Second NDA term in India could spell trouble for sustainable products
A second term for Modi’s National Democratic Alliance could bring a mixed bag of environmental developments to India. The Federal Government has been more aggressive in tackling air pollution, but its record on other environmental protections is less than inspiring. In particular, it’s removed protections for forest and coastal communities, opening the door for further exploitation. There have also been changes to its certification methods, making it easier for companies to get green certificates.
Sourcing sustainable products from India could become more problematic over the coming years. Closer due diligence may be required to overcome some of the shortcomings in Modi’s approach.
Audi tests concept of using EVs as a massive battery
Audi’s investment in EV technology isn’t limited to the cars. A new campus has opened in Berlin that’s designed to test how cars interact with energy grids. It isn’t only about getting power into the vehicles, the batteries in EVs could be used as mass storage devices that feed power back into the grid to help smooth power fluctuations caused by both demand and supply.
It’s an interesting example of how companies are exploring the ways green tech can be used beyond their primary use.
Consumers abandon palm-oil, so Malaysia turns it into fuel
While consumers shun palm-oil over concerns about its ethical and sustainable sourcing, producers in Malaysia could be finding a new use for it. A bio-diesel is being developed, which could help the country reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. It’ll be good news for farmers who are starting to feel the pinch, although questions over ensuring the oil comes from sustainable sources will remain.
Ford shows a little humanity to those it has to let go
Social responsibility isn’t always about processes and products and strategy. Ford management had the unenviable job of laying off 7,000 employees. Normal practice dictates affected employees are informed, told to collect their kit and escorted from the premises immediately.
It’s a violent end to a relationship that might have lasted decades, and to their credit Ford recognised this. Instead of leaving the same day, affected employees would be given a couple of days to get their stuff together, finish off their work and say goodbye to friends and colleagues. A more humane way to end their working relationship that offered everyone a chance for closure.
No one likes laying people off, but if you have to showing a little humanity can be beneficial to both those departing and the friends they leave behind.
Vandals destroy hopes of EV sharing in Solihull
Vandals have brought a premature end to a promising scheme to make electric cars available. Unacceptable levels of damage were done to the cars, forcing E-Car club to pull the plug on their efforts in Solihull.
It’s another sad example of how the best intentions don’t always survive the idiotic.
Beauty bars offer plastic-free options for looking good
Finding alternatives to much-loved products is how Ethique has reduced the number of plastic bottles heading for landfill. Owner Brianne West was in the shower when she realised shampoo and shower gels consume huge amounts of water in their production, only to be used in an environment where there is a lot of water.
Rather than create gels and liquids, Ethique’s products are largely solid bars that break down in the shower. They’re not generic soaps though, they’re formulated specifically for the task at hand.
Their products are currently seeking EU approval. There’s no timescales as yet, but they could be looking for European stockists soon.
Image by Paul Hamilton. Used under a creative commons licence.