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Packaging For Personal Care Products Can Help Save The Environment

January 31, 2012: 02:34 AM EST
As an increasing number of countries are requiring sustainable packaging for beauty and personal care products, manufacturers are drawing on a range of environment-friendly packaging options. These include the use of packaging materials that are biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, or reusable, all of which companies present their brands as visibly pro-ecology and supportive of consumers' efforts to protect the environment.
Lisa Doyle, "From Biodegradable to Recyclable: Packaging Choices for Beauty Brands", GCI Magazine, January 31, 2012, © Allured Business Media
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A Company’s First-rate Green Image Often Does Not Match Its Green Performance

January 25, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
A company’s reputation for being environmentally friendly may more to do with what it says it’s doing than what it is actually doing, a Kansas State University study has found. The more information companies disclose about their sustainable practice, the more they are viewed as being green, even if their actual environmental performance is not that strong. For their study, researchers looked at annual reports, corporate social responsibility reports and 10-K financial reports of companies listed in Newsweek magazine's 2009 green rankings of large U.S. companies. The companies with the worst environmental performance had the best environmental reputation, including companies from environmentally sensitive industries like utilities, oil and gas.
Amy Hageman, "When It Comes to Greening a Corporate Reputation, Study Shows That Words May Speak Louder Than Actions", News release, upcoming article in Accounting, Organizations and Society, January 25, 2012, © Kansas State University
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In A Global First, Seoul Puts Electric Buses Into Commercial Service

December 27, 2011: 09:46 AM EST

For the first time anywhere in the world, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has put environmentally-friendly full-size electric buses into commercial operation. The move, which will improve the city’s air quality, is the culmination of a one-and-a-half-year long project, and, according to SMG, puts the city in the lead with respect to large-sized electric vehicle technology. The buses’ high-capacity lithium–ion batteries can reach full charge in less than one-half hour, and they incorporate an energy-saving system that captures and reuses energy generated from braking. SMG initially replaced five gas-powered buses with the new electric buses, and plans to put 120,000 electric vehicles into service by 2020.

"Seoul Starts Operations of Electric Buses -- First in the World", PRNewswire-Asia , December 27, 2011, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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OTA Refutes Misconceptions About Organic Agriculture

December 19, 2011: 07:09 PM EST
The Organic Trade Association says six myths about organic agriculture were “busted” by the media, by scientific discoveries, and by shoppers in 2011. At the top of the list is the belief that organic products are a niche market. OTA says its own research reveals that 78 percent of U.S. families say they purchase organic products. In addition, 11 percent of the total U.S. fruits and vegetables market comprised organic produce; and organic buyers are more likely to be Asian, African-American or Hispanic than non-buyers. Among the other myths disproved by the OTA: consumers are ambivalent about genetically modified foods; organic produce is unaffordable; organic farming cannot feed the world; and pesticides are no longer a danger.
"Six Myths Busted by Organic in 2011", Press release, Organic Trade Association, December 19, 2011, © Organic Trade Association
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Kraft Says Sustainability, Environmental Efforts Are Proving To Be Effective

December 14, 2011: 09:23 PM EST
Kraft Foods announced results of a sustainability and environmental survey that measured the company’s impact on climate change, land and water use. Most of the company’s environmental footprint – about 90 percent – originates on non-company farms that grow ingredients for its products. The survey supports the work of sustainable agriculture efforts on key commodities to improve crop yields, reduce environmental impacts and improve the lives of farm workers and their families. The company said it also continues to build upon previous success around energy, carbon dioxide, water, waste and packaging reductions.  The multi-year footprinting project was conducted with Quantis Inc. and reviewed by World Wildlife Fund and the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.
"Kraft Foods Maps Its Total Environmental Footprint", Press release, Kraft Foods, December 14, 2011, © Kraft Foods
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New App For Mobile Devices Tells Consumers Which Eco-Labels Are Truthful

November 15, 2011: 10:05 PM EST
Consumer Reports has introduced an app for smartphones and other mobile devices that tells consumers which green product labels are verifiably meaningful and truthful. The new Eco-Label app, available on iTunes, provides reviews of label terms like “hypoallergenic,” “natural,” and “organic”. The Eco-Label App lets consumers search for information by alphabetical label index or by product, including foods, cleaners, and personal care products. The app also provides a label "report card," which offers clear guidance on which labels make truthful and meaningful claims, and which do not. The app costs $.99 and is located under the Utilities category in the App Store, according to Consumer Reports.
"New Eco-Label mobile app for iPhone and iPad decodes green product labels and claims", News report, Consumer Reports.org, November 15, 2011, © Consumers Union of U.S.
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Krill Oil Sales Soaring, Despite Environmental Concerns

November 4, 2011: 06:31 PM EST
Annual krill oil sales are growing at a rate of 20 percent, despite concerns about the sustainability of krill harvesting. Whole Foods and other natural foods stores have banned the sale of krill products because of environmental concerns. However, consumers are increasingly aware of the health benefits of krill oil, which has more omega-3s than other fish and contains a potent carotenoid known as astaxanthin. The increasing consumer awareness of the benefits of krill oil should drive sales – and probably prices – higher in the future, according to industry observers. However, environmental conservation groups are relentless in their opposition to krill harvesting.
James Townsend, "Krill awareness hits critical mass", Functional Ingredients, November 04, 2011, © Penton Media Inc
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Whole Foods Posts Healthy 4th Quarter And Fiscal Year Sales, Profit

November 2, 2011: 04:59 AM EST
Whole Foods Market reported 4th quarter profit of $75.5 million, an increase of 31 percent over a year ago, on sales of $2.4 billion. Sales for the quarter increased 12 percent, with comparable store sales up 8.7 percent and identical store sales up 8.4 percent. Diluted earnings per share increased 26 percent to $0.42. For the year ended September 25, sales increased 12 percent to $10.1 billion, and earnings per share increased 35 percent to $1.93. Co-CEO John Mackey said the company was continuing to produce “quality results” and he expected “the lessons we learned during the recession will drive even higher levels of operating performance and returns on invested capital over time.” The company finished the year with total cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, and investments of $799.1 million, and total debt of $17.9 million.
"Whole Foods Market Reports Fourth Quarter Results", Whole Foods Market, November 02, 2011, © Whole Foods Market IP, L.P.
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Sustainability Remains An Important Driver In Packaging Innovation – Study

November 1, 2011: 05:03 AM EST
Though sustainability has grown steadily over the past five years as a driver of innovation in packaging, momentum appears to have slowed, according to a study by Packaging Digest. “Slippage on key questions,” editorial director John Kalkowski says, doesn’t mean packagers no longer feel sustainability is important. The emphasis is growing, but at a slower pace. Respondents who say they are moderately familiar with sustainability issues slipped to 80 percent from 83 percent last year. But that’s much higher than the 52 percent at the same level in 2007. Forty-one percent said the emphasis on sustainability remained the same, and 55 percent said it had grown in their companies. Respondents cited economic conditions as a major reason why some businesses had scaled back their activities in sustainable packaging.
"Sustainability Shown as a Driving Factor in Packaging Decisions", News release, Packaging Digest, November 01, 2011, © Packaging Digest
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USDA, Other Groups, Provide Farmers With Info On Walmart’s Locally-Grown Food Initiative

October 26, 2011: 07:09 PM EST
Farmers in southwest Georgia (U.S.) are looking for more information about how to participate in, and benefit from,  Walmart’s new Heritage Agricultural Program, an initiative supporting consumers’ interest in local and sustainable farming. Various organizations, including the USDA, have been meeting with Georgia farmers to tell them what they need to do – like having the proper infrastructure in place – to supply produce to Walmart. The company wants to reduce the number of miles perishable fruits and vegetables travel from farm to market by purchasing locally-grown produce for stores, and is encouraging farmers to grow crops traditionally produced in their regions.
Gianna Caserta, "Walmart wants locally grown foods on your table", WorldNow News, October 26, 2011, © WorldNow and WALB
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Major Retailers, Brands Support New Package Recycling Label System

October 20, 2011: 02:51 AM EST
Several leading brands and retailers have agreed to implement a new package recycling label developed by sustainability nonprofit GreenBlue to show customers how to recycle after package use. Participating in the voluntary labeling program beginning in 2012 are ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale, Microsoft, REI and Seventh Generation. According to GreenBlue, customers have to deal with a “confusing landscape” of misleading and inconsistent recycling messages. The new labels provide a “harmonized system” designed to reduced confusion for consumers by providing clear instructions on how to recycle a package after use. The labels adhere to U.S. Federal Trade Commission guidelines on recycling, GreenBlue said.
Lisa McTigue Pierce , "Leading brands to pilot new recycling label in 2012", Packaging Digest, October 20, 2011, © UBM Canon
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Henkel Debuts At 5th Among Consumer Goods Companies On Newsweek's Green Rankings

October 19, 2011: 03:41 AM EST
Henkel appears for the first time on Newsweek's Green Rankings, ranked at 65 and scoring 61.7 percent on the Global 500 list of leading companies. Henkel ranked fifth among consumer goods companies. Newsweek's Green Rankings assess the environmental performance of the world's largest publicly traded companies. The rankings are based on a company's actual environmental footprint, management of that footprint, and sustainability communications. The rankings, which provide a cross-industry framework for comparing environmental commitment and performance, were developed with the help of two environmental research organizations, Trucost and Sustainalytics.
"Henkel listed in Newsweek Green Ranking", Henkel, October 19, 2011, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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Kraft’s Cocoa Partnership Hopes To Boost Cocoa Production In Dominican Republic

October 17, 2011: 08:24 PM EST
Kraft Foods announced it is extending its Cocoa Partnership – established by Cadbury to boost coca farming in Ghana, India, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean –  to the Dominican Republic. The five-year initiative with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will try to sustainably increase the yield and quality of Dominican cocoa, while improving farmer livelihoods and communities. About 10,000 small-scale cocoa farmers of the Conacado cooperative will benefit from training in farming techniques, post-harvest practices and supplemental income opportunities, Kraft said. The Cocoa Partnership has committed 45 million pounds Sterling (approximately $70 million) to the program.
"Kraft Foods Nurtures The Next Generation Of Dominican Cocoa Farmers With Launch Of Cocoa Partnership", Press release, Kraft Foods, October 17, 2011, © Kraft Foods
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Target To Sell Only Sustainable And Traceable Seafood Within Four Years

October 13, 2011: 07:36 PM EST
The Associated Press reports that Target Corp. has decided that all of its fresh and frozen seafood must be sustainable and traceable by 2015. The company has been at the forefront of efforts to adjust their policies regarding seafood as concerns rise about overfishing and the environmental impact of some fishing methods. In the past two years, for example, Target has stopped selling Chilean sea bass and orange roughy in its stores because of concerns related to overfishing. Last year the company pulled all farmed salmon from stores, because of pressure from consumers and environmentalists concerned that salmon farms are bad for the environment.
"Target to stock only sustainable seafood by 2015", Star Tribune, October 13, 2011, via Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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Global Food Waste Problem Could Be Reduced With Better Information, Advanced Technologies

October 13, 2011: 07:34 PM EST
A research scientist at Norway’s SINTEF Technology and Society says a lot of the Western world’s food supply is wasted by food producers, consumers and restaurants who believe that food has run out of shelf life, when in fact “it is perfectly OK.” According to Jan Ola Strandhagen, a third of the world’s supply of food could be saved using advanced technology – and a change in attitude – before it reaches the waste bin. Information from the retail food sector about consumer buying habits, and how much food ends up in store trash bins, would allow “surgical precision” in the production of food. That kind of information would influence the logistics of food distribution: “when and where, and in what quantities, individual products are delivered to retail outlets.”
"The Food Wasters", Alpha Galileo, October 13, 2011, © Alpha Galileo Foundation
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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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