Monday, 23 April 2012

Chevron fined for Amazon pollution

The US oil giant Chevron has been fined $8.6bn (£5.3bn) by a court in Ecuador for polluting the country’s Amazon region. Campaigners claim that the company dumped billions of gallons of toxic materials into the Amazon rivers damaging crops and killing farm animals. The company has also been told it will have to pay a 10% legally mandated reparations fee, which brings the total penalty to $9.5bn (£5.9bn). However, Chevron has condemned the ruling as fraudulent, and has said it would appeal. Pablo Fajardo, lawyer for the plaintiffs, described the court ruling as ‘a triumph of justice over Chevron's crime and economic power. This is an important step but we're going to appeal this sentence because we think that the damages awarded are not enough considering the environmental damage caused by Chevron here in Ecuador,’ he told the BBC.

Princes new policy on sustainable fishing

The UK’s biggest supplier of canned Tuna, Princes, has announced that it will source its fish from more sustainable supplies after heavy lobbying by the environmental group Greenpeace. A proportion of Princes’ tuna will now come from ‘pole and line’ fishing. From 2014 its tuna will come from fleets that do not use fish aggregating devices, which can kill other types of marine life such as dolphins.

Salmon’s role in defining Canadian ecosystems

According to the publication Science, pacific salmon play an important role in delivering nutrients to part of the world’s largest old-growth temperate rainforest. The annual migration of salmon to western Canada to spawn provides food for bears and wolves, which then transport the carcasses away from the streams into forested areas. In turn, this allows nutrient-rich plants to thrive in such areas, adding to biodiversity there. "Along the Pacific coast, all salmon die after spawning so carcasses can line rivers, but many of them are killed before by bears and wolves," explained co-author John Reynolds, professor of ecology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada. "This adds up to a huge amount of nutrients being dumped into the stream or on to the banks," he added.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Will ethical consumers sustain their values in times of economic hardship?

A key question for providers of fair trade products is whether ethical consumers will sustain their values in the face of scepticism, apathy and more difficult financial times. Or whether demand for ethical product and services will decline. Indeed, one of the main challenges is how ethical businesses can continue to engage with consumers with a social conscience and ensure their continued business [read more]

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Big increase in sales of fuel efficient cars

Rising fuel prices have encouraged more people to buy low emission, fuel efficient cars according to the motor industry body SMMT. In fact, 47% of cars sold in 2011 emitted less than 130g per km, an increase of 11% since 2007.

Average emissions from new cars sold in 2011 stood at 138.1g/km. The average must fall below 130g/km by 2015, then below 95g/km by 2020, in line with European Union regulation.

New or nearly new cars are now so fuel efficient that, combined with the current high cost of petrol and diesel, switching from an old, thirsty model often pays for itself. And it is not only private car buyers who have cottoned on to this. Demand for fuel efficient cars has also soared amongst fleet buyers.

Both fleet and private car buyers realise this, so demand for fuel efficient cars has soared.

There are other savings too, such as road tax and insurance, which are typically lower for low emission cars. Many green insurance companies also now offer discounts for drivers of low emission and fuel efficient cars.

Taken in combination, the savings from driving a low emission car can be significant.