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CLERMONT-FERRAND, France: February 27, 2019. Carbios, a provider of bioindustrial solutions to replace PET-based (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic packaging, has successfully produced the first PET-bottles made with 100 percent Purified Terephthalic Acid (rPTA), through the enzymatic biorecycling of plastic waste.

PET is used to produce plastic packaging, textile fibers and nearly 500 billion units of plastic bottles each year. The market is expected to grow 4.8 percent annually to 2025.

Corbios biorecycled PETAbout eight million tonnes of plastic are thrown into the world’s oceans annually of which 236,000 tonnes are microplastics – pieces smaller than a fingernail. The overall volume is forecast to increase 10 times by 2020.

Carbios chief scientific officer Alain Marty commented: “We have successfully developed the first biological process with which all kinds of PET plastic waste can be broken down into its original components and reused to produce virgin plastic products for applications such as PET-bottles.

“This new step shows the strong potential of [our] enzymatic technology and provides a breakthrough solution to help solve society’s growing waste problem,” he continued.

The company says its breakthrough is a major milestone to engage the plastics supply and demand sectors in a responsible transition towards a circular economy by decoupling the production of new plastic bottles from petrochemical feedstock and making waste collection economically more viable.

“The plastics industry faces fundamental challenges related to sustainability. Our technology, based on a circular model, reuses resources rather than consuming them,” added Carbios CEO Jean-Claude Lumaret. “This new milestone takes us one step closer to bringing our technology to the market.

"With the construction of our demonstration plant to start later this year, we’re aiming to engage the whole plastics industry in a transition towards a circular economy and take a leadership role as a global license provider for the biorecycling of PET plastics and fibers.”

WEYBRIDGE, UK: February 27, 2019. For the fourth consecutive year CHEP Europe, part of the Brambles Group, has earned an EcoVadis Gold Recognition Level, the highest level available, for its sustainability achievements.

The award reflects the company’s efforts covering the Environment, Labour Practices, Fair Business Practices and Supply Chain and is the result of Brambles implementing the circular economy at a global scale, according to the company.

CHEP pallets“CHEP helps move more goods to more people, in more places than any other organisation on earth,” commented Brambles’ global head of Sustainability, Juan José Freijo. “Being socially responsible is at the heart of everything we do. As pioneers of the circular economy, our work has always eliminated waste throughout the supply chain. We recognise that sharing and reusing our finite resources is the right thing for society. Only last year our activities have reduced 1.4 megatons of waste and saved 1.7 million trees.”

EcoVadis operates the first collaborative network for managing sustainability performance of 35,000 suppliers across 150 business sectors and 150 countries. Its methodology is built on CSR standards including the Global Reporting Initiative, the UN Global Compact and the ISO 26000.

CHEP pallets, crates and containers are primarily used by the fast-moving consumer goods sector - including dry food, grocery, health and personal care - fresh produce, beverage, retail and general manufacturing industries. The company employs 11,000 people and manages 300 million pallets (pictured), crates and containers via a network of more than 750 service centres.

DAVOS, Switzerland: January 25, 2019. CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, has published its latest ranking of companies recognised as pioneers for action on climate change, water and deforestation.

Last year CDP received 6,800 carbon emission reports from the world’s largest businesses and scored them from ‘A’ to ‘D-‘. Less than 150 were rated ‘A’ based on a range of metrics including transparency, target-setting, and awareness of risks and opportunities.

Only 127 got an 'A' grade for their action on climate change and only a very small number was from the transport/logistics sector. They included UPS (US), DP World (UAE), La Poste (France), Deutsche Bahn (Germany), Ferrovial (Spain), Grupo Logista (Spain), and Nippon Yusen Kaisha Line (Japan).

Grupo LogistaWhy collect the data? The companies that disclosed to CDP last year did so at the request of over 650 investors with assets of US$87 trillion and 115 major purchasing organisations with a combined spend of US$3.3 trillion.

Dexter Galvin, CDP global director of Corporates and Supply Chains commented: “As the recent report from the IPCC showed, the next decade is crucial in our shift to a sustainable economy, and we believe corporates are at the heart of this transition. By ranking companies, we aim not just to highlight leaders’ best practice, but also to inspire all businesses to aim higher and take more action.”

The global disclosure system enables companies, cities, states and regions measure and manage their environmental impacts to help investors and purchasers, representing over US$100 trillion, make decisions, reduce risk and identify opportunities.

“As a CDP Supply Chain member, the wealth of information provided by CDP disclosure is critical in helping us understand how our suppliers are performing, and where we can engage with them to reduce environmental impacts and costs,” commented L'Oréal Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer Alexandra Palt. “We particularly look to the CDP ‘A List’ and scoring process to help improve the environmental performance of our suppliers.”

Some of the other companies reporting in the transport sector last year and rated ‘B’ to ‘F’ (insufficient data submitted) included:

A-: CSX, Union Pacific, China Airlines. B: AFKLM, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Lufthansa, East Japan Railway, First Group (UK), Go-Ahead Group (UK), Grandrod (South Africa), Mitsui OSK, Nankai Electric, United Continental, Bollore Logistics, Aurizon Holdings (Australia), Transnet (South Africa), Amtrak (US), Pegasus Airlines (Turkey), and Kayseri Ulasim (Turkey).

C: AP Moller Maersk, Canadan Pacific, Air Canada, Southwest Airlines, SAS, Swire Pacific and the Alaska Air Group. D: Aeroflot, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Hub Group, JB Hunt Transport. F: Air China, COSCO, Air New Zealand, China Eastern, easyJet, XPO Logistics, China Southern, Evergreen, Ryanair, LATAM Airlines, Matson and Hapag-Lloyd.

CDP said the International Airlines Group (including Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia) score was “forthcoming”.

The full CDP analysis for 2018 including a comprehensive list of reporters can be accessed here:

LONDON: January 22, 2019. Circularity Capital is leading a multi-million growth fund round in ZigZag, a SaaS platform that enables retailers to reduce the costs and associated waste of returns by improving and simplifying the process.

Global e-commerce return volumes are growing at 10-20 percent per annum, says the company. In the US market, 2.5 million tons of returned goods end up in landfill, the waste equivalent from five million Americans.

Circular awards davis 2019ZigZag grades returned products and can consolidate, refurbish, locally redistribute, recycle or even resell stock internationally.

The company says its system reduces parcel journeys by up to 65 percent by identifying opportunities for the repacking and redistribution of returned products within the country of delivery. This produces a measurable reduction in the wastage and carbon footprint associated with retail returns.

ZigZag also reduces the cost and transit time of returns and customer-related service enquiries by 40 percent.

Circularity Capital partner Ian Nolan has joined the ZigZag Board: “[It] has developed a powerful solution for retailers to addressing the growing challenge posed by e-commerce returns," he said. Our investment in ZigZag is highly aligned with Circularity’s focus on using the circular economy to identify opportunities to drive financial value creation in parallel with positive environmental and societal impact.”

Al Gerrie, CEO and founder of ZigZag commented: “Circularity Capital’s investment will play a key role in fueling our market growth. In addition to allowing us to reach more customers, the funding will allow us to further develop our product offering to deliver even more value for retailers. We placed significant emphasis on bringing on board an investor who brings more than just capital to the table – [its] specialist network and insight in the circular economy was a great fit for us in this regard.“

The investment in ZigZag is the third investment of Circularity Capital’s debut fund. It follows investments in Winnow, a business providing a solution to dramatically reduce food waste; and Grover, a company offering flexible “access over ownership” to technology products.

The fund targets equity investments in growth stage European businesses that are enabling the circular economy. Investors include AXA Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Fortis, Henkel and Philips.

HELSINKI: November 20, 2018. Konecranes is using its Agilon technology to support the introduction of 200 e-commerce Agora Network parcel kiosks in the Helsinki area by the end of 2019.

Agora NetworksWith the goal of reducing e-commerce fees with the help of Clear Channel's outdoor advertising, the kiosks are a multifunctional robotic machine for parcel deliveries.

Agora is aiming to create new kinds of Smart City services such as 24/7 remote libraries and remote pharmacies. The kiosks also provide an opportunity to measure air quality and for WiFi/5G base stations.

Agora Networks is based on a digital software platform to form a diverse ecosystem that includes includes Agora Networks, Clear Channel, PostNord and Konecranes.

Konecranes reported revenue of €2.24 billion for the first nine months of 2018 and pre-tax earnings of €171.5 million.

LONDON: January 08, 2019. After 17.4 million hits, 9.1 million pages views and over 1.6 million unique visits last year, these 15 freightweek stories were the most read:

Maersk NepalFedex and Delta respond to NRA Read more
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Austria signs Bangladesh aviation agreement and plans Vienna expansion Read more
XPO Logistics to validate new UK grocery standards Read more
First UAE-built satellite nears launch date Read more
Blockchain technology to save a million lives a year Read more
Amazon expands at Cincinnati hub Read more
XPO takeover a bad idea Read more
Arizona plans bridge not wall with Mexico Read more

New trade portal for the Dominican Republic Read more
First of four B777s delivered to Ukraine International Airlines Read more
Low marks for Russian corporate transparency Read more
US$4.5 trillion circular economy goes mainstream Read more

U.S. imposes mandatory air cargo screening Read more
Air cargo: is it just about the technology? Read more

TTClub theft report 1LONDON: November 9, 2018. BSI Supply Chain Services and insurer TT Club have launched the first joint 2018 Semi-Annual Global Cargo Theft Intelligence and Advisory Report.

The report brings together threat and intelligence data from BSI’s supply chain security country risk intelligence tool, SCREEN and TT Club’s insurance risk management and loss prevention insights.

Several key findings from the TT Club/BSI report highlight the severe impact which cargo theft has on global supply chains. As highlighted in the report, the Food and Beverage sector suffers from the highest rates of cargo crime across the globe, accounting for 27 percent of all incidents; whilst Consumer Products and Hi-Tech Electronics industries suffer high rates of cargo theft as well.

Transport by road is the most often targeted mode for cargo crime across the globe, attributed to over 75% of all cargo theft incidents, with warehousing being the second most vulnerable target 19 percent.

BSI and TT Club have authored this report to demonstrate their shared goal of educating the transport and manufacturing sectors about the dynamic cargo theft risks present across the globe. With the enhanced awareness of cargo crime trends across the globe, industry will be able to engage in a proactive approach in preventing cargo crime and also minimising the financial loss and brand reputation damage that results from cargo crime.

Cargo theft report

SAN DIEGO, CA: December 13, 2018. Shareholder rights law firm Johnson Fistel, with the assistance of former California deputy Attorney General and Special Prosecutor Tiffany Johnson, has announced it is investigating potential claims against XPO Logistics.

The move follows the publication today of a report by hedge fund Spruce Point Capital Management (Spruce Point) claiming XPO "is plagued by financial irregularities that conveniently cover its growing financial strain and inability to complete additional acquisitions despite repeated promises”.

Entitled 'Trucking Ridiculous; End of the Road', the Spruce Point analysis characterises XPO 's financials as ''unreliable and dubious'', adding it has uncovered ''concrete evidence to suggest dubious tax accounting, under-reporting of bad debts, phantom income through unaccountable M&A earn-out liabilities, and aggressive amortization assumptions: all designed to portray glowing 'Non-GAAP' results".

Spruce Point XPO LogisticsBy the end of today’s trading, XPO’s stock had dropped over 26 percent to finish at US$44.50.

Spruce Point said: “Given its unreliable and dubious financials, US$4.7 billion debt burden, inability to generate sustaining free cash flow, and dependency on external capital and asset sales, we have a worst-case terminal price target of zero.”

The company notes while XPO has completed 17 acquisitions since chairman Bradley Jacobs took control in 2011, at a capital cost of US$6.1 billion, it has generated only US$73 million of cumulative adjusted free cash flow.

“In our view, this is indicative of a failed business strategy yielding a paltry 1.2 percent return on invested capital. XPO is dependent on external capital, asset sales, and factoring receivables to survive and is covering up a working capital crunch that can been (sic) seen by bank overdrafts. As credit conditions tighten, cost of capital increases, and XPO’s business practices come under greater scrutiny (e.g. U.S. Senate), its share price could swiftly collapse in Enron-style fashion,” it declared.

In a response to Spruce Point, XPO told the financial newspaper Barron’s: “Today’s report from a short-selling firm is intentionally misleading with significant inaccuracies, and fails to reflect that XPO has delivered strong performance for its long-term shareholders.

“The facts demonstrate that the short seller’s claims, most of which have been previously floated and refuted, are baseless and an attempt to string together unrelated pieces of incorrect information to paint an inaccurate impression of the company. We will communicate directly with our investors regarding this short seller’s report,” the spokesman continued.

On December 04, 97 members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter urging the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to investigate several news reports of alleged mistreatment of XPO employees.

The company responded via its web site with a statement saying it was “deeply disturbed by recent media allegations” and was taking immediate action to investigate.

Three days later the Teamsters Union, which has expressed on-going support for XPO workers, called on Jacobs to “formally acknowledge his company’s failure to address ongoing issues at its Memphis, Tenn. distribution center that include pregnancy discrimination, worker intimidation, and harassment”.

The Spruce Point report is available here: XPO Logistics

GENEVA: November 01, 2018. IATA has announced from January 01, 2019 the electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) will become the default contract of carriage for all air cargo shipments on enabled trade lanes.

The association says this key industry milestone ushers air cargo into a new era where digital processes will be the norm and paper processes will be the exception.

A321neo VIETJET e-AWB brings numerous benefits such as:
• Elimination of paper based processes
• Improved efficiency and reliability of the overall cargo handling process
• Faster delivery times
• Decrease handling errors
• Positive impact on the environment with reduced paper usage

IATA introduced e-AWB in 2010 with the objective to initiate the digitalization of the air cargo supply chain.

Ever since, the e-AWB initiative has been a key enabler to the digitalization and transformation of our industry, as data availability and quality is critical to deliver innovative solutions and enhance customer experience.

The growing number of stakeholders using e-AWB demonstrates that the industry is ready and committed to embrace the full digitalization of the air cargo industry.

IATA encourages all air cargo industry stakeholders to switch to e-AWB at the earliest unless a paper air waybill may still be required due to applicable international treaties, national law, or as bilaterally agreed between the parties.

(Pictured: Vietjet has placed a firm order with Airbus for an additional 50 A321neo single aisle aircraft, bringing its order to 171 of which 46 have been delivered.)

PARIS/NEW YORK: December 07, 2018. A survey by EcoVadis, the provider of business sustainability ratings, says most organizations are taking a reactive, unstructured approach to fighting corruption risks.

EcoVadis defines corruption as any kind of abuse of entrusted power in the workplace for private gain, taking the form of bribery, conflict of interest, fraud and/or money laundering.

The latest report is based on more than 20,000 company assessments conducted between January 2017 and June 2018 in 100 countries and across 150 industries. Companies were rated on a scale of zero to 100, with scores below 45 representing medium to high risk, and scores below 25 indicating very high risk.

Nambia sign World BankThe finance and insurance (49.9) sectors lead in best practices adoption (49.9), while power transmission and generation had the highest average industry score (50.2) followed by information and communication technology (47.7), real estate (47.7) and legal and consulting (46.4).

Wholesale, transportation and storage, construction and the light and heavy manufacturing sectors all scored below the world’s average (42.2), suggesting they are at high risk for corruption, bribery and fraud according to the study.

EcoVadis suggests North American and European companies lead the world in business ethics with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively having a formal policy on corruption.

“While most companies formalize anti-corruption policies through a code of conduct, few are taking the next step and implementing internal control measures,” noted EcoVadis CEO Pierre-Francois Thaler. “Written frameworks are a great starting point, but they are not sufficient for mitigating all corruption risks, which can wreak havoc on companies’ bottom lines and reputations if not addressed,”

The timing of the study coincides with new US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act policies and expansion of Sapin II in France, which requires companies with more than 500 employees and €100 million in annual turnover to implement anti-corruption programmes.

According to the UN, corruption costs US$2.6 trillion annually, money that is urgently needed for healthcare, education, clean water, infrastructure, and other essential services.

Marking International Anti-Corruption Day on December 09, UN secretary general António Guterres commented: "Through the Convention Against Corruption peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability. We can educate and empower citizens, promote transparency and strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets."

(Pictured: anti-corruption sign in Nambia courtesy of WorldBank/Philip Schuler.)

 

LOS ANGELES: October 22, 2018. Virgin Group head Sir Richard Branson has stepped down as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One saying the role requires more time than he has available because of other commitments.

Patrick McCall, current chairman of Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit and the Virgin Rail Group will replace him on the company’s Board.

Virgin Hyperloop group photoIn the past year, Virgin Hyperloop One has been working with the government of Maharashtra, India on a plan to develop a first Hyperloop route from Mumbai to Pune; launched its cargo division CargoSpeed in partnership with DP World; and secured an agreement with the European Union to develop a R&D test facility in Southern Spain.

“For the first time in more than 20 years, I took on a chairman’s role last year to help Virgin Hyperloop One through a transitional period,” explained Branson. “We have exciting projects in India, Spain and are working with a number of US states to further develop this ground breaking technology.

“At this stage in the company’s evolution, I feel it needs a more hands-on chair who can focus on the business and these opportunities. It will be difficult for me to fulfill that commitment as I already devote significant time to my philanthropic ventures and the many businesses within the Virgin Group,” he continued.

Following the significant development in 2018 and further investment from DP World, Branson says he feels it is now the right time to revert to supporting the company on its brand development and international expansion.

Commenting on the announcement, DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sualyem said: ”DP World is the largest shareholder in Virgin Hyperloop One because we see the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network under the CargoSpeed brand, launched earlier this year, to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally. This technology serves our vision to enable smarter trade globally.”

(Pictured: Virgin Hyperloop One staff with Sir Richard Branson.)

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