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Climate change spooks companies


Climate change spooks companies

Ever more companies see climate change as a growing threat to their commercial interests, according to a study carried out on behalf of 315 global investors. But others expect to benefit, says the Global Climate Change Report.

Investors want firms to quantify and disclose the likely costs and benefits derived from climate change.

“Increasingly, investors view good carbon management as a sign of good corporate management,” said the head of the project Paul Dickinson.

There is still a minority of companies who are not engaged in the issues of climate change
Paul Dickinson, Climate Disclosure Project

“Our investors are using the quality of the disclosure as a very useful tool to assess how seriously a company is taking the issues of climate change.”

US President Bill Clinton will be among the speakers as the Global Corporate Climate Change Report is launched in New York on Monday.

In addition to quantifying how climate change might affect their companies, many are also putting in place mechanisms to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“A majority of firms recognise the financial and reputational benefits of improved carbon performance,” the report said.

Nevertheless, “there is still a minority of companies who are not engaged in the issues of climate change”, it added.

Published: 2007/09/23 23:02:28 GMT


Urge crear una “supervisión laboral” en Latinoamérica


Urge crear una “supervisión laboral” en Latinoamérica
Experto de la Cepal
Nayeli Roldán
Milenio, 4-Agosto-07

Michael Piore, investigador del Instituto de Tecnología de Massachussets, dijo que es necesaria una reforma administrativa en el campo laboral en México y propone la formación de “supervisores” para que funcionen como “puente” entre las empresas y los trabajadores con el gobierno.

De acuerdo con el autor del informe Normas, regulaciones y estándares laborales en Centroamérica de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe, es urgente crear una escuela de inspección laboral para Latinoamérica.

Se especializaría en la formación de nuevos inspectores y en hacer estudios técnicos sobre la relación entre posibles violaciones a los derechos laborales y el sistema de producción de la empresa. Aspectos que deben respetarse para elevar la competitividad y calidad.

Para ello, explicó, que “se necesita más voluntad política, más recursos y liderazgo en la Secretaría del Trabajo, además de mayor intercambio de información con las empresas y los trabajadores”.

En conferencia de prensa, Piore explicó que el principal problema de Latinoamérica es que, después de veinte años de neoliberalismo, está entrando en una nueva etapa en la que debe regularizar el mercado de trabajo.

Trabajadores migrantes
Piori aseguró que las acciones de Estados Unidos para evitar que indocumentados crucen la frontera sólo provocan que la estancia de los que serían trabajadores temporales, se vuelva permanente.

“Cerrar la frontera es totalmente loco, en el sentido de que los migrantes son complementarios y desean volver a México y con el cierre de la frontera, la gente se queda en Estados Unidos”. Implementar un muro fronterizo, argumenta, “rompe la circulación migratoria”.

Reducing Poverty in Latin America through Education


My friend Michelle Viegas is working hard with Worldfund to reduce poverty in Latin America through education. As described in its website, Worldfund achieves its mission by partnering with religious and secular private schools, as well as education projects serving public schools, operating in poor communities throughout Latin America. It provides infrastructure and operating budget grants, as well as links to management and technical assistance. Worldfund supported projects now serve close to 20,000 students. For more info check  

AIDS and work ina globalizing world






HIV/AIDS and work in a globalizing world – 2005
This new report from the ILO highlights the intrinsic links between poverty, HIV/AIDS, movement for work, and globalization. The negative impact of the epidemic on health and the quality of the labour force, deterring foreign direct investment, is underscored and assessed. The report provides estimates of populations at risk of HIV/AIDS in 34 countries.


Real Estate. Buenos Aires. Gringo invasion.



Gringo invasion. Looking for lofts in Buenos Aires

 In 2003, when John Kahoun, a New Yorker, decided to buy an apartment as a rental investment, he was deterred by the cost of property in Manhattan. So for $70,000 he bought a loft in Buenos Aires, the home of his former wife. As Argentina’s economy has recovered from its 2001-02 collapse, so have property prices. Mr Kahoun’s property in Palermo Viejo, a trendy neighbourhood beloved by film-makers and artists, has nearly doubled in value. Foreigners like Mr Kahoun have contributed to a continuing property boom in Buenos Aires. They account for up to a quarter of buyers in some wealthier neighbourhoods. Two years ago, Michael Koh, an American, set up Apartments BA, a firm which buys property for foreign clients and rents it out to foreign tenants—about 15% of whom come to the city for plastic surgery. Mr Koh says his investors, many of whom have never seen their properties, enjoyed a rise in their capital asset of 25% last year on top of rental income worth 10% of their investment. By comparison with the United States or Europe, housing in Buenos Aires is still cheap. Modern apartments in the elegant districts of Palermo and Recoleta cost less than $1,500 per square metre, and bargain-hunters can buy in slightly older buildings in pleasant, middle-class barrios for a third less. So far the foreign invasion has not prompted a xenophobic backlash. That may be because it is largely confined to the leafiest neighbourhoods, where many new blocks of flats are going up. And foreign buyers must climb over mounds of red tape. Sellers demand cash. But foreigners are not legally allowed to bring large sums of money into the country. So the typical route is to transfer the money to the account of an Argentine foreign-exchange house held at a bank abroad. The exchange house converts the funds into pesos, to comply with controls on the import of foreign currency, and then back into dollars (for a fee of around 2%). On completion, the exchange house presents the buyer with a suitcase full of cash to hand over to the vendor. Only then can the would-be resident of Buenos Aires celebrate with a steak and a bottle of vino tinto.

International Labour Conference


ILO press release   95th International Labour Conference opens 31st May  

  Tuesday 30 May 2006 (ILO/06/23) GENEVA (ILO News) – Some 3,000 government, worker and employer leaders from the world of work are to meet here from 31 May to 16 June for the annual Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to discuss issues ranging from changing patterns in the world of work to child labour, occupational safety and health, the employment relationship, labour inspection, and the labour situation in Myanmar and other countries. Two eminent guest speakers will honour the Conference with their presence this year: H.E. Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, will address the Conference on 7 June, and H.E. Mr. Oscar Arias Sánchez, President of the Republic of Costa Rica, will address the Conference on 8 June. ILO Director-General Juan Somavia will provide delegates with an overview of ILO issues and concerns in an address on June 5. The Director-General will also present a new report on “Changing patterns in the world of work” that provides a global perspective on the main features of the transformation of work and the challenges this presents for the goal of decent work for all. The Conference will also provide a central focus for global activities on the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June. Working agenda  

  The Conference will discuss elements of future ILO instruments on occupational safety and health with a view toward adopting a new Convention and a Recommendation. The Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will hold a second discussion on a promotional framework aimed at lowering the toll of work-related injuries and diseases which cause some 2 million deaths each year. On 9 June, the Conference Plenary will discuss the ILO’s new Global Report on child labour, including a special event highlighting the progress made in eliminating child labour in countries like Brazil, Tanzania and Turkey. “The end of child labour – Within reach” says child labour declined by 11 per cent between 2000 and 2004. The report is issued under the follow-up of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted in 1998. The Conference will also discuss the increasingly frequent situations in which it is difficult to establish the existence of an employment relationship. Delegates will consider the possible adoption of an international labour Recommendation, on the basis of the debate on the employment relationship at the 2003 session of the International Labour Conference. The draft proposes to member States the formulation and adoption, in consultation with the social partners, of a national policy that aims at guaranteeing effective protection for workers. The Conference Committee on the Application of Standards will consider the effect given by ILO member States to ILO Conventions and Recommendations, including a general survey on international labour standards relating to labour inspection. Delegates will review the ILO’s technical cooperation programmes taking account of significant changes that have taken place in the approach and modalities of ILO programmes and activities since the last time the issue was discussed at the Conference in 1999, including Decent Work Country Programmes and partnerships within the United Nations system and elsewhere. The Conference will also consider the situation of forced labour in Myanmar in a plenary session and review possible further action by the ILO in accordance with its Constitution in order to effectively secure Myanmar’s compliance with the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry established in 1997, and to ensure that no action is taken against complainants or their representatives. During the discussions in the plenary, tripartite delegates will also address the latest report of the ILO on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories. The role of the International Labour Conference is to adopt and oversee compliance with international labour standards, establish the budget of the Organization and elect members of the Governing Body. Since 1919, the Conference has served as a major international forum for debate on social and labour questions of worldwide importance. The Conference is expected to draw more than 3,000 delegates including labour ministers and leaders of workers’ and employers’ organizations from most of the ILO’s 178 member States. Each member country has the right to send four delegates to the Conference: two from government and one each representing workers and employers, each of whom may speak and vote independently.

Singapore: Charting a new roadmap for safer workplaces


ILO Press Release

Singapore: Charting a new roadmap for safer workplaces T

he Conference Committee on Safety and Health will consider a promotional framework for occupational safety and health (OSH), including a Convention supplemented by a Recommendation. The proposed instruments would support placing occupational safety and health high at national agendas, and promote safer and healthier working environments worldwide. To propel Singapore to the world’s top ten safest places to work, the country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has already formulated a similar OSH framework at the national level to make possible significant improvements in the safety and health of Singapore’s workers. ILO Online reports from Singapore.  



  SINGAPORE (ILO Online) – On 20 April 2004, the Nicoll Highway collapse in Singapore not only killed 4 workers on the spot but also prompted an urgent call for change. At the same time, a review committee was convened in May 2004 to examine safety standards in the construction industry. Singapore’s safety standards have improved steadily over the past 20 years, but in 2002 its workplace fatality rate at 4.9 per 100,000 employees was still higher than the European Union’s average rate of 2.5. In 2004, 83 people lost their lives in work-related accidents here. The grave mistakes that were uncovered in the process of the inquiry on the highway collapse led to an interim report, calling for immediate action to be taken to address systemic weaknesses in the construction industry. After a year-long probe, the committee concluded that a string of errors in design, construction, monitoring and supervision; regulatory weaknesses; and the lack of defensive systems and emergency planning contributed to the accident. Based on the entire life-cycle of a construction project, the committee proposed several recommendations, including centralizing building control functions at the Building and Construction Authority to preserve the integrity of the system and maintain public accountability; strengthening disciplinary actions against professionals; incorporating safety records in tenders for public sector projects; tightening regulation for deep excavation projects and temporary works; and requiring licensing for specialist contractors. What’s more, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) formulated a new OSH framework to make possible significant improvements in the safety and health of Singapore’s workers – with the ambitious goal to propel Singapore to the world’s top ten safest places to work in the world. While the ultimate goal is for zero fatalities, MOM will first strive to reduce deaths at workplaces by a third in five years, and then by half within a decade or sooner. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underlined the importance of occupational safety and health in his address at the 2006 ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting: “While we push for greater flexibility and competitiveness, this must never be done at the expense of workers’ safety. We must send a clear and unequivocal message to all companies that basic workplace standards must never be compromised in the pursuit of profit.” Singapore’s decades-old Factories Act was replaced by the new Workplace Safety and Health Act in March 2006. Companies have to establish an OSH management system, identify and manage OSH risks at work and foster a strong OSH culture so that all employees can stay healthy and safe while at work. With the enactment of the new OSH Act, the Ministry of Manpower decided to increase its staff on OSH by 50 per cent (from 200 to 300) and established a new OSH inspectorate. Workplace safety is everybody’s responsibility    


  The message on the MOM web site couldn’t be clearer: “Be safe or be sorry. Call 63171016 to report unsafe workplaces”. The new Workplace Safety and Health Act engages all stakeholders and increases penalties for poor OSH management. By stating the desired OSH outcomes instead of specifying exact processes and precise safety measures, the new Act will compel all to identify possible hazards from the onset and to put in place safety systems in their workplaces. In order to improve government monitoring, MOM reinforced its OSH inspection capacity as mentioned above. Besides a reinforced inspection system, a Workplace Safety & Health Advisory Committee (WSHAC) will strengthen industry self-regulation. Comprising industry leaders, the committee will also advise MOM on the setting of OSH standards and regulations, the promotion of OSH awareness and engagement of industry to raise the level of OSH, and the training of key stakeholders to raise competency and capabilities in OSH. An International Advisory Panel will be set up to help Singapore tap into overseas expertise and experience. To raise safety awareness and cultivate a safety culture in all stakeholders at workplaces, MOM launched an inaugural National OSH Week on 28 April 2005, in conjunction with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work as declared by the ILO. The week featured seminars and roadshows, with active support and participation from different industries. As announced by Manpower Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen during the launch of the National OSH Week, the public sector, which accounts for nearly half of the construction demand, will take the lead to improve safety at construction sites. It will place a premium on safety in the procurement process and offer various incentives for good safety performance by successful bidders. The ILO has been working with a number of countries for the development of national OSH programmes. In Asia, the ILO has been cooperating closely with the Government of Thailand in the formulation of an OSH Master Plan (2000-2006). Similar efforts are underway with the governments of Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines and Viet Nam. “Faced with 2.2 million fatalities caused annually by work-related injuries and diseases, delegates to the International Labour Conference will take a significant step towards improving occupational safety and health worldwide. if they adopt the proposed ILO instruments”, said Jukka Takala, Director of the ILO’s Safework programme. “Singapore is one of the lead countries in Asia now showing the way to an integrated framework for occupational safety and health.”

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