabetes UK has yielded around £10M for the charity in its first 12 months. The retailer has also announced it will extend the relationship until at least the end of 2014. The funds are being used for a range of educational, research and awareness programmes by Diabetes UK, including a new advertising campaign to encourage people to check their risk of Type 2 diabetes. The first 12 months of fundraising by Tesco staff have included all sorts of initiatives, including one Tesco finance manager rowing the Atlantic and raising £25,000 in the process!

Diabetes UK is using the money for its biggest-ever research programme into developing a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes. It has also been able to extend the hours of its UK Careline and launched its biggest ever awareness campaign about diabetes, using TV advertising and leaflets distributed in Tesco stores.

Tesco has now committed to continue the partnership at least until the end of 2014. Its previous charity partnership (with Cancer Research) raised £11.5M in one year.

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Branson’s Necker Island pioneers new energy project

The Virgin Group’s 74-acre Necker Island, long renowned as one of the most exclusive holiday havens in the Caribbean, has signed a new energy contract aimed at reducing its fuel consumption by up to 75% through new green solutions. Islands typically have some of the highest fuel costs in the world due to their dependence on imported diesel and heavy fuel oil – it is hoped that this project will serve as a case study to help remote island communities to move away from fossil fuel dependence. It should also slash Virgin’s fuel bill!

The Virgin Group has signed a new contract with energy firm, NRG, which should slash both the carbon footprint and the fuel costs of its exclusive Necker Island holiday retreat. Island nations typically have some of the highest fuel costs in the world because of their dependence on imported diesel and heavy fuel oil, with electricity costing up to 40 cents per kilowatt-hour (the mainland US price is typically around 11 cents).

NRG will create a new ‘microgrid’ on the island, initially installing around 2,500 solar panels. These will generate 600 kilowatts of power, more than the island typically needs in a day. Two container-sized lithium ion batteries will store excess energy for use during the night or on cloudy days. In the next phase of the project, wind turbines will also be installed.

It is hoped that this project will serve as a testing ground for green energy technologies as well as offering a good case study for other island nations and remote communities, helping them in their transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.

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Primark promises ‘toxic free’ supply chain

Fast fashion chain, Primark, has announced it is joining Greenpeace’s global ‘Detox’ campaign – signing a pledge to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its production processes and in its products by 2020. This involves increasing supply chain transparency, boosting due diligence procedures and working closely with suppliers, industry stakeholders and Greenpeace. The aim is to eliminate dangerous chemicals from the production process, handle by-products correctly, protect workers and prevent water pollution.

It is also the latest global fashion retailer to commit to the principles of Greenpeace’s Detox programme – twenty have signed up so far including Adidas, H&M, Puma, Mango, Uniqlo, Benetton and Zara. The Detox campaign is aimed at ‘toxic free fashion’ – reducing the need for toxic chemicals during clothing manufacture and particularly addressing the issues of water pollution.

Primark says its chemical management programme already complies fully with EU legislation. Its new commitments will focus on increasing supply chain transparency, boosting due diligence procedures with suppliers and working closely with industry stakeholders – including Greenpeace – to ban the use of all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain.

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New flapjack fundraiser for Pilgrim Bandits

Armed forces charity, Pilgrim Bandits, has come up with a novel new fundraising idea – launching its very own ‘Charity Bar’ in three flavours. Pilgrim Bandits aims to inspire and challenge wounded soldiers to take part in arduous expeditions, and to share their experiences with children and young people from underprivileged backgrounds. The flapjack style bar is the brainchild of one of the charity’s trustees.

Pilgrim Bandits was established by a group of Special Forces veterans in 2007, with the aim of challenging wounded soldiers to live life to the full and then use their experiences to inspire children and young people from underprivileged backgrounds. The charity’s patrons include Duncan Bannatyne OBE and Ben Parkinson MBE.

The new flapjack style bar is the brainchild of one of the charity’s trustees. It comes in three flavours, Original, Bakewell and Fudge. They are intended to be high in protein and carbohydrates – the ideal snack to keep you going during any tough physical challenge.

The bars will be sold through grocers and mainstream retailers, as well as used locally for regional fundraisers. All profits will go towards Pilgrim Bandits’ work to support Armed forces injured and amputees.

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Vodaphone makes good on recycled handsets

Vodaphone has made a new commitment to donate all the income it receives from recycled handsets to the implementation of its Vodaphone Foundation Instant Network. Instant Network is a new technology capable of restoring mobile communications to disaster zones within just 40 minutes of its deployment – aiding relief efforts and helping victims get in touch with friends and relatives.

The company says it will reuse or recycle as many as 300,000 phones this year, income from which will all be ploughed back into the work of the Vodaphone Foundation, particularly to facilitate the use of its ‘Instant Network’ by disaster relief charities.

Instant Network is an ultra-portable emergency communications network that packs into three cases weighing a total of less than 100kg. Emergency response partners such as Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) can then set up emergency communications equipment in a disaster zone and establish a new mobile network in less than 40 minutes.

The system was used successfully in February 2012, when the Kenya Red Cross requested assistance from the Vodafone Foundation in response to the severe drought affecting East Africa. A joint team were able to deploy the Vodafone Instant Network to the isolated region of Kaikor in Northern Kenya. The deployment lasted 47 days, during which time over a quarter of a million calls were made, including almost 12,000 free minutes by aid agencies. After a new permanent network was installed in April, the Vodafone Instant Network was closed down and the equipment donated to the Kenya Red Cross to use in future emergencies.

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And finally….check your change!

If you’re emptying collection boxes or buckets – watch out for the Kew Gardens 50p piece! This unusual version of the coin was released in 2009 to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. It is now classed by the Royal Mint as ‘incredibly rare’ – with good quality examples being snapped up by collectors for as much as £120!

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