Supply chain

DEFINITION: A system of product production which links together suppliers, resources and technologies within a company. Supply chain sustainability encourages good governance practices throughout the lifecycles of goods and services.

See also: Sustainable procurement

See also: Producer responsibility

See also: Traceability

More detail

edie explains: ISO 20400

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Pictured: The Industrie Center in Obernberg, Germany - one of M&S's 23 viscose suppliers. Image: Fritz Geller-Grimm. CC-BY-3.0 SHARE ALIKE

 

M&S launches digital viscose map to boost fashion supply chain transparency

Retail giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) has launched a digital map highlighting all textile suppliers through which it sources man-man cellulosic fibres (MMCF) including viscose.

Ikea is aiming to generate more renewable power than it consumes in operations by 2020, and to cover all of its supply chains by 2030. Image: Inter Ikea Group

Ikea to invest £171m in nature and clean power under 'climate positive' pledge

Ikea has today (27 November) unveiled a new €200m (£171m) investment package aimed at helping the retailer deliver on its commitment to become 'climate-positive' by 2030.

The report authors are urging Ministers to speed up the introduction of new waste and resources legislation around carpets. Image: Reuse Warehouse/ CC BY 2.0 

Report: Carpet experiencing lower UK recycling and reuse rates than plastics

Green campaign groups are calling on the UK Government to implement stronger circular economy requirements around carpets, after research concluded that just 2% of the 130,000 tonnes sent to the industry's recycling body annually are recycled.

The report claims companies to have used CV factories are allowing their manufacturers to deliver viscose-based products with little information on their origin or environmental impact

Fashion retailers delivering mixed progress on 'damaging' viscose supply chains

High-street retailers New Look and Morrisons have joined the likes of Inditex, ASOS, H&M and Tesco in signing up to a new sustainability roadmap to ensure they are sourcing sustainable viscose that doesn't contribute to environmental pollution, but luxury fashion brands have been named as laggards.

The challenge calls for businesses to invest in “nature-based solutions” such as enhancing biodiversity and reforestation to act as carbon sinks

Gucci boss calls on business leaders to deliver net-zero supply chains

Gucci chief executive Marco Bizzarri has called on business leaders to sign up to a Carbon Neutral Challenge that sees businesses deliver greenhouse gas emissions reductions across their entire value chain in order to achieve net-zero emissions.

Emissions from the livestock sector are estimated to account for 15% of the global total. 

Report: Food giants must go beyond plant-based products to climate-proof global systems

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Pictured: Target's store in Napa Valley, California. Image: Target

Target meets 2020 goal to install 500 rooftop solar arrays ahead of schedule

US-based retail giant Target has met its 2020 goal of installing rooftop solar at 500 locations ahead of schedule, as it strives to source 100% renewable electricity across its global operations by 2030.

Each of the companies assessed are exposed to one or more so-called 'Forest Risk Commodities’, including soy, timber, cattle and palm oil (pictured)

CDP: Consumer goods giants won't meet 2020 'net-zero' deforestation targets

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The Benchmark has been published annually since 2016, assessing sectors considered to be the world's most at-risk for human rights failures in supply chains

Report: More than half of corporates not meeting 'basic requirements' on human rights

A study of 200 of the world's biggest apparel, food & drink, tech manufacture and material extraction firms have found that less than half are able to show they are meeting the UN's Guiding Principles on Human Rights.

Kenny spoke on the need to balance consumer demands with scientific environmental considerations

Progress over perfection: Can McDonald's design its way out of single-use plastics?

McDonald's vice president of global sustainability Keith Kenny has claimed that the consumer-facing business needs to couple lifecycle analysis of its packaging with consumer demands in order to phase-out plastics in a secure way and without impacting customer experience.

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Apple almost doubles green bond offers after £1.7bn fund launch

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Palm oil is found in more than half of the products sold in UK supermarkets, from chocolate biscuits to hair conditioner 

CDP: 80% of companies set to miss 2020 palm oil deforestation goals

Of the 96 corporates currently reporting that they produce, source or use products that contain palm oil from Indonesia to CDP, just one-fifth are set to meet their 2020 deforestation targets surrounding the commodity.

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Regenerative sourcing, in theory, sequesters more carbon than it emits, while also providing a boost for biodiversity. Image: Timberland

Timberland takes first steps towards 'regenerative' leather supply chain

Outdoor clothing brand Timberland has forged a partnership Other Half Processing - an organisation advocating for 'regenerative' animal supply chains - in a bid to bring products incorporating 'net-positive' leather to market during 2020.

The company’s service has grown in popularity over the last couple of years, with an average of £500,000 each week paid out as part of the trade-in service

O2 recycles three million mobile devices in a decade

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Ghost gear is estimated to account for 46-70% of global macroplastic pollution, by weight

World's largest seafood firms pledge to tackle abandoned plastic fishing gear

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Landsec hits science-based targets 11 years early

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Pictured: Fish caught in The Gambia, where much FMFO originates. Image: Peter van der Sluijs / CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0 

Report: 'Sustainable' seafood in UK supermarkets 'wiping out wild fish stocks'

Farmed seafood sold in British supermarkets is regularly being fed with feed produced using methods which are "stripping the oceans bare and damaging marine ecosystems", a new investigative report has claimed.

Darroch was speaking at a WWF Where the World Turns event to discuss the role of business in combatting climate change

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Carlsberg will test the barrier technology with the ambition of being able to commercialise a 100% bio-based bottle that doesn’t contain polymers, with other corporates aiming to do the same

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Jackson believes that closed-loop, low-carbon supply chains will be a huge advantage for Apple

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 Since 2005, RJC membership has grown from 14 to more than 1,100 organisations across the jewellery value chain

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More than 200,000 farmers across Kenya will benefit from the project. Image: Agrics

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Multiplex’s Europe employs 920 people across 19 projects

Multiplex Europe raises carbon ambitions with 1.5C science-based target

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Hladin Wolfe suggested that siloed departments couldn't bring around the required change for sustainable business. Image: Patagonia 

Patagonia Action Works: 'Time up' for CSR departments in the climate activism era

EXCLUSIVE: As outdoor company Patagonia issued the next programme in its 45-year history of activism, the company's director of environmental initiatives has claimed that isolated departments overseeing sustainability have no function as more people demand action on the climate emergency.

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The announcement will build into a wider initiative across Western Europe that will remove 4,000 tonnes of plastic from circulation across the region

Coca-Cola to replace plastic shrink wrap across can multipacks sold in Great Britain

Europe's largest independent Coca-Cola bottler has announced it will end the use of shrink-wrapped plastics across all can multipacks it sells in Great Britain, in a move that will replace plastic used on 30 million packs annually with sustainably sourced cardboard.

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The global fashion sector is estimated to employ one in seven working-age people globally. Image: Better Buying

UK suppliers among recipients of 'world's worst' fashion purchasing practices

UK suppliers experience some of the "worse" purchasing practices of brands and retailers sourcing apparel, footwear and household textiles compared to suppliers from other nations in the world.

The strategy launch was timed to coincide with World Water Week

Context, community and collaboration: Inside Levi Strauss' updated water action strategy

EXCLUSIVE: In revamping the water strategy for its global supply chain, Levi Strauss hopes to further embed a science-based and community-focused approach to its sustainability work, the firm's vice president for sustainability Michael Kobori has revealed.

The announcement builds on Unilever’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030

Unilever powered by 100% renewable electricity across five continents

Unilever has revealed that all its buildings across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America are now powered by 100% renewable electricity.

The ODP, which is hosting the map, provides a global platform for the voluntary disclosure of seafood sourcing. Image: Tiia Monto

Asda unveils digital seafood supply chain map

Asda has unveiled a digital map which gives consumers access to information regarding all supply chain of the seafood used in its own-brand products.

The report warns that climate change is already impacting farmers in the UK and Europe, as well as those further afield 

Climate change threatening security of UK's food and medicine supply, MPs warn

The UK's failure to tackle climate challenges in food supply chains overseas is risking national food security and the NHS is "not sufficiently resourced" to deal with global warming, a new report from MPs has warned.

The world's 500 million smallholder farmers are estimated to produce 80% of the food and beverages consumed in developing nations. Image: Unilever

Blockchain-enabled supply chain sustainability scheme hailed 'successful' by business giants

A blockchain-based experiment aimed at improving social and environmental practices in tea supply chains has proven successful, according to businesses having taken part, including Unilever and Sainsbury's.

Gucci’s carbon-neutral strategy stretches from its supply chain to its fashion shows. Image: Gucci/Kering

Gucci goes carbon neutral in attempt to tackle climate crisis

As the fashion industry continues to address its role in the climate crisis, Italy's most valuable luxury brand has said it has become an entirely carbon-neutral company.

Around 3.6m hectares of tropical forest are estimated to have been cleared in 2018 – equivalent to the size of Belgium

Report: Deforestation booming due to weak policy and corporate inaction

A lack of policy support or ambitious action from corporates involved in agriculture has led to an area of tree cover the size of the UK being lost globally each year between 2014 and 2018, a new report has concluded.

Unilever estimates that more than one million people are supported financially by its tea supply chains. Image: Unilever

Unilever turns to interactive mapping to boost tea supply chain transparency

Unilever has publicly published a full list of its global tea suppliers for the first time, along with a new interactive map to help customers understand its supply chain processes.

Nestlé Headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. Image: Nestle flickr

Nestlé sets net-zero climate goal for 2050

Nestlé has today (12 September) unveiled wide-sweeping plans to enhance carbon sequestration, procure 100% renewable electricity and launch more food and drink products that have improved environmental footprints, as part of an overall goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The campaign covers three key sustainability issues: greenhouse gas emissions, supply chain transparency and the circular economy. Image: ACI

Consumer goods giants team up in bid to lower environmental impacts

Clorox, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Henkel are among a group of consumer goods businesses selling cleaning products to have co-launched a campaign aimed at driving the sector towards "net-positive" environmental and social impact.

Exclusive: PwC to hit Mission Possible pledge target

Accountancy firm PwC has revealed to edie that it is only 1% off its Mission Possible target following extensive work on sustainable, healthy food options within its staff restaurant facilities.

H&M Group owns eight brands - including the world's second-largest fashion retailer H&M. Image: Nissy-KITAQ 

H&M Group pauses Brazilian leather sourcing as forest fires continue

H&M Group has today (6 September) announced that it will suspend the purchase of all leather originating in Brazil, amid a huge increase in the number of forest fires in Amazonia.

77% of the firms surveyed for the Index do not measure their GHG emissions. Image: PETA 

Report: Food giants 'sourcing from suppliers flouting climate commitments'

Companies supplying meat and dairy to some of the world's biggest food firms, including Nestle, McDonalds and Walmart, are failing to act in line with their key clients' environmental ambitions.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) states that there has been a total of 72,843 fires in Brazil this year

VF Corp suspends sourcing of Brazilian leather due to Amazon fires concerns

VF Corporation, the owner of brands such as The North Face, Timberland and Vans, has announced that it will stop sourcing leather from Brazil, highlighting concerns over the environmental impact of cattle ranchers that have caused the vast majority of fires plaguing the Amazon rainforest.

The investors forming the coalition noted that 13 of the 17 banks that financed the Dakota Access Pipeline project were also signatories to the Equator Principles

Equator Principles: Global banks failing to uphold environmental and social risk agreements

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Olivia started at Fashion Lab before joining Whitbread

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Boots UK has a van fleet of around 900 vehicles that cover more than 9,500 routes a week

Boots purchases electric vans for prescription deliveries

Boots has announced it has purchased its first electric vans and will trial them in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as part of its prescription delivery service.

More male and female farmers will be added to the India and Pakistan programmes

Primark to enrol 160,000 farmers under its sustainable cotton initiative

Retailer Primark has expanded its Sustainable Cotton Programme into China, assisting with overall plans to train more than 160,000 independent cotton farmers in sustainable farming methods across key sourcing countries by 2022.

About half of the paper produced in Europe comes from recycled material, according to the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)

EU paper recyclers 'in crisis' as China waste import ban bites

China's ban on waste imports has thrown Europe's paper recycling sector "in a crisis situation," leading to a chronic oversupply of recovered paper that sent prices plummeting by 300% over the past two years, according to trade group EuRIC.

Research from the United Nations University (UNU) found that more than 44 million metric tonnes of electronic waste were generated globally in 2016

Sky Mobile to offer 'ethical and modular' Fairphone in UK

Sky Mobile has announced that it will offer the Fairphone, a modular and repairable smartphone consisting of recycled materials, in the UK.

Abuses uncovered by the WRC go against both Levi's workplace code of conduct and worker rights laws in South Africa. Image: Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss takes fresh steps to eliminate gender-based violence, water misuse, in supply chains

Fashion giant Levi Strauss Co. has launched two new supply chain initiatives - one focused on protecting female supply chain workers, and the other centred around water stewardship - after an investigation uncovered systemic gender-based harassment at supplier facilities.

Iceland was criticised by Feedback for failing to stock any meat sourced through sustainable certification schemes

UK supermarkets accused of over-producing low-quality meat

Anti-hunger charity Feedback is calling for big-name UK supermarkets such as Iceland, Lidl and Asda to offer "less and better" meat, in order to minimise their climate impacts.

Young women make up the majority of tea estate workers, but face challenges such as forced marriage and poor access to education and reproductive healthcare. Image: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos/Ethical Tea Partnership

'Improving Lives': How a 'people-centric' approach is transforming tea supply chains

The tea sector is the largest in India, employing three million workers - but for all the industry's economic benefits, environmental and social issues are rife on tea estates. Here, edie explores how big-name tea brands are adapting their supply chain approaches to change that.

For the gold to be verified, miners have to pledge to use low-impact techniques and restore the local habitat when they are finished at their sites. Image: Apple

Apple to upscale sourcing of 'habitat-positive' gold

Apple has revealed that it sourced 1,000 ounces of gold from miners working to restore natural habitats this year, up from just 25 ounces last year.

UK Resources & Waste Strategy: A blueprint for business leadership

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(L-R) Presenter Chris Large, partner, Global Action Plan,Scottish Power’s Craig Bradley and compere Michaela Strachan

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(L-R) Presenter Chris Large, partner, Global Action Plan,Scottish Power’s Craig Bradley and compere Michaela Strachan

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82% of Ørsted's power generation was classed as 'clean' in H1 of 2019, up from 71% in H1 of 2018. Image: Orsted

Ørsted unveils ambitious new targets on supply chain emissions, fleet electrification

Danish energy giant Ørsted has unveiled new ambitions to reduce emissions from its ground transport fleet and supply chain, after drastically reducing emissions from power generations.

The commitment covers all shipments to and from customers, for whole devices as well as replacement parts and accessories. Image: Alphabet Inc. 

Google targets carbon-neutral hardware deliveries

Tech giant Google has unveiled a new string of sustainability pledges for its hardware, including a commitment to make all customer shipments carbon-neutral by 2020.

edie spoke to ITV's senior manager of Social Purpose Julia Giannini. Image: ITV

More than TV: Can ITV place climate change at the core of its business purpose?

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Pictured: One of Molson Coors' 'showcase barley valleys'

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ITV had told edie that roadmaps for these targets will be published next year. Image: James West Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/jameswest/ 

ITV commits to 1.5C science-based target after reaching carbon-neutral status

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Rachel has worked at Selfridges' for more than five years, having gradually added more environmental and ethical responsibilities to her day-to-day duties

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Virgin Media is known for using fun imagery and interactive features to make its sustainability reports more engaging

Virgin Media targets 100% renewable electricity by 2020

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The market is expected to capture 10% of the global meat market and reach $100bn in value within 15 years. Image: Impossible Foods

Food giants capturing opportunities from meat-free products to drive sustainability efforts

Food manufacturers and retailers such as Tesco, Unilever and Nestlé are "seizing the opportunity" of a thriving plant-based market to assist with the low-carbon transition, with a new report noting that the alternative protein market is expected to be valued at $100bn in the next 15 years.

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The members of the 17-strong taskforce were unveiled on Thursday (18 July)

Government-led taskforce of business leaders to bolster supply chain sustainability

The UK Government has launched a new "taskforce" aimed at helping businesses decarbonise their supply chains and operate within the planetary boundaries in regard to natural resources.

Levi Strauss & Co agree IFC deal to help meet carbon goals

A multi-million-pound co-operation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been signed by Levi Strauss & Co to assist the firm in meeting its science-based targets by 2025.

Jess has been at Little Freddie for just over a year and has previously worked in the food supply chain, environmental consultancy and environmental justice spaces

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Here, edie rounds up seven key lessons that Hugh and Anita’s War on Plastics was willing to teach. Image: BBCBBC/KEO Films/Tom Beard 

Seven things sustainability professionals can learn from Hugh and Anita's War on Plastic

The BBC's docuseries exploring how the public, government officials and corporates are fuelling an unsustainable demand for plastics concluded on Monday (24 June). Here, edie highlights seven key lessons that the series can teach sustainability professionals.

Offshore wind turbines on the Solway coast, Southerness, Dumfries

UK's offshore wind sector spurred by £100m initiative

A 10-year, £100m industry-funded programme has been launched today (24 June) to spur the growth of the UK's offshore wind sector and benefit UK businesses.

3M is also a member of the Climate Group's RE100 renewable electricity initiative 

Manufacturer 3M joins Ellen MacArthur Foundation's CE100 initiative

Multinational consumer goods, healthcare and industry manufacturer 3M has pledged to champion the circular economy and make the best use of the planet's resources by joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's CE100 initiative.

The EAC's recommendations were developed during a six-month inquiry that heard from businesses, green groups and academics 

Government rejects mandatory environmental targets for big-name fashion brands

Recommendations for mandatory carbon, waste and water targets to be applied to all large fashion businesses in the UK have been thrown out by the Government, despite continued calls to action from MPs.

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The company’s “inclusive capitalism” business model is described growing while creating positive value for all its key stakeholders, such as  “understanding the needs of low-income consumers in emerging markets” and providing relevant solutions

How 'inclusive capitalism' can create prosperity for people, planet and profits for Firmenich

EXCLUSIVE: Fragrance & flavour company Firmenich is using an "inclusive capitalism" business model to deliver benefits for profits, the planet and people in a way that is causing others to "rally" behind the concept of sustainability.

The contractually obliged suppliers represent almost 21% of O2’s supply chain emissions

O2 recertified to highest Carbon Trust standard for supply chain emissions management

Telecoms giant O2 has been recertified to the highest possible level of supply chain management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Scope 3 emissions and science-based targets: Your key questions, answered

During an interactive webinar on Thursday (30 May), experts from CDP, Multiplex and Carbon Credentials answered readers' key questions on Scope 3 (indirect) emissions and science-based targets. Here, edie rounds up their answers.

It does appear that we’re entering an era where a single lightning rod moment can spark global change

The Big Business Plastics Debate (Part Two): How can we create a 'ripple effect' of change?

In the second of our two-part feature from the Big Plastics Debate at edie Live 2019, we move the conversation on to explore how businesses and policymakers can harness the momentum of environmental campaigns and protests to drive a new 'social norm' around plastics.

Carbon Credentials joins the small number of SMEs worldwide to have set a science-based target

Carbon Credentials to cut Scope 3 emissions through approved science-based target

Energy and carbon management company Carbon Credentials is ready to walk the walk on climate goals, after having new targets to reduce Scope 3 value chain emissions approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Talking SDG engagement with Ben Kellard, Peter Andrews and Tor Harris

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More than 500 businesses across the world have publicly committed to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in line with climate science through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

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One of HAVI's largest clients is McDonald's, which is working towards its own SBTi-approved GHG targets

Logistics giant HAVI sets science-based emissions targets

Global supply chain management and logistics firm HAVI has unveiled a new set of science-based emissions reductions targets, making it one of the first ten firms in its sector to align itself with the Paris Agreement.

The global palm oil industry generates more than $50bn annually, but traditional plantations have driven widespread destruction of tropical rainforests

Estée Lauder targets sustainable palm oil supply chain through farmer empowerment

US-based cosmetics giant Estée Lauder has launched its first sustainability programme for palm oil supply chains, which will see the company work with Indonesian farmers to champion better social conditions and environmental conservation.

<p>Wall's has already reached 40,000 people across 76 Madagascan villages through its programmes for vanilla farmers</p>

New Wall's tool lets consumers track positive vanilla supply chain impacts

Unilever-owned ice cream brand Wall's will launch a new digital tool enabling consumers to track how their purchases are empowering people in the communities which form its vanilla supply chains in Africa.

<p>The first phase will focus on cotton and viscose </p>

Google and Stella McCartney to launch cloud-based analytics tool for fashion supply chains

Google has partnered with fashion brand Stella McCartney on the first phase of a new machine learning data analytics tool to improve the transparency of the supply chains for the fashion industry.

<p>Navarro has a strong track record when it comes to innovation and was the head of customer innovation for the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)</p>

Innovation shift: Why radical change must focus on entire value chains

Current efforts to introduce new waves of innovation that address key climate issues need to be "scientific, scalable and systemic" with a focus on industry-wide collaboration, according to the chief executive of a corporate system's accelerator aiming to transform sustainability across 10 industry value chains.

The top-ranked companies are M&S, Tesco, British American Tobacco and Morrison’s

M&S, Tesco, rank among top UK businesses for modern slavery compliance

Supermarket giants Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Tesco have been named among the corporates leading the FTSE 100's drive for better compliance with the Modern Slavery Act (MSA), in a new ranking of the nation's largest publicly listed organisations.

As SMEs and luxury brands bolstered their sustainability efforts during 2018, high street giants failed to follow suit, the report claims

Report: Fashion sector stalling on sustainability progress, with high street giants holding industry back

The global fashion industry's overall efforts to operate more sustainability have slowed by one-third on a year-on-year basis, with actions failing to decouple emissions from the sector's rapid growth in a way that would align with the Paris Agreement's aims.

114 restaurants were studied across 12 countries. Annual food sales across sites ranged from $400,000 to $17.3m.

Investing in food waste prevention can provide financial boost for restaurants, study finds

Restaurants that actively invest in measures to reduce food waste can unlock new economic revenue streams, as a new report from a coalition of major organisations reveals that for every $1 spent on food loss prevention, restaurants can save $7 in operating costs.

Mondelez's cocoa scheme has worked with 142,000 farmers and 1,400 communities

Mondelez adds new products to sustainable coca sourcing initiative

Mondelez International has re-affirmed its commitment to source 100% of its cocoa by 2025 from its Coca Life sustainability programme following early promising results.

Water scarcity now affects more than 40% of the global population

AB Sugar launches global innovation challenge to address water stewardship

Global sugar producer AB Sugar has partnered with WaterAid to launch a new initiative aimed at spurring innovation that can solve the challenge of water loss in agriculture.

This year's Index is the first to award any brand a ranking of more than 60%

Fashion Revolution Week: Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia top sector transparency rankings

Sportswear giants Adidas and Reebok and outdoor clothing brand Patagonia have been named as the corporates leading the fashion sector's drive for greater transparency around supply chain activity, in a new ranking of 200 of the industry's largest companies.

The Agbogbloshie slums of Ghana (pictured) have been used as an e-waste landfill by illegal exporters

UK braced for tougher e-waste policies as impacts on human food chains revealed

Industry body techUK has called on the UK Government to implement tighter regulation of e-waste exports under its Resources and Waste Strategy, after a landmark study into the impacts of Europe's e-waste crimes on human food chains in Africa.