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Sustainable Development News, Thu 14 Aug 2014

Latest sustainable development news from Australia and around the world.
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Environment

Pacific tuna industry calls for ‘drastic’ action to avoid bigeye stock collapse
The Pacific tuna industry has joined environmental organisations and scientists calling for serious action to save bigeye tuna. More than 60 per cent of the world’s tuna is caught in the Pacific, much of it by powerful distant water fishing nations from Asia, Europe and North America.  Scientists meeting at the region’s tuna management body, the Central and Western Pacific Fisheries Commission, have heard bigeye tuna stocks are down to just 16 per of the original population. The Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) says nations of the region must act urgently if a crash in the valuable stocks is to be avoided.

Economy and Business

An obsession with economic growth will not make the best use of natural assets
The power of ecosystem services and natural capital concepts is that they break down and clarify what nature provides in economic terms. Value is revealed with respect to the benefits it provides to society. So, for example, city parks are more than just attractive green spaces. They improve air quality and help to minimise the heat island effect, they provide a natural health service for people to walk and relax. Their presence actually raises nearby house prices. If they are well designed they can also provide flood protection and improve biodiversity. All these factors contribute to the productive economy and, and so this provides, in theory, an economic incentive to protect them.

Five trends that show corporate responsibility is here to stay
Regardless of whether you call it CSR, corporate responsibility, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) or sustainability, a common understanding is emerging around the world: a company’s long-term financial success goes hand in hand with its record on social responsibility, environmental stewardship and corporate ethics. What began as ad-hoc damage-control responses by business to environmental accidents, corruption scandals or accusations of child labour in supply chains, has evolved into a proactive, coherent global movement. As business has gone global in recent decades – spurred by technology and liberal trade and investment – so too has the idea and practice of corporate responsibility.

Tesco asks customers to choose which charity receives its carrier bag levy proceeds
Supermarket giant Tesco has invited its customers to decide which charity should get the proceeds of its new plastic carrier bag charge. From October 20, Scotland will follow the lead of Wales in introducing a 5p charge for carrier bags, in a bid to cut waste and boost recycling. Tesco say they expect the charges to raise £1.8 million from the two countries, and have asked their customers to vote for the charity they want to see the funds donated to.

Some landowners embrace sustainability, some don’t—SSI examines why
Why do some landowners embrace sustainability and conservation in their environs while others ignore these concepts altogether? This was one of the main questions Michael Quartuch explored in his doctoral research at UMaine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI).

Politics and Society

Outcry over squirrel kicker, yet disrespecting animals is the norm
An online video apparently showing a French tourist kicking a squirrel off a cliff in Grand Canyon National Park was greeted with horror and incredulity after being posted (and since removed) on YouTube last week. But what is it about the tourist’s apparent behaviour that is so troubling? Animals are killed in their tens of millions every day, many enduring deaths just as painful and as distressing as the squirrel’s (presumed) demise. Yes, killing the squirrel was unnecessary (it posed no danger to the man) but most animal deaths are unnecessary, depending of course on how we define “necessity”.

Greek farmers hit hard by Russian sanctions against EU produce
A week after Russia banned European Union food imports in a tit-for-tat move for sanctions imposed over Ukraine, Greek farmers say the embargo has already dealt a devastating blow to the country’s agricultural economy. At least 3.5m kg of peaches aloneare said to have rotted in fridge trucks turned back from Russia, and fruit producers have warned of calamity for a sector highly dependent on the market. “Russia absorbs more than 60% of our peach exports and almost 90% of our strawberries,” said Christos Yannakakis, who presides over Greece’s largest regional association of growers and cooperatives.

Boris Johnson announces funding to help improve social housing
London mayor Boris Johnson has announced new funding to help improve the conditions of thousands of council properties across London. The funding, from the Decent Homes programme, will help reduce carbon emissions and save residents money on energy bills, by installing energy saving measures. On Monday, the mayor announced that £145 million will be distributed across London to help raise housing estates to a better standard of living. The government has provided £1.6 billion to the UK-wide Decent Homes initiative in order to repair and improve thousands of homes across the country.

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