Family friendly Nestle, food waste targets, RBS "rip-off" loans and Adidas garbage shoes
Nestlé boosts parental leave
As of 2016, Nestlé is improving the parental leave benefits it extends to its 339,000 workers worldwide.
The food and drinks giant says it will offer 14 weeks of paid leave to primary carers, longer than most of its competitors and more than double its previous leave period of six weeks. Under the revised policy, parents will also be able to take an additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Judy Cascapera, chief people officer at Nestlé US, says the change was the result of the company wanting to improve the lives of its workers who often struggle to manage work and family, and to encourage breastfeeding.
With Vodafone’s recent plans to offer full pay for shorter working weeks to new mothers resuming work, and Virgin offering staff full pay for up to a year of parental leave, Nestlé is the latest in a string of companies to announce overhauls of their parental leave policies.
Big brands commit to halving food waste
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which counts some 400 retailer and manufacturer members including brands such as Procter & Gamble and Mars, has introduced a new Food Waste Resolution through which member companies are pledging to halve food waste within their global operations by 2025.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), more than a third of food produced globally for human consumption goes to waste.
“It is a tragedy that up to 2bn tonnes of food produced around the world is lost or wasted, never making it onto a plate,” says Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever and board co-sponsor of the CGF's sustainability programme. “At a time of growing food insecurity and climate change, this resolution marks a step change in industry leadership and is an important contribution to the longer-term sustainable development agenda.”
Not taking food for granted
RBS’s ‘rip-off’ loans
Channel 4’s investigative current affairs programme Dispatches and Debt Resistance UK, a body that specialises in exposing exploitative lending practices, have found RBS to have advanced more than £545m in high-cost risky loans to local authorities, costing taxpayers up to twice as much as standard infrastructure loans and pushing councils to cut services in order to repay the debts.
The loans, known as Lender Option Borrower Option (LOBO) loans, are high-risk financial instruments with excessive interest rates sometimes reaching 7%.
The situation was exacerbated by RBS’s use of “inverse floater” loans, a particularly complex form of LOBO, which not only carry more than twice the interest councils would otherwise be charged, but also include punitive break clauses, which would cost more than the sum of the loan should the council exit the arrangements.
Fionn Travers Smith, spokesman for ethical banking campaign Move Your Money, believes the bank “has been acting against public interest by flogging rip-off loans to cash-strapped councils”.
Adidas creates shoe from ocean garbage
Adidas has created a prototype for a shoe made almost entirely from reclaimed waste from the ocean.
Using innovative knitting technology, the German sporting apparel-maker has created a sneaker upper wholly made of yarns and filaments from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.
The concept for the eco-friendly shoe was born of a recent partnership between Adidas and Parley for the Oceans, an environmental organisation working to end ocean destruction.
“This partnership allows us to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes,” says Adidas global brands executive Eric Liedtke.
The shoe is the first in a line of ocean-waste products that Adidas plans to release this year.
Footwear from nets