Scathing report prompts changes to reef programs

Just when we thought the Great Barrier Reef was safe from UN listing as ‘in danger’ the Queensland auditor general has delivered a scathing report about reef programs. And while the government has been quick to act on most of the recommendations there’s some unfinished business on regulations and implications for the federal government too. The auditor general describes the Queensland government’s programs to reduce agricultural pollution to the reef as disparate projects across multiple agencies with no clear accountability for their delivery. It found they won’t achieve the government’s goals for reducing pollution to the reef. And it questions the way the government reports on improvement

Tracking down ethical fashion

​​ For the past few months I've been a detective for Good on You, tracking down fashion that's good for you and the planet. I've investigated half a dozen brands like Jack London, Elle McPherson underwear and Nina Ricci. And what I've found is that nothing is as it seems. Elle doesn't own those brands with her name on them and neither does Nina Ricci. So far I haven't found any brands or companies that have a convincing policy or process to ensure minimum working conditions and pay rates for workers, to exclude child labour, to exclude cruelty to animals or to protect the environment. But I haven't found any evidence that they've done any of these things or broken the law either. It looks t

Judging banks for social responsibility

Judging Money magazine's Socially Responsible Bank of the Year awards this year wasn't easy. As the magazine's June issue says 'Australian banks have been rocked by advice scandals, pressured by environmentalists to stop funding coal and accused of funding unscrupulous payday lending.' So the panel, which I was pleased to join at the invitation of Green Cross director Mara Bun, looked for social responsibility as embedded culture, not just an add on. We asked 'why' and 'how' the applicant banks support social and environmental programs and whether they're taking a leadership position or just keeping up. What stood out for me is that the big banks - Westpac, NAB and ANZ are now openly incorpo

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