Nestlé slashes sugar, business case for food waste, Timberland turns plastic into products, Co-op fights modern slavery, UK inequality, Wales invests to cut CO2, holidays run by women, and Epona joins Fairtrade

Nestlé to cut 10% of sugar from UK confectionery

NESTLE HAS vowed to cut 7,500 tonnes of sugar from its well-known brands by next year, without replacing it with artificial sweeteners.

Nestlé, one of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers, says the move will be achieved by replacing sugar with higher quantities of existing ingredients or other non-artificial ingredients, and it will ensure products are below a certain amount of calories. The new formulations will affect popular products such as Aero, After Eight, and KitKat.

The pledge follows an announcement in November that Nestlé has discovered ground-breaking material science enabling it to reduce sugar levels in chocolate without compromising taste. Researchers have found a way to structure sugar differently so the human tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to previous recipes.

Fiona Kendrick, chairman and CEO of Nestle UK and Ireland said: “Nestlé is at the forefront of efforts to research and develop new technology that makes food products better for our consumers. These innovations will help us to reduce sugar in confectionery when they are combined with other, more common methods like reformulating recipes and swapping sugar for other, non-artificial ingredients.”

Study quantifies huge gains from cutting food waste

Credit: Kail Antye

A NEW REPORT, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste, has found a robust business case for companies, countries, and cities to work towards the Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030.

Champions 12.3, a coalition of 30 CEOs, governments, global institutions, and civil society leaders that was formed to increase momentum to achieve target 12.3 of the SDGs, reviewed 1,200 business sites across 700 companies in 17 countries and found that nearly every site had achieved a positive return on investment in food waste reduction, with half seeing a 14-fold or greater return.

The data was collected from companies from food manufacturing, food retail, hospitality and food services. The research found that for every £1 invested in efforts to curb avoidable household waste in the UK, households and local authorities saved £250. London boroughs saved £8 in avoided waste management costs, while households saved £84.

The report also outlines other reasons for reducing food waste, including food security, waste regulations, environmental sustainability, stakeholder relationships and ethical responsibility.

See ‘We now have hard evidence that cutting food waste saves money. Time to act’

Timberland turns Haitian plastic bottle pollution into products

Credit: Timberland


TIMBERLAND HAS launched a collection of fabric products using plastic bottles collected from the streets of Haiti.

The global outdoor lifestyle brand has partnered with Thread, a certified B Corp, to create a range of shoes, t-shirts and bags from the fabric Timberland X Thread, which the company describes as “the most responsible fabric on the planet”. The aim is to go beyond environmental sustainability, by cleaning up Haitian neighbourhoods and creating new meaningful job opportunities. The bottles are being collected by 1,300 Haiti locals, with each yard of fabric traced from bottle collection to fabric manufacture, creating a transparent supply chain.

Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland, said: “The Timberland X Thread collection is incredible proof that style and sustainability can go hand-in-hand ... Consumers can feel good about pulling on their Timberland X Thread boots or backpack, and know they are making a positive impact in someone else’s life.”

The partnership follows Timberland’s support of Thread’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, which addresses the problem of child labour in global supply chains, with a targeted focus in Haiti. Timberland also continues to support the people of Haiti following a five-year tree-planting effort to help smallholder farmers reach self-sufficiency. Timberland hopes to purchase cotton from the farmers for the brand’s supply chain in the future.

Co-op helping modern slavery victims find work

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THE CO-OP HAS announced a ground breaking new scheme to help integrate new victims of the UK modern slave trade into communities.

The food-to-funerals mutual has teamed up with the charity City Hearts, which offers support and accommodation to vulnerable people, to provide 30 survivors of modern slavery paid work experience in its food business and, if suitable, a guaranteed job.

Under the scheme, known as the Bright Future programme, the Co-op provides survivors with a four-week paid work placement followed by a non-competitive interview. If this is successful and there is a position vacant, the candidate will be offered a job. The first beneficiary of the scheme is already working in a Co-op store in the north west.

Steve Murrals, chief executive of the Co-op, said: “Modern slavery will only be stopped by government, businesses and society working together to ensure supply chains are transparent, so giving this shocking crime no shadow to hide in.”

Kevin Hyland, the independent anti-slavery commissioner, said: “We need more companies to respond to modern slavery like the Co-op. This pioneering approach to victim support will provide long-term care, boost opportunities for the future and, most importantly of all, prevent the risk of re-trafficking.”

The Co-op will be highlighting the issue to its four million members. Several key Co-op suppliers, including Tulip, Greencore and 2Sisters, have signed up to support Bright Future in 2017 and will provide employment opportunities to victims of modern slavery.

New research reveals where ‘left behind’ live

Credit: Serge Bertasius Photography


THE FIRST-EVER ranking of local wellbeing inequalities pinpoints areas in the UK where struggling communities are located.

A new study, based on data from the Office of National Statistics, reveals areas of greatest inequality are in post-industrial regions such as the Welsh Valleys and around Glasgow. Blaenau Gwent, Liverpool and Neath Port Talbot are in the top three spots, respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, Enfield, Cheshire East and Harrow came out top for relative life satisfaction, according to the study, published by What Works Centre for Wellbeing and the New Economics Foundation.

The research also suggests that areas with the biggest overall differences in wellbeing were more likely to vote to leave the EU. The relationship between the referendum vote last June and the levels of inequality was significant, even after researchers controlled for variables including median income, income inequality, unemployment levels, education levels and ethnicity.

Nancy Hey, director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, said: “These findings show us that what matters to people is more complex than most policymakers realise, or measure. Income alone only tells us part of the story about how we may be struggling, or thriving, in our daily lives. Wellbeing gives us a more nuanced picture, and allows us to see why and how different groups in society are affected in different ways.”

Wales invests £7m to help local authorities cut CO2

Credit: Isak55

THE WELSH government has approved over £7m in investment funding to help local authorities become more energy-efficient, reduce carbon emissions and save money.

Monmouthshire Council will receive £4.5m through the Welsh government’s Invest to Save Green Growth Fund, allowing it to run its own solar park on council-owned land. The Oak Grove Solar Farm will generate enough electricity to power around 1,400 homes. Flintshire Council will receive £3.13m to upgrade 11,000 street lights to LED equivalents, saving around £360,000 in energy costs and 1,387 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The Welsh government also announced this week that it is tapping into new research at Cardiff university to set targets and forecast emissions up to 2030. Together with BRE, academics are developing a tool that will be used to inform policies to reduce carbon emissions in line with The Environment (Wales) Act 2016, which sets a long term statutory emission reduction target of at least 80% in 2050 compared to a 1990 baseline.

The Cabinet Secretary for environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “The legislative framework and long term ambition introduced by the Environment Act offers a tremendous opportunity to shape a low carbon future for Wales. The challenge for the Welsh government is to develop policies and programmes of work which will drive deep decarbonisation across our society while delivering jobs and economic growth, vibrant places to live and work and wider benefits to the people of Wales.“

#BeBoldForChange: Responsible Travel's holidays run by women

Credit: Responsible Travel


TO CELEBRATE International Women’s Day, Responsible Travel announced a new collection of holidays run by local tour operators owned by women. The tours include trekking trips in the Indian Himalayas and cultural tours in Ghana. Each is a celebration of female entrepreneurship against the odds, the company said.

Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, said: “Tourism has the potential to be a superpower for women in developing countries, but while the majority of its workforce is female, these women are concentrated in lower-level jobs. We hope this new collection of holidays, and the stories of how the women behind them have overcome prejudice and obstacles to successfully run their own businesses, will serve to inspire generations of girls around the world.”

Student-run Epona joins nascent Fairtrade textile standard

Credit: CRS Photo


STUDENT-RUN EPONA is the first UK business to announce its backing for the pioneering Fairtrade textile programme. The scheme is the first of its kind for fashion companies, monitoring every stage of the supply chain from cotton field to factory.

The ethical clothing company’s workers with receive support and training in production facilities through the textile standard. It also aims to improve business practice by enforcing fair prices and living wages for workers.
Epona was purchased by the National Union of Students in 2013. It was one of the first companies in the UK to use Fairtrade cotton, and is moving towards converting 100% of its cotton to Fairtrade, as well as taking the UK’s first step towards running a completely Fairtrade production supply chain.

Rob Young, NUS vice president, said: “Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and work under safe conditions. I look forward to working with Fairtrade on this project and continuing NUS’ work with students’ unions to promote Fairtrade clothing to students across the UK. I’m really proud that Epona is the first clothing company in the UK to take this important step towards improving factory workers’ rights and, having seen the impact of Fairtrade in cotton farms first-hand in India, I feel confident about future progress.”



sugar  Nestlé  food waste  plastics  pollution  fashion  modern slavery  inequality  Wales  CO2 emissions  International Women's Day  Epona  Fairtrade 

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