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Major Changes In Food Production Are Necessary To Avoid Climate Change Calamities

August 31, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers, using what they call a “transparent, data-driven model”, show that reducing food waste by half and diverting global diets away from environmentally-damaging food products – making them more healthful -- might reduce greenhouse gases and boost food security. Currently, the global population is increasing and people’s food tastes are shifting to meat-heavy Western diets. Increased agricultural yields will not meet food demands, however, so more land will need to be cultivated, reducing forested areas and increasing methane emissions. Unless changes are implemented, food production by itself could exceed global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
Bojana Bajželj et al., "Importance of food-demand management for climate mitigation", Nature Climate Change, August 31, 2014, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Nestle Says Nespresso Brand Will Be Carbon Neutral Within Six Years

August 28, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
As part of a half-billion dollar sustainability initiative comprising several commitments, Nestle’s Nespresso coffee brand has promised complete carbon neutrality within six years. Other “Positive Cup” commitments include: a pledge to source all Grand Cru coffees sustainably in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan; a pledge to help coffee farmers achieve high certification standards in water management, biodiversity and fair treatment of workers; a plan to expand the capacity to collect and recycle used aluminum coffee capsules; and a promise to further reduce the carbon footprint of the company by 10 percent.
"Nespresso Pledges Carbon Neutrality by 2020", Environmental Leader, August 28, 2014, © Business Sector Media, LLC
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Unilever Ends Membership In BusinessEurope Lobbying Group

August 22, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said it has ended its membership in business lobbying group BusinessEurope, suggesting disagreements with the group’s stand regarding environmental regulations and sustainability issues. According to a company spokeswoman, Unilever now prefers to collaborate with other companies with similar views. Many green companies are finding themselves at odds with BusinessEurope’s calls for lowering EU environmental targets after 2020.
Jessica Shankleman, "Unilever confirms it has quit BusinessEurope lobby group", Business Green, August 22, 2014, © Incisive Media Investments Limited
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Climate Change Is Intensifying Destructive Impact Of Coffee Rust

August 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists worry that climate change could be intensifying and accelerating the cycle of wet years and drought in coffee-growing countries that spurs the spread of coffee rust. Especially affected is Brazil’s Arabica coffee tree, responsible for 70 percent of the two billion cups consumed globally every day. Coffee growers have battled coffee rust – a devastating  fungus that has caused $1 billion in economic damage in Latin America since 2012 – for centuries. But climate change is making it worse, and could drive the price of coffee up, and push growers to switch to the climate resistant, but bitter, Robusta coffee bean. “If things continue like this, maybe 50 years from now, we’ll all be tea drinkers,” one industry observer says.
Jessica Leber, "The Future Of Coffee Looks Bitter And Pricey, Courtesy Of Climate Change", Fast Company, August 20, 2014, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC.
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Chinese Shoppers See California As An Exporter Of High-Quality Foods

August 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Food shoppers in China and Hong Kong are paying closer attention to nutrition, sustainability, safety and – logically enough – country of origin, a fact that is driving demand for better quality food products. That’s good news for California food exporters, who are perceived by the Chinese as high quality producers. California has exported about $4 billion worth of food products – fresh produce, health foods, organic foods and premium wines – to Hong Kong and China so far in 2014, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2012. Forecasters see a similar double-digit increase by the end of the year.
Stephen Las Marias, "Hong Kong, China Food Imports from California to Exceed $4B amid Mounting Food Scares", Asia Food Journal, August 18, 2014, © Contineo Media Pte Ltd.
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Seventh Generation Surpasses Sustainability Goals For 2013

August 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Seventh Generation achieved Forest Stewardship Council sustainability certification for 62 percent of its wood pulp consumption in 2013, according to the company’s 2013 Corporate Consciousness Report. Details from the report also revealed all products eligible for the USDA’s Certified Bio-Based Product labeling gained the program’s seal and the company reduced its use of virgin plastic by 25 percent. Also, Seventh Generation said it reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per metric ton of product by 11 percent. In 2013, the company’s community volunteering program, which urges employees to spend work time on local causes, recorded a 100 percent participation rate, with total hours donated exceeding the year’s target by 40 percent.
"Seventh Generation Advances Key Sustainability Goals", Marketwire, August 05, 2014, © Marketwire L.P
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Proposal To Export Coffee Beans Whole Raises Serious Sustainability Questions

July 31, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A report of a suggestion by a former Starbucks engineer that billions of pounds of waste coffee pulp be processed from whole coffee cherries into flour in the U.S. has raised some serious eco-issues. Dan Beliveau had recommended that coffee cherries be exported whole, without initial processing on the farms. The waste pulp could then be turned into a gluten-free, fiber- and protein-rich flour. Environmental experts and coffee farmers at the source – one in El Salvador – noted in response to the report that almost none of the nitrogen-rich cherry pulp goes to waste. It is treated and hauled back to the coffee groves, then spread around the trees as fertilizer, furthering sustainability goals. “If well managed, there is no waste in the coffee fields,” said a representative of Cooperative Coffees.
Megan Lavey-Heaton, "Coffee Flour: your questions on edible coffee answered", The Guardian (theguardian.com), July 31, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Sainsbury's Announces Planned Store Powered By Recycled Food Waste

July 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Sainsbury’s plans to open a retail store in the West Midlands that will be powered solely by electricity generated from anaerobic digestion of food waste. Featuring a food waste recycling technology developed in partnership with waste recycling company Biffa, the Sainsbury’s store will be the first retail outlet to go off the power grid in the UK. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s largest user of anaerobic digestion in the retail sector, generates power enough to light up 2,500 homes each year.
Rebecca Smithers, "Sainsbury’s store to be powered solely by food waste", The Guardian, July 21, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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New Dishwashing Liquid Helps Advance Henkel’s Sustainability Strategy

July 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Henkel says that for the first time its researchers have combined surfactants and enzymes to create a liquid hand-dishwashing product (Pril against Grease and Crust) that can split starch molecules. The achievement, which reduces CO2 emissions as well as the amount of resources and raw materials used, also means that the starch remains of dried rice and noodles can be quickly removed. The company says the concept of “achieving more with less” is the basis of its sustainability strategy: creating value for itself, customers, and communities at a reduced environmental footprint.
"Enzymes for more sustainability", Henkel, July 16, 2014, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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Palm Oil Producers In Indonesia Guilty Of “Greenwashing” Their Deforestation Efforts

July 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Greenpeace warns that an initiative by major palm oil producers ostensibly to stop deforestation in Indonesia will actually lead to further forest destruction to create more palm oil plantations. The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM) sets tougher deforestation standards than those established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), according to the producers. But Greenpeace says the initiative gives the producers time to determine which Indonesian forests to protect while actually allowing them to clear forests. “Allowing clearance in the name of 'sustainability' is nothing less than greenwashing,” a Greenpeace representative said.
"Greenwash alert as palm oil companies sign onto continued deforestation", News release, Greenpeace International, July 11, 2014, © Greenpeace
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New Disposable Coffee Cup Should Improve Recycling Of Billions Of Containers

July 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A British inventor has created a disposable coffee cup with a plastic liner that separates cleanly from the paper shell, making it much easier and affordable to recycle. Though current disposable coffee cups lined with plastic are recyclable, the process is difficult and expensive for recycling plants. That means many disposable cups that could be recycled never are. Starbucks, for example, recycles only about 39 percent of the four billion it uses each year. The new invention, dubbed “Green Your Cup”, can be pooled with all other paper products, including magazines and newspapers, at the recycling plant where the plastic liner is easily stripped from the paper.
Belinda Lanks, "This Coffee Cup Really Will Get Recycled", Bloomberg Businessweek, July 08, 2014, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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“Foodies” Should Be Into Much More Than Just Eating Good Food

June 24, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A New York Times op-ed contributor explains why “foodies” need to be more than just people who are passionate about eating good food. In fact, he says, foodies should be aware of how their food is produced and how it impacts our world. Foodies should care that their food is real (not ”hyperprocessed”), healthy (as in “whole”), sustainably produced, affordable, and perhaps even prepared at home or communally. Foodies should support societal changes and government actions that help make good food more accessible to all people. To do that will of course affect “the whole system”, ultimately involving issues of justice, equality, rights, and enhanced democracy across the globe.
Mark Bittman, "Rethinking the Word ‘Foodie’", The New York Times, June 24, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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Waste Not, Want Not Is The Motto Of A Pacific Northwest Bakery Group

June 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A century-old bakery group in the Pacific Northwest is making huge strides in its efforts to become landfill-free: recycling everything from product and packaging waste to scrap metal, used oils, paper, cardboard, and plastic. The store in Spokane, Wash., in fact, is 100 percent landfill-free, having figured out a way to recycle, re-use or repurpose just about everything the store consumes in running the business. For example, it filters bakery equipment lubricant oil to re-use as heating fuel for the heater in its truck maintenance garage. Whatever can’t be recycled is sent to a waste-to-energy plant to help provide electric power for the region.
"Bakery Achieves Landfill-Free Status", Environmental Leader, June 11, 2014, © Environmental Leader LLC.
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Canadian Research To Focus On Increasing Durum Wheat’s Resistance To Fungal Diseases

June 10, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The Canadian government announced that the Canadian Wheat Alliance (CWA) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) will work together to develop stronger, more resistant durum wheat varieties for farmers in Canada and in developing  countries. Research will focus on improving wheat yield, sustainability and profitability, with special focus on reducing the effects of wheat rust diseases and of Fusarium head blight, a cause of dangerous toxins in grain. The hope is to increase durum wheat's resistance to the global fungal diseases. According to the government, Fusarium head blight has cost Canadian wheat producers more than C$1.5 billion (US$1.38 billion) in lost income over the last two decades.
"International Agreement to Focus on Improved Durum Wheat Disease Resistance", News release, Government of Canada, June 10, 2014, © Government of Canada
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Henkel Gains Government Nod For Sustainability Efforts In Argentina

May 19, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Argentina’s Office of the Ministry of Social Development added personal care goods manufacturer Henkel Argentina to the Register of Social Responsibility Organizations, the agency’s list of companies that observe and promote sustainability. Henkel’s local initiatives which are part of the company’s global Sustainability Strategy for 20130 helped convince the government to recognize the company’s sustainability efforts. The list recognizes private and public organizations for their actions related to human rights, environment, labor standards, and efforts against corruption.
"Recognition for sustainability engagement", Henkel, May 19, 2014, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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Unilever Launches Environment-Friendly Deodorants For Women In UK

May 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said it is launching a range of women’s deodorants that use 50 percent less propellant gas, eliminating 25 percent of the aerosol spray’s carbon footprint per can. A UK innovation, compressed aerosol technology has been developed by Unilever, which invested more than £20 million in perfecting the innovation. Using the technology, the products from the Sure, Dove, and Vaseline lines are as effective and last as long as the full-size versions they are replacing, the company said.
Jackie Wills, "Unilever's compressed aerosols cut carbon footprint by 25% per can", Guardian Professional, May 15, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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New Smartphone App Hopes To Reduce Food Waste By Restaurants, Grocery Stores

May 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. supermarkets and eateries toss out $15 billion in edible foods annually. Now a team of software developers has created an app that will allow the foodservice industry to sell day-old pastries, foods near the sell-by date and imperfect produce to consumers, rather than sending them to landfills. Using the app, dubbed PareUp, grocery stores and restaurants will be able to list their discount-priced leftovers for consumers to browse on their smartphones along with pick-up times. The app – one of several intiatives by entrepreneurs to battle the huge global food waste problem – is being pilot tested in New York City at cafes like Breads Bakery and Oslo Coffee Roasters.
"App to sell restaurant leftovers to help reduce food waste", The Star Online, May 12, 2014, via AFP Relaxnews, © AFP Relaxnews
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Unilever Says Partnership Will Speed Plan To Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy

May 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has partnered with NRG Energy to provide onsite and offsite renewable energy generation, furthering Unilever’s goal of 100 percent clean energy use at U.S. locations by 2020. Unilever buys all of its  electricity from renewable sources for all U.S. sites through renewable energy certificates (RECs), which are credits for using energy from third-party renewable sources. The partnership with NRG will help Unilever take the next step beyond RECs. Unilever N.A. President Kees Kruythoff said the partnership with NRG would make the company “more resilient, sustainable, and profitable”.
"NRG Energy and Unilever Announce Formation of Strategic Partnership on Renewable Energy", News release, Unilever, May 07, 2014, © Unilever
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Millions Could Be Saved By Taking A Fresh Look At Direct Store Delivery Systems

April 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Honeywell report based on a survey of 350 C-level consumer goods execs and  directors from around the world says that millions of dollars could be saved annually if companies would re-evaluate their transportation systems using process re-engineering. Organizations that have tried process evaluations to improve direct store delivery (DSD) – how products are ordered, sold, delivered and merchandised – have cut costs an average of $734,000 a year. At least half the companies surveyed said increased transportation costs have damaged profit margins. Twenty percent said they expect to save a minimum of $1 million through DSD process re-engineering. Those with 3,000 or more employees expect to save at least $3 million.
"Direct Store Delivery ‘Can Save $3M Annually’", Environmental Leader, April 30, 2014, © Environmental Leader LLC.
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Unilever To Incorporate Renewable Algal Oils In Largest Soap Brand

April 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has agreed to use oils derived from sustainably produced microalgae in its Lux consumer soap brand. The algal oils are produced by Solazyme, Inc., a renewal oil and bio-products company based in South San Francisco, Calif., has collaborated with Unilever for five years on several projects. The supply agreement calls for an initial delivery of 10,000 metric tons of algal oils. Most of the oil will be produced in the new renewable oils facility in Moema, Brazil. Unilever said it will probably buy the full volume within twelve to eighteen months. Unilever is committed to using only sustainably sourced agricultural raw materials by 2020.
"Unilever formulates first soap bar using sustainable Algal Oils", News release,Unilever, April 30, 2014, © Unilever
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Target Netherlands Adds Method's Airopack Air Fresheners To Environment-Friendly Product Line

April 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Target’s Netherlands division added Method’s Airopack line of home fragrances to its range of ecology-friendly and organic products. Target chose leading brands whose products are already being sold at its stores, and called on them to offer products that are natural, organic, or sustainable. Method’s home air fresheners come with the Airopack air-powered dispensing system the company claims offers a “fully transparent, all-plastic pressurized dispenser” that combines effectiveness and environment-friendliness.
"Airopack's Air-Powered Room Fresheners to Join Target's New Sustainable Range", PR Newswire, April 17, 2014, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Food Companies Try To Settle The Argument Over Paper Versus Plastic Foam Cups

April 10, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Plastic foam cups do a great job of keeping cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. But there is a perception among many consumers – and even some companies – that foam cups are not environmentally friendly because they do not recycle well. Scientists continue to debate the issue, but in the meantime retail restaurants like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Jamba Juice have turned to paper cups, particularly the more expensive double-walled ones that provide extra insulation. The big challenge for food companies is to find cups that work as well as plastic foam, don’t end up costing the consumer more and are more recyclable, according to industry analysts.
Laura Stevens, "Hot Drink Debate: Paper or Plastic?", The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Computer Models Show That Solar Farms Can Harvest More Than Electricity

April 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Stanford University scientists have developed computer models that use the principle of co-location of crops and solar panels on solar farms to harvest biofuel plants as well as electricity. The idea would work especially well in sunny, arid regions where water is scarce. Photovoltaic solar farms run on sunlight, but water is used to wash away dust and dirt from solar panels to ensure maximum efficiency. Water also dampens the ground to prevent the spread of dust. Crops planted beneath the solar panels capture runoff water used to clean the panels, optimizing the land. The plant roots help anchor the soil and foliage reduces the ability of wind to kick up dust.
Ker Than, "Stanford scientists model a win-win situation: growing crops on photovoltaic farms", News release, Stanford News Service, April 09, 2014, © Stanford University
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Target Expands Range Of Natural, Sustainable Products It Sells

April 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Target expanded the range of natural, organic, and sustainable brands it sells at its stores as part of the company’s Made to Matter initiative in the United States. Coming from leading organic brands, including Chobani, Method, and Seventh Generation, the collection will include more than 120 products, such as non-aerosol air freshener and no-bleach baby diapers. Target’s initiative, which encourages the brands to collaborate and increase their innovation, has helped the company increase its sales of sustainable and organic products by 15 percent over the past several years.
ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, "Target ups game on organic, sustainable products", The Big Story, April 08, 2014, via The Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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In A Time Of Food Scarcity Around The Globe, European Retailers Waste Megatons Of Produce

April 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
To demonstrate the magnitude of produce wastage by European retailers, Feeding the 5000 and partner organizations prepared free lunches in Brussels on April 1 with edible food about to be discarded for frivolous reasons. Tons of produce from as far away as East Africa were used to prepare the meals. In Kenya farmers were found to be trashing 40 percent of what they grew because of  “unfair and unnecessary trading practices” of European supermarkets. Waste handlers who collect unwanted edible produce must guarantee in writing that none of the “green waste” will be used to feed people. Produce is discarded because European retailers have cancelled a forecast demand at the last minute, or because the produce has not met “ultra-fussy cosmetic standards”.
"Fill bellies, not bins!", News release, EurActive, April 06, 2014, © EurActiv.com PLC
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Coffee Flour Venture Offers Benefits To Bread Makers, Coffee Farmers

April 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
An innovative culinary idea has caught the attention of billionaire former Microsoft exec – and foodie – Nathan Myhrvold and his investment firm, Intellectual Ventures. Dan Belliveau, formerly of Starbucks, believes that flour made by grinding the dried pulp of the fleshy coverings of coffee beans – normally discarded as waste – offers significant benefits. It contains caffeine, for one, and it can be used as a fiber- and protein-rich, gluten-free supplement to other flours, because of its good binding qualities. Coffee flour made from an undesirable waste product could give coffee farmers an extra source of revenue and make coffee production more environmentally palatable. Fluctuating coffee prices combined with a spreading disease known as "coffee rust" fungus have ruined many Central American coffee farmers.
Ángel González, "A cup of coffee flour may hit the spot for Seattle startup", The Seattle Times Company, April 04, 2014, © The Seattle Times Company
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Henkel Honored For Sustainability, Ethics Policies

March 25, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Sustainability investment specialist RobecoSAM has awarded household products company Henkel its Gold Class ranking in sustainability practices. RobecoSAM, in collaboration with KPMG, publishes the Sustainability Yearbook listing 3,000 global companies whose sustainability agendas and practices are voluntarily assessed annually. Henkel was also named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent organization promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance. Henkel was one of only nine companies in the consumer products manufacturing industry to be recognized for its ethical leadership and behavior.
"Henkel named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies", News release, Henkel, March 25, 2014, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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“Slow Food” Movement Expands Its Horizons As It Grows Locally

March 25, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The “slow food” movement, which began with the idea of revitalizing food varieties and flavors in an era of industrialized food, has broadened its focus in recent years. The Slow Food organization itself, with chapters in 100 countries, is now about sustainability, local community and connecting. The 13-year-old Austin, Texas, chapter, for example, comprises artisans, farmers markets, urban farms and locally-driven cafes. It advises the city council on getting city government, nonprofit organizations, and food and farming businesses talking about sustainable growing, sourcing and eating. The end result is that “people become more connected with local food sources that align with our values”, according to Slow Food Austin’s communications director.
"Slow food movement speeds up sustainable eating", USA Today, March 25, 2014, © USA Today/Gannett
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PepsiCo’s Biodegradable Snack Bag Was A Disaster – At First

March 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo’s attempt to boost its snack brands image and perhaps help ease an environmental problem began with the development of a compostable snack bag but nearly ended after a public relations calamity. The biodegradable bag made from plant material was first marketed in 2006 with the SunChips “healthy snack” product, but quickly drew consumer ire because it was a lot noisier than the old bag.  A social media uproar ensured, and the bad publicity created a dilemma for PepsiCo: should they abandon the new bag or push on with it? They pushed on, eventually creating a quieter version. In a business management journal article, Gregory Unruh discusses three lessons that can be drawn from the PepsiCo experience.
Leslie Brokaw, "Pepsi's biodegradable backlash: The snack bag that was too noisy", GreenBiz, March 18, 2014, © GreenBiz Group
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Walmart Begins Testing Its WAVE Environment-Friendly Trucks

March 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart began testing its Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE, cargo truck whichs is built from carbon fiber and is 20 percent more aerodynamic than existing trucks. Part of the retailer’s sustainability efforts, the truck will also feature a micro-turbine hybrid engine that can run on many types of fuel. WAVE trucks will also have an electric motor and a battery system for storing electric power. With its emissions reportedly still growing, Walmart aims to double the fuel efficiency of its trucks by 2015.
"Walmart rolls out testing of radical carbon fiber truck", GreenBiz, March 13, 2014, © GreenBiz Group
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Mars Strengthen Commitment To Palm Oil Sustainability, Traceability

March 10, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Candymaker Mars, Inc., announced it is committing to a fully sustainable and traceable palm oil chain by the end of 2014. The company has introduced a new sourcing charter that will require suppliers to have a fully sustainable and traceable palm oil supply across all operations by the end of 2015, or at least to have plans in place by the end of 2015. The policy aligns the company with global efforts to combat tropical deforestation because of rapid expansion of palm plantations. The enhanced pipeline traceability policy is designed to encourage suppliers to only source from companies whose plantations and farms are “responsibly run”.
"Mars Launches New Policies On Palm Oil And Deforestation", News release, MARS, March 10, 2014, © Mars, Inc.
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Greenpeace Protest Against P&G Spreads To London

March 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The Greenpeace protest against Procter & Gamble’s use of palm oil sourced from a questionable Indonesian supplier spread to London on March 7, when a P&G ad agency (Saatchi & Saatchi) was targeted. The company’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, was the first facility besieged recently when protesters entered the buildings surreptitiously and unfurled huge banners from 12 floors up. The London protest involved counting the number of people who entered agency doors marked with either “Protect Forests” or “Destroy Forests”. Greenpeace says the palm oil used in P&G brands comes from deforested areas of Indonesia that are home to Sumatran orangutans and tigers.
Barrett J. Brunsman, "Greenpeace protest against P&G goes global", Cincinnati Business Courier (Ohio), March 07, 2014, © American City Business Journals
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Unilever CEO Rewarded For Progress Toward Sustainability Goals

March 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
According to Unilever’s annual report to stockholders, CEO Paul Polman was given a $722,230 bonus for work that led to the creation of the company's sustainable-living plan, which sets targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and waste creation. A Unilever spokeswoman said the bonus was calculated using a “personal performance multiplier” that took into account  Polman’s job performance, leadership, delivery of sustainability goals, and “overall contribution” to the plan, which calls for halving the environmental footprint by 2020 and sustainably sourcing all agricultural raw materials.
Matthew Boyle , "Unilever Hands CEO Polman $722,000 Bonus for Sustainability Work", Bloomberg Businessweek, March 07, 2014, © Bloomberg Businessweek
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Greenpeace Breaches Tight Security At P&G HQ To Protest Questionable Palm Oil Supplier

March 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Greenpeace recently targeted Procter & Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, with a protest over palm oil allegedly purchased from a supplier linked to deforestation in Indonesia. According to the company, usually known for its stringent security measures, an environmental activist dressed in unobtrusive business clothes entered the building claiming to have an appointment. The person then let in collaborators carrying inconspicuous bags through another door. The protest materials included huge “eye-catching” banners unfurled from the 12th floor. In response, P&G’s “crackerjack” security team has since tightened security at the building.
Dan Sewell, "P&G says Ohio HQ security tightened after protest", Report, Associate Press, March 06, 2014, via Associated Press International, © The Associated Press/Ohio/Oklahoma Hearst Television Inc. on behalf of WLWT-TV
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Unilever Joins Global Forest Watch To Help Fight Deforestation

February 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever joined the Global Forest Watch, an organization that aims to provide a dynamic online monitoring and alert system to help protect the world’s remaining forests. Global Forest Watch’s forest-protection objectives are in line with the company’s sustainability targets, which include making the palm oil it uses 100 percent traceable to known suppliers by 2014 and sustainably source all soy beans by 2014 and all soy oils by 2020. Global Forest Watch integrates satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing to provide access to reliable information about forests in real time.
"Unilever signs up to Global Forest Watch", Unilever, February 21, 2014, © Unilever
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Swiss Chocolate Maker Completes Buyout Of African Cocoa Bean Supplier

February 19, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has bought the remaining 51 percent of its stake in long-time certified cocoa beans suppler Biolands Group of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Biolands has been supplying East and West African cocoa beans to the chocolate maker since 2000. Barry Callebaut has owned 49 percent of the company since 2008. The company said the Biolands acquisition fits well with its strategy of becoming a leader in sustainable cocoa and of gaining access to individual farmers in addition to cooperatives.
"Barry Callebaut takes over remaining 51% of certified bean supplier Biolands", Barry-Callebaut, February 19, 2014, © Barry Callebaut AG
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Second Cargill Oil Palm Plantation In Indonesia Wins Sustainability Certification

February 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Cargill Indonesian oil palm plantation has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The plantation in West Kalimantan, PT Harapan Sawit Lestari, is the second certification for a Cargill plantation in the country, after one in South Sumatra. The company said a third plantation in West Kalimantan is in the process of being RSPO certified. The RSPO is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil, comprising environmental and social NGOs, growers, manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products.
"Cargill’s West Kalimantan plantation receives RSPO certification", News release, Cargill, February 18, 2014, © Cargill, Incorporated
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Wal-Mart CEO Urges Employees, Suppliers To Become Sustainability Trailblazers

February 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Doug McMillon called on employees and suppliers to innovate during the retailer’s 2014 Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting. During his speech, McMillon recalled then CEO Lee Scott’s announcement of the company’s sustainability goals 10 years ago. While acknowledging that Wal-Mart has made significant achievements in terms of sustainability, McMillion said the next huge step will likely be driven by innovations based on a total-system approach. He challenged employees and suppliers to come up with ways they could help the retailer advance its sustainability agenda.
Kim Souza, "McMillon challenges Wal-Mart and suppliers in ongoing sustainability push", The City Wire , February 17, 2014, © TCW Media
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Passion For Locally-Sourced, Organic Ingredients Drives Mich. Doughnut Entrepreneur

February 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The owner of newly-opened Propaganda Doughnuts in Grand Rapids, Mich., believes whole-heartedly in his vision of what a progressive doughnut shop should be. A major part of that vision is using locally and organically sourced ingredients that are trans fat-free and low in saturated fat. Tory O’haire always offers the familiar varieties of doughnuts, but mixes in a constantly changing menu of avant-garde offerings, all made from scratch each day: e.g., the Corsican (vanilla cake with lavender-lemon icing), the Posterboy (salted caramel), the Smooth Criminal (chocolate cake & coffee ganache) and Nutella. O'Haire is passionate about sustainable, organic, and local sourcing, and he says in his town, locally sourced is more than just a buzzword, “it’s an expectation”.
Joshua Vissers , "New shop brings specialty doughnuts to a hungry city", The Collegiate Live , February 12, 2014, © The Collegiate Live
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Bamboo May Find A Place In Kimberly-Clark’s Fiber Sourcing Plan

February 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A study commissioned by Kimberly-Clark has determined that using bamboo to make paper products would have a smaller environmental impact than northern softwood tree species because it regenerates so quickly. The life-cycle assessment shows that bamboo could fit in well with the company’s sourcing strategy as an alternative fiber. Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology assessed the environmental impacts of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft fiber, recycled waste fiber, bamboo, wheat straw, giant cane Arundo donax and kenaf. Bamboo was found to have less impact on land use because it regenerates in three years, instead of the 70 years needed for softwood trees.
"Kimberly-Clark Study Pinpoints Bamboo as Possible Alternative Fiber", Environmental Leader, February 05, 2014, © Environmental Leader LLC
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P&G Technical Innovation Leads To Safer Hair Dyes

January 31, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
P&G says one of its technological innovations will have “far-reaching benefits” for consumers of hair coloring products. The ME+ molecule is an advancement that reduces the risk of severe allergic reactions to hair dyes. According to the company, its research and modeling techniques led to an alteration in the molecular structure of the long-used pPD molecule to become the ME+ molecule, combining color performance and reduction in the risk of allergy. Colorists, hairdressers and technical experts who have tested ME+ say it provides permanent gray coverage and color intensity.
"Take a Closer Look at 3 Exciting Behind-the Scenes Innovations", News release, Procter & Gamble, January 31, 2014, © Procter & Gamble
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Many Large Palm Oil Producers Fall Short Of Sustainability Goals

January 28, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has published a report – and produced a short film – showing that big palm oil producers are failing to reach their sustainability targets. Though palm oil buyers – retailers, food companies and consumer goods producers – are using more sustainable palm oil, they are still not using enough to support responsible growers. Of 130 buyers polled by WWF, less than half purchase palm oil that meets social and environmental standards set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Thirty-one percent have made “only vague commitments to buying sustainable palm oil or none whatsoever”. The result is a glut of uncertified palm oil on the market, and not much progress toward protecting rain forests and endangered species like the orangutan.
Oliver Balch , "Palm oil: WWF name and shame top global buyers", Guardian Professional, January 28, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Procter & Gamble Plans To Make All Laundry Detergents Phosphate-Free

January 26, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble said it plans to remove phosphates from the laundry detergents it manufactures within two years. Accounting for the largest share of the U.S. laundry detergent market and more than 25 percent of the global market, P&G stopped using phosphates in laundry detergents sold in the United States in the early 1990s as part of its participation in the industry group American Cleaning Institute’s voluntary program. It also removed phosphates from laundry detergents sold in Europe several years ago. When it reaches waterways, sodium triphosphate, the most commonly used phosphate in laundry detergents, can cause environmental damage, such as algae blooms, decline in oxygen levels, and fish kills.
Erica Gies, "Proctor & Gamble to remove phosphates from laundry soap globally", theguardian.com, January 26, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Though A Debatable Issue, Whole Foods To Ban Use Of Sludge-Based Fertilizers By Its Growers

January 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The safety of sludge (AKA biosolids) – the byproduct of processing municipal waste, including human body waste – as a fertilizer is a debatable issue. But Whole Foods Market, perhaps influenced by anti-sludge activists, has decided it’s definitely bad for customers, and for business. Anti-sludgists say biosolids are loaded with heavy metals and pharmaceuticals that render fertilizers toxic and dangerous. Scientists who have studied biosolids, however, disagree, saying they offer big environmental benefits. At any rate, a new produce rating system being launched by Whole Foods in September will bar its growers from using biosolids. The company acknowledges that none currently use the stuff on their fields.
Eliza Barclay, "Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins?", Report, NPR, January 21, 2014, © NPR
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Obesity Epidemic Not Just A Western Phenomenon

January 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A British think tank reports that more than a third of adults globally were overweight or obese in 2008, a 23 percent increase from 1980. Adults in the developing world did not escape the phenomenon, of course: over the last 30 years, obese adults in these countries quadrupled to 904 million, more than are found in the developed countries. But the surprise is how the trend has invaded emerging economies. According to the Overseas Development Institute, the increase in  obesity is associated with a "creeping homogenization" of diets globally, thanks to rising incomes, the impact of advertising and globalization.
Sharada Keats and Steve Wiggins, "Future diets: Implications for agriculture and food prices", Overseas Development Institute, January 03, 2014, © Overseas Development Institute
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Brooklyn’s New Whole Foods Market Is About As “Green” As A Grocery Can Get

January 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The newly opened Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, N.Y., may be an example of how eco-friendly stores could be built in the future. The 56,000-square-foot facility is 60 percent more energy efficient than requried by building codes, thanks to an array of advanced technologies. These include a combined heat-and-power system designed to keep the store operating even in a power failure. The store uses highly efficient and zero-ozone depleting refrigeration equipment and high-efficiency lighting and daylighting to illuminate the store. On-site renewable energy features include 324 kilowatts-worth of solar canopies over the parking lot that will supply about 20 percent of the store's electricity.
Kit Kennedy, "Whole Foods opens one of nation’s most energy-efficient markets", GreenBiz , January 02, 2014, © GreenBiz Group
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Henkel’s Sustainability Performance Recognized By Stock Exchanges

December 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Henkel in December extended its track record in sustainable development when it was included for the first time in the indices of the transatlantic stock exchange operator NYSE Euronext and the French rating agency Vigeo. Cross-sector sustainability and ethical indices are important factors in the capital markets. Performance on sustainable development is evaluated regularly and is reflected in various ratings and rankings. Henkel was also included for the third time in the Global Challenges Index, a sustainability listing comprising 50 securities, operated by the Hannover Stock Exchange and the sustainability rating agency oekom research AG.
"Henkel: Sustainability performance confirmed by latest capital market developments", News release, Henkel, December 23, 2013, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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SC Johnson Cites Progress In Global Energy Reduction Plan

December 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
SC Johnson says the five-year plan to reduce its environmental footprint continues apace: it is on track to reach a goal of sourcing a third of its global energy from renewable sources. In the last ten years, the company has launched ten renewable energy projects around the world, including wind power, solar and cogeneration. The company recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the building of two wind turbines at a factory in Wisconsin. The turbines have cut almost 6,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and, combined other power cogeneration systems, are the only source of electrical energy at the factory.
"SC Johnson On Track to Hit Global Renewable Energy Goals", News release, SC Johnson, December 16, 2013, © SC Johnson
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Unilever Pleads Guilty Of Environmental Violations, Agrees To Pay $4.5 Million In Penalty

December 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever admitted guilt in two felony environmental laws violations and agreed to pay $4.5 million in penalty for its failure to promptly report illegal discharges of industrial wastewater at its manufacturing plant in Clinton. U.S. environmental officials, investigators, and prosecutors claimed the company intentionally bypassed its wastewater treatment system and released partially treated wastewater directly into the city’s storm water drainage system for as long as two years. A contract employee of Unilever informed state environmental officers about the treatment system bypass on December 5, 2008.
Edmund H. Mahony, "Unilever To Pay $4.5 Million for Environmental Crimes", Hartford Courant (Connecticut), December 06, 2013, © Hartford Courant (Connecticut)
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Unilever Enlists Supplier Linfox For Sustainability Initiative

December 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever signed a Joint Business Development Plan deal with partner Linfox Logistics. Under Unilever’s Partner to Win program, JBDP deals highlight the consumer goods company’s emphasis on working closely with its strategic suppliers to achieve sustainable business growth for all parties involved. Unilever’s deal with Linfox focuses on improving supply chain capacity, flexibility, and responsiveness, as well as improving costs and deploying safe and sustainable practices.
"Unilever signs joint Business Development Plan with Linfox", Voxy, December 06, 2013, © Digital Advance Limited
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