G7 ‘must clean up supply chains’
Sixty NGOs, including Friends of the Earth Japan, Human Rights Watch and Rainforest Action Network, are calling on G7 countries to honour commitments to protect human rights and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain.
Despite pledges made at last year’s G7 summit, the issue of responsible supply chains is absent from the agenda at the upcoming meeting in Japan this month.
In its report Wilful Ignorance: How Japan’s voluntary approach is failing to stop the trade in illegal timber, Global Witness states that Japan remains the only G7 member that does not have a law prohibiting the import of illegal timber, despite being the world’s fourth largest importer of wood.
A bill that would create a voluntary system allowing companies to choose whether or not to check the legality of wood provenance is being fast-tracked by Japanese legislators. It would, however, leave companies under no obligation to stop dealing in illegal timber.
Asian consumer goods firms are trailing
Asian consumer goods companies are lagging behind their western counterparts on sustainable operations and supply chains, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says.
Its report “Asia Fast Moving Consumer Goods: A Sustainability Guide for Financiers and Companies” finds that consumer goods firms in Asia have low awareness of environmental and social business risks, with companies lagging behind international standards on sustainability.
The research analyses sustainability and annual reports from 26 Asian FMCG companies to better understand how three vital elements within their operations – water use, packaging and use of soft commodities such as palm oil – are being managed.
Jeanne Stampe, co-author of the report, says: “Corporate disclosure, investor engagement and due diligence by lending banks are low in the region, though this is starting to change.”
Qatar’s not-so-beautiful game
A report by Amnesty International has exposed the arduous conditions that migrant workers constructing Qatar’s World Cup stadium continue to endure.
The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game: Labour Exploitation on a Qatar 2022 World Cup Venue draws from interviews with 132 migrant construction workers employed on Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium, and 102 landscapers working in the sports complex surrounding it.
The report describes the Qatari government as "apathetic" towards evidence of abuse despite clear violation of national labour law.
The Gulf country government said in a statement: “Though many of the points raised by Amnesty have already been addressed through recent legislative changes, we are concerned by a number of allegations contained within the report. The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs intends to investigate the contractors named in the report.”
Tiger numbers on rise
The number of tigers in the wild around the world has increased for the first time in 100 years.
Figures drawn from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and national tiger surveys put the number of tigers living in the wild at 3,890, up almost 700 from 3,200 in 2010.
WWF says in 1900 around 100,00 tigers were thought to be living in the wild, but by 2000 97% of the population had been wiped out.
“Together with governments, local communities, philanthropists, and other NGOs, we’ve begun to reverse the trend in the century-long decline of tigers,” says Ginette Hemley, senior vice-president for wildlife conservation at WWF.