11 May 2010

Companies called to account on China supply chain pollution; and other business, supply chain and government news

Top Stories

Global IT brands urged to be more accountable for pollution in China supply chain.reliability high.
"Vodafone, BT and 27 other leading technology companies must do more to come clean about the potentially dirty and dangerous side of their manufacturing operations in China, according to a new investigation into heavy metal poisoning in the supply chains of global IT brands. The investigation – carried out by a coalition of 34 Chinese environmental groups – traced a link between lead and cadmium contamination cases and the production of materials for mobile phone batteries and computer circuit boards for foreign companies." See story in The Guardian. [Is your mobile phone poisoning people in China?]

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Can BP's connections help?reliability high.
"With millions of dollars invested in campaign donations and an all-star lobbying team, BP executives could give an advanced class in how to build influence in Washington. But with millions of gallons of leaking oil bearing down on Gulf Coast beaches and bayous, they could also teach how to lose it. Even pro-oil Republicans — whose 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, made "Drill, Baby Drill!" a party rallying cry — are demanding answers. At least for the moment, it appears that whatever clout BP has accrued, the oil company is unlikely to get delicate handling from lawmakers investigating the oil rig disaster when oversight hearings begin this week on Capitol Hill. ... BP-related campaign and lobbying spending makes the political outlays of Toyota, another major foreign-based company under investigation by Congress for its failings on safety issues, look feeble by comparison." Story at Yahoo Green from AP. [This is when that investment can really pay off for BP. On the other hand, politicians who took BP cash now have some explaining to do. Politicians are good at explaining.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Indian Cos jittery as govt plans import of solar power tools.reliability high.
"The government’s decision to import solar power equipment for its flagship clean energy  programme has run into strong opposition from domestic equipment makers, who have argued that it will open up the floodgates for import of cheaper and sub-standard equipment from China. The government is contemplating import of cells (photo voltaic) and modules from other countries for the its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. 'The national solar mission, which will be implemented using Indian taxpayers money, is somehow becoming the reason for many countries to dump their untested, sub-standard solar products in the country,' said Ajay Prakash Shrivastava, president, Maharishi Solar Technology." From Economic Times.

Samsung’s $20B Greentech Plan.reliability medium.
"Korean conglomerate Samsung sells everything from chemicals and construction to shipbuilding and sugar. But in recent years the Korean giant has started to turn the wheel towards green technology, and this morning Samsung said it plans to spend over $20 billion largely on developing and selling green tech, including solar cells, battery cells, and LEDs, (in addition to non-greentech items like biopharmaceuticals and medical devices.)" From earth2tech.

Better Place Closes Massive $350M Round.reliability medium.
Better Place has closed a funding round raising "a whopping $350 million to help it build out its network of charging and battery swap stations across nations like Israel and Denmark. ... Better Place said back in January that the round was being led by HSBC Group, which will put in a whopping $125 million and will own 10 percent of the company’s shares". From earth2tech.

Government and Regulation

Cameroon agrees to cut illegal wood out of its supply chain.reliability medium.
"One of Africa's largest exporters of tropical hardwoods, Cameroon, has announced today a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) to rid all illegal wood from its supply chain to the EU and worldwide. Cameroon signed a legally-binding Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) that will cover all wood products produced in Cameroon." See Mongabay. [Cameroon wants to keep lucrative EU business. Plus, smugglers don't pay taxes.]

US States Lead Clean Energy Initiatives.reliability high.
"A new report by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) profiles the work of 12 states to explore and expand new techniques for promoting clean energy. ... 'States are key actors in the push towards a cleaner, more secure energy future,' said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. 'The accomplishments of these states provide concrete examples of how states from across the country--with varying natural resource and economic conditions--can advance energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation fuels.' ". See Sustainable Business. "Advancing Clean Energy: A Report on the Clean Energy States Grant Program" PDF available here.

Science and Economics

Stronger evidence pollution damages heart: report.reliability high.
"The evidence is stronger than ever that pollution from industry, traffic and power generation causes strokes and heart attacks, and people should avoid breathing in smog, the American Heart Association said on Monday. Fine particulate matter from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal and oil is the clearest offender, the group said. "Particulate matter appears to directly increase risk by triggering events in susceptible individuals within hours to days of an increased level of exposure, even among those who otherwise may have been healthy for years," said Dr. Robert Brook of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who headed the group writing the report." From Reuters. Heart Association press release and access to report here.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]