Various “green” news from the past week.
Biofuels could lead to serious environmental damage due to being grown on precious farmland and using vast amounts of water.
Asda is asking customers to return excess packaging to its stores so that it can put pressure on producers to reduce waste. It is piloting a scheme in York and Dewsbury where it will ask shoppers to leave excess packaging in bins in front of the stores, with the results being shown to manufacturers.
The Independent reports that more than 100 MPs have backed its campaign against excessive packaging. A Commons motion condemning large quantities of wasted plastic and paper, and urging manufacturers to cut their use of packaging has been signed by 112 MPs from all parties. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that food standards officers have attacked manufacturers for using excess packaging in order to make their biscuits, sweets and cakes look bigger.
From May 1st, the market town of Modbury in Devon is banning all shoppers from using plastic carrier bags. People will instead be provided with biodegradable cornstarch, recyclable paper or reusable cotton and jute bags.
Following investment of Â£2m in a fleet of vehicles which run on electricity, LPG or a biodiesel mix, PODs is claiming it is the UK’s first green courier, with the company also having made environmental investments at its headquarters. PODs has ordered a number of Modec electric delivery vans.
A credit card is to be launched through a tie-up between the Woodland Trust and The Co-operative Bank. The Trust will receive a Â£20 donation for every account opened before 20 June 2007, and for every account opened after this date, it will receive Â£15. For every Â£100 spent on the card, the Trust will receive a Â£0.25 donation.
The Financial Times reports that the Food Standards Agency yesterday revealed that it had discovered some 10 per cent of so-called “wild” sea bass sold at supermarkets and fish markets, including Harrod’s, Asda and Sainsbury’s, was actually farmed. The announcement, made as the agency released the findings of its first “food authenticity” investigation, is expected to result in a crackdown on food which is apparently mislabelled as organic.
The Daily Mail featured an article commenting on the Waste and Resources Action Programme, a scheme which has an Â£8mn budget to help retailers reduce their production, storage and transportation costs. Companies which have successfully applied for funding include Argos, Asda, Tesco, Co-op and Marks & Spencer.
Transport for London (TfL) of the UK has said that it is aiming to have 50 hybrid buses in operation by the end of 2008 and 900 by 2012, with talks currently underway with six to seven manufacturers. TfL is expected to take delivery of a further Wright Gemini HEV double-deckers by the end of 2007 and is due to sign a contract soon with an unnamed company, thought to be MAN, for ten hydrogen-fuelled double-deckers to be delivered in 2008.
The Sunday Times featured a series of articles discussing the Corporate Responsibility Index. Marks & Spencer was named Business in the Community’s Company of the Year, and was recognised for making sustainability and corporate citizenship an integral part of the company’s brand. Waitrose was recognised for selling 18,000 different products sourced from 1,500 suppliers in more than 60 countries, all of which must sign up to the ethical and environmental requirements of its Responsible Sourcing Principles. B&Q is selling wind turbines and solar panels. J Sainsbury is recognised for long term engagement with communities including the Local Heroes programme, in which store staff are recognised for the contribution they make to local communities and charities.