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Record number of land defenders killed in 2015
A report by NGO Global Witness has revealed that 2015 was the worst year on record for killings of land and environmental defenders: people struggling to protect their land, forests and rivers.
On Dangerous Ground documents 185 killings across 16 countries - by far the highest annual death toll on record - equating to more than three people being killed everyweek in 2015.
The worst-hit countries were Brazil, where 50 killings were recorded, the Philippines with 33 deaths and Colombia, where 26 people lost their lives defending land, forests and rivers against destructive industries.
Conflicts over mining were the number one cause of killings, with agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and logging also key drivers of violence. The report also indicates that almost 40% of victims were from indigenous groups.
‘Canon among worst ICT firms for forced labour’
KnowTheChain has ranked 20 information and communications technology firms on efforts to combat forced labour in their supply chains.
In its findings, the NGO states that while 18 of the 20 companies have a public commitment to address forced labour, far fewer have the policies and practices in place to do so.
Of the 20 global ICT companies evaluated in seven categories, which included worker voice, traceability and risk assessment, monitoring, and remedy, the average score was 39 out of a possible 100.
The research found great disparity among companies’ overall scores. HP and Apple were ranked highest, with a score of 72 and 62, respectively, while BOE Technology, Canon and Keyence had the lowest ranking, with scores under 15 points.
Five foodstuffs produce more GHGs than most countries
Research by Oxfam has revealed that rice, soy beans, corn, wheat and palm oil together generate more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any country’s individual footprint, with the exception of emissions from the US and China.
In its report, Feeding Climate Change, Oxfam says companies cultivating these five commodities need to make drastic emissions cuts. Otherwise, the Paris Agreement’s target to reach “net-zero” emissions by the middle of the century and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will not be met.
Emissions from farm soils are highlighted as a major contributor to climate change. For example, methane produced by flooded rice paddies and nitrous oxide from the use of fertilisers are some of the “super-pollutants” produced by farm soils which, the report states, are as damaging to the environment as those produced by deforestation to create new farmland.
The food industry is responsible for about 25% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the biggest drivers of climate change.
New toolkit for businesses to combat modern slavery
Stronger Together, a multi-stakeholder initiative working to reduce modern slavery, has launched a best practice toolkit to help consumer goods companies tackle modern slavery in their global supply chains.
The tool will provide the industry with free-of-charge practical resources and training based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework and help businesses comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act requirements, which include transparency in supply chains.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability policy at the British Retail Consortium,says:“This latest tool builds on existing retailer best practice on responsible sourcing and is specifically designed to tackle criminal activity that exploits vulnerable workers in supply chains."
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index report, nearly 46 million people are subject to some form of slavery today.
NGOwatch supply chains Environment Child labour slave labour NGO forced labour climate change deforestation sustainability transparency