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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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Neither Conventional Nor Organic Farming Methods Are Superior At Eliminating Weed Seeds

April 21, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists trying to determine whether organic or conventional farming methods are better at ridding the soil of weed seeds report inconclusive results: neither method proved superior. The researchers experimented over a two-year period in two states, burying two types of weed seeds – smooth pigweed and common lambsquarters – in mesh bags. Pigweed seeds showed a shorter life span under the organic system in two of four experiments. Organic system lambsquarters seeds had a shorter life span in one of the four experiments, while the conventional methods had the shorter life span in two of four experiments. The researchers acknowledged that their findings “leave an ambiguous answer” to the question.
Silke D Ullrich, et al., "Weed Seed Persistence and Microbial Abundance in Long-Term Organic and Conventional Cropping Systems", Weed Science, April 21, 2011, © BioOne
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Older Americans Less Passionate About Environmental Issues – Survey

April 20, 2011: 11:37 PM EST
Americans are taking definite steps – such as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and recycling – toward protecting the environment and conserving energy, but there is less enthusiasm for activities like purchasing eco-friendly products, and marked skepticism about issues like global climate change, according to a national survey conducted by L’Oreal and ORC International. The survey found that younger people tend to be more ardent about environmental issues and actions, though the attitudes and behaviors of older Americans are shifting gradually. The survey found that 96 percent of Americans turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and 93 percent recycle, but only 25 percent purchase validated eco-friendly products. And forty-five percent of Americans older than 55 say they are unconvinced about climate change.
"2011 Sustainable Living Survey Fielded by L'Oréal USA Reveals Changes in Attitudes, Behavior and Consumption Are Slow to Come", Press release, L'Oreal, April 20, 2011, © 3BL MEDIA, LLC
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Tesco Posts Solid Gains In Revenue, Profit In 2010/2011

April 19, 2011: 02:59 AM EST
U.K.-based grocery and merchandising company Tesco reported a 12.3 percent increase in profit for 2010/2011 to £3.8 billion on revenue of £67.6 billion, an increase of 8.1 percent. The company said it now has a new global executive committee in place combining key business areas and support functions, and focusing more on the U.K. core business. The company said it reduced its net debt to £6.8 billion, thanks to strong cash generation in the second half of the year. Tesco said its long-term strategy is profitable growth coupled with sustainability in the U.K., internationally, in food and other categories and in services.
"Tesco Plc Preliminary Results 2010/11", Press release, Tesco, April 19, 2011, © Tesco
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Seventh Generation Launches Green Sweepstakes

April 19, 2011: 02:25 AM EST
Household and personal-care products company Seventh Generation says that instead of celebrating Earth Day this year, it is “honoring the planet and its many gifts” by offering savings coupons and a sweepstakes whose top prize is a $10,000 green home makeover. The prize also includes cleaning supplies for the winner’s whole community. The company will provide the winner’s community 1,000 Healthy Home Starter Kits valued at $55 each “to help paint the whole town ‘green.’" The company is also offering money-saving product coupons to help consumers “save money as they save the world around them.”
"Seventh Generation Makes a Clean "Sweep" of Earth Day", Press release, Seventh Generation, April 19, 2011, © Seventh Generation
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Organic Advocates Urge Tightening Of USDA Rules On Egg Farming

April 18, 2011: 08:13 AM EST
The nonprofit farm policy group Cornucopia Institute has accused a California producer of organic eggs of misrepresenting the living conditions of some hens, perhaps in violation of federal organic standards. The California cooperative, whose egg brand is Organic Valley, does not allow hens to forage naturally in sunlit pastures but instead keeps them penned in screened porches with roofs and floors, the Institute told the Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel. Federal organic standards require hens to have outdoor access and sunlight, but the definition of outdoors is fuzzy. The screened enclosures for hens violate the spirit and intent of the organic law, and mislead consumers, the Institute says. Advocates of tighter rules on organic egg production have proposed a clarification of the USDA rules that would close the loophole.
Karen Herzog, "When Is a Hen Organic?", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, April 18, 2011, © Journal Sentinel Inc.
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OTA Says Organic Industry Grew Faster Than Food Industry As A Whole In 2010

April 6, 2011: 07:55 PM EST
The Organic Trade Association released industry survey data at a Washington policy meeting showing that the organic industry has grown from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $29 billion last year, a 700 percent increase in value. According to the OTA data, the organic sector grew by eight percent in 2010, “dramatically outpacing” the growth rate of the overall food industry. There are 14,540 organic farms and ranches in the U.S. with a total of 4.1 million acres of land under organic management, the association said. Seventy-eight percent of organic farms intend to maintain or increase production and 96 percent plan to maintain or increase employment levels in 2011.
"Vilsack: Organic is part of the strategy to rebuild rural America", Press Release, Organic Trade Association, April 06, 2011, © Organic Trade Association
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Women, Older People Are The Most Eco-Conscious, Global Market Study Finds

April 7, 2011: 04:23 AM EST
Women and older consumers across the world are generally more environmentally conscious overall, a new study from market researcher Synovate has found, while young people are the least eco-conscious. The study, which looked at “green” behavior globally, also found that the way people feel about the future, their family, and their country aren’t very important factors in determining green habits. Synovate asked 22,000 people in around the worldt about their recycling habits, purchase of ecological products, purchase of organic foods, etc. Women ranked higher than men across all green behavior categories, and people aged 56-65 years old ranked highest in recycling and buying ecological products. People 46-55 years old were more likely to buy organic food. Lowest green scores among age groups? Young people aged 16-25 years old. Data from the study were also broken down by country.
"Synovate survey reveals latest green habits and consumption across the world", Press release, Synovate, April 07, 2011, © Synovate
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Bullfrog Power Provides Green Energy To Unilever Canada’s Factories, Offices In Ontario

April 5, 2011: 03:06 AM EST
Unilever Canada has contracted with Bullfrog Power, a 100 percent green energy provider, to power all of its manufacturing facilities and offices in Ontario – 90 percent of its Canadian operations – with locally sourced renewable power totaling 59,000 MWh of electricity. According to the company, the move will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions footprint by approximately 7,544 tons annually. Unilever says the action is part of its Sustainable Living Plan, in which the company will grow in a way that helps improve people’s health and well-being, reduces environmental impact and enhances livelihoods. Bullfrog’s electricity in Ontario comes only from local wind and hydro facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada under its EcoLogoM program.
"Unilever Canada becomes the largest commercial purchaser of green electricity in Canada", Press release, Unilever, April 05, 2011, © Unilever
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Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Beverage Packages Available Nationwide

April 4, 2011: 07:17 PM EST
Coca-Cola’s 100 percent recyclable plant-derived packages for Dasani and Odwalla are now available in the U.S.  The new PlantBottle packaging for single servings of Odwalla is made from up to 100 percent plant-based materials with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. HDPE plastic is created using only ethylene, which is derived from 100 percent renewable sugarcane-based ethanol.  Bottles for Dasani are made with up to 30 percent plant-based materials. According to Coca-Cola, in 2010 more than 2.5 billion PlantBottle packages were available across nine countries, a number that is expected to double to more than five billion PlantBottle packages in more than 15 countries.
"The Coca-Cola Company's New PlantBottle® Packaging On Store Shelves Nationwide Today!", Press Release, Coca-Cola, North America, April 04, 2011, © Coca-Cola
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Kimberly-Clark Campaign Urges Consumers To Try Its “Scott Naturals” Paper Products

April 4, 2011: 02:59 AM EST
Scott Naturals brand’s six-month “test drive” marketing campaign asks consumers to try its  hybrid bath tissue, paper towels, flushable moist wipes and napkins for four weeks. The campaign, launched in conjunction with Eearth Month,  asks consumers to try the brand, which combines recycled and conventional materials, for four weeks and to enter the “Take the 4-Week Test Drive” sweepstakes for a chance to win a new Ford Fusion hybrid sedan. According to Scott Naturals Brand Manager Jennifer Nobui, the goal of the challenge is to “encourage consumers to take an easy green step by showing them they won't have to compromise quality or their budget” by choosing the brand.
"SCOTT Naturals Asks Americans to "Test Drive" its Hybrid Paper Products for a Chance to Drive Away in a New Hybrid Car", Press release, Kimberly-Clark, April 04, 2011, © Kimberly-Clark Corporation
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“Agroecology” Is The Key To Ensuring The Global Right To Food, Report Says

March 31, 2011: 08:50 PM EST
In a report prepared for the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, identified “agroecology” as an agricultural development method that has proven to get results in ensuring the right to food among vulnerable groups worldwide. According to De Schutter, the reinvestment in agriculture, spurred by the 2008 food crisis, should focus on reorienting agricultural systems toward production techniques that are “highly productive, highly sustainable and contribute to the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food.” The advantages of agroecology include improvement of nutrition, reduction of poverty and increased farm productivity. Appropriate public policies are needed to create an enabling environment for these sustainable modes of production.
Olivier De Schutter, "“Agroecology and the Right to Food”, Report presented at the 16th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council March 2011", United Nations Special Rapporteur, March 31, 2011, © United Nations Special Rapporteur
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USDA Adds Purell Green Hand Sanitizer To List Of Approved Biobased Products

March 31, 2011: 03:02 AM EST
The USDA announced at a biobased product meeting that Purell Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer Foam will be featured in the formal launch of the agency’s new BioPreferred Label Program. The Purell Green brand, produced by GOJO Industries Inc., is made with 100 percent naturally renewable plant-derived ethanol in a biodegradable formula, according to the company. The  foam is sold in 1200 mL TFX (touch free) refills under the SKILCRAFT brand through Travis Association for the Blind, a nonprofit agency associated with National Industries for the Blind. The new USDA label is assigned to products independently certified to meet USDA BioPreferred program standards for biobased content.
"Purell Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer Among First to Earn USDA BioPreferred Product Label", News release, GOJO Industries, March 31, 2011, © GOJO Industries
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U.S. Consumers Keep Buying Organic And Natural Products Despite The Recession

March 28, 2011: 04:13 AM EST
Concerns for their health and the environment and about U.S. agribusiness have prompted American consumers to keep spending for natural and organic products despite the economic slowdown. This commitment to organics has helped the segment grow, allowing retailers, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, to expand. While sales for the grocery industry grew 1.8 percent, according to the Food Institute, sales of organics grew 4.4 percent in the year ending February 20, according to Symphony IRI. Wider availability of organics, with major grocery store chains expanding their organic sections and food companies introducing more natural products, and lower costs help drive growth in the organics segment. Also, demand for organics is spreading to health, beauty, cleaning supplies, and other sections of the grocery store.
SUE STOCK, "Recession-racked shoppers still spend on organics", Kansas City Star, March 28, 2011, via McClatchy Newspapers, © The Kansas City Star
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P&G Showcases Its Environmentally Friendly Products In New Coupon Booklet

March 28, 2011: 03:33 AM EST
The Procter & Gamble Company announced it will release its April 2011 brandSAVER coupon booklet on April 3 to coincide with the observance of Earth Day. The booklet will contain more than $110 in savings on a range of  brands, and will feature many of the company's eco-conscious “Future Friendly” products that save water, save energy or reduce waste in the home or during the manufacturing process. The booklet also contains submissions from P&G Future Friendly's recent Find Your Footprint student contest, developed to inspire students to monitor and reduce their environmental footprint. Also featured is the latest addition to P&G’s Future Friendly product portfolio: compacted powder laundry detergents.
"New P&G brandSAVER Features Coupons for Trusted Products Alongside Inspiring "Future Friendly" Tips From Students Nationwide", Procter & Gamble, March 28, 2011, © Procter & Gamble
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Sustainability Is A Key Issue, And Major Challenge, For Cleaning Products Industry

March 23, 2011: 03:09 AM EST
At IntertechPira’s recent two-day conference, Cleaning Products Europe, speakers focused on sustainability as the driver of future growth, followed closely by innovation and collaboration, according to the conference producer. Both Unilever and Procter & Gamble emphasized that sustainability is a key factor in all aspects of the cleaning products business and one of the biggest internal challenges. All parts of the supply chain have a role to play in implementing sustainable practices, including regulatory authorities and industry bodies. Keith Rutherford of Unilever said that at the top of the supply chain “there is a need for a mix of safe and sustainable materials” as consumers become more demanding on the sustainability issue.
"Cleaning Products Europe - a great success! What are the key learnings?", Press release, IntertechPira, March 23, 2011, © IntertechPira
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Worries Over Food Safety Drive South Koreans To Local, Organic Food Sources

March 21, 2011: 11:34 PM EST
Food safety concerns among South Korean consumers have spurred an upsurge in the membership of the country’s largest food cooperative, Hansalim, which sells mainly organic, locally grown vegetables and other food products. Concerns about food safety reached a critical stage after outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza in 2010 forced the slaughter of millions of livestock. Hansalim’s membership leapt by 20 percent to 250,900 during the year, completely by word of mouth because the cooperative spends no money on advertising. Hansalim operates 110 stores in South Korea, which together posted about $162 million in sales in 2010, a small number compared to leading discount store chains such as E-mart, whose product line is globally sourced.
Nam Kwang-sik, "S. Korean consumers set sights on local food", YonHap NewsAgency, March 21, 2011, © YonHap News Agency, Korea
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Henkel Named To “Most Ethical Companies” List

March 16, 2011: 02:34 AM EST
The U.S. Ethisphere Institute has included German home care, cosmetics and adhesives marketer Henkel on its list of “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” Recognized for an exemplary ethical approach to corporate governance and commitment to sustainable development, 110 companies in more than 100 countries and 38 different sectors comprise the list. Henkel markets a range of consumer and industrial brands in North America, including Dial soaps, Purex laundry detergents, Right Guard antiperspirants, and Loctite adhesives. Worldwide, the company markets brands and technologies in three business areas: laundry & home care, cosmetics/toiletries, and adhesive technologies. The company reported sales of $20.07 billion and profit of $2.27 billion in fiscal 2010.
"Henkel included again in “World’s Most Ethical Companies” ranking", Henkel, March 16, 2011, © Henkel Corporation
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