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The Business of Fast Fashion

‘Fast Fashion’ refers to clothing and accessories that are designed to reflect current industry trends, yet produced using less expensive materials to ensure a low price tag

Saving our Mothers

In honoring Mother's Day, Save the Children released the 14th annual State of World's Mother report.

Stop Coca-Cocal trashing Australia

Greenpeace Australia made a new coke ad with a twist. It exposes how this drinks giant is willing to let plastic pollution trash our ocean and kill our marine life.

Thanks a Million Australia

The New Zealand tourism industry is saying a big "Thanks a Million"to Australian visitors to celebrate the record of welcoming a million Australians in a 12-month period

People! Zara commits to go toxic free

Zara, the world’s largest clothing retailer, today announced a commitment to go toxic-free following nine days of intense public pressure. This win belongs to the fashion-lovers, activists, bloggers and denizens of social media. This is people power in action

Wednesday, August 9

Statement from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chairman of the Board

Wednesday, 9 August 2017 (Sydney): At its scheduled meeting on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Board of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia considered in detail the allegations in the statement of claim served last week on the Bank by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

The Board acknowledges the significance of the allegations, recognises the high degree of public interest in this matter, and that this issue impacts the reputation not only of the Bank but of the industry more broadly. Accordingly, to accompany the release of our full year results, the Board is today providing a public update on its discussions and actions.

Commonwealth Bank takes its legal and regulatory obligations very seriously, including its role in working with AUSTRAC, other agencies and law enforcement bodies, to fight crime. It is committed to maintaining a strong, co-operative working relationship with AUSTRAC.

Significant progress has been made on a program of action focussed on strengthening its policies and processes relating to its obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.  Since the second half of 2015, when the alleged issues relating to Threshold Transaction Reporting (TTRs) in the Intelligent Deposit Machines (IDMs) were brought to the Board’s attention, progress on the program of action includes:

·         Promptly fixing the coding error relating to the IDM TTRs.
·         Changing senior leadership in the key roles overseeing financial crimes compliance, compliance more broadly, and operational risk.
·         Recruiting more than 50 financial crime compliance professionals.
·         Strengthening our Know Your Customer (KYC) processes with a specialist hub providing consistent and high-quality on-boarding of customers, delivered at a cost of more than $85m.
·         Upgrading the financial crime technology used to monitor accounts and transactions for suspicious activity. The new technology will be fully delivered over the next twelve months at a cost of approximately $40m. 
·         Commencing the upgrade of additional fraud monitoring technology, for use by the team that provides further security assurance to customers by identifying any fraudulent activity.

The Board has established a dedicated sub-committee of four directors that will oversee the response to AUSTRAC’s statement of claim and the on-going execution of the program of action.

In terms of addressing accountability for the issues raised by the statement of claim, the Board’s immediate action has been to reduce to zero the Short-Term Variable Remuneration outcomes for the CEO and Group Executives for the financial year ended 30 June 2017, as well as reduce fees for non-executive directors by 20 per cent during the current 2018 financial year.

This reflects our view that the Board, CEO and Group Executives take ultimate collective responsibility for the reputation of the Bank. As the Board considers the substance of AUSTRAC’s claims, it will take an active role in addressing any further management accountability for the alleged actions or omissions. The Board notes that it has no reason to believe that the allegations arose from deliberate or unethical behaviour, or any commercial motive.

The Board’s actions reflect the focus we are taking on improving the trust among people, customers, businesses and communities that the Bank exists to serve.

Catherine Livingstone AO
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Sunday, March 19

Auckland airport will carry out its own review of the events surrounding yesterday’s death of Aviation Security Service dog Grizz.

Auckland Airport has announced that it will carry out its own review of the events surrounding yesterday’s death of Aviation Security Service dog Grizz.
The event was difficult for the whole airport team, particularly for the agencies and staff who tried to do everything they could to capture the dog.  Everyone involved in airport operations understands how important working dogs are to the safe and secure operation of airports.

The Emergency Operations Centre team, which includes representatives of the border agencies, airlines, ground handlers and New Zealand Police, made their difficult decision only after they exhausted all the viable options available to them.
We understand and acknowledge the strong community response to the decision, and our thoughts continue to be first and foremost with the Aviation Security Service dog handler, his colleagues, and all those who were involved in yesterday’s events.
Auckland Airport will be conducting its own review of the events and will liaise closely with the Aviation Security Service, which is also conducting a review.

Sunday, March 5

Reserve Bank sees risks equally balanced

Risks around future Official Cash Rate movements are equally weighted, reflecting balanced risks around inflation, Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler said today in a speech.

Speaking to Craigs Investment Partners’ Investor Day in Auckland, Mr Wheeler noted that the Bank’s February Monetary Policy Statement included a neutral bias with an unchanged OCR track until late 2019.

Expanding on the main risks around the interest rate projections, Mr Wheeler said:  “In effect, there is an equal probability that the next OCR adjustment could be up or down.  We consider the balance of risks for the global outlook to be downside.  For the domestic economy, there is some potential upside for output growth if migration and commodity prices turn out to be stronger than forecast, but the risks around inflation look balanced.

“This means that if the economy were to develop in line with the Bank’s economic projections, which are based on several assumptions, then the OCR would remain at its current level over the next two years. 

“However, small open economies such as New Zealand are hit by multiple shocks and the Bank assesses whether these, or a combination of them, warrants a change in monetary policy.”

While the outlook for global growth has improved over the past six months due to rising commodity prices and stronger business and consumer sentiment, several major sources of uncertainty exist in Europe, China and the United States.  The balance of risk in the global economy is on the downside.

“Many of the risks in these regions are well known, and already reflected in relative prices such as interest rates, exchange rates and commodity prices.  The greatest source of uncertainty relates to the US Administration policies in respect to its ‘America first’ policy platform.  Although a substantial US fiscal stimulus could be positive for growth in the global economy, the prospect of a marked increase in protectionism – coming at a time when global trade is growing slowly and trade disputes are increasing – would be expected to have sizeable impacts on the global economy.”

Domestically, there are several uncertainties around the economy, including the future path for commodity prices, the exchange rate, migration, the housing market, and household saving. 

“The greatest source of uncertainty currently lies around the housing market and the possibility that imbalances in the housing market might deteriorate.  Fortunately, house price inflation has moderated substantially in recent months, but it’s too early to say whether this moderation will continue.

“Another risk is that the exchange rate remains higher than projected in the MPS, suppressing tradables inflation and net exports.  As we indicated in the MPS, whether monetary easing would be required to offset this would depend on the factors driving the exchange rate (e.g. weaker global growth, higher commodity prices) and how domestic capacity pressures were changing.

“Our assessment is that the risks around the OCR are equally weighted.”

Saturday, February 18

AIME show floor features set to inspire with Oxygen Bar, ‘Streets of Melbourne’ and AIME Community Hub

The Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME), 21 – 22 February, is thrilled to announce exciting show floor highlights that will celebrate its 25 year history, and immerse visitors into the culture that is AIME.
This year’s show will see the return of the successful AIME Community Hub, decorated in the iconic purple and silver accents to highlight the anniversary. The Hub is the perfect place for visitors to get connected, recharge both themselves and their devices, gather information, and view live footage from around the show floor. The Hub will feature a dedicated photo booth and an interactive ‘Post-it Note’ wall, which lets visitors share their AIME moments and inspirations. This year AIME has partnered with Microhire, who will provide an innovative video wall and interactive social media broadcast that will post live updates at the HUB for a truly immersive experience for guests.
AIME has once again partnered with with Clifton Productions and exponent, to create the AIME Knowledge Lounge, a unique educational environment that provides two full days of learning opportunities, easily accessible on the show floor and open to all attendees free of charge.
The Hyatt Regency Lounge has been designed to encourage people to connect by offering Confident, Clever and Energetic experiences. An oxygen bar will provide the revitalising effects of pure oxygen in a variety of flavours, helping to rejuvenate and energise visitors, while a juice bar will provide healthy refreshments.
Celebrating the local and international guests, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is hosting a food fair called ‘Streets of Melbourne’ that will highlight locally sourced produce, local delights and delicious food accessible to all visitors. 
Be Challenged will showcase a range of activities and programs aimed to engage visitors and encourage them to learn something new. From the latest gamification technology to experiencing the thrills of playing in an Orchestra, visitors will have the opportunity to join in the latest in interactive team building activities.
Ian Wainwright, Event Director – AIME, Reed Travel Exhibitions commented on why these features strengthen visitor experience.
“This year we focused on enhancing the visitor experience by providing opportunities to engage and interact with technology and creating a fun collaborative atmosphere for networking. Everyone involved in AIME becomes truly immersed in the experience of doing business, being inspired, making connections, and engaging and interacting with exhibitors.
“AIME 2017 is sure to cater to all our visitor’s needs, and features a few surprises to make it even more memorable. Beyond connections, AIME is about celebrating our community, our powerful meetings and events industry and of course, our 25th birthday,” said Mr Wainwright.
Register online for free or tickets are $25 at the door.

Sunday, January 29


Australian teachers are spending hundreds of dollars from their own pockets on basic school supplies for students because of widespread poverty affecting Australian children, new data reveals.

A recent survey sample of teachers from a broad cross section of primary schools in Australia showed 92 per cent had purchased essential classroom materials with their own money, 69 per cent of whom spent up to $500 on classroom and student stationery supplies in the past year.

The survey was conducted by leading teaching innovation company Education Changemakers and Australian stationery brand, Yoobi, which operates on a very simple premise: for every Yoobi item purchased, another Yoobi item is donated to a child or classroom in need in Australia through The Smith Family.

Yoobi is a socially conscious business which addresses an often-forgotten problem experienced in disadvantaged families. The Australian Council Of Social Service (ACOSS) Poverty Report 2016 showed that this back to school season 1.1 million children and young people * will be living in poverty across Australia and won't be able to afford what they need for school.

When putting food on the table is a struggle, many of these children will start the school year without the basic items they need to participate in class or complete assigned homework. As a result, many Australian school teachers are taking on a personal financial burden in order to ensure their students don’t suffer. 

The survey found that:
·         92% of Australian teachers have bought essential classroom materials out of their own pocket in the past year.
·         91% of Australian teachers have worked with students that haven’t had access to basic school supplies at home.
·         Individually, almost one third (27%) of Australian teachers are spending more than $500 of their own money each year on classroom and student stationery supplies.
·         Almost half (47%) spend between $100 and $500 a year and 1 in 10 (10%) will spend upwards of $1,000 per year out of their own pockets.

The issue was commonplace across the survey sample, with teachers surveyed from all states in Australia in both metropolitan and regional/rural areas.

Mr Kalish said that with enough public support, the ‘You Buy, Yoobi Gives’ approach could go a long way in remedying the problem.   In just 12 months of operation in Australia, Yoobi has already donated enough school supplies to cover 24,000 school children for an entire school year; that’s over 330,000 Yoobi items.  In the US where the brand originally launched in 2014, the number of children impacted has reached over 2 million.

We like to think of Australia as the lucky country – and in many ways it is – but that image obscures the facts that 91% of Australian teachers say they have  worked with students that haven’t had access to basic school supplies at home,” Kalish said.

“Especially at this very busy Back to School period, we are urging parents to consider choosing Yoobi over other similar brands to help provide basic school supplies to less fortunate students, while stocking up on the essentials for their own kids for the year ahead.  It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Kalish said Yoobi had seen fantastic success in its first year , not only because of its one-for-one “give” model, but because of the bright, happy and colourful style of its products, most of which retail between $3 and $10.

“Recent price comparisons show Yoobi is still one of the most cost-effective stationery brands in the market, in some cases costing less than half that of its nearest competitors,” he said. 

“Shopping for back to school items is always a time of excitement and anticipation as kids get ready to head into another school year, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case for all Australian kids. Yoobi is about levelling the playing field by providing fundamental access to school supplies for children in need and with the help of the back to school shopping public, we are well on track to achieve our goal of providing to 100,000 kids in the next year.”