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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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Toxic Mineral Oils From Printing Inks And Recycled Cardboard Can Contaminate Food Products

June 10, 2011: 06:40 AM EST
A case study in Zurich, Switzerland, found that toxic mineral oils from printing inks can contaminate food products using recycled cardboard packaging. Results of tests conducted on packs of fine noodles showed that food speedily soaks up 10 times the suggested limit for concentration of these polluting oils from transport box. Researchers found that during the test period, the corrugated board contaminated the lowest packs inside the box with 6.1mg/kg mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH), 10 times the migration limit of 0.6mg/kg. Improved recycled paperboard showed mineral oil migration amounting to 4.9mg/kg, while a printing ink with 3g/kg MOSH also contaminated the fine noodles with 0.6mg/kg MOSH.
Maurus Biedermann, Jan-Erik Ingenhoff, Martino Barbanera, Davide Garbini, Koni Grob, "Migration of Mineral Oil into Noodles from Recycled Fibres in the Paperboard Box and the Corrugated Board Transport Box as well as from Printing Inks: A Case Study", Packaging Technology and Science, June 10, 2011, © John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Mark & Spencer Lowers Its Sustainability And Organic Retail Targets

June 9, 2011: 12:50 PM EST
Mark & Spencer unveiled its Plan A sustainability strategy, which includes lowered retail targets for organic produce due to the decline in consumer demand in the U.K. As with other supermarket companies, M&S has witnessed a drop in organic sales to levels below those of 2005–2006, the reference point used by the retailer in setting the previous targets. The company has also dropped its plan to sell only pork produced from free-range pig farms, although it has accomplished its goal of selling only free-range poultry such as duck and geese, and most of its turkeys. M&S also reports it has "achieved 95 of its 180 target commitments," but ditched its plan to have 50% of its trucks running on bio-diesel, due to shortage of sustainable suppliers.
Mary-Louise Clews, "&S reduces its Plan A organic produce targets", Marketing Week, June 09, 2011, © Centaur Media plc
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Unilever Purchases First Available Certificates For Sustainable Soy Issued By The RTRS

June 8, 2011: 12:38 PM EST
Unilever, an original member of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), purchased some of the first available certificates for soy grown using sustainable farming methods. Certificates bought by Unilever Brazil covers 5,000 tons of sustainable soy oil, which the company plans to use in manufacture of dressings and margarine products in North and South America. The company’s support for the RTRS sustainable soy certification program will help it achieve its environmental protection targets under its Sustainable Living Plan which aims to cut by half the impact of its manufacturing process on the environment, help 1 billion people act to enhance their health and well-being, and make its agricultural sourcing 100% sustainable.
Press Release, Unilever, "Unilever’s next step in sustainable sourcing of raw materials", Unilever, June 08, 2011, © Unilever
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New Cargill Innovation Center In Brazil Will Serve Multiple Industries

June 6, 2011: 11:05 AM EST
Cargill announced it has opened a food technology Innovation Center in Campinas,  Brazil, that houses technical teams from various fields of knowledge whose mission is to develop innovative solutions, ingredients and applications in partnership with customers. The $12.6 million, 20,000 square meter center houses multiple laboratories to serve customers in the beverage, baking, confectionery, convenience foods and dairy categories. It also includes a flavor and aroma laboratory, and an industrial lab to develop applications for the paper, textile, corrugated and biopolymer market. The new facility will enable product sensorial analysis, prototype development, ingredient creation and evaluation, consumer testing, and food preparation and tasting in the culinary center, the company said.
"Cargill opens Latin America Innovation Center", Press release, Cargill, June 06, 2011, © Cargill
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Gartner Report Lists Companies With Best Supply Chain Management Capabilities In 2011

June 1, 2011: 03:39 AM EST
Gartner's Supply Chain Top 25 report presents the leading companies in terms of supply chain management in 2011. The study also looks at the future directions for supply chain management. The Top 5 comprises regulars Apple, Dell, and Procter & Gamble as well as last year's new entrants Research In Motion and Amazon. New entrants this year included food companies Nestle and Kraft, as well as Starbucks. Gartner’s recommendations include developing supply chain processes to deal volatile conditions; ensuring the value chain vision is backed by strong and flexible execution; and gauging the success of the supply chain on the basis of the experiences of customers.
"The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2011", Gartner, June 01, 2011, © Gartner, Inc.
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Solar Power For Nestlé Ice Cream Factory In Italy

June 1, 2011: 06:27 AM EST
Nestlé installed a solar power system at its ice cream factory in Ferentino, Italy, where the company manufactures Coppa del Nonno, a 60-year old ice cream brand unique to Italy. The solar power system was built with technical support from Solar Green Energy Company. It combines three kinds of solar power technology, and will provide all the energy requirements for the ice cream brand's production line, about 14% of the factory's total energy needs.
Nestlé, "Nestlé uses solar energy to power ice cream factory", Nestlé press release, June 01, 2011, © Nestlé
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Danisco Unveils Pine-Derived Plant Sterols For Health Supplements Making Cardio Claims

May 27, 2011: 02:27 AM EST
Danish food ingredient supplier Danisco has launched a new brand of sterols derived from a sustainable pine source and designed for food and dietary supplements that target cardiovascular health. According to the company, PinVita phytosterols lower the level of unfavorable LDL cholesterol in the blood by reducing cholesterol absorption. PinVita’s easy-to-formulate, ready-to-use solutions are available for applications such as dietary supplements, fats and oils, dairy and bakery products. The company says free and esterified formats of PinVita have limited impact on the taste, texture and appearance of the final consumer product. The PinVita plant sterols are suitable for allergen- and GMO-free products as well.
"Danisco introduces new ingredient brand for cholesterol reduction", Press release, Danisco, May 27, 2011, © Danisco
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Danone Adopts Ingeo Plant-Based Plastic Packaging For Its Activia Yogurt In Germany

May 26, 2011: 12:37 PM EST
Danone has changed the packaging of its Activia yogurt in Germany from oil-based plastic to Ingeo, a plastic derived from plants. A partnership between Danone and Ingeo manufacturer NatureWorks has resulted in the packaging switch, which will reduce the yogurt product's carbon footprint by 25% and use of fossil resources by 43%, based on a life cycle assessment conducted by the LCA Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. NatureWorks also estimates fossil energy savings will equal electricity used by 13,000 German homes monthly, while greenhouse gas reduction will be equal to that from not driving a motor vehicle 19 million kilometers.
"Danone Launches Sustainable Ingeo Activia Yogurt Cup in the German Market", Food Ingredients First, May 26, 2011, © CNS Media BV
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Emerging Markets To Contribute 70% Of Unilever's Total Revenue

May 24, 2011: 04:04 AM EST
Harish Manwani, Unilever chairman and president for Asia, Africa, and East and Central Europe, said, in a long and wide-ranging interview, that his company plans to increase emerging market share of Unilever’s total revenues from 53% to 70%. Unilever views developing and emerging (D&E) markets as mission critical for its future growth and plans to allocate more than 60% of research and development (R&D) and brand-development resources in D&E countries. India has emerged as one of the most important D&E markets for Unilever. At the same time, the country provides the company with a large pool of managerial talent, with some 140 Indian managers currently working in senior positions worldwide. Brazil is an equally important market at the moment, but Russia and China remain among the countries where the company is "relatively under-represented", although they are now the company’s fastest growing markets.  Aside from growing its business, Unilever also intends to cut its environmental footprint by half by ensuring that 100% of its raw materials, such as palm oil and tea, come from sustainable sources. Manwani also identifies innovation as key to continuous market development but also highlighted the need to strip out costs as far as possible in order to mitigate the impact of rising commodity prices. 
Chaitanya Kalbag, Suman Layak and Anusha Subramanian, "Interview with Harish Manwani, chairman, HUL", Business Today, May 24, 2011, © Living Media India Limited
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Unilever Partners With Engineering Firm To Support Manufacturing Worldwide

May 23, 2011: 04:51 AM EST
Unilever has partnered with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. to support the development and management of Unilever's manufacturing facilities worldwide. From its headquarters in Singapore, the partnership - Unilever Engineering Services (UEnS) - will assist in Unilever's expansion plans by improving project delivery, cost management, speed to market, as well as operations and sustainability. Unilever's expansion plans will focus mainly on developing markets, which the company expects to account for 70–75% of its long-term growth. The partnership will also coordinate with Unilever's supply chain groups to support faster time to market and smaller environmental footprints for its manufacturing plants.
"Unilever drives efficiency in capital investment programme", Unilever, May 23, 2011, © Unilever
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Indonesia Is A Model For Sustainable Palm Oil Production – RSPO

May 19, 2011: 09:14 PM EST
An organization fostering standards for sustainable palm oil production has given a nod of approval to Indonesia’s accomplishments. The country, largest palm oil producer in the world, employs 3.7 million people in the sector, which accounts for seven percent of Indonesia’s  gross domestic product. Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) production in Indonesia quadrupled to 800,000 metric tons in 2010 over 2009, and has increased to 1.2 million metric tons  through April 2011, a 600 percent increase. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said  “Indonesia is in a strong position to be a benchmark for new emerging markets to adopt sustainable practices.”  RSPO said many Indonesian member companies have implemented “world class standards and practices” for achieving CSPO production.
"Indonesia: Benchmark For Sustainable Palm Oil In Emerging Markets", The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSBO), May 19, 2011, © The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSBO)
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Campbell Touts Sustainability Progress And Plans For Next Decade

May 12, 2011: 11:20 AM EST
Nourishment of the Earth and of corporate neighbors, employees and consumers is the overall 10-year strategic plan of Campbell Soup Company, which announced progress on its sustainability goals. The company said it saved more than 4.5 million pounds in steel, plastic and paper packaging materials in 2010; transferred a PET beverage bottle supply to a Canadian supplier, eliminating 750 trucks from the road; and redesigned product packaging in Australia, reducing paperboard by 440,000 pounds. The company said it has eliminated nearly 29,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions at its manufacturing plants and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than four percent. It plans to cut the environmental footprint of its product portfolio in half over the next decade as well.
"Campbell Reports Progress on 2020 Sustainability and Citizenship Goals", Press release, Campbell Soup Company, May 12, 2011, © Campbell's
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Kraft Foods Extends Its Sustainability Goals Through 2015

May 12, 2011: 11:24 AM EST
Kraft Foods announced that it has broadened its sustainability goals for the next five years after making significant progress in achieving earlier targets in the areas of energy, carbon dioxide, water, waste and packaging. The company says it will now measure sustainability progress in transportation and agricultural commodities, and all of its European coffee brands are committed to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of their coffee by 2015. Among other goals, Kraft plans to increase sustainable sourcing of farm commodities by 25 percent, reduce energy use in factories by 15 percent, reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in factories by 15 percent and eliminate 50,000 metric tons of packaging material – all by the end of 2015.
"Kraft Foods Expands Sustainability Goals to Build on Success", Press release, Kraft Foods, May 12, 2011, © Kraft Foods
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Fairtrade International Unveils New Standards Framework

May 12, 2011: 08:35 AM EST
After an 18 month development process, Fairtrade International has introduced the New Standards Framework (NSF) that makes the fair-trade standards easier to understand, more adaptable to local producer situations, and gives producers more freedom of development. Other key improvements in the standards include: clearer and simpler requirements, improved structure, and revised environmental requirements that “put people first.” The NSF will go into effect on 1 July 2011. Fairtrade International has launched a training program that includes three regional workshops for Fairtrade staff and liaison officers.
"Revamped Standards Support Producer Development", Press release, Fairtrade International, May 12, 2011, © Fairtrade International
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Researchers Discover A Useful Fat In Waste Material From Canning Of Asian Fruit

May 11, 2011: 10:43 AM EST
Researchers in Thailand have discovered that the seed kernel waste of the edible Asian fruit rambutan can be processed to yield a fat that could possibly be used in the cosmetic and food industries. The fat extracted from the seed kernel – normally a waste product generated in the production of canned rambutan – contains high levels of arachidic acid, which makes the fat highly resistant to oxidation and therefore very stable. The extracted fat is white, solid at room temperature. Other physical and chemical characteristics “compared well with those of conventional fats.” Though the fat needs to be tested for safety before using it in food products, “the merit of using rambutan kernel fat in the cosmetic and food industries may be justified,” the researchers said.
W. Sirisompong, et al., "Response surface optimization and characteristics of rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) kernel fat by hexane extraction", LWT - Food Science and Technology, May 11, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd
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OTA Rebuts “Biased” Report On Organic Agriculture From Radio’s Marketplace Program

May 5, 2011: 03:00 PM EST
In a rebuttal of a “biased” American Public Media Marketplace report (“The Non-Organic Future”) that “perpetuated the myth of low-yield organic agriculture,” the Organic Trade Association offered several scientifically-supported “facts” about organic farming. According to the OTA, organic agriculture is as efficient, economical and productive as conventional agriculture, and is better for the soil, the environment, and human health. “It is simply inaccurate to say that organic crops have lower or less consistent yields than their chemically intensive conventional counterparts,” the organization said. In fact, OTA said, as the planet changes and population grows, “organic is an integral part of the long-term solution to global food security.”
"OTA Responds to Marketplace", Press Release, Organic Trade Association (OTA), May 05, 2011, © Organic Trade Association (OTA)
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Dole Begins Selling Rainforest Alliance Certified Bananas At Sam’s Club

April 28, 2011: 03:24 AM EST
Dole Food Company, Inc. announced that it is now selling bananas grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms that meet comprehensive environmental and social standards designed to protect wildlife habitat and workers. Consumers can find Dole bananas – grown in Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala and bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal – at Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. Dole says the partnership with the Rainforest Alliance is a sign of its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Rainforest Alliance Certified farms meet standards set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a coalition of leading conservation groups.
"US: Dole now offering consumers rainforest alliance certified bananas", Press release, Dole, April 28, 2011, © Dole
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Color-Coded Eco-Rating System For Household Cleaners Debuts At Whole Foods

April 21, 2011: 10:38 PM EST
Whole Foods Market has introduced a tiered, color-coded rating system for household cleaning products to help shoppers make eco-friendly choices. The Eco-Scale System rates household cleaners as red (unacceptable), orange, yellow or green according to specific environmental and sourcing standards applied to each product. The company said it will work  with vendors to evaluate every product in its cleaning category. Products will have to meet a new baseline orange standard by Earth Day 2012 to be sold in Whole Foods stores. Products rated red will not be sold, the company said. Though the federal government does not require ingredients to be disclosed on household cleaner labels, the new rating system does.
"Whole Foods Market pledges a clean sweep by 2012", News release, Whole Foods Market, April 21, 2011, © Whole Foods Market IP, L.P.
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