Apple urged by investors to clean-up production line
Apple announced this week that it will ban two hazardous chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, from its manufacturing process. The chemical benzene has been linked to leukemia and exposure to n-hexane is known to cause nerve damage and paralysis. An Apple representative has stated that an investigative team was sent to China, which turned up no evidence of workers’ health being put at risk. That being said, Apple continues to take accusations of unsafe working conditions seriously and after increased encouragement from investors, the company has promised to place more emphasis on research to help discover new manufacturing processes that implement safer chemicals.
Aside from new efforts to help ensure safe conditions for supply chain workers, Apple has recently been applauded for its investment in renewable energy.
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Hazelnut shortage could lead to price increases
A spike in demand for hazelnuts, coupled with low crop yields due to suboptimal weather conditions and disease, have led to a shortage in supply. Hazelnuts are high in protein, fiber and vitamins; three factors that have contributed to their growing popularity.
The price for hazelnuts has increased by 60% over the past year, and this is a trend that is expected to continue. The higher prices have had a knock-on effect for products such as Nutella from Ferrero. Prices for the chocolate-hazelnut spread are expected to go up considerably as the price for hazelnuts continues to rise. Furthermore, people who enjoy eating the various nut mixes available on the market can expect the ratio of hazelnuts to be significantly reduced.
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Slavery along the supply chain likely
Results from a recent poll conducted by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) have revealed that 11% of UK firms believe it to be “likely” that modern slavery conditions are present at some stage of their supply chain processes. Also revealed in the CIPS report was its Supply Chain Risk Index which noted an 18-month low for the second quarter of 2014, which can be considered surprising given the current sanctions in Russia and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
This risk index considers pressures on supply chains at a global level, taking socio-economic, physical trade and business continuity risk factors into consideration and weighting them against each country’s contribution to global exports. It serves as a good reminder of the vast interconnectedness of global business and highlights where there is a need for improvement in the field of supply chain risk management.
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Have a nice weekend!