Sustainable markets blogs
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington DC on 6th July 2010 to meet with President Barack Obama. Obama will seek to bring the Israeli and Palestinian leaders into direct peace talks, again. But how will this attempt differ from past efforts?
Can the current woes of the recession help foster peace negotiations through intensified economic restraints?
While the downturn has hit many economic sectors hard, have farmers prospered?
It’s one of the more ironic twists to the Deepwater Horizon tale. Just a few hours before the US Attorney General announced that a criminal investigation was to be brought against British Petroleum, Transoceana, and Halliburton for their roles in the Deepwater Horizon oil spillage, President Barack Obama met with his Peruvian counterpart, Alan Garcia.
So the ‘junk shot’ of golf balls and shredded tyres failed to plug the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. There was a strange circularity about BP’s idea of fixing this petroleum-fuelled nightmare by clogging it with petroleum-derived products.
The spotlight was on transparency and sustainability at yesterday’s Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) meeting in Amsterdam. The organisation, which works on sustainability reporting frameworks, was holding its annual conference with a focus on this dual issue, and speakers included media representatives from the UK-based Guardian and others from the United Nations and International Finance Corporation (IFC)
The thrust of the GRI’s message is that ‘transparent communication changes perceptions, builds trust, and motivates action towards greater sustainability.’ And sustainability is key as we emerge bleary-eyed from years of ‘bubble’ thinking and the global economic meltdown that triggered.
Much has been made of Latin America´s ‘leftist tide’ in the last decade. After disappointment with Washington Consensus Policies such as privatization, trade liberalization and deregulation, the last decade saw the assent of nine nominally ‘leftist’ governments in Latin America, promising to sweep away neo-liberal orthodoxies and redistribute wealth to the poor. Not only that, they promised to break with economic ‘dependency’ on the developed world and chart their own paths. But did the new leaders insulate their countries from the worst of the recession, or make them more vulnerable to it?
Have we glimpsed real signs of economic recovery?
In belt-tightening times, it’s not surprising that consumption often drops. The UK is a case in point. Happily, consumers there are wasting less too.
The Waste and Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) reported that in the UK, households throw away half a tonne of food-related waste each year (or a third of all household food purchased). This costs the UK approximately £12 billion a year in disposal costs alone – over £1000 per household.
The war on drugs in Mexico has intensified. A recent article in the Economist reports that drug-related killings have increased by almost 1000 since last year. Moreover, innocent people in Mexico are becoming victims, as drug gang shootings are no longer just targeting police and rival gangs.
Mexico and the US are working to eradicate the problem by investing US$1.3 billion in anti-drug aid, though only US$331 million is to be invested in social intervention. Yet the lack of intervention through social welfare programmes may be the underlying cause of the rapid growth of drug gangs and related violence.