In this file:
· Federal shutdown prompts judge to freeze hog nuisance trials
· Smithfield trial postponed due to government shutdown
· When Is A Corporate-Environmental Partnership More Than Just PR?
Federal shutdown prompts judge to freeze hog nuisance trials
by The Associated Press
via WCTI ABC 12 Greenville and WYDO Fox 14 Greenville (NC) - Jan 4, 2019
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The partial government shutdown is prompting the postponement of a trial by a federal judge managing lawsuits accusing the world's largest pork company of creating nuisances for rural North Carolina neighbors.
U.S. District Judge Earl Britt ordered Thursday that a jury trial scheduled to start Tuesday must be postponed because jury pay couldn't be guaranteed beyond next week. Britt said the fifth of more than two dozen lawsuits by more than 500 neighbors of intensive animal operations will be rescheduled once funding is appropriated.
Jurors in four previous cases decided Smithfield Foods should pay nearly $550 million in penalties.
Last week, the shutdown forced...
Smithfield trial postponed due to government shutdown
January 4, 2019
The partial government shutdown is prompting the postponement of a trial by a federal judge managing lawsuits accusing the world’s largest pork company of creating nuisances for rural North Carolina neighbors.
video report [0:33 min]
When Is A Corporate-Environmental Partnership More Than Just PR?
By Erica Hunzinger, Iowa Public Radio/NPR
Jan 4, 2019
As harvest wrapped up this year and the leaves turned brilliant shades of red and yellow, two of the world’s biggest agribusinesses, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Smithfield Foods, announced they were pairing up on projects with environmental nonprofits.
It didn’t create the furor like in past years when oil companies joined forces with nonprofits and were met by accusations of “greenwashing” — that is, just trying to shine up their reputations.
But that doesn’t mean these latest partnerships have it figured out. Success begins with finding common ground with the farmers and landowners the efforts affect the most. And there’s also the challenge of holding each other accountable.
“I think it's more effective to have a change when you to come in and talk with people and come to an agreement about an overarching goal and then figuring out how to get there as opposed to fighting about it,” said Stewart Leeth, the chief sustainability officer for hog processor Smithfield.
These voluntary, piecemeal partnerships among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations may even turn out to be the first line of defense against climate change — particularly as the federal government shrinks its regulatory duties at the direction of President Donald Trump.
What’s behind it?
On the surface, corporations’ environmental-minded work appears to have increased substantially in the 2010s. The Governance and Accountability Institute said earlier this year that nearly 85 percent of companies in the S&P 500 — including ADM and Smithfield — reported on sustainability or corporate responsibility in 2017, up from 20 percent in 2011.
Partnerships with environmental organizations are among the most visible steps a company can take, and they’re taking root among a host of food and agribusiness companies, like PepsiCo, Nestle and two of the most recently announced efforts.
Smithfield announced Nov. 1 its partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group, on protections for monarch butterflies. And on Oct. 17, ADM joined the Ag Water Challenge, which is hosted in part by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres), a sustainability nonprofit that targets investors and companies.
Both EDF and Ceres told Harvest Public Media that the cost of the work falls mostly in the lap of the multibillion-dollar companies, not the nonprofits.
“We do not want this to be companies paying to engage with us,” said Eliza Roberts, senior manager of water at Ceres. “Ceres and (the World Wildlife Fund) received funding from foundations to do all of the work that we do and we've launched this challenge as a way of incentivizing companies to step up and make commitments to address the water challenges that we're facing now and in the future.”
But one big concern is accountability, and critics like Stephanie Feldstein, with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, said that’s the weak spot in the partnerships — and where consumers should push back.
The goals “don’t tend to be ambitious enough,” she said, adding that companies need to publicly report results “so that their customers … their investors, can see whether or not they’re actually sticking to these targets.”
Feldstein, whose nonprofit doesn’t seek such partnerships, said in many cases, the partnerships are just a PR stunt, “more of a partnership of convenience for the corporation.”
The Missouri model
In 2016, Smithfield, whose large-scale hog operations are the target of nuisance lawsuits and waste complaints, announced a goal to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025...
ADM’s water focus ...
Tracking progress ...
Whose role? ...
more, including links, audio [3:54 min.]