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Positive News What went right this week: rewilding, circular economics

Posted 16th October 2020 • Written by •

A study revealed how rewilding could help halt extinctions, the world’s largest furniture chain made a circular pledge and notice was served on ‘thuggish’ debt letters, plus more positive news

Ikea embraced circular economics

The world’s largest furniture brand announced this week that it will buy used goods from customers as part of a drive to become more sustainable.

Ikea’s ‘buy back’ scheme will launch on Black Friday (27 November) and will offer customers up to 50 per cent of the original value of their unwanted items in the form of vouchers. The move follows last month’s announcement that the company will open its first secondhand shop in Stockholm this year.

“The climate crisis requires us all to radically rethink our consumption habits,” said Pia Heidenmark Cook, chief sustainability officer at Ingka Group, Ikea’s holding company.

‘Thuggish’ debt letters put on notice

The UK government agreed this week to change an old law that compels money lenders to send “thuggish” debt letters containing opaque legal language and block capitals. It follows a campaign by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

Lenders will be required to make debt default letters easier to understand and less intimidating. Borrowers will also have to be told about where they can obtain free debt advice.

“[These] changes will make the most distressing debt letters much less intimidating,” said Martin Lewis, founder of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. “And crucially will also easily and calmly point people in serious debt to get the free, non-profit debt advice they need.”

Ethnicity pay gap in England and Wales at lowest recorded level

The pay gap between white and ethnic minority employees in England and Wales is at its narrowest level since records began in 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed this week.

The median hourly pay for white workers in 2019 was £12.40 per hour, compared with £12.11 per hour for ethnic minority employees – a gap of 2.3 per cent. By way of contrast, the largest gap was in 2014 at 8.4 per cent.

Most minority ethnic groups analysed by the ONS earned less per hour than white British employees; Chinese, white Irish and Indian ethnic groups earned more. But the pay gap only tells part of the story, according to race equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust, which says ethnic minorities are around twice as likely to be unemployed as their white British peers.

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Photo: Nikola Jovanovic

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