Oil is up but banks are feeling the heat

The price of crude oil is nudging up ahead of an OPEC meeting that could see major oil producers agree to cut production. But that will provide small succor for the major banks who are badly exposed to what the Wall Street Journal terms “massive unfunded loans” that have been promised to the oil and energy industry. With the banks about to announce their quarterly earnings we will find out just how big their exposure is to the struggling fossil fuel energy industry. As the WSJ notes, “Banks in recent months have set aside billions of dollars to cover potential losses tied to energy companies, a trend likely to continue as more loans go bad.”

An Antarctic ice horror show

“Scientists are watching in horror as ice collapses.” That’s no sensationalist tabloid headline - it’s straight from an article in National Geographic that seeks to put into context just how serious the continued destruction of Antartica’s ice shelves will be. “A new analysis of ice sheet instability, published March 31 in Nature, took the public by surprise when it projected that global sea level might rise six feet by 2100,” Nat Geo writes. “But many glacial scientists weren’t surprised. The new estimate is based on insights that have emerged slowly, over 20 years, in the aftermath of these ice shelf collapses.”

Waitrose’s cow cam

Move over Big Brother, reality farm tv has arrived in the shape of a new series of Waitrose adverts that aim to demonstrate the authenticity of its sourcing and supply chain. So-called cow cams will capture scenes from one of the UK dairy farms supplying Waitrose and then will be edited and aired as TV adverts the same day the Guardian reports. This farm fresh approach appears an obvious way for Waitrose to distance itself from rival Tesco. It “came under fire last month for launching a series of farm brands to sell products, based on British-sounding, but fictitious names,” the Guardian writes.

M.I.A. raises H&M’s sustainability cool

A couple of weeks ago we wrote how H&M had recruited rapper M.I.A. to be a brand ambassador for World Recycle Week. The video to promote their collaboration was released this week and you can view it here. M.I.A. is not known for pulling her punches on social issues which makes her alignment with H&M more impressive for a brand that has attracted criticism for the impact its fast fashion approach has on the environment and society. The way M.I.A. sees things: “If all [H&M] do is go and inspire another high-street brand to get in on caring and being conscious, or if H&M gets criticized for any of their factory processes, these are all good things,” she tells Vogue, adding: “At least they’re even stepping into the [environmentally conscious] arena.”

Heineken raps its sustainability report

Finally today, it’s not often that you get to write about a rapper and sustainability twice in one day but it just so happens that Heineken has released a spoken word version of its Sustainability Report. Yes I know what you’re thinking - Samsung’s ill-fated attempt to rap its own report which prompted universal bemusement online. Heineken’s effort is far more accomplished - thankfully. The beverage giant turned to Dutch spoken word artist Kevin "Blaxtar" de Randamie to reinterpret the information in Heineken’s 2015 Sustainability Report and the result is an engaging and compelling call to arms for sustainability in brewing. Cheers!

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