The calendar year is almost over and much has happened. The environmental movement is gathering momentum and people are becoming conscious of their impact on the natural and human world. Here are a few general and consumer-centric stories that grabbed our attention:
January 2018: Apple gets in trouble for throttling phones. This led to Italian regulators fining them US 10 million and Samsung US$ 5 million in the last quarter of 2018. They really are looking after their customers, making sure they have to upgrade sooner, rather than later. Apple is also the highest valued company in the world. Ever. You connect the dots.
January 2018: Oxfam International releases their report 'reward work, not wealth' which argues for a more inclusive economy. Structurally it will take a long time to be effective. Just don't buy Apple products anymore and donate your savings to an organisation that fights for political and economic change. Easy.
March 2018: Facebook & Cambridge Analytica make backtracks about how much they love scraping your data without your knowledge. Mark Zuckerberg goes on to answer some of the most idiotic questions about data security by the US Senate & House of representatives Investigative Committee. That ‘oversight’ wiped off US$ 120 billion off their stock value in July and the downward trend continues until now. Let’s hope your pension isn’t riding on that mess.
May 2018: European Commission proposes a ban on single use plastics covering around 70% of the marine litter currently found on beaches. The European Parliament and Council have agreed that the proposal is a good one and aligns with the circular economy and other directives on marine waste. Lekker. link
May 2018: Martin Winterkorn, VW Group CEO, is charged with fraud and conspiracy in the Dieselgate scandal. The Audi CEO was arrested and jailed in Germany and a host of other carmakers were found to have been following the same practices. Volvo, Jeep, Hyundai, Renault, Citroen and Fiat are amongst the worst offenders. We all thought they were good guys though, right? link
June 2018: Intel CEO resigns over violation of company code of conduct. Brian Krzanich had a consensual relationship with a co-worker which went against the non-fraternisation policy of the company. He was at the company 36 years. Intel is one of the largest chip manufacturers worldwide and must be given props for sticking to their policies, even though it really hurts. link
August 2018: Nike causes controversy by featuring Colin Kaepernick in an advertising campaign, a NFL player who used his platform to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the US. Silly people start publicly burning their Nike stuff in response. Nobody is talking about Nike still not signing the Bangladesh Accord so that people who make their stuff don’t die in a fire. Chops. link
September 2018: Deloitte releases report detailing how wind and solar have reached price and performance parity with conventional energy sources. Capacity, demand and investment continue to grow with 2018 setting new heights. Divestment from non-renewable energy is coming and it can't be stopped. Zoom zoom! link
September 2018: Ocean Cleanup begins with project 1 from San Francisco Bay, planning to collect plastic debris from the great pacific garbage patch. Trials are currently still ongoing and the team is working on modifying the layout in order for the system to function as expected. link
October 2018: the Montreal Protocol reports that the Ozone hole is shrinking and could be entirely healed by 2060. A hint at the prospect that when the world gets together, shit can get done. link
November 2018: Bangladesh court decision to close the offices of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety postponed to January 2019, which was called into being after the collapse of garment factories in 2013 which killed over 1.100 people. There is currently no local body able to take overt the work that is done by the Bangladesh accord. link
December 2018: COP24 concludes with the basic framework for countries to meet their Paris 2015 climate agreement goals agreed upon. One of the main hurdles remaining is the carbon pricing & trading scheme. Young people all over the globe sent messages of frustration to their governments and Greta Thunberg from Sweden gives everyone goosebumps with her speech. link
Here's to building on the momentum generated by the worldwide movements for social and climate justice! Keep fighting the good fight