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How one company is doing their part to look after the planet and its people

Image: Mars

Last year, 64 percent of CEOs increased their business’ investment in corporate social responsibility. Thanks to new technology and the internet, along with advancements in science and medicine, companies have become more informed about their social and environmental impact. Armed with the evidence needed to change business practices for the greater good of employees, consumers, and the environment, there has never been a better time to put this knowledge and these insights into action.

From climate change to poverty, these are trying times. But these challenges are not insurmountable. If companies, countries, and citizens all come together in search of attainable solutions, this generation can leave this planet better than we found it.

Governments across the world have collaborated to create initiatives like the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in an effort to ensure that future generations can enjoy a high quality of life. If we fail to meet the goals set by these agreements, we could face dire consequences such as more frequent, stronger hurricanes and unmanageably high sea levels.

Now that those frameworks are in place, addressing the often uncomfortable topic of poverty is also a pressing concern that demands immediate attention. More than 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day, which is considered extreme poverty. Many of the estimated 200 million smallholder farmers who are producing food within the world’s supply chains are also living in poverty, so the role of businesses operating in these industries is critical in order to drive systemic change.

As consumers become more socially and environmentally conscious and demand more from the companies that make the products that they buy, businesses and brands are rallying to make lasting contributions to our planet, its people, and their overall wellbeing.

Mars is a part of that movement and has launched its Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which focuses on three interconnected ambitions essential to driving sustainable growth:

Image: Mars

Healthy Planet

Humanity’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have changed the composition of our atmosphere and the climate that surrounds us. Around the world, people are beginning to feel the effects, from increased average and extreme temperatures, to changes in rainfall patterns, to more severe and less predictable storms.

Science tells us that to avoid the worst consequences, we should limit global warming to less than the two degrees Celsius threshold outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Mars has been working on cutting its own emissions for many years and in 2015 achieved its interim target of reducing its GHG emissions from its direct operations by 25 percent. While Mars has set a goal to eliminate 100 percent of its GHG emissions from its direct supply chain by 2014, the business recently announced that it will go even further, setting its sights on a much bigger goal. Mars has begun focusing not just on its direct operations, but its whole value chain, seeking to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent by 2025, and 67 percent in the 25 years following.

Mars has also tracked all of the water sources along its supply chain in order to pinpoint problem areas along the way. The organization plans to cut its unsustainable water sources in half by 2025, and completely eliminate them in the long term.

The company is also working with farmers to make better use of their land through innovative farming techniques and training, allowing them to increase their yields without increasing their footprint.

Image: Mars

Thriving people

The environment is not the only thing that needs to be sustained; the careers and livelihoods of workers need to be nurtured, as well.

Millions of people around the world work hard every day producing and selling products that many millions of consumers enjoy – from the rice we cook with at meal times, to the gum we chew, to the candy we enjoy as a treat, to the food we feed our pets. We will only continue to have secure and sustainable access to these crops if the farmers cultivating them see farming as an attractive career that will allow them to earn a sufficient income and have a decent standard of living.

Mars believes everyone touched by its business should have the opportunity to be successful. When people thrive, they are more productive and better able to meet their own needs, as well as the needs of their families and communities.

Image: mars

Nourishing wellbeing 

Doing good is about looking after everyone across the supply chain, from the farmers at the start of it, to the consumers at the end of it. Businesses like Mars are increasingly focused on helping consumers make informed choices about the products they consume while improving their own products, increasing choice, and investing into research to advance food safety and security.

Mars’ goal is to advance science, innovation, and marketing in ways that help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives.

Mars is committed to offering more nutritious foods including vegetables, fruits and wholegrain, and will continue to dial back sugar and sodium. The company will also be encouraging families to come together at dinner times, highlighting the importance of togetherness and familial bonds in an increasingly digital world.

Familial bonds aren’t just between humans either; they’re also about our relationship with pets. As a leader in pet care, Mars is creating a better world for pets through advanced nutrition, veterinary care, and through research to better understand the benefits of animal and human interaction.

By helping to protect the planet and helping its people and pets to thrive, Mars and other companies all over the world are using their size and scale to make a positive impact.

In the coming years, we can expect to see even more of this good work from companies coming together in support of a better future for the planet and its people.

Join the conversation with #GenerationForChange and learn more about how you can make a difference.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/20/companies-doing-good/

At least 30,000 Rohingya trapped in Myanmar mountains without food

(CNN)Tens of thousands of refugees are trapped on the border into Bangladesh without basic food and medicine amid operations by the Myanmar military, which have already killed hundreds.

Satellite photos released by Human Rights Watch Saturday showed what they are desperate to escape — entire villages torched to the ground in clashes between Myanmar’s armed forces and local militants.

More than 73,000 Rohingyas have now fled across the border since August 25, the United Nations said Sunday.

But in northern Rakhine State there are reports of at least another 30,000 Rohingyas trapped in hilly terrain without basic supplies of food, water or medicine, according to activists.

The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, are considered some of the most persecuted people in the world. Myanmar, also known as Burma, considers them Bangladeshi and Bangladesh says they’re Burmese.

It is the second time in less than a year that a military crackdown has led to a mass exodus.

 

Stranded

Unable to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh and fearful to return to what’s left of their homes, Rohingya activists say the refugees are stranded between Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships.

Videos provided to CNN by activists show dozens of men, women and children stranded on a mountain, surrounded by dense jungle, living in makeshift shelters made of sticks and sheets.

“The human lives that are most vulnerable must be rescued immediately without delay,” executive director of Burma Human Rights Network, Kyaw Win, said in a statement.

The trapped refugees are just some of at least 100,000 Rohingyas who have been forced to flee their homes since August 25, after armed forces began “clearance operations” across Rakhine State.

The government blames “terrorists” for starting the violence. Rohingya militants killed 12 security officers in border post attacks two weeks ago, according to state media, intensifying the latest crackdown.

A top military official said the government was “taking great care in solving the (Rakhine State) problem.”

Due to Myanmar’s policy of shutting off all access to Rakhine state for the media, CNN is not able to verify any figures independently or any stories told by refugees.

Village burnt down

Human Rights Watch renewed its calls for the Myanmar government to allow independent observers into Rakhine State, after releasing troubling satellite photos from inside the region.

“This new satellite imagery shows the total destruction of a Muslim village, and prompts serious concerns that the level of destruction in northern Rakhine state may be far worse than originally thought,” Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said in a statement.

The images were taken on August 31 of Chein Khar Li village in northern Rakhine State. According to Human Rights Watch, they show about 700 buildings have been burned down, making up about 99% of the village.

“This is only one of 17 sites that we’ve located where burnings have taken place,” Robertson said.

Reports of villages being burnt down, allegedly by Myanmar’s military, previously emerged in a United Nations report investigating the 2016 crackdown on Rohingyas.

Myanmar’s government has blamed the most recent violence and property destruction on Rohingya extremists.

‘Hacking our people to death’

The Rohingya have long been persecuted by the Myanmar government. Despite living in the country for generations, they’ve been denied citizenship and are regularly harassed.

A separate outbreak of violence in 2016 saw 85,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border, bringing with them horrifying stories of rape, torture and murder inside Rakhine State

Some refugees who poured across the border into Bangladesh told CNN what they had witnessed since the latest crackdown began two weeks ago.

“They are beating us, shooting at us and hacking our people to death,” Hamida Begum, a refugee who has left everything behind, told CNN.

“Many people were killed. Many women were raped and killed. We are very poor.”

Top general: Military ‘solving the problem’

On Saturday, a top Myanmar general issued an defiant statement on the violence in Rakhine State.

Posted to his Facebook page, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said the only action been taken against “Bengalis” was “to ensure everything is within the framework of the law.”

Thousands of Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar

 “The Bengali problem was a long-standing one which has become an unfinished job despite the efforts of the previous governments to solve it,” he said.

“The government in office is taking great care in solving the problem.”

In his post, Gen. Hlaing didn’t address protests made by Bangladesh alleging Myanmar’s military had violated their airspace on multiple occasions in the past week.

In a note sent to Myanmar’s embassy in Dhaka on Friday, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “strongly protested” the incursions and warned it could lead “to an unwarranted situation.”

“Bangladesh demanded Myanmar take immediate measures to prevent recurrence of such incursion in the future,” a statement posted to the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry’s website said.

International condemnation grows

On Sunday night, Indonesia’s minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi flew to Myanmar to request the government cease all violence against the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo announced the move in a statement, condemning the attacks and demanding real action to help the Rohingyas. Indonesia is the largest Muslim majority country in the world.

Nobel laureate Malala has called out Myanmar’s state councilor and defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the violence, saying in a statement she was still waiting for her fellow Nobel Winner to join her in condemning the treatment of Rohingyas.

“Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” she wrote.

Qatar foreign minister Al Thani said his country “strongly condemn(ed) attacks on Rohingya Muslims during Eid,” calling on the country to follow international laws.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/04/asia/rohingya-refugees-myanmar-military/index.html

The refugee doctors learning to speak Glaswegian – BBC News

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRefugee doctor: ‘I hope to make the UK proud’

Doctors who have travelled to Scotland as refugees are being given the chance to start working for the NHS through a training scheme. The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme has been to meet those involved.

“When people say, ‘I had a couple of beers’, they don’t mean two,” jokes instructor Dr Patrick Grant, a retired A&E doctor training refugees to work for NHS Scotland – including in how to overcome cultural barriers.

One of his students is Fatema, who previously worked as a surgeon in the Middle East until she was forced to flee.

Having treated anti-government protesters in her home country, she herself had become a government target.

“I wish one day this country will be proud of me,” she says.

Fatema is one of 38 refugees and asylum seekers on the course – a £160,000 programme funded by the Scottish government.

Based in Glasgow, it provides the doctors with advanced English lessons, medical classes and placements with GPs or hospitals.

The aim is to give the refugee doctors – who commit to working for NHS Scotland – the skills to get their UK medical registration approved.

‘Like being handcuffed’

Fatema says coming to the UK and not being able to work as a surgeon had felt like being “handcuffed”.

“I’m a qualified medical doctor. It’s hard to start again from zero,” she explains.

Maggie Lennon, founder of the Bridges Programmes which runs the scheme, says it is important for the UK to utilise its high-skilled refugees.

Image caption Maggie Lennon says the refugee doctors’ clinical skills are very similar to those of doctors trained in the UK

“I always say to people, ‘I imagine taking out an appendix in Peshawar is not that different to taking out an appendix in Paisley’.

“I don’t think there’s actually any difference in the clinical skills, I think where there is a huge difference is attitudes to patients and how medicine is performed,” she explains.

The scheme is designed to overcome such hurdles, including the case of one surgeon who, Ms Lennon says, was unaware he would have to speak to patients, having previously only encountered them in his home country after they had been put to sleep.


Find out more

Watch Catrin Nye’s full film on refugee doctors on the Victoria Derbyshire programme’s website.


Laeth Al-Sadi, also on the course, used to be a doctor in the Iraqi army.

He came to Scotland to study but his life was threatened in Iraq and he was never able to go back.

One of the ways he has learned to work with patients in the UK is to use informal terms that might put them at ease – “How are the waterworks down there?” being one example.

Image caption Laeth Al-Sadi says being part of the scheme allows him to feel like he “belongs somewhere”

Language classes are an important part of the course, and placements with GPs and hospitals also allow the refugees to take note of local dialects.

Another doctor says he was confused by a patient who said they had a headache because of a “swally” – a term for an alcoholic drink.

Before refugees can even take their medical exams, they must pass tests to ensure they speak English at a high level.

They must pass a test called IELTS with a level of 7.5 – which even some doctors from the US and Australia have failed in the past.

Image caption Refugees take classes in “situational judgement”

All classes are taught in English. In one “situational judgement” lesson, the refugees are taught to assess what is wrong with a dummy patient based on its “symptoms”.

Laeth says he feels lucky to be offered the possibility of a job in NHS Scotland.

“Lots of colleagues, or people who are doctors, are living here, and they are working other jobs.

“Some of them are even taxi drivers, which has [led to a loss of] hope for a lot of people.”

Ms Lennon says this issue of under-employment among the refugee population “is as serious as unemployment”.

“If someone’s a qualified accountant and they’re working pushing trolleys [in a supermarket], then there is an argument that they’re taking a job from a poorly qualified person in this country,” she adds.

Image caption Language classes are an important part of the scheme

Fatema says that despite having to leave the Middle East, she is glad she took the decision to treat anti-government protesters.

“My promise at medical graduation [was to] treat people equally, and try to do whatever is possible to help people. So I would do it again.”

Dr Greg Jones, clinical lead at NHS Education Scotland, defended the use of government money on the scheme.

“As well as getting people back to their careers as doctors being the right thing to do from a humanitarian standpoint,” he explains, “it’s also the right thing to do financially.

“It would be a hugely wasted resource if people who’d already gone through medical training were not used as doctors.”

Laeth says being part of the scheme allows him to feel like he “belongs somewhere”.

“It means the world,” he adds.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41160013

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