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Nestlé Launches Malaysian River Reforestation Initiative

October 11, 2011: 09:06 AM EST
As part of a corporate social responsibility program dubbed Creating Shared Value, Nestlé announced a reforestation initiative in Malaysia that involves planting 750,000 trees to help protect the biodiversity of the lower Kinabatangan river ecosystem. The 560 kilometer Kinabatangan is Malaysia’s second longest river. Nestlé said the trees will be planted over the next three to four years – 100,000 will be planted in the first year – on both sides of a 110 km stretch of the river in Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. The project will also try to reduce pollution in the river by allowing the trees to form a natural barrier against soil sediment, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides.
"Nestlé plants 750,000 trees in Malaysia to protect river ecosystem", Press release, Nestlé, October 11, 2011, © Nestle
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Cargill Says Its Safety, Sustainability Plan Yields Immediate Benefits

October 10, 2011: 08:41 AM EST
Cargill corporate environment and safety chief LaRaye Osborne said the company made “meaningful progress” during fiscal 2011 toward achieving its 2015 environment, health and safety (EHS) goals, a five-year plan focused on worker safety and environmental sustainability. Cargill aims by 2015 to achieve zero fatalities, zero injuries at 75 percent of its more than 1,200 operating locations globally, and a reportable injury frequency rate – the number of injuries per 200,000 hours worked – of 2.0. In fiscal 2011, which ended in May, the EHS plan led to a 50 percent reduction in fatalities and a seven percent improvement in the reportable injury frequency rate. By 2015, Cargill aims to improve energy efficiency by five percent and increase renewable energy to 12.5 percent of its energy portfolio.
"Cargill makes major progress toward its 2015 worker safety and environmental sustainability goals", Press release, Cargill Inc., October 10, 2011, © Cargill Inc
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Organic Yogurt Producer Advocates Sustainable Farming Methods

October 5, 2011: 02:08 AM EST
A leading U.S. organic yogurt producer told an audience at College of Holy Cross (Mass.) that organic farming methods are superior to conventional for many reasons. Gary Hirshberg, head of Stonyfield Farm, said organic, sustainable food production is not only better for people and the environment, but it can also make good economic sense. As an example of how organic methods work better, he said traditional sugar cane production involves burning the cane fields to harvest crops, a process that is wasteful and destructive to topsoil. His farm in Brazil, however, separates cane from waste material and puts the waste back on the field, leaving the topsoil unharmed.
Steven H. Foskett Jr., "Stonyfield CEO appeals for sustainability -Stonyfield chief: Organic is best", Telegram & Gazette, October 05, 2011, © Telegram & Gazette
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Jury Still Out On Whether Organic Produce Is More Nutritious – Rodale Institute

October 5, 2011: 02:40 AM EST
A 30-year Rodale Institute experiment comparing conventional to organic farming systems in raising corn, soybean and wheat has found that the organic way is superior to conventional in terms of crop yields, sustainability and profit. But Rodale says that, despite recent findings, the jury is still out on whether crops produced organically are actually more nutritious. Rodale said many of the nutrition studies that show organic isn't better than conventional don't say how long the plant material has been hanging around. “Sometimes, the organic had been sitting around while the conventional was just picked, which can bias the results." As to profit, the study found that an organic farmer can earn twice as much than a chemical farmer who spends money on chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
Caren Baginski, "Organic trumps conventional farming in Rodale Institute's 30-year study", newhope360, October 05, 2011, © Penton Media
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Sustainability Seen Emerging As Basis For Competition

October 1, 2011: 02:48 AM EST
A review in HBR looks to the arrival of sustainability as the primary driving force of financial success for companies, with the trend driven by three factors. First is the growing quantification of factors once considered irrelevant or priceless (such as externalities); second, social investing has emerged as a meaningful value-seeking discipline and is a force for change; last, industries look to be coalescing around standard metrics by which to rate sustainability. A critical element in the shift towards sustainability competition will be the broad acceptance of standard value-chain indices that amass relevant data in a full assessment of each product’s sustainability credentials.
Yvon Chouinard, Jib Ellison, and Rick Ridgeway, "The Big Idea: The Sustainable Economy", Harvard Business Review Magazine, October 01, 2011, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Affordability, Availability Are Keys To Healthier Eating For Low-Income Families

September 24, 2011: 08:50 PM EST
A survey of 212 women by Southeast Seattle nonprofit group Got Green has found that buying, cooking and eating “green” and healthy food are top priorities, but organic fruit and vegetables are just too expensive and grocery stores are scarce. The main barrier to switching to a healthier diet, therefore, is not education about “green” living, it’s affordability and availability, according to Got Green. Gardening is a good idea, but it’s not a solution for low-income families that are often short on time. Among its recommendations for change, the group urged policy changes that would provide more money for people who use food stamps so they can buy healthy food.
Brenda Anibarro, et al., "Women in The Green Economy: Voices from Southeast Seattle ", Report, Women in the Green Economy Project, September 24, 2011, © Got Green?
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Nestlé Expands Confectionery Development Facility In U.K.

September 23, 2011: 09:49 PM EST
Nestlé announced that it is enlarging its U.K.-based Product Technology Centre, where new confectionery products are developed and existing ones are reformulated. According to the company, the Technology Centre is also charged with deploying newly-developed technologies to Nestlé’s global operations so that confectionery products are produced safely and effectively while meeting the consumer needs. Centre Director Stefan Palzer says the expansion of the facility will allow the company to “accelerate and intensify confectionery product development” using sustainable and high quality raw materials, advanced manufacturing processes, and reliable equipment.
"Nestlé extends global Product Technology Centre for confectionery", Press release, Nestlé, September 23, 2011, © Nestlé
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PepsiCo Partners With Aid Organizations To Boost Chickpea Production In Ethiopia

September 21, 2011: 04:46 AM EST
PepsiCo and its charitable arm have partnered with international food assistance programs in an initiative to boost chickpea production in Ethiopia. Enterprise EthioPEA will also promote long-term nutritional and economic security in the east African country, the continent's largest producer of chickpeas. Chickpeas are rich in protein – an average of 22 percent – and are a sustainable alternative to meat. Among other goals, the partnership hopes to enable 10,000 Ethiopian farmers to double chickpea yield by applying more modern agricultural practices and irrigation techniques. Participating with PepsiCo are the PepsiCo Foundation, the United Nations World Food Program and U.S. Agency for International Development.
"PepsiCo, World Food Programme and USAID Partner to Increase Food Production and Address Malnutrition in Ethiopia", Press release, PepsiCo, September 21, 2011, © PepsiCo
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USDA Researchers Create Insect-Resistant Potato Variety

September 19, 2011: 09:10 AM EST
Scientists at the USDA have developed a wireworm-resistant potato variety from two wild potatoes that may reduce or eliminate the need for wireworm insecticides. To do this, they crossed germplasm from wild potatoes from Chile and Bolivia with a cultivated variety, then selected 15 plants that best-resisted Colorado potato beetles and green peach aphids from three generations of progeny. They planted them in wireworm-infested fields and compared the damage they sustained with that seen in nearby rows of Russet Burbank potatoes, some of which had been treated with organophosphate- and carbamate-based insecticides. The resistant cloned potatoes fared just as well or better than the insecticide-treated Russet Burbank potatoes. The researchers believe natural compounds called glycoalkaloids may protect the cloned potatoes.
Jan Suszkiw, "Scientists Develop New Potato Lines to Wage War on Wireworms", News release, USDA, September 19, 2011, © USDA
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PepsiCo To Work With China On Developing Sustainable, Modernized Agriculture

September 19, 2011: 08:57 AM EST
PepsiCo has launched an initiative with the People’s Republic of China to promote sustainable agriculture projects and accelerate the development of the Chinese countryside. The company will work with China’s Ministry of Agriculture to build and operate demonstration farms that apply advanced irrigation, fertilization and crop management techniques. According to PepsiCo, they will also promote best practices in China's farming system to improve yields, increase income levels and raise living standards for farmers throughout the country. The partnership underscores the company's support for China's 12th Five-Year Plan, which establishes objectives for developing sustainable agriculture and speeding up agricultural modernization.
"PepsiCo to Partner with China's Ministry of Agriculture to Promote Sustainable Farming", Press release, PepsiCo, September 19, 2011, © PepsiCo
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Whole Foods Contest Winners Will Visit Eco-Friendly Costa Rican Banana Grower

September 15, 2011: 07:20 PM EST
Whole Foods Market and Earth University, which exports sustainably grown bananas, have partnered to send five shoppers to Costa Rica to learn about ethical banana production. The  Whole Foods Market’s Earth University offerings include fresh bananas and frozen bananas and pineapples. The grocer’s Whole Trade program certifies growers for paying fair wages and providing safe working conditions, in addition to showing concern for the environment. Whole Foods shoppers can enter the contest by signing up online through September 30. Winners will experience Earth University’s hands-on teaching of sustainable agriculture, and responsible business and community development, the company said.
"Shoppers go bananas for chance to win field trip to Costa Rica", Press release, Whole Foods Market, September 15, 2011, © Whole Foods Market
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Organic Food Prices Still A Hindrance To Grocery Shoppers – Poll

September 13, 2011: 07:06 PM EST
An online survey of 2,112 adults conducted in August for Whole Foods Market found that food prices have had a major impact on their food buying patterns. Eighty-two percent said current food prices have affected their grocery shopping, and more than 75 percent said they have changed their cooking and eating habits due to the economy. Large majorities saying they would buy natural or organic foods if they could afford it. Seventy-one percent said they would buy natural/organic foods over conventional foods if the prices were the same. And 70 percent said they would buy organic if prices fit their budgets. Twenty-four percent said natural/organic foods would account for only a quarter of their total household food purchases in 2011.
"Customers still place value on value", Press release, Whole Foods Market, September 13, 2011, © Whole Foods Market
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Poland Beginning To Boost Its Presence In European Organic Food Production

September 12, 2011: 10:02 AM EST
The Warsaw Journal reports that Poland has the right mix of resources and other factors that could make it “an important player” in Europe’s growing organic foods market. The country so far has been a small consumer of organic foods – only 0.2 percent of food purchases in 2009, or about €50 million, were in the organic category – but consumer interest is growing. With European and global organic demand on the rise, organic production in Poland is increasing as well, thanks to competitive prices, a large workforce and many small-scale, traditional farms that are easy to convert to organic methods. Through 2010, the number of organic farms and total area devoted to organic food production have soared: from 3,760 to 20,000 farms, and from 82,730 to more than 500,000 hectares. The number of processing plants in turn grew from 50 to nearly 300. Also driving expansion has been the rapid development of a sales network for organic products in Poland. The number of organic stores should grow from 300 in 2010 to around 500 by the end of 2011.
Alice Trudelle, "Going organic: promise for Poland", Warsaw Journal, September 12, 2011, © Valkea Media S.A.
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Henkel’s Sustainability Achievements Recognized By Dow Jones Index

September 8, 2011: 02:32 AM EST
The Dow Jones Sustainability Index has listed German home care and personal care company Henkel as a sustainability leader for the fifth straight year in the nondurable household products category. The assessment is based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, tracking issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards and labor practices. Henkel said it is the only company in its sector to be represented in both the World Index (DJSI World) and the Europe Index (DJSI Europe). The indices list corporations that follow the principles of sustainable development in their business operations.
"Henkel listed for fifth time in a row in Dow Jones Sustainability Index", News release, Henkel, September 08, 2011, © Henkel Corporation
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Unilever Becomes “Zero To Landfill” Manufacturer In The U.K.

September 8, 2011: 02:59 AM EST
Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) supplier Unilever says it has achieved its goal of becoming a "zero to landfill" manufacturer in the U.K. because none of its factories send non-hazardous waste to landfills. The company achieved its target by contracting with waste supplier Veolia to recycle 97 percent of its waste. The remaining three percent will be converted into usable energy.  The arrangement also helps Unilever meet its waste-to-landfill targets beyond the U.K., because the company’s 11 manufacturing sites produce about 25 per cent of its overall European waste. The company says it has reduced its total waste in manufacturing per ton of production by 77 percent since 1995.
"Unilever Achieves Zero-To-Landfill Manufacturing Commitment In The UK", News release, Unilever, September 08, 2011, © Unilever
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German Organic Baby Food Firm Has High Hopes For Russian Venture

August 31, 2011: 10:36 PM EST
Despite an underwhelming Russian interest in organic foods, German baby food maker HiPP has opened a factory in Kaliningrad to manufacture its all-organic products. Organic foods account for less than one percent of the total food market in Russia. Nevertheless, the Hipp family continues to search for land close to fresh water and away from highways and conventional farms to avoid contaminating their crops. The annual baby food market for Russian children up to three years old is about $2.2 million, and growing at about eight percent a year, according to 2010 data from Nielsen. HiPP says its local market share is five percent. The company’s market share in Germany is 50 percent.
Olga Razumovskaya, "torks Herald Organic Food for Russian Babies", Moscow Times, August 31, 2011, © The Moscow Times
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Malt-O-Meal Partners With Terracycle In Cereal Bag Recycling Program

September 1, 2011: 01:34 AM EST
The Malt-O-Meal Company, maker of ready-to-eat and cooked breakfast cereals, has partnered with Terracycle in a program to reduce waste created by box packaging. The company offers its cereal products in plastic bags that result in 75 percent less consumer waste and save energy and fuel in the process. Its recycling initiative with Terracycle is designed to keep the cereal bags out of landfills. Terracycle collects hard-to-recycle materials and transforms them into usable products like messenger bags, fencing, coasters, stationery products and trash cans. For the program, consumers join the Cereal Bag Brigade and ship used bags to TerraCycle. Shipments from schools earn points that can be redeemed for $0.02 per bag.
Megan Dobransky, "Should We Bag the Cereal Box?", Earth911, September 01, 2011, © Earth911.com
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Nielsen Survey Finds N. Americans Are Least Willing To Pay A Premium For Green Products

August 31, 2011: 12:07 AM EST
An environment and sustainability study from Nielsen has found that North American online consumers are the least willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. Only 12 percent of Canadians and Americans would pay extra for green products, while respondents in the Middle East/Africa were most willing (33 percent) to pay more for green products. The survey of more than 25,000 Internet consumers in 51 countries found that 83 percent believe that manufacturers using recycled packaging and producing energy efficient products and appliances have a positive impact on the environment. Seventy-five percent say they take raw materials into account when deciding where to shop and what to buy.
"The “Green” Gap Between Environmental Concerns and the Cash Register", Nielsenwire blog, August 31, 2011, © The Nielsen Company
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Concern Over Pesticide Use, Water Pollution Supplants Worry Over Climate Issues – Nielsen

August 31, 2011: 04:29 AM EST
A Nielsen survey of more than 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries finds that environmental concerns have displaced global warming and climate change as the top concerns of consumers, perhaps due to a drop in media attention. Key issues that have online consumers on edge are air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of pesticides. Sixty-nine percent of consumers still say they worry about climate change/global warming (down from 72 percent in 2007). But 75 percent rated air pollution and water pollution as top concerns, both increasing six percentage points compared to 2009, according to Nielsen. Concern is mounting fastest over the use of pesticides, packaging waste and water shortages, with reported concern increasing 16, 14 and 13 percentage points, respectively.
"Sustainable Efforts & Environmental Concerns", Nielsenwire, August 31, 2011, © The Nielsen Company
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US Cosmetics Industry Sees A Good Year For Sustainable Packaging In 2011

August 24, 2011: 04:28 AM EST
Several US companies have introduced sustainable packaging technologies for cosmetics and personal care products in 2011. Notable examples include Eco Vision that received a US patent for its Eco Jar biodegradable packaging for cosmetics, Pantene that launched the Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion line of hair care products with bottles made mainly from plant-based plastic and Colbert Packaging which improved the design of its EnviroGuard consumer product packaging that includes no plastics.
Pooja Kondhia, "2011 means the year of sustainable packaging", Cosmetics Design, August 24, 2011, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Coca-Cola And Partners Invest US$4 Billion More In China

August 18, 2011: 07:21 PM EST
Coca-Cola Company and bottling partners Swire Beverages Ltd. and COFCO Coca-Cola Beverage Co., Ltd. plan to invest US$4 billion in China over the next three years from 2012. The companies aim to enhance the sustainability of their operations in China and will have invested more than $3 billion in the country for the last three years, by the end of 2011, with total investments reaching $7 billion in 2009-2014. Coca-Cola's sales grew 6 percent worldwide, according to its second quarter 2011 financial results. China accounts for 7 percent of the global volume of Coca-Cola, which now operates more than 40 plants in the largest and fastest-growing consumer market.
"Coca-Cola Invests US$4 Billion for Long-Term Sustainable Growth in China", Coca-Cola, August 18, 2011, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Seventh Generation Names Bergstein Of Diageo As Chief Marketing Officer

August 18, 2011: 01:34 AM EST
Eco-friendly household and personal care products maker Seventh Generation has named  consumer products branding specialist Joey Bergstein as its new chief marketing officer. Bergstein most recently was senior VP of Diageo, where he built the Captain Morgan rum brand, and has been a VP at Canadian brewer Molson. Bergstein is explicit about his mission at Seventh Generation, a company with a great team and a brand with untapped potential. Seventh Generation, he says, lacks “innovative brand strategies and new marketing programs that will drive the kind of exponential growth its products are more than capable of achieving.”
"Seventh Generation Adds New Chief Marketing Officer", Seventh Generation, August 18, 2011, © Seventh Generation, Inc.
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Middle East's Natural Cosmetics Market Poised For Growth In 2011

August 15, 2011: 02:01 AM EST
The natural cosmetics market in the Middle East is forecast to grow 20% in 2011, according to the Middle Eastern Market for Natural Cosmetics study by Organic Monitor.  Natural products make up a small share of beat sales in the Middle East – just 0.1% compared to over 3% in North America and Europe. Worries about political and social unrest have failed to dampen the market, with sales growing fast in several countries. United Arab Emirates accounts for more than half of total market revenues, while demand in other countries is focused mainly in major cities. Rich consumers and tourists create most of the demand for natural and organic cosmetics in the region, the report says.
"Natural Beauty Shows Promise in the Middle East", GCI Magazine, August 15, 2011, © Allured Business Media
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CEO Aims For A Stronger, More Competitive Unilever

August 15, 2011: 12:58 AM EST
Unilever PLC CEO Paul Polman has overhauled his company's management structure, reorganized the "innovation team" that develops new products and production processes, and implemented a major cost-cutting campaign as he seeks to double sales and reduce Unilever's environmental footprint. The economic slowdown that began in 2008 helped Polman in implementing changes at Unilever, which is forecast to grow its sales from €39.8 billion in 2009 to more than €45 billion in 2011. Polman has continued his predecessor Patrick Cescau's "One Unilever" campaign to unify and rationalize the company's workforce and address issues created by Unilever's history as a collection of merged companies, particularly the lack of centralized management. Polman aims to enhance Unilever's ability to compete with rival Procter & Gamble, his former employer.
PAUL SONNE, "Rebuilding a Greener Unilever", Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Draft Animals Play Starring Roles At Northeast Organic Farming Association's Summer Event

August 8, 2011: 07:37 PM EST
The Draft Animal Power Network will bring its Northeast Animal Power Field Days event, which includes workshops on how to use draft animals in agriculture, to the Northeast Organic Farming Association's 2011 summer conference at the University of Massachusetts Research Farm. An increasing number of organic farmers using or are interested in using draft animals prompted the show's organizers to link the events. Workshops will focus on topics including the basics of using animal power in farms and farm-horse health. Sessions are designed for different kinds of operations and include a tour of Natural Roots Farm in Conway.
RICHIE DAVIS, "Organic farms embracing animal power", Daily Hampshire Gazette, August 08, 2011, © Daily Hampshire Gazette
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Farmers Markets Increasing, Expanding To Communities Across US

August 5, 2011: 06:51 PM EST
 
More than 1,000 farmers markets were added into the 2011 USDA Farmers Market Directory to reach a total of 7,175, showing a healthy expansion of farmers markets to communities in the United States. Farmers markets increased the most in Alaska, with 46 percent more than in 2010; Texas, with 38 percent; and Colorado and New Mexico, with 38 percent. The rise in farmers markets looks to indicate the local and regional food system is thriving and speaks to a growing interest - the USDA reported that from January to July, 2011, the USDA Farmers Market Directory had over 1.8 million page views, up 3x from the same period in 2010.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, "7,175 Ways to Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: Visit a Farmers Market", USDA Blog, August 05, 2011, © USDA
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Organic Farming Found To Be More Energy Efficient Than Conventional

August 4, 2011: 06:39 PM EST
Canadian researchers who reviewed 130 scientific articles have concluded that organic farming is significantly more energy efficient than conventional farming, saving as much as 20 percent or more, except in the poultry, hog and fruit sectors. The researchers looked at whole-farm energy use and energy efficiency both on a per hectare and per farm product basis. According to lead author David Lynch, the findings validate the opinion of many organic famers that their farming systems have a much lower footprint in terms of energy. Based on the study's estimate that farm energy use accounts for 35 per cent of the total energy used in the food chain, a 20 percent reduction at the organic farm level results in a seven percent reduction for the whole food chain.
Steve Harder, "Organic farming systems yield energy savings of 20% or more", Farm Focus, August 04, 2011, © Transcontinental Media
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National Organic Program Retains Some Synthetic Substances For Use In Organic Farming

August 3, 2011: 06:49 PM EST
Organic farmers can continue using certain synthetic substances in production and handling of organic crops, according to a final rule published by the National Organic Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The list of synthetic substances includes ferric phosphate used as slug or snail bait, hydrogen chloride for removing lint from cotton seed for planting, and egg white lysozyme. These substances were supposed to sunset in 2011 under the sunset provisions of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, but the National Organic Standards Board recommended their continued use in organic farming.
Press Release, AMS, USDA, "Final Rule Allows Continued Use of Substances to Support Organic Agriculture", USDA, August 03, 2011, © USDA
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Whole Foods Continues Expansion In U.K. Market

August 3, 2011: 06:57 PM EST
Whole Foods Market says it will open its seventh retail store in the U.K. in Cheltenham in November 2012. The company has five stores in London, none of which have turned a profit, and will soon open a store in Glasgow. The new store, which will be located at a 27,000 sq ft site, is expected to create 150 full- and part-time jobs. It will house an outdoor seating area, bakery and full-service butchery counter. The prospect of a new organic foods outlet in the region was well received by local consumers and business people. According to Martin Quantock, Cheltenham business partnership manager, the new store shows that the town is still an attractive place for investors.
"US food giant opens first organic store outside London", Gloucestershire Echo, August 03, 2011, © Northcliffe Media Limited
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Walmart Helps Finance Urban Conservation Projects In Major US Cities

August 4, 2011: 01:12 AM EST
Walmart, through its Acres for America program, has donated $500,000 to urban conservation projects in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. to help protect, conserve, and restore urban ecosystems. The donation will benefit urban conservation projects including the Anacostia Watershed Restoration in Washington D.C., Hegewisch Marsh Restoration in Chicago, Bolsa Chica Enhancement Project in Los Angeles, Jamaica Bay Salt Marsh Restoration in New York, and the New York Botanical Garden Lower Portage Trail, also in New York.
"Walmart donates $500,000 to help rejuvenate urban ecosystems", Walmart.com, August 04, 2011, © Walmart.com
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Start-Up Turns Recycled Shipping Containers Into High-Tech Pods For Local Food Production

August 2, 2011: 06:45 PM EST
Growing consumer demand for fresher fruits and vegetables has fueled interest in locally grown produce among grocery retailers and other food service providers. A start-up company is taking advantage of the trend by introducing an innovative way to provide fresh produce on or very near store premises. PodPonics, an Atlanta-based company that recently raised $725,000 in seed funding, has created what it calls a “disruptive technology” that grows fresh produce economically in refurbished shipping containers called "grow pods." The 320 sq ft pods, outfitted with organic hydroponic nutrient solutions and computer-controlled environmental systems, can produce an acre's worth of produce and can be stacked for efficient use of space.
Ariel Schwartz, "Localize It: Podponics Grows High-Tech Organic Produce In Shipping Containers", Fast Company, August 02, 2011, © Mansueto Ventures LLC
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PepsiCo Extends National Recycling Program To El/Sec Schools

August 1, 2011: 01:26 PM EST
PepsiCo has extended its national program to raise awareness of the importance of recycling into elementary and high schools. The Dream Machine Recycle Rally for the 2011/2012 school year also gives participating schools a chance to earn rewards and compete for prizes. The company says the program is part of its broader Dream Machine recycling initiative to help boost the U.S. beverage container recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018. Participating schools earn points for every non-alcoholic aluminum can or plastic bottle collected through the program year-round. Schools can redeem those points with local businesses and major retailers for rewards such as sporting goods, electronics, etc.
"PepsiCo Supports Beverage Container Recycling with Launch of 2011/2012 Dream Machine Recycle Rally", Press release, PepsiCo, August 01, 2011, © PepsiCo
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UK's Prince Charles Thinks Public Should Know More About Benefits Of Organic Farming

July 28, 2011: 07:04 PM EST
Prince Charles decried consumers' lack of understanding of the benefits of organic and sustainable farming and acknowledged that despite his 20-year campaign for organic food products through his Duchy Originals food line, consumers still do not grasp the benefits of organic farming, or understand the risks posed by conventional farming. Of particular concern is consumer reluctance to pay more for a superior product. UK pig farmers struggle to compete with those that have lower welfare stands and high operating costs is forcing them to use genetically modified soy from South America for feeds, although some farms purchase local feeds resources when they can afford it. He also pointed to the "perversion of the subsidies system" that causes consumers to pay more for organic farm produce  although organic farming brings other benefits.
 
 
Louise Gray, "Prince Charles calls for better understanding of benefits of organic farming", Telegraph, UK, July 28, 2011, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Study Shows Companies' Ethical Values Affect Consumer Buying Decisions

July 28, 2011: 03:05 AM EST
A UK survey of 1,000 consumers found 91 percent said that the way a company acts toward its customers and communities plays a role in their purchasing decisions while 60 percent said a company's ethics influenced their decision making. Over half (53 percent) said knowing that a company performs charity acts, such as donating to good causes, affected their purchases. Consumers younger than 30 years, and women generally, say they put more value on a company's ethics. Companies noted for receiving positive press about their ethical records include Unilever, PepsiCo and Marks & Spencer.
Gemma Charles, "Consumers consider brands' ethics when shopping, according to survey", Marketing Magazine, July 28, 2011, © Haymarket
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Whole Foods 3rd Q Profit Up 35 Percent

July 27, 2011: 02:27 AM EST
Whole Foods Market reported a 35 percent increase in third-quarter profit to $88.5 million (50¢ a share) on sales of $2.4 billion (an 11 percent increase over the prior year’s 3rd quarter). Comparable store sales increased 8.4 percent; identical store sales, excluding four relocations and one expansion, increased 8.1 percent. The company noted that it is continuing to gain market share faster than other public food retailers, mainly because of “value efforts, which have improved our price image,” as well as higher quality standards. The company is accelerating store openings and expects that “continued innovation and ongoing discipline around expenses and capital allocation” will lead to higher levels of operating performance and returns on invested capital.
"Whole Foods Market Reports Third Quarter Results", News release,Whole Foods, July 27, 2011, © Whole Foods Market, Inc.
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Nestlé Launches “Cocoa Plan” In Indonesia

July 27, 2011: 04:20 AM EST
Nestlé has launched its “Cocoa Plan” to create a sustainable supply chain for the cocoa industry in Indonesia, the third largest cocoa producing country in the world after Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Launched in 2009, the Cocoa Plan is designed to improve the quality and quantity of cocoa yields, and in turn better quality cocoa. According to Nestlé, the plan also benefits cocoa farmers by providing them with long-term security and training expertise. Nestlé will invest more than $4 million over four years in Indonesia to train farmers, provide plant expertise, and support supply chain transparency. The plan will also focus on projects related to nutrition education, water, and rural development, while protecting the environment.
"Nestlé’s Cocoa Plan extends to Indonesia", Press release, Nestlé, July 27, 2011, © Nestlé
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Kraft Foods Joins Group Building Enval's Recycling Plant In UK

July 22, 2011: 07:05 PM EST
Kraft Foods is supporting a UK-based consortium to build a large recycling plant incorporating Enval's patented materials recovery technology as part of an effort to develop industry best practice.  The recycling technology will enable manufacturers and their suppliers to recycle materials used in their products and packaging, including those that were previously unrecyclable, such as plastic aluminium-foil flexible packaging laminates. This has encouraged several commercial goods and packaging companies to join the consortium that will finance the recycling plant's construction. Enval plans to ultimately sell its recycling technology to waste-handling service providers.
"Kraft Foods backs Enval recycling plant", Business Weekly, July 22, 2011, © Business Weekly
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Natura Cosméticos Of Brazil Posts 8.6 Percent Hike In Revenues

July 20, 2011: 02:51 AM EST
Brazilian cosmetics and personal care company Natura Cosméticos S.A. Posted a second quarter profit of R$188.1 million ($121 million) on revenue of R$1,393.6 ($897 million), a revenue increase of 8.6 percent. The company said it gained 46 basis points in market share in its core market in Brazil during the first four
months of the year, reaching a 25.4 percent share, its highest level. For the first six months of the year, gross revenues increased internationally by 36.6 percent year-on-year in weighted local currency. The company also reported that its consultant base grew to 1.1 million in Brazil, up 15.6 percent by the end of the period.
"Natura Cosméticos 2Q11", Natura Cosméticos, July 20, 2011, © Natura Cosméticos
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Study Analyzes Key Trends Driving Growth In Natural Foods Industry

July 14, 2011: 11:17 AM EST
A study by Food Technology magazine has found that several key factors are driving growth in the natural foods and beverages sector. Hot buttons include terms like organic, “naturally nutritious,” clean, “less-processed,” “preservative-free,” sustainable, ethical and humane. In 2010, for example, nearly one-third of the top-selling new foods/beverages launched in the U.S. carried a natural or organic claim. Other interesting data: “natural” topped the list of descriptors consumers looked for when purchasing foods/drinks at retail stores in 2010; twenty percent of shoppers buy natural and/or organic meat/poultry when it is on sale; seventy percent of shoppers believe that describing food as fresh means it is healthier; and nearly 75 percent of adults say humanely treated animals/cruelty free is important to them when shopping for food.
A. Elizabeth Sloan, "Navigating the Natural Marketplace", Institute of Food Technologists, July 14, 2011, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Vermont Governor Says U.S. Department Of Agriculture Should Let States Buy Local Produce For Nutrition Programs

July 14, 2011: 09:47 AM EST
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has called for revisions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food commodity programs to allow states to purchase local agricultural produce for local school feeding programs and other nutrition programs. Shumlin proposed a voucher system that would allow states to use federal funds on food produced by local farmers. In 2010, U.S. Representative Peter Welch proposed legislation with similar objectives, but it failed to get traction in Congress. However, Shumlin believes states can bypass Congress and deal directly with the Agriculture Department.
"Vermont gov: Let states buy local food for schools", New England Cable, July 14, 2011, via Associated Press, © England Cable /AP
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Nutrient-Rich Onion Waste Could Be Recycled, Researchers Suggest

July 14, 2011: 11:05 AM EST
Researchers in Spain and the U.K. who analyzed each part of the onion have found that valuable nutrients and other substances are lost when half a million tons of onion waste are discarded during processing in European countries alone. Waste includes the dry brown skin, outer layers, roots and stalks, and onions damaged or not big enough for commercial use. They found, for example, that the brown onion skin could be used as a source of non-soluble dietary fiber as well as phenolic compounds and other flavonoids. The two outer fleshy layers of the onion also contain fiber and flavonoids. Whole onions thrown away are a source of prebiotic fructans for digestive health and sulfurous compounds that contribute to cardiovascular health.
Vanesa Benítez, et al. , "Characterization of Industrial Onion Wastes (Allium cepa L.): Dietary Fibre and Bioactive Compounds", Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, July 14, 2011, © Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
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Campbell Soup Plans R&D Center At Its Pepperidge Farm Facilities In Connecticut

July 12, 2011: 06:46 AM EST
Campbell Soup Company plans to invest more than $30 million to build a research and development center at the company's Pepperidge Farm bakery facilities in Norwalk, Connecticut. The planned innovation center will include product development and testing lines, culinary kitchens, laboratories, and conference rooms. Campbell Soup's project also includes plans to upgrade Pepperidge Farm's headquarters, while building an environment-friendly and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified structure.
Campbell Soup Company, "Campbell Soup Company Invests in Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center to Drive Further Growth in Baking and Snacking Businesses", Campbell Soup Company press release, July 12, 2011, © Campbell Soup Company
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Heinz Introduces Soups That Come In Plastic Tubes

July 9, 2011: 07:48 PM EST
Heinz has launched a line of soup products that come in plastic sachets resembling a tube of toothpaste. The portable soups are available in four flavors and come in puree form, which consumers need to dilute with hot water. Heinz emphasizes that the new soups contain natural products, have no artificial colors and flavors, and are low in fat, promoting them as healthier than soups that come in cans or in powder form. Heinz expects the soups in tube to replace soup products that come in tin cans, which have a long history that began with French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's search for a reliable method to preserve food for his armies.
Sean Poulter, "Soup in a tube: Heinz launches green alternative as tin can feels the squeeze", Daily Mail, July 09, 2011, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Heinz Unveils Dilutable Soups In Plastic Tubes In U.K.

July 9, 2011: 05:13 AM EST
Heinz has launched an alternative to the familiar “tin can” of soup in the U.K.: “squeeze and stir” all-natural, low-fat  soups in plastic tubes that resemble toothpaste tubes. As the price of metal to make soup cans rises, the plastic tubes offer a cheaper production option for Heinz. However, consumers are likely to notice an apparent price hike: the 70g soup tube costs 59p ($0.95), or about 0.84p ($0.01) a gram. A 400g can of soup, however, costs 85p ($1.37), or 0.21p ($0.003) per gram. The benefits for Heinz are two-fold: higher unit prices at much lower production costs. “Even taking account of the fact the puree has to be diluted, it would seem the new product is a more expensive option,” the Daily Mail reports.
Sean Poulter, "Soup in a tube: Heinz launches green alternative as tin can feels the squeeze", Daily Mail, July 09, 2011, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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SC Johnson Settles Lawsuits Over Use Of Greenlist Logo On Windex Products

July 8, 2011: 02:45 AM EST
As part of a settlement of two lawsuits, SC Johnson announced it has agreed to stop using its Greenlist logo on Windex products. The federal suits were brought by two people who claimed that the company did not make clear that the green rating system used to justify the logo was an internal system, and not from an independent third party. They also complained that the company implied that Windex products contained environmentally friendly ingredients. SC Johnson said it settled because “in retrospect we could have been more transparent about what the logo signified.” The company said its Greenlist rating system is “a fundamentally sound and excellent process” and it didn’t want consumers to be confused by the logo use on one product.
"SC Johnson Settles Cases Involving Greenlist™ Labeling", Press release, SC Johnson, July 08, 2011, © S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
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U.N. Calls For Global Energy Transformation As Population, Pressure On Resources, Rise

July 6, 2011: 07:25 PM EST
A 251-page report from the United Nations takes a close look at the key forces – energy generation and natural resource management – that will play a critical role in shaping the future of the planet as global population climbs toward nine billion by 2050. The World Economic and Social Survey notes that while hundreds of millions of Asians, Latin Americans and Africans have risen from poverty, the expansion of economic production requires a balance between “respect for the human and natural capital.”  Otherwise, there will be irreversible changes in the ability to sustain progress. Growth and sustainability should not be competing goals, the report warns, but “complementary and mutually supportive imperatives.” The report calls for a global energy transformation using green technologies that not only improve the global food supply but protect its sources.
"World Economic and Social Survey 2011:The Great Green Technological Transformation", DESA, United Nations, July 06, 2011, © United Nations
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Nestlé To Spend $1.4 Billion On Production Expansion in Africa

July 5, 2011: 09:07 AM EST
Though income levels are low in Africa, they are on the rise, and Nestlé SA has decided to take advantage of that by investing 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.4 billion) over the next four years to expand production capacity on the continent, where sales soared to $3.5 billion in 2010. The company also plans to fortify products made there with more micronutrients. Sales growth in Africa and other emerging nations is at double-digit levels, much stronger than in Europe and North America, where growth is two percent of less, according to the company. Nestlé expects to spend 150 million Swiss francs to refurbish factories in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The company opened a second factory in Nigeria this year, and new plants are planned in Mozambique and Angola.
Sarah McGregor , "Nestle Plans to Invest $1.4 Billion in Africa, Buy Local", Bloomberg news, July 05, 2011, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Facebook Campaign Lets Brazilian Consumers See Unilever's Caring Side

June 30, 2011: 12:46 AM EST
Unilever's "Cada gesto conta" Facebook campaign has succeeded in promoting a socially responsible image for the company and its products in Brazil, according to social media monitoring company WaveMetrix. Brazilian consumers have come to see the company as ethical and caring, thanks to Facebook discussions about health and nutrition topics. WaveMetrix's analysis reveals that 79% of online discussion refers to Unilever as an ethical brand; 13% portrays Unilever as caring; and 8% sees the company as relevant.
Leonie Bulman , "Unilever’s ethical campaign engages Brasilians with health and nutrition", WaveMetrix, June 30, 2011, © WaveMetrix Limited
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Mars Chocolate Plans To Open New Factory In Kansas

June 29, 2011: 05:00 AM EST
Mars Chocolate North America has announced plans to construct a new manufacturing plant in Topeka, Kansas, its first to be built in the United States in 35 years. The move highlights the company's policy of building factories in markets where it sells its confectionery products. Mars Chocolate plans to invest more than $250 million in the first phase of the project, scheduled for completion in 2013, and which include hiring about 200 workers to manufacture M&M and SNICKERS brands of candies. It will be built to meet achieve LEED Gold Certified standard. 
Press Release, Mars, "Mars Announces Plans to Build State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Facility in Topeka, KS North America", Mars, June 29, 2011, © Mars
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European Parliament Says EU Agricultural Budget Should Not Be Cut

June 23, 2011: 10:02 PM EST
Despite rumors that the European Parliament intends to cut funding of rural development, members resolved in a non-legislative show of hands to keep the EU agriculture budget untouched for the period 2014 to 2020. The vote puts the sentiments of MEPs on record before European Commission offers its proposals on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy. MEPs say the budget should stay the same so that farmers have monetary incentives to provide secure food supplies, protect the environment, create new jobs and provide for a competitive EU farming sector. The EC will offer its legislative proposals in late autumn. The Parliament will then decide with the Commission on the final legislation.
"Agricultural policy after 2013: greener, fairer, more competitive", Press release, European Parliament, June 23, 2011, © European Parliament
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