Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 24, 2013 06:45 PM
The spotlight on global retailers sourcing product from Bangladesh just got brighter as another garment factory collapse in Bangladesh has killed 96 people and injured more than 1,000 in Savar, 20 miles outside of Dhaka. It’s the latest in a series of horrific accidents and fires plaguing Bangladesh's booming garment industry, including last November’s Tazreen factory blaze that killed 112 workers.
In Savar, factory owners reportedly ignored a warning about a crack in the building and an advisement to not allow workers into the five garment factories housed there, which employ mostly women. "There was some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor," said Muhammad Anisur Rahman, according to Reuters. "The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory."
Rahman said his firm was sub-contracted to supply Walmart stores and Europe's C&A, but subsequently said he was referring to a past order rather than current work. Reuters reports that website New Wave, owner of two factories in the building, listed 27 majority buyers, with firms in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the United States.Continue reading...
Posted by Kristen Van Nest on April 17, 2013 12:20 PM
Last year, Starbucks declared its support of same-sex marriage, which resulted in a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage. The coffee chain hasn't backed down one bit, however, as CEO Howard Schultz continues to blur the line between business and the personal lives of his millions of customers.
At a recent annual shareholders meeting, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder and founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage organization, suggested the boycott had a negative impact on first quarter sales and earnings. The ever-outspoken CEO swiftly responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision... The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."
Schultz then told Strobhar he was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. While the remarks seem brazen, Starbuck’s stance on hot-button political issues and support of equal rights for its employees have been a part of the brand’s long-term strategy to increase internal brand engagement and decrease turnover. What's more, taking a position on causes that affect its workforce has had a positive impact on its bottom line.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 12, 2013 04:34 PM
AT&T has landed at top spot on CR Magazine's 14th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, beating out other top Russell 1000 large-capitalization companies on merits including human rights and corporate governance.
Rounding out the top 10 on the new list: Mattel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eaton Corp, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck & Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Coca-Cola.
The ranking crunches 298 data points of disclosure and performance measures across seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance and philanthropy.
Notably, 26 companies on the 2013 list were not on the 2012 list, while 11 companies have appeared on the list every year since 2007. For those that were bestowed the honor, many were quick to highlight the significance of employee participation to the success of the company's initiatives.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 8, 2013 11:41 AM
What North Americans know as moose and Europeans call elk apparently make a tasty meal. Since January, consumers in Europe and Asia could find the animal’s meat in lasagna sold at the Swedish furniture giant's stores. But recently there has apparently been a little something else in IKEA’s Elk Lasagna that consumers weren’t aware of: pork.
This isn't the first meat mix-up that IKEA has dealt with, as the company was one of several retailers implicated in the horse meat scandal that has swept across Europe. IKEA has been forced to remove its famed Swedish meatballs from its restaurants and frozen food aisles, and adding to its meat woes, the brand has just pulled nearly 18,000 units of its elk lasagne from its stores and websites after authorities in Belgium discovered the product contained a percentage of pork meat.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 29, 2013 10:33 AM
Plenty of people in developing nations can get their hands on Coca-Colas, but they can’t seem to always get themselves the right medicine to keep one in nine children from dying before the age of five. Something wasn’t quite right with that equation and nonprofit ColaLife found a way to right the imbalance: ship the medical products with the Coke. The first test of this will take place in Zambia, Africa.
“Utilizing a new packaging technique, ColaLife aims to distribute ‘social products,’ such as oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements, to help sick children in need of medication,” Fox News reports. “The medication will be packaged in newly developed AidPods, which are wedge-shaped to fit in-between the necks of the Coke bottles in a crate of Coca-Cola.” Not only do the AidPods carry micronutrients and supplies to fight dehydration, but they also become water-sterilization containers when emptied out.
Certainly it behooves Coke to get involved in such a project since cola companies in general take a beating about marketing their sugary products to children. Coke has been immersed in an anti-obesity campaign that promotes exercise and healthy eating and, of course, drinking Coke.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 12, 2013 03:38 PM
Danone, Unilever and Nestlé top the list in the first edition of the global Access to Nutrition Index as the three best global brands offering products that address obesity and poor nutrition.
The report reviews 25 of the world's major food and beverage manufacturers across corporate nutrition-related policies, formulation of healthier, affordable products, informative nutrition labeling and responsible marketing.
"Obesity and undernutrition affect billions of people and threaten a global health catastrophe,” said Inge Kauer, Executive Director of ATNI. “The Access to Nutrition Index is an urgent call to action for food and beverage manufacturers to integrate improved nutrition into their business strategies.”
The Index, developed by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, a non-profit with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, ranked the top 10:Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 1, 2013 04:38 PM
The horse meat scandal is spreading across Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, seizing media attention and making retailers and consumers squeamish at the thought of what could be in their meat.
Four beef products sold by Bird's Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA as the Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducts a third wave of tests.
An aptly titled article, "Having a cow over chow," asks, “What is it about horses? Over in Europe, everyone is happily munching on frozen lasagnas and shop-bought meals from various supermarkets, knowing it has all kinds of dodgy cuts of beef in it. But when it emerges they contain horse meat, everybody gags…Consumers need to ask themselves: When you buy something cheap, why is it so cheap? The answer is often uncomfortable to swallow.”
The FSA is asking retailers to test beef products for the presence of more than 1 percent of horse meat. Specific products in the headlines include Birds Eye's Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagna (removed by the company from store shelves last week), Brakes' Spicy Beef Skewer and Taco Bell's ground beef.
"Once we learned of this issue, we immediately voluntarily tested our product for our three Taco Bell restaurants in the UK,” said a spokesperson for the company, which has posted a response to the horse meat crisis on its UK website. "Based on that testing, we learned ingredients supplied to us from one supplier in Europe tested positive for horse meat."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 28, 2013 11:27 AM
In what seems like impeccable timing, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke delivered a sustainability-focused keynote at the annual City Food Lecture in the U.K., ultimately challenging the accusations made about the company in a damning Oxfam report earlier this week.
The speech, which focused on the escalating perils of water scarcity, outlined that fresh water overuse poses a serious environmental, political and social hazard. Water is an issue near and dear to his heart, as the Swiss company is the world's No. 3 producer of bottled water, and looking to expand in water-constrained markets such as China.
“It is anticipated that there will be up to 30% shortfalls in global cereal production by 2030 due to water scarcity,” he said. “This is a loss equivalent to the entire grain crops of India and the United States combined.” What's more, he added, “We could produce what we produce today with half the water we use.”
In his address, Bulcke cited his company’s reduction of water usage by a third with 1,200 agronomists working with Nestlé to better manage its water use. Bulcke also commented that consumer acceptance of misshapen fruit and vegetables is necessary to cut waste of food products, as well as spoke out against the fuel industry for using food crops to create biofuels.
Bulcke also took the opportunity to further address the horse meat crisis affecting retailers such as IKEA and manufacturers in Europe, a crisis that compelled Nestle to pull some food products off store shelves last week. “Widespread fraud is being committed by a few across Europe. I understand that many consumers and many of you in the industry feel misled, I feel the same. This should not happen, it is unforgivable. We have let our consumers down.”Continue reading...