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Sustainable Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:119

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October 01, 2018, to November 01, 2018

Land O’Lakes Launches Digital Tool To Help Farmers Get More Sustainable

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN is to launch Truterra Insights Engine, an interactive digital platform to help farmers and food companies measure their sustainability in real time. The platform combines agronomic expertise and technical capabilities from several contributors, including the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and combined with other tools can help farmers measure the economic and environmental benefits of their sustainability efforts. It also helps them identify farm management options. The company claims Truterra Insights Engine is better suited to farmers since it was created by a farmer-owned cooperative.

Suit Alleges Pret a Manger’s Baked Goods Contain Weed Killer Ingredient

Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Beyond Pesticides announced it is joining GMO Free USA and Organic Consumers Association in a lawsuit charging restaurant chain Pret a Manger with “deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods” as "natural food" though they tested positive for glyphosate. The lawsuit accuses Pret of exploiting consumers' preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as natural. A component of Roundup weed killer, glyphosate is patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, but is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility, and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. The suit would have Pret fully disclose glyphosate in its products and reformulate them to be glyphosate-free.

FDA May Soon Update The Definition Of, And Permitted Ingredients For, Yogurt

The FDA is looking into the possibility of “modernizing” regulations governing the content and even the definition of yogurt. The dairy industry has been pushing to open up the yogurt standard as manufacturing practices and consumer tastes have changed. The FDA established a standard for foods labeled as "yogurt" in 1981 that limited the ingredients. But the industry objected; the following year the agency suspended enforcement of various provisions and allowed the addition of preservatives. A 2009 rule that was never finalized created a unified standard that allowed emulsifiers as well, but yogurt makers said the rule created confusion and left it open to lawsuits. Meanwhile, milk producers hope the FDA’s “modernized” standards will soon crack down on soy and almond drinks that call themselves "milk," which current standards say must come from a cow.

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September 15, 2018, to October 01, 2018

General Mills Drops “Natural” Claim For Granola Bars


General Mills will no longer claim on its Nature Valley granola bars that they are 100 percent natural, according to a news report. The company recently settled a 2016 lawsuit that said that oats used in the bars contained the herbicide glyphostate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup that has been connected to cancer. Tests by an independent lab found .45 parts per million glyphosate in the Nature Valley products. The company reportedly settled instead of going through "the cost and distraction of litigation" and instead will focus on making sure products have 100 percent whole grain oats.

Perdue To Begin Offering Lower-Priced Organic Chicken Products

Maryland-based Perdue Farms announced its Simply Smart Organics chicken products – including frozen and refrigerated whole grain, gluten-free, and lightly breaded nuggets, strips and tenders – will be available next month at about half the cost of other organic brands. The company says the new organic products will be more affordable relative to other similar products, without compromising organic standards, convenience or taste. The line of chicken products can already be found in stores, but beginning in October they’ll carry the USDA certified organic seal. U.S. sales of organic broiler chickens were up 78 percent in 2016 from the previous year, totalling $750 million, according to the USDA.

Methane Producer To Build $120M Food Waste Digester In Philadelphia Area

Renewable methane producer RNG Energy Solutions has formed a joint venture with Philadelphia Energy Solutions, operator of the huge South Philadelphia refinery complex, to build a $120 million digester to convert more than 1,100 tons of food waste daily into methane gas. To be built on 22 acres of vacant land at the refinery, the Point Breeze Renewable Energy Project would take two to three years to permit and to build. The biogas project would divert food wastes from landfills, reducing the escape of methane from decomposing landfill waste into the atmosphere. The facility would produce three million cubic feet of gas a day. There is a strong market among owners of truck fleets and municipal buses for renewable methane to satisfy green-energy targets.

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September 01, 2018, to September 15, 2018

The US And Other Countries Should Look To Norway For Possible Solutions To The Plastics Problem

Norway is being seen as a standout for innovation aimed at reducing plastic use. It recycles all but a small percentage of plastic bottles, using a bottle deposit scheme nationally that enables consumers to exchange containers over the counter in a range of stores as well as reverse vending machines in public spaces. In return, consumers receive cash or store coupons. The recycled plastic is used in a variety of ways, including packaging, textiles and new bottles. With China, for example, backing away from accepting recyclable materials from other countries, the US and other economies are having to look at alternative approaches to dealing with the problem of plastic trash, and some of the reactions, such as Oregon recycling processors being allowed to send recyclable materials to landfills, are not long-term solutions. Dune Ives, executive director of the Lonely Whale Foundation, believes the US should look at the way Norway and other countries are tackling the issue, by improving the messaging and changing consumer behavior. Ives said that US consumers were surprised at how much wasn’t being recycled and were open to ways to improve the situation. Bottle deposit schemes might be one approach that US consumers might embrace, but brands must also explore other possible solutions, including next-generation plastics that can be composted, reused, eaten or more easily recycled. Norway, for example, chose two PET resins for manufacturers to work with and then established a value chain that focused on recycling them.

Some People Are Seeing Single-Use Plastic Reduction As An Opportunity

With estimates suggesting that each minute some million plastic bottles are purchased globally and a truckload of plastic enters our oceans, there remains a long way to go in addressing the problem of plastic waste. Governments and companies are accelerating programs to reduce single-use plastic, but work is also going on to find substitutes. New solutions are emerging, such as bio-plastics and edible plastic, as well bamboo toothbrushes and straws made of pasta. Some entrepreneurs are viewing the challenge as more of an opportunity. Houston’s Plum Vegan Catering offers a zero-waste catering service. And investors are getting on board too. Final Straw, which makes foldable steel straws, raised $1.8 million via Kickstarter.

Beverage Company Trials Edible Drinks Sachets

One novel approach to reduce single-use plastic is being tested by Lucozade Ribena Suntory. The beverage company is trialing seaweed-based edible sachets at two UK September 2018 sports events, the Richmond Marathon and West Sussex Tough Mudder. The sachets have been produced in partnership with packaging company Skipping Rocks Lab. Oohos can be eaten, sent to household waste or composted. Decomposition take some six weeks. The company is assessing how feasible it would be to make all of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable. It also recently signed the UK Plastic Pact, committing to working with other producers to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic. The Oohos sachets are also being trialed by Just East, an online food ordering service, and Selfridges is supporting the move by stocking a range of soft drinks served in Oohos in its London store food hall. 

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August 01, 2018, to September 01, 2018

Australian Retailers Broadcast Their Environment-Friendly Credentials

In Australia, supermarkets are using their environment-friendly efforts as marketing tools. Retailers are also using their “green credentials” to position themselves against their competitors and shield themselves from the bad PR effects of news reports about pollution-related disasters. For example, in April 2018, Woolworths announced it will stop using single-use bags across the country by end of June. Ikea Australia said it will buy back and resell used furniture, a practice it has been doing in other countries. As more companies make environment-friendly claims, they face the risk of consumers becoming skeptical about their corporate social responsibility efforts and, consequently, the brands being damaged.

US Foods Cleans Up Four Of Its Product Lines

U.S. Foods Holding Corp. announced that four of its product lines will be produced with clean label profiles. The Metro Deli, Rykoff Sexton, Chefs Line, and Stock Yards Exclusive Brand products will be made with simple, more recognizable ingredients by avoiding, removing or replacing ingredients and food additives found on the company’s new “Unpronounceables List.” The list comprises more than 80 ingredients the company will avoid using in more than 1,000 of its Exclusive Brand products. Product ingredient labels across the four best-quality Exclusive Brands will now be free of ingredients such as artificial flavors, artificial (FD&C) colors, high-fructose corn syrup, disodium guanylate, sodium benzoate, and monosodium glutamate.

Coca-Cola UK Presents List Of Features Of Ideal Deposit Return Scheme

Coca-Cola European Partners has revealed the characteristics of what the company believes is a deposit return scheme that is workable and likely to succeed in the UK. According to the company, a DRS for recycling cans and bottles should be “easy for public to recycle and no penalty for doing the right thing and should have “good financial management and fraud control.” Also, the company said a good DRS should have a “common approach covering the whole of Great Britain” and should be managed by a “not-for-profit management company.”

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July 15, 2018, to August 01, 2018

Iceland Trials Return Scheme For Plastic Bottles

UK supermarket Iceland has installed a reverse vending machine in its Fulham store in London. The trial supports a government plan for return schemes to cut down on single-use plastics. The machine gives a 10 pence voucher, redeemable in-store, for each returned Iceland plastic bottle. The retailer has also pledged to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-label products. Earlier in May, the Co-op supermarket said it is going to trial a deposit scheme using machines at a number of music festivals over the summer.

Carrefour Announces 100% Recyclable, Reusable Or Compostable Packaging Goal

French supermarket chain Carrefour is aiming for own-brand packaging that is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to stop using non-recyclable packaging for organic fruit and vegetables by the end of this year, as well as ending the sale of plastic straws. By 2022, it intends to use 50% recycled plastics in bottles for its juice, soda and water products. The announcement coincides with a European Commission announcement to ban single-use plastics like straws and drink stirrers in the European Union. Plans also cover plastic cutlery and cotton buds, and by 2025 EU states will be expected to collect 90% of single-use plastic beverage bottles.

Indian PM Announces Single-Use Plastic Ban By 2022


India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced that the country plans to scrap single-use plastic by 2022, as part of World Environment Day, which India is hosting this year. Modi also announced a scheme to address marine plastic, and agreed to join Clean Seas, a UN campaign.

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July 01, 2018, to July 15, 2018

Tesco Sells Greener Lemons To Help Prevent Food Waste At Home

British supermarket chain Tesco has relaxed its rules on the color quality of lemons it sells to prevent food waste at home. The company is selling lemons that are slightly green to extend the shelf like by an extra couple of days. According to the company, the lemons are as crisp and zesty as the fully yellow versions. Tesco imports most of its lemons from South Africa, whose lemon harvesting season begins in late June. The company will now take the greener South African lemons earlier than usual to keep supplies going.

EU Clarifies Rules On Surplus Food Used As Animal Feed

Surplus food cannot be categorized as food waste when it is used as animal feed, according to revised European Union rules known as the Waste Framework Directive. Substances already covered by feed legislation would not be unnecessarily included in the scope of waste legislation, a clarification advocated by the trade group European Former Foodstuff Processors Association (EFFPA), which represents companies that turn foodstuffs into animal feed. According to an EFFPA representative, under the old rules Europe-wide processors of surplus food occasionally would have had their operations interrupted by environmental control authorities who incorrectly interpreted former foodstuffs as a waste.

New App Helps Reduce Food Waste With Smart Shopping, Storage, Cooking

Silicon Valley-based Chefling, Inc., has created a smartphone app that helps consumers minimize daily food waste. Available now on the App Store and Google Play, the app includes food inventory organization, intuitive recipe suggestion, and shopping list management. According to the company, consumers using the app can track and make the most out of recently purchased and existing ingredients in the pantry. The app monitors the freshness of added foods, notifies the consumer when foods are about to expire, and suggests recipes for the foods already purchased. The app also features integration with voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home: it will add foods to a shopping list and provide step-by-step cooking instructions.

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June 01, 2018, to July 01, 2018

Carlsberg Sees Coal-Free Power Generation Within Four Years

Danish brewer Carlsberg is committed to obtaining all of its energy from renewable sources and eliminating the use of coal by 2022. With the energy storage market expected to double six times over the next 12 years, Danish brewer Carlsberg is exploring integration methods for energy storage to support and optimize onsite renewable power generation. Carlsberg’s director of environment and utilities told a webinar that storage solutions are being explored as only one part of the energy matrix. The company considers battery storage a supplementary solution along with solar projects. Carlsberg is one of only three major companies that has approved a science-based target to reach a 1.5 C ambition in line with the Paris Agreement. It sources 45 percent of its electricity onsite, but storage solutions aren’t as advanced as onsite renewables. 

Mexico’s AvoWater Arrives Soon In U.S. In Biodegradable Bottles

The founder of Mexico’s Grupo Escamp says it is finalizing modifications to packaging and labeling and will launch its avocado drink AvoWater in the U.S. within two or three months. The preservative-free RTD water, made with avocado, fresh lemon juice and peppermint, is rich in fiber, vitamins and protein, says Evelyn Escalera. It is sold in three sweetener variants: stevia, pure cane sugar and blended sugar-stevia. The drink is packaged in PET bottles, but the company recently rolled out 100 percent biodegradable bottles made with avocado seed resin. AvoWater will be sold in 500 ml and 360 ml bottles in the U.S., about half and half PET and biodegradable. 

In India, Coca-Cola Learned A Lesson About Addressing Community Concerns

People in communities around the world where Coca-Cola bottlers operate know that water is the main ingredient in the company’s products and assume that production consumes vast amounts of water. When the people of Kerala, India, accused the local Coca-Cola bottler of depleting the water supply – the company denied the charge – it dawned on executives that it needed to “address its responsibility for water” beyond the confines of the plant. The company launched a risk assessment, interviewing customers, supply chain partners, academics, NGOs, governments, and industry peers. The conclusion: “action on the state of water was necessary.” Coca-Cola realized that a sustainable approach to water was essential. But the assessment also shed light on the fact that the social aspects of water use, especially local community concerns, need to be addressed when implementing strategic goals.

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May 01, 2018, to June 01, 2018

Over 40 Firms Form UK Plastics Pact, Promising To Cut Single-Use Plastic Packaging

Over 40 firms, responsible for over 80% of plastic packaging on products sold in the United Kingdom, have joined the government and several trade organizations in establishing the UK Plastics Pact, led by sustainability group WRAP. The agreement lays out a set of pledges undertaken by firms to reduce plastic pollution over the next seven years. It promises to eliminate single-use plastic packaging, including 2025 goals to make 100% of packaging recyclable or compostable, to recycle or compost 70%, and to use 30% recycled material in plastic packaging. The pact signatories include Coca-Cola, Asda, Procter & Gamble, and Marks & Spencer. Environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Ellen MacArthur Foundation expressed their support. 

Starbucks Hopes To Trim $75M In Food Waste by 2020

Starbucks Corp. is losing $500 million a year on waste in its more than 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores, but hopes to cut that by 15 percent ($75 million)over the next year-and-a-half through greater efficiency. The company says its business model – “strict product quality requirements” plus “product availability” – always results in some waste. Food discarded because after the expiration date, and lost sales associated with a lack of inventory, are part of the costs. During Starbucks' fiscal second quarter, it cut waste costs by focusing on “outlier stores” that had high waste as a percentage of sales. It also improved training on the process of pulling .

Coca-Cola PH Donates Used Bottle Caps To Water Accessibility Initiative

Coca-Cola Philippines has started recycling used plastic bottle caps to make rubber gaskets for water ram pumps. The firm's bottling partner, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, has already delivered over 65 kilograms of high-density polyethylene and 625 kilograms of polypropylene caps to Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, which was developing a cost-efficient and easily-maintained ram pump model. The scrap bottle caps will be used to manufacture ramp pump spare parts. This is part of Coca-Cola's Agos Program, a water accessibility initiative that makes use of hydraulic ram pumps and gravity to supply water to upland communities without the need for electricity or fossil fuel.

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April 15, 2018, to May 01, 2018

Food Waste Collaboration Connects Farmers And Consumers

A group of organizations and companies concerned about food loss in food production have banded together to create he “No Taste for Waste” campaign. The initiative includes an interactive website, “bookazine,”, and social media resources for farmers and ranchers trying to reduce food loss in the fields and for consumers who want to reduce household food waste. One goal of the campaign is to connect consumers with farmers and ranchers who are using sustainable practices in land stewardship while reducing food waste. Participants in the campaign are the American Farm Bureau Federation, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, Valent BioSciences Corporation, FLM Harvest, the CropLife Foundation, and Meredith Agrimedia. 

U.K. Project Is Studying How Robotics Might Help Reduce Food Waste

Innovate U.K. has awarded $1.2 million to an industrial R&D project that will study the food waste problem to determine how robotics might reduce the inefficiencies that cause it. Roboticists engineers, computer scientists, and food specialists will work together to figure out how to eliminate the 51 percent of food waste that is avoidable. The goal of the two-year project is to remove the human error from the crucial early stages of handling, preparing and weighing raw ingredients. The project is led by Olympus Automation (OA), which will collaborate with the University of Lincoln's National Center for Food Manufacturing and supplier English Provender. 

Hotels Benefit Financially From Spending On Food Waste Solutions

A review of 42 hotels in 15 countries by Champions 12.3 has found that on average facilities achieved a 21 percent reduction of kitchen food waste by weight in just one year. Within the first year, more than 70 percent recouped their investment. The average hotel saved $7 for every $1 invested in reducing kitchen food waste. Within two years, 95 percent had recouped their investment. Nine out of ten sites kept their total investment in food waste solutions below $20,000, less than one percent of sales on average. The data came from budget, mid-range, casino resort, and luxury market hotels. Champions 12.3 comprises 40 executives in government, business, and civil society dedicated to achieving Target 12.3 of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

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March 15, 2018, to April 15, 2018

New Plant-Based Burger’s Veggie Fats Sizzle On The Grill

California-based Don Lee Farms has begun distributing nationally its Organic Plant-Based Raw Burgers, made with beans and seeds, and certified organic, vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free. The burger is free from artificial ingredients or preservatives. According to the company, the burger “bleeds” organic beet juice and sizzles on the grill from organic vegetable-based fats. “It’s a burger made with plants, not with science,” said a Don Lee Farms spokesman.

Walmart Unveils High-Tech Produce Spoilage Initiative At Distribution Centers

Walmart has introduced an “Intelligent Food” initiative to improve perishable food quality and eliminate waste from the produce supply chain. Dubbed “Eden,” the initiative has been implemented company-wide in 43 grocery distribution centers and other facilities over the last 12 months. The company says Eden has already reduced spoilage by “tens of millions of dollars” in fiscal 2018 (since January 27, 2018), and will eliminate $2 billion in spoilage over the next five years. Under the program, visual inspection of fresh produce at distribution centers is being automated and digitized. Algorithms and other advanced technologies monitor the temperature and freshness of produce and perishable foods from farm to supplier to warehouse to Walmart’s shelves.

Mutual Fund Company Hopes To Force Amazon To Issue A Food Waste Report

A mutual fund company with an environmental conscience has petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to compel Amazon.com’s shareholders to vote on a proposed food waste report. Boston-based Green Century Capital Management says it has worked with Kroger, Costco and other retailers on food waste; Safeway, Publix, Ahold USA, and Target have all addressed the issue. According to the company, which had begun talking about the issue with Whole Foods Market management before last year, it sent a letter to Amazon’s management and board outlining its concerns. But when Amazon said it did not want to issue a food waste report, Green Century filed a shareholder resolution asking that the proposal be voted on by shareholders. Amazon has challenged the shareholder request to the SEC.
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