03 February, 2012

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [Coles, CSR, Flood Commission, Litter]

Sustainable Procurement?

This week Coles supermarkets launched a marketing campaign slashing the retail price of selected fresh produce.

ASBG are specifically concerned about the effects this may have on the supply chain of our members in the food processing sector. There are also concerns about the impacts a fresh produce price war could have on the ecological sustainability of food production in general. Will these short term behaviours by Coles (&/or Woolworths) affect the supply chain in the long term?

According to their website Coles are actually committed to finding ways to reduce any negative impact & enhance the environment we live in. As one of Australia's largest retailers, Coles recognises the effect it may have on the environment. Adopting sustainable business practices requires a systems approach. It requires affecting sustainable behaviour as a basis for operating not only within the workplace, but within our communities.

It would appear that Coles have failed to learn that suppliers need to be recognised as essential to delivery of sustainable procurement outcomes. ASBG is interested to know what steps the ACCC may take to regulate the behaviour of Coles and/or Woolworths to protect the long term interests of consumers, suppliers, competitors and processors in the fresh produce industry.

A working definition of Sustainable Procurement provided by Action Sustainability: “Sustainable Procurement is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment”

Corporate Social Responsibility

What is the value of a good reputation?

TEPCO - operator of Fukushima nuclear plant - voted world's second most irresponsible corporation in a Greenpeace poll. Brazilian miner Vale took out first.

The Qld Floods Commission

The QLD Floods commission has been given an extension to investigate “new evidence” concerning the operation of Wivenhoe Dam releases in Jan 2011. Counsel assisting the Floods Commission: Peter Callaghan referred to the hearing as "Groundhog Day".

With all the powers of a Royal Commission, the Qld Floods Commission of Inquiry has taken public submissions from across Qld & held two rounds of public hearings in affected areas. The Commission will hold a third round of public hearings commencing 2 February 2012.

It also held community meetings and consultations in thirteen locations in central and western Queensland, and the Lockyer Valley. The Commission of Inquiry delivered the interim report on 1 August 2011, covering matters associated with flood preparedness to enable early recommendations to be implemented before next summer's wet season. The final report will be delivered on 16 March 2012.

Littering & Illegal Dumping

Littering and illegal dumping is a serious problem in Qld. According to the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index, Queensland is the most littered mainland state in Australia.

With the introduction of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, members of the public can speak out & report littering and illegal dumping involving a vehicle or a vessel.

This initiative will help minimise waste hazards on our environment, as well as dealing with the much broader social impacts of littering & illegal dumping.

If littering or illegal dumping was personally witnessed you can report it now. Witnesses of littering and illegal dumping offences can request to have a reporting form mailed by contacting 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

The difference between littering and illegal dumping is determined by size & tougher penalties have been introduced accordingly.

Pillars of the economy

The Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan & the LNP Candidate for the seat of Ashgrove: Campbell Newman have both been referring to Pillars of the economy.

Wayne Swan recently released an economic note, waxing lyrical & talking up the key pillars of economic strength.

The LNP are campaigning in the QLD State elections with a platform based on four pillars of the economy: focusing on tourism, agriculture, resources & construction as well as cutting red tape & regulation.

ASBG are seeking clarification on the foundation of sound environment policy to support the pillars of the economy.

Taking Care of Business

Keep an eye out for the Association for Sustainability in Business who are organising the 'Taking Care of Business: Sustainable Transformation' Conference on the Gold Coast on the 21-22 May 2012. It will bring together 'green economy' leaders from Australia & NZ, presenting an opportunity to network with others who are building profitable & sustainable business models, services & products.

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