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Heinz Adopts Coca-Cola's PlantBottle Sustainable Packaging

February 23, 2011: 09:30 AM EST
Coca-Cola and H.J. Heinz Company entered into a partnership that allows Heinz to use Coca-Cola's PlantBottle environment-friendly packaging. Materials from plants account for up to 30 percent of material used to make PlantBottle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles. Heinz plans to launch its PlantBottle ketchup bottles in June with a marketing campaign featuring "talking labels" and on-packaging messages. A life-cycle analysis by Imperial College London revealed that the packaging technology can reduce carbon impact by 12-19 percent. Heinz says that adopting PlantBottle is part of its global sustainability commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, water consumption and energy usage at least 20 percent by 2015.
Heinz Co., "Coca-Cola and Heinz Announce Landmark Partnership to Expand Use of Innovative PlantBottle™ Packaging ", H.J. Heinz press release, February 23, 2011, © H. J. Heinz Company
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Planters' Campaign Seeks To Boost Sustainability Credentials With Planters Groves Parks And Touring Nutmobile

February 23, 2011: 09:07 AM EST
Kraft Foods' Planters brand aims to boost its sustainability credentials with its "Naturally Remarkable" marketing campaign that includes putting up peanut-themed community parks in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City. It also includes an ecology-friendly truck, the Planters Nutmobile, that will promote the opening of the Planters Groves parks and also tour other cities in the US. The parks will have city-specific designs and will use reclaimed materials as well as include a Mr. Peanut figure on a bench. Planters says its campaign seeks to pay tribute to the American peanut planters, the origins of the company's brand name, and highlight the fun associated with Planters snacks.
Karlene Lukovitz, "Planters Campaign: Sustainability Plus Fun ", Mediapost, February 23, 2011, © MediaPost Communications.
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Promiseland Sues To Stop USDA From Suspending Its Organic Certification

February 18, 2011: 12:30 PM EST
Promiseland Livestock has sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking to stop the agency from suspending the company's organic certification. Promiseland's lawsuit claims that the USDA has abused its power by seeking to remove Promiseland's organic certification after the company allegedly refused to hand over records. In 2008, the USDA sued Promiseland, accusing the company of violating several organic standards. A judge later ruled that Promiseland violated USAD rules when it refused to provide records to inspectors who visited its facilities in Nebraska and Missouri.
TIMBERLY ROSS, "Nebraska-based Promiseland sues USDA over suspension", JournalStar.com, February 18, 2011, © JournalStar
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Nutiva Contributes To Legal Efforts To Rescind USDA Monsanto Decision

February 17, 2011: 11:04 AM EST
Nutiva, a maker of organic hemp, coconut and chia foods, has contributed $25,000 to an effort by the Center for Food Safety to reverse a decision by the USDA to deregulate Monsanto’s genetically engineered, Roundup-Ready alfalfa. According to Nutiva,the USDA’s ruling is “ profoundly disappointing to the organic community.” The CFS says it is pursuing all legal remedies to oppose the decision, primarily because biotech industry market dominance in crops will mean “the majority of organic foods will be genetically contaminated with foreign genetic material through pollen drift and accidental co-mingling.”
"Nutiva Pledges $25,000 to CFS for Challenging USDA’s Approval of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Alfalfa", News release, Nutiva, February 17, 2011, © Nutiva
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Organic Foods Grow Popular Among Middle Class Consumers In Indian City Of Coimbatore

February 15, 2011: 10:09 AM EST
Organic foods have become popular in the Tamil Nadu city of Coimbatore, driven by the rising health-consciousness among the city's middle-class consumers. Farmers are adopting organic methods of raising food crops, as consumers show willingness to pay higher prices for pesticide- and chemical-free farm products. Exclusively organic retail stores, such as Sreevatsa Organic Farm and Organic Super Market, have opened in popular locations in the city.
Radha Venkatesan, "The Organic Bandwagon", The Times ofIndia, February 15, 2011, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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L’Oreal USA Joins EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership For Transportation Energy Efficiency

February 10, 2011: 12:01 AM EST
L’Oreal USA has joined efforts at increasing energy efficiency in transportation with SmartWay Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight industry. L’Oreal USA aims to reduce GHG emissions and air pollution by adopting green technology for carriers and improving shipment operations and has committed  to reduce by 50% its GHG emissions,  water use and waste generated all on a  per unit of finished product basis by 2015. The company has been active in climate change and sustainability efforts since 2001 and has been recognized by Innovest and Corporate Knights as one of the 100 most sustainable companies in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
"L'Oreal USA Corporate Manufacturing for North America Joins EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership", 3BL Media, February 10, 2011, © 3BL MEDIA, LLC.
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Global Move For Sustainability Good News For U.K. Businesses

February 9, 2011: 02:13 AM EST

Despite the failure of the Copenhagen and Cancun meetings to produce binding treaties, observers forecast the global economy's greening to proceed at faster pace, creating opportunities for businesses. HSBC Global Research says governments will spend $500 billion in 2009-2014 to promote green development and U.K. companies, as their Asian counterparts do, should view sustainability as a potential source of growth. Developing countries, which face risks from climate change and resource challenges, have rapid GDP and population growth rates that make them an important market for consumer goods companies. Examples of companies' sustainability efforts include Unilever's "Sustainable Living" campaign and Walmart's push for its suppliers to adopt sustainable practices.

Andrew Stone, "A great opportunity for sustainable growth", The Daily Telegraph (London), February 09, 2011, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Lawsuit Charges S.C. Johnson With Misleading Green Marketing

February 9, 2011: 01:13 AM EST

S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. faces a civil lawsuit over its Greenlist green-marketing claims for the company's Windex glass cleaner and Shout stain remover. The lawsuit, which can possibly turn into a class action, alleges that S.C. Johnson has not disclosed that it owns and manages the Greenlist environmental impact rating system. This will become more significant when proposed regulations by the Federal Trade Commission take effect. S.C. Johnson, however, denies that its Greenlist labeling is fraudulent, asserting that the patented system has helped the company achieve some of its sustainability goals. Greenlist won an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 and was reviewed by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, the company said.

Rick Romell , "Lawsuit targets S.C. Johnson’s ‘green’ labeling ", Journal Sentinel , February 09, 2011, © Journal Sentinel Inc
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Unilever Doubles Down On “Bigger, Better And Faster” Innovation And Sustainable Growth

February 3, 2011: 12:26 AM EST

Unilever is seeing benefits of its improved innovation process with 33% of sales coming from products launched in the last two years, a record for the company.  Mike Polk Unilever’s president of foods, home and personal care says that the “step change” in innovation means they are “doing things bigger, better and deploying them faster into more markets.”  The company is also aggressively supporting launches and increased marketing spend over 6% to €5.6bn last year, making the largest advertiser behind P&G. Unilever sees its commitment to sustainable growth and its plan to double sales without incrementally impacting the environment as driving its R&D effort. And in a marketing shift, the company will start to promote alongside its product brands its corporate brand which it sees as a trusted asset.

Rosie Baker, "Unilever commits to “bigger, better and faster” innovation", Marketing Week, February 03, 2011, © Centaur Communications Ltd
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Organic Seal Requirement Goes Into Effect In Brazil

February 3, 2011: 09:10 AM EST

Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry has implemented a nationwide Organic Brazil Seal to guarantee the quality and origin of organic food. To receive the seal, producers must ensure to certifiers that no synthetic products are used in production, and organic agricultural methods – including green fertilization, crop rotation and environmental preservation – are used exclusively. Certifying companies registered with the Brazilian government will conduct audits to make certain that farming methods comply with organic standards. However, some smaller farmers who sell organic produce in local markets or at roadside stands are exempt from the seal requirement, though they should be associated with organizations registered with the Ministry of Agriculture. Approximately 5,500 organic producers have registered for the seal.

"New seal from Organic Brazil", Fresh Plaza, February 03, 2011, © Fresh Plaza
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ONE Bio Hopes Distribution Agreement Will Boost Sales In The U.S.

February 2, 2011: 08:59 AM EST

Green process herbal extracts and natural supplement manufacturer ONE Bio, Corp. announced that subsidiary Green Planet Bioengineering Co., Ltd., has contracted with botanical products distributor P&G Ingredient to distribute Green Planet products in the U.S. Included in the distribution agreement are raw extracts such as resveratrol, stevia leaf powder, 5-HTP, polygonum extract and spirulina powder. P&G produces botanical and chemical extracts, besides distributing raw botanicals and chemical ingredients. ONE Bio said the distribution agreement is a key element of a plan to expand sales of nutraceuticals, health-related products and organic food products beyond China and Japan to the U.S.

"ONE Bio Signs U.S. Distribution Agreement", News release, ONE Bio, February 02, 2011, © ONE Bio Corp
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Nestlé-General Mills Joint Venture Opens R&D Headquarters In Switzerland

February 1, 2011: 11:56 AM EST

Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), the 20-year joint venture between Nestlé and General Mills, opened a new R&D center in Orbe, Switzerland. It will leverage Nestlé's R&D track record, General Mills's technical capabilities and both companies' food processing know-how to develop nutritional breakfast options for markets outside the US and Canada. CPW is currently the world's second-largest breakfast cereal manufacturer and employs 4,000 people, with around 80 in the new facility. CPW has reformulated its cereals, adding whole grain and fiber, and reducing salt and sugar content. Both are members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance, which promotes balanced diets and healthy lifestyles.

Nestle, "CPW opens new Innovation Centre in Switzerland", Nestle press release, February 01, 2011, © Nestle
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Tea Producer Adds Chocolate Variety To Family Of Organic Products

February 1, 2011: 10:37 AM EST

U.S.-based loose leaf teas and tea brewing products provider The Tea Spot has added a chocolate tea to its line of 15 certified organic loose leaf teas that include Pu'erh, yerba maté, oolong, white, green and herbal. According to the company, handcrafted premium Chocolate "O" tea is microblended with a single estate black loose leaf tea and chocolate essence to provide chocolate aromas on a malty black tea base, with “hints of caramel and honey.” The company also markets patented tea serving and steeping products under the Steepware trademark.

"The Tea Spot Dips into Chocolate with the Release of its Newest Organic Loose Leaf Tea, Chocolate “O”", News release, The Tea Spot, February 01, 2011, © The Tea Spot
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Cleaning Products Are Increasingly Green, But Consumers Still Need To Be Wary

January 30, 2011: 04:38 AM EST

More than two thousand cleaning products, many using ingredients like vinegar and plant-based oils, now carry the EPA’s Design for the Environment seal, an indication of the gathering strength of the green and sustainable movement over the last two years. But consumers need to be aware that scores of cleaning products that claim to be nontoxic and good for the planet have not earned that seal. Eco-conscious consumers should also be alert to a company’s packaging and shipping methods. Cleaners often contain mostly water; shipping that extra weight wastes fuel and has a "lousy environmental impact," according to Joey Green, author of the book "Cleaning Magic." One solution? Concentrated cleaners and refillable packages, a trend that has already caught on in Europe.

Mary MacVean, "Green and clean", Orlando Sentinel, January 30, 2011, via Chicago Tribune, © Tribune Newspaper
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The Key Elements Of A Successful Sustainability Strategy

January 28, 2011: 09:28 PM EST

A successful sustainability strategy encompasses several major elements, according to Dr. Sally Uren,  deputy chief executive at Forum for the Future. As evidence of global climate change mounts, so does the pressure on organizations to innovate with a focus specifically on low-carbon goods, services and markets. Sustainability must be embedded in the core business strategy as a “must have,” rather than a “nice to have,” organizational principle. To be effective, a sustainability strategy must evaluate risks and opportunities at every point in the supply chain to reduce exposure to environmental and social shocks. The strategy must place customers – whether businesses or consumers – at the heart and feature an ongoing dialogue that helps create new products and services. And lastly, a successful strategy will outline all biodiversity risks and opportunities.

Dr. Sally Uren, "Five must-haves for a successful sustainability strategy in 2011", guardian.co.uk, January 28, 2011, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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H&M Turns Leftover Clothing Into A New Product Line

January 28, 2011: 09:38 PM EST

Swedish clothing supplier H&M – stung by a PR fiasco when word got out that it had trashed unsold clothing in New York City – has developed a new line called Waste, assembled from unsold pieces from its Lanvin collection. The initiative is innovative because millions of tons of leftover textiles are either discarded in landfills or end up in second-hand stores. A movement toward recycling, however, is gaining momentum. Speedo, for example, recently turned over 18,000 swimsuits to a designer who specializes in textile recycling. Orsola de Castro turned the LZR Racer suits, banned by the competitive swimming governing body Fina, into cocktail dresses after figuring out how to sidestep the Speedo logo problem. "In terms of sustainability there is nothing more advanced than this," de Castrol said.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman, "H&M Creates Clothing Line Made Out of Unsold Merch", TriplePundit, January 28, 2011, © TriplePundit
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Canadian Legislator Urges Reversal Of “Nightmare” U.S. GM Alfalfa Policy

January 28, 2011: 10:17 AM EST

A decision by the USDA to allow American farmers to plant genetically modified alfalfa seeds is a “looming nightmare” for Canadian alfalfa farmers, according to New Democrat agriculture critic Alex Atamanenko, who has asked Canada’s prime minister to seek a reversal of the U.S. policy. The Monsanto alfalfa seed is engineered to resist the weed killer Roundup. According to Atamanenko, “Any GE (genetically engineered) alfalfa grown in the U.S. will inevitably lead to contamination of alfalfa in Canada.” A bill to protect Canadian farmers from market losses due to GM contamination will be voted on soon, following a final reading in the House of Commons. Atamanenko said alfalfa is important to conventional farming and also organic farming, where it is used as a soil-building component in crop rotation.

"New Democrats call on Harper to stand up for Canadian farmers", News release, New Democracy Party, January 28, 2011, © New Democracy Party, Canada
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Naturas Balances Sustainability, Aesthetics, and Functionality In Its Product Packaging

January 27, 2011: 03:02 AM EST

Leading Brazilian beauty products manufacturer and direct seller Naturas shared in an interview how it balances sustainability, aesthetics, and functionality in the way it packages its products. It uses eco-design concepts with the help of a design agency and produces the design with packaging suppliers using sustainability concepts. It manufactures most of its packages in Brazil and now works on including more sustainability aspects in its packaging and on creating sensory experiences, while maintaining luxurious appeal.

Jamie Matusow, "Natura’s Balancing Act", Beauty Packaging, January 27, 2011, © Rodman Publishing
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Solvert Limited To Establish Manufacturing Plant To Produce Chemicals From Organic Waste

January 27, 2011: 09:30 AM EST

Solvert Limited plans the UK’s first plant to convert organic waste in to chemicals. It’s the brainchild of industry expert and ex-ICI man Kris Wadrop, who is looking at sites on Teeside like the former ICI site at Billingham. Initial funding of £170,000 came from Northstar Ventures and grant support, and Solvert will seek £1.5 million in further finance. Solvert aims to start operations by 2015 and is currently testing the process. The plant will use produce renewable electricity as well as n-butanol, acetone and hydrogen. Butanol and acetone are currently produced from crude oil.

John Hill, "Ambitious plans for Teesside organic waste plant", The Journal, January 27, 2011, © ncj Media Limited
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Procter & Gamble Announces Renewable Energy Investments In Germany And The Netherlands

January 26, 2011: 03:07 AM EST

Procter & Gamble plans to install a wind turbine at the company's pet care product site in Coevorden, the Netherlands, and install solar panels at its personal care plant in Cologne, Germany. Wind power will meet about 17 percent of the factory's annual energy needs, producing some 5,500 megawatt hours of energy every year. Procter & Gamble also plans to install solar panels in other factories in the region, with the initial installation supplying about 796 megawatt hours each year. These announcements come as part of P&G’s goal to power plants with 100% renewable energy and, by 2020, goal to power plants with 30% renewable energy.

"PROCTER & GAMBLE EXPANDS RENEWABLE ENERGY PORTFOLIO", Procter & Gamble, January 26, 2011, © The Procter & Gamble
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Organic, Fair Trade Products Make Waves At Berlin's International Green Week

January 24, 2011: 11:42 AM EST

Berlin’s International Green Week fair had organic food stalls for the second year and fair trade food products for the first time. German consumers have been attracted to the premium-priced organic food partly by the recent scandal in the country over dioxin found in animal feed, but cynics argue that organic food is expensive and not always credible, and rather misses the point if flown to market. Fair trade producers also displayed their products and called on consumers to support farming systems that are fair for workers, farm owners, and the environment. 

Saroja Coelho, "Organic produce makes strong showing at Berlin's Green Week", DW-World, January 24, 2011, © Deutsche Welle
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Baby-Care Products Market Buoyant, Driven By Green-Products, Growing Private Label

January 20, 2011: 03:03 AM EST

Euromonitor International estimate that baby care grew 7 percent in 2009, making it one of the best-performing segments in beauty and personal care market, with growth continuing into 2010 driven by parental reluctance to cut baby purchases and some adults (especially women) choosing to use some baby products for themselves. Baby skin care will add $365 million to its value in 2009–2014, with China accounting for 51 percent of global growth. Organic baby care products, increase in private labels' market share, and vendors' need to gain consumer trust will influence future market developments. Euromonitor also commented on the growing consumer preference for green products, the rise in private label (with share in the US rising 6.5% in 2008 to 7% in 2009) and the growth of online sales, which have more than doubled since 1999 in North America.

Carrie Lennard, "Baby Care Market Report", GCI Magazine , January 20, 2011, © Allured Business Media
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USDA Starts Bio-Based Certification Program For Consumer Goods

January 20, 2011: 01:26 AM EST

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a certification and labeling program for products made from renewable materials.  As part of the USDA's BioPreferred program, the certification aims to encourage manufacturers to use at least 25 percent bio-based content and promote purchase and use of bio-based products by federal agencies and commercial buyers. Consumer goods including household cleaning products and personal care products bearing the labels will come into the market in the first half of 2011.

Katie Bird , "USDA launches biobased certification for skin care and other products", Cosmetics Design, January 20, 2011, © Decision News Media SAS
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South Korea Pushes Expansion Of Local Organic Food Market

January 18, 2011: 09:19 PM EST

South Korea's Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will launch a 4.46 trillion won green farming development program seeking to expand the local organic food industry fourfold into a 2-trillion won market by 2015. Up to 60 percent of the budget will go to construction of related infrastructure. Plans also include the creation of up to 50 eco-friendly farming regions throughout the country. This will help increase the volume of crops grown without the use of agricultural chemicals, and reduce use of chemical fertilizers 3% each year from 2011 to 2015.

"S. Korea to inject 4.4 tln won to expand eco-friendly farming", Yonhap News, Korea, January 18, 2011, © Yonhap News Agency
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Scientists Evaluate Alternative Fruit Production For United States Apple Growers

January 15, 2011: 09:03 PM EST

Commercial apple growers in northeastern United States face many obstacles, including pests and tree health, which hinder efforts to implement integrated fruit production (IFP) or organic fruit production (OFP), effectively excluding them from profitable alternative markets. The results of a four-year study show how both systems might be successful, although IFP could probably be more widely implemented in the region and OFP is better-suited to smaller, direct-to-consumer operations. Also, a lack of incentives could prevent the adoption of IFP, and some issues related to OFP —such as pest damage, smaller fruit, and less attractive produce—that can affect profitability would have to be balanced by premium pricing.

Michael W. Neff, Society for Horticultural Science , "Integrated, organic production systems evaluated for 'liberty' apple", EurekAlert, January 15, 2011, © EurekAlert
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UK Supermarkets Say Meat Free Is The New Vegetarian

January 16, 2011: 10:47 AM EST

Supermarkets across the UK have started using the phrase "meat-free" instead of "vegetarian" on selected products. Marks & Spencer cite the trend among consumers who are more concerned about eating less meat for health benefits and not ethical reasons. Mintel says 6% see themselves as ‘vegetarian’ but 60% say they ‘eat meat-free foods.’ The "Meat-Free Mondays" campaign by Sir Paul McCartney, several popular books, and statements on sustainability by the UN have helped highlight the benefits of eating less meat. M&S will stock their meat-free products alongside products containing meat while Asda retains a separate shelf. 

Alastair Jamieson , "Don't call it vegetarian, it is 'meat free'", Telegraph.co.uk, January 16, 2011, © Telegraph Media Group Limited 2011
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Unilever And Paques Build Bio-Digester At Ben & Jerry's Factory In The Netherlands

January 14, 2011: 10:55 AM EST

Unilever and Paques began building a bio-digester at the former's Ben & Jerry ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands. Paques' BIOPAQ AFR bio-digester purifies wastewater and converts waste products, such as from milk and syrup production, into biogas in one step.  Unilever made the investment as part of its Sustainable Living Plan and it is one of the first companies to use this bio-digester that applies an innovative approach of treating wastewater streams that contain fat and oil together with degradable particles all in one reactor. The process relies on over 24 billiard (24*10^15) micro-organisms to digest the waste and the plant will begin operating mid-2011 and supply up to 40 percent of the factory's green energy requirements.

Paques , "Unilever's ice cream factory in Holland to derive green energy from wastewater", Paques press release, January 14, 2011, © Paques
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Cutting Paper Use Helps The Environment While Cutting Costs

January 11, 2011: 09:53 PM EST

One seemingly small but important way organizations can embrace sustainability and make their operations greener – and more profitable – is by decreasing the use of paper, according to Ralph Reid, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Sprint. Paper is ubiquitous in today’s offices and its use is growing – by about 20 percent every year, according to one estimate. That puts heavy pressure on natural resources, particularly  forests, water and energy. One solution, Reid says, is to use paper made from post-consumer content and to make sure paper comes from sustainably managed forests. In addition, greater use of e-billing and redesign of customer statements reduces paper consumption, helps protect the environment and saves money.

Ralph Reid, "Initiatives to Reduce Paper Use, Improve the Bottom Line", Environmental Leader, January 11, 2011, © Environmental Leader LLC
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Consumers' Money And Health Concerns Will Help Drive Flavors And Ingredients Market In The US

January 11, 2011: 02:58 AM EST

Packaged Facts has published Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook 2011, its eighth annual look at the future of the US food and beverage market. It shows that consumers’ budget and health concerns will remain major factors this year. Core trends include an increase in demand for ethnic flavors; local and organic being driven by sustainability; food as a cornerstone of health; an increased focus on fruit and vegetables; and a greater overlap between sweet and savory. It also expects honey partly to replace agave as a sweetener. Other key drivers include higher food prices, a new frugality, government pressure to improve diet, and a better lifestyle balance that enhances general well-being.

Press Release, Packaged Facts, "Health, Budget Concerns Will Drive Food Flavor and Ingredient Market in 2011", Marketwire, January 11, 2011, © Marketwire, Inc
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Agriculture Policy Group Urges Congress To Make Health A Priority In New Farm Bill

January 10, 2011: 03:41 PM EST

An organization that promotes fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems in the U.S. is calling on the new leadership in Congress to make health a priority in writing the next Farm Bill. Healthy Food Action, a project involving national health leaders within the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, has created a “Charter for a Healthy Farm Bill” calling for a food system that incorporates health into the whole lifecycle of production, processing, consumption and disposal. According to the IATP, “Such a food system must protect the environment as well as ensure farmers and workers are fairly compensated. The charter’s principles emphasize a food system that is healthy, sustainable, resilient, fair, diverse, economically balanced and transparent.” Congress is expected to begin work on the five-year Farm Bill this year.

Ben Lilliston, "Health leaders call for healthy Farm Bill", News release, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, January 10, 2011, © IATP
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Sara Lee Makes Long Term Commitment To Buy UTZ Certified Coffee

January 10, 2011: 02:50 AM EST

The Sara Lee Corporation announced a five-year commitment to buy at least 350 million kilos of UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside coffee as part of its long-term goals for sustainability. Ranked third globally in terms of volume of coffee, Sara Lee promises to have 20% of its annual coffee volume certified by 2015, putting the company first in sustainability among its competitors. In addition to the UTZ CERTIFIED Foundation, Sara Lee plans to work with other sustainable certification programs and expand the amount of sustainable tea purchased for brands such as Pickwick and Hornimans.

Press Release, Sara Lee, "Sara Lee launches ambitious five-year sustainable coffee plan", Sara Lee, January 10, 2011, © Sara Lee
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Target Partners With EcoSet To Make Commercial Shoots Environment-Friendly

January 10, 2011: 01:54 AM EST

Retail company Target has partnered with two-year old “green company” EcoSet Consulting to make its commercial shoots environment-friendly by recycling or composting production waste, using solar power, and using bio-degradable materials. Target aims to make 90% of its commercials “green” with the help of EcoSet and claims to have cut down its broadcast shoot waste in Los Angeles by 85% or 100,016 pounds. It opted for reusable bottles instead of plastic ones, donated reusable materials, costumes and a swing set, and reused a foam watering can as an art installation.

Natalie Zmuda and Andrew Hampp , "When It Comes to Commercials, Target, Others Keep It Green", Advertising Age, January 10, 2011, © Crain Communications
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Stonyfield Launches Their Grant-a-Wish Program To Help Organic Farmers With Innovative Projects

January 6, 2011: 10:04 AM EST

Stonyfield and Organic Valley, two of America's leading organic suppliers, have started the Stonyfield Organic Farmers Grant-a-Wish Program to offer organic farmers grants to improve their farms. Stonyfield's goal is to help small organic farmers and raise awareness through their "organic stories initiative". The contest has been narrowed down from 72 to 6 competitors and online consumer votes will determine how to award the $31,000 in grants. Finalists' projects range from walk-through flytraps to ponds and had to be creative, environmentally friendly, and sustainable.

Press Release, Stonyfield Farm, "Stonyfield Announces Organic Farmers Grant-a-Wish Program", PRNewswire, January 06, 2011, © PRNewswire
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California Organic Rice Producer’s Warehouse Is Now 100% Solar Powered

January 5, 2011: 09:52 AM EST

Organic rice and rice products producer Lundberg Family Farms has opened a 37,558-foot warehouse powered completely by solar energy. The warehouse uses 1,690 solar panels at the facility in Richvale, Calif. The company says the panels will produce 500,000 kilowatts of electricity, more than enough to power the building. According to the company, 20 percent of the electricity it consumes comes from solar energy. By purchasing renewable energy credits to offset the rest, the company can claim its energy use is 100 percent green. The warehouse was built to U.S. Green Building Council’s certification standards and is designed to capture and filter storm water runoff. It features high-efficiency water conservation fixtures such as dual flush water closets, waterless urinal and electronic faucets that reduce water by 39 percent, saving 15,625 gallons annually.

"Lundberg Family Farms powers new warehouse with solar energy", News release, Lundberg FamilyFarms, January 05, 2011, © Lundberg FamilyFarms
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German Researchers Find Lupin Seeds Provide A Low Fat Alternative To Milk And Sausage

January 3, 2011: 11:22 PM EST

Meat production is resource intensive, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization expects meat output to double by 2050. Researchers in Freising, Germany, have been working on finding alternatives that are healthy, sustainable, and taste just as good as the original. Specifically looking at lupin seeds and lupin protein, Dr. Eisner has developed a protein that yields a fat-like structure. The team showed, for example, that adding lupin protein to low-fat sausages improved the “fat-like impression” without adding to the fat content. A milk substitute has also been developed using the lupin proteins that is lactose and cholesterol-free and could be used in ice cream and cheese production. Dr. Eisner reports that while 2.5 acres of land allocated to meat production earns 950 Euros in income, if used to grow plants for a variety of uses it produces around 1770 Euros.

Research News. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, "Eating low-fat, thanks to lupin proteins", Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, January 03, 2011, © Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
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L’Oreal And Clarins Explain Their Commitment And Approach To Sustainable Development

January 4, 2011: 12:21 AM EST

Representatives of L’Oreal and Clarins talked about their commitment to sustainable development practices, such as more organic ingredients use, product safety, and greener packaging. L’Oreal taps into renewable energy sources, such as biomethane, solar, biofuel, geothermal, and other local solutions and aims to cut GHG emissions and generated waste and water consumption per finished product to 50% by 2015. Clarins targets a 20% GHG reduction by 2011 and eschews the practice of carbon offset. It aims to promote fair trade and also plans to use more organic ingredients, but criticizes the number of different organic certifications worldwide. 

"A lighter footprint", The Star, January 04, 2011, © Star Publications (M) Bhd
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Italy Acts To Protect Environment By Banning Plastic Shopping Bags

December 31, 2010: 10:04 PM EST

Italy has joined a growing list of countries that have banned or imposed surcharges on plastic shopping bags by retail shops for environmental reasons. Violation of Italy’s new law carries penalties, but shopkeepers in the country claim they have received no official notices or explanations except through the media. According to an environmental group, each Italian on average uses about 300 plastic bags annually. If each consumer used only ten biodegradable bags a year, 180,000 tons of gasoline would be saved, Legambiente said. Other governments that have imposed bans or surcharges on plastic bags include Mexico, China, Tanzania, India, Ireland, and cities in Australia, South Africa and Taiwan.

Hada Messia, "Italy to ban plastic bags in New Year", CNN, December 31, 2010, © Cable News Network
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British Law Raises Environmental Awareness Amongst Consumers And Companies

December 30, 2010: 11:39 AM EST

The drive to cut waste in Britain is gaining momentum as taxes for landfills are up almost 50% in the last two years to about $100 per ton and the European Union requirement to halve all trash sent to landfills comes close to its 2013 deadline. In 2003 and again in 2008, the British government passed legislation to curb the increasing amount of waste sent to landfills. Working with government agencies, companies have made changes to packaging such as reducing boxes and bows on candy. Consumers are also looking critically at the packages in stores as seen when the Lincolnshire County Council, which has seen annual complaints rise from 3 to 100, sued over packaging of luxury meat. The store later reduced the packaging by more than 50 percent. In contrast, the United States Environmental Protection Agency encourages waste reduction but has no federal regulations or taxes.

ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, "What’s Outside Counts, Too - British Law Spurs Scrutiny of Excess Packaging", The New York Times, December 30, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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Sequencing Of Cacao Genome Will Benefit Chocolate Makers And Cacao Farmers

December 26, 2010: 12:34 PM EST

A multinational team of scientists who recently completed the sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome suggests that the primary benefit from the initiative will go to producers of high quality chocolate and the farmers who grow the beans. The researchers sequenced the DNA of the Criollo variety of Theobroma cacao, which produces the world's finest chocolate. Growers, however, usually cultivate hybrid cacao varieties whose fruit is more abundant and disease resistant, but lower in quality. The researchers believe that their work will ultimately lead to increased productivity of the better quality cacao and help to develop a sustainable cacao economy benefiting farmers. Hidden in the genome the researchers also found genes that code for the production of cocoa butter, a substance highly prized in chocolate making, confectionary, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Xavier Argout, et al., "The genome of Theobroma cacao", Nature Genetics, December 26, 2010, © Nature Publishing Group
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Sequencing Of Cacao Tree DNA May Lead To More Sustainable Chocolate Production

December 26, 2010: 06:14 PM EST

An international group of scientists has sequenced the DNA of the Criollo tree, a variety of Theobroma cacao used in producing some of the world’s best chocolate. In doing so, they identified genes coding for or leading to chocolate quality, production of flavonoids, potential pest and disease resistance, and production of cocoa butter—a substance valuable in both confections and cosmetics. Low productivity and vulnerability to disease currently limit high-quality cocoa production to less than five percent of worldwide production, though market interest in superior, environmentally-friendly chocolate continues to increase. The results of this work should allow scientists to develop disease-resistant trees that produce more, better, and healthier chocolate—ultimately leading to sustainable cocoa production that benefits both the land the trees are grown on and the farmers who grow them.

Vladimir Shulaev, Daniel J Sargent, Ross N Crowhurst, Todd C Mockler, Otto Folkerts, Arthur L Delcher, Pankaj Jaiswal, Keithanne Mockaitis et al, "The genome of Theobroma cacao", Nature Genetics, December 26, 2010, © Nature Publishing Group, Open Access
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Sales Of Certified Eco-Friendly Chocolate Are On The Rise

December 24, 2010: 11:28 AM EST

Demand for certified environmentally-friendly chocolate is increasing. Consumers are more conscious about how and where their chocolate is grown, and are willing to pay a premium for it—and cocoa and chocolate producers are responding: Pastry chef François Payard imports about four tons of certified cocoa—20 percent of his total inventory—each year for his chocolate shops, and by 2020, Mars, Inc. plans to certify its entire supply of cocoa. Despite the economic downturn, certifiers saw ‘exponential growth’ over the last few years: According to the New York-based certification organization Rainforest Alliance, from 2007-2009, sales of certified cocoa more than doubled. Another certifier, Fair Trade USA, saw certified imports into the United States grow by 70 million pounds from 2006-2009.

LESLIE JOSEPHS, "Selling Candy With a Conscience", The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Vegetarian Menus Prove Successful In India For Fast Food Outlets

December 21, 2010: 10:09 AM EST

Some of America's largest fast food franchisees have noticed and used the trend towards vegetarian meals to find success in India. Globally, non-vegetarian products still hold the majority of sales, but companies such as Domino's and Pizza Hut say their vegetarian menus for outlets in India account for about 65-70 percent of overall sales. Traditionally viewed as non-vegetarian franchisees, both KFC and McDonald's have introduced vegetarian options. New products, including vegetarian items, have helped push KFC's same store sales up by 20 percent, and some of McDonald’s vegetarian Indian innovations, like the McAloo Tikki burger, have done well in India as well as in other markets. These companies are considering opening additional stores focusing entirely on vegetarian products with Domino's already leading the way with seven locations.

Sreerupa Mitra & Jayashree Maji , "America goes vegetarian in India", Mydigitalfc.com, December 21, 2010, © Financial Chronicle
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Organic Trade Association Commends U.S. Congress For Passing Food Safety Legislation

December 21, 2010: 09:26 PM EST

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) praised the U.S. Congress for passing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which is designed to strengthen the agency’s food safety oversight, and for adding provisions that protect organic farmers and producers from meeting conditions that duplicate or are counter to the requirements of the Organic Food Production Act. The legislation, which originally made its way through the Senate with strong bipartisan support, will also protect consumers from food-borne diseases, according to OTA executive director and CEO Christine Bushway. Aside from retaining the language that OTA had wanted, the legislation also comes with technical assistance resources, and amends the traceability and record-keeping provisions of the bill.

"Organic Trade Association applauds passage of Food Safety reform", Organic Trade Association, December 21, 2010, © Organic Trade Association
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Consumers Do Not Trust Natural Product Labeling Systems, Mambo Sprouts Study Shows

December 21, 2010: 08:46 PM EST

Natural product consumers do not believe “natural” product labels, according to the 2011 Organic Consumer Survey Report, a recent survey by marketing and promotions firm Mambo Sprouts Marketing. Of the 1,000 consumers who participated in the study, a third were either “not very” or “not at all” trusting of existing natural labeling systems. Around 65% were very interested in a uniform standard for certification of natural or organic products, although most preferred an independent, nonprofit or US government organization to handle certification. Results of the study also showed an increasing interest in mobile and digital coupon promotions, as consumer interest in technology and on store-based coupons continues to grow and cost-conscious consumers see coupon use as the “new normal”. There also appears to be a continued commitment to health and wellness, and store brand organics have gone mainstream, with firm favorites including Whole Foods 365 Organics, Trader Joe’s and Kroger Private Selection Organic.

"Green Consumers Skeptical of Products Labeled 'Natural'", Mumbo Sprouts, December 21, 2010, © Mambo Sprouts Marketing
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Food Safety Bill Could Turn Out To Hurt Small Farmers

December 20, 2010: 08:31 PM EST

The Food and Drug Administration gains a new tool with the passing of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Aimed at reforming large industrial farms, the act provides the FDA authority to shut down producers that fail to meet science-based standards. This is a major change over older and poorly worded legislation that allowed companies to remain unaccountable even when facing large and reoccurring product recalls. The downside is that small farms, such as many organic farms, now fall under the same regulations for tracking produce as industrial farms if they sell to other businesses. Regulations of this type pose additional barriers to small farms attempting to expand. Corruption in the FDA is also a concern as the legislation essentially gives them control over who provides food to consumers.

Jamie Hardin, "Will the new food safety bill affect organic foods?", DC Organic Food Examiner, December 20, 2010, © Clarity Digital Group LLC
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USDA Offers Financial Aid To Organic Producers To Implement Resource Conservation Practices

December 20, 2010: 08:42 PM EST

Small and mid-sized organic producers and farmers transitioning to organic food production are getting financial help from the USDA to implement resource conservation practices, the agency announced. The assistance – this year totaling $50 million – was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill to help organic farmers protect natural resources “and create conditions that help foster organic production,” according to USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. Producers eligible for the assistance include those certified through USDA's National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because annual organic sales are less than $5,000, the agency said. Appropriate use of the aid money would be, for example, to plant cover crops, create pest management plans or put in place organic nutrient management systems.

"USDA Offers Conservation Funding to Organic Producers", News release, USDA, December 20, 2010, © USDA
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Germany Urges European Database Of Certified Organic Suppliers To Curb Fraud

December 20, 2010: 09:32 AM EST

Germany has asked the European Commission to establish a dataset of certified organic producers to help reduce the risk fraudulent organic labeling. Several cases of conventional meat falsely labeled as organic have surfaced in Europe, and Germany believes a database would allow organic regulators to take swift action against producers who falsely label their products as organic to be able to charge higher prices. It would also ease concerns of organic consumers who want assurance that they are getting what they are paying for. Organic regulators would have to update the database immediately if they revoke a producer’s organic certification, which are at any rate often forged or passed off as current. Germany’s proposed new system would also permit supermarket chains to check whether their suppliers were still certified to deliver organic produce.

Nina Haase, "Germany calls for an EU database of organic producers", Deutsche Welle, December 20, 2010, © Deutsche Welle
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Walmart Announces Doubling Of Locally-Sourced Food By 2015

December 19, 2010: 09:27 AM EST

In October 2010, Walmart announced its intention to extend its locally-produced offerings by doubling the share of food produced in-state to 9 percent by 2015. The move is to meet one of the strongest current consumer demands, underlined by the growth in farmers markets, which exceeded 6,000 this year. Other supermarket chains are also addressing the trend, which is based on a perception of higher quality and a desire to support local farmers and communities. Supply, however, could be constrained by farmers’ reluctance to scale up, knowing they can often attract retail prices at farmers markets, as well as the additional formalities required to move to supplying wholesalers, such as insurance, transportation, packaging, and food safety conditions. However, with the trend powered by Walmart, there’s a good chance that it will become mainstream sometime in the future. 

Lydia Mulvany, "Walmart, other major retailers increase offering of locally grown food", Missourian , December 19, 2010, © Missourian
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Thailand Should Benefit From ASEAN Integration Of Member Organic Production, Export

December 18, 2010: 09:31 AM EST

With ASEAN encouraging and integrating organic production and export among its 10 member nations, Thailand stands to benefit if its farmers can focus on adopting organic production methods. Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said that  Thailand could be used as a manufacturing and exporting center to countries beyond the region. Thai organic exports account for 0.21 per cent of the total global trade value of organic products, which is slated to reach $60 billion in 2010 . The country’s organic industry association expects the value of Thai organic exports will grow by 10 percent in 2011 to $119.5 million. Organic products targeted for export are rice, fruits, coffee, vegetables and garments.

Petchanet Pratruangkrai, "Porntiva urges farmers to pursue global organic market", The Nation, December 18, 2010, © National MultiMedia
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Indian Organic Industry Seeks To Boost Exports To $1 Billion By 2014

December 14, 2010: 09:10 AM EST

With India’s organic exports hovering at an unsatisfactory $110 million a year, the organic producers in the country have formed an association that will seek, among other goals, to boost organic exports to $1 billion within four years. To accomplish that, the new Organic Trade Association of India (OTC) is calling for removal of certain trade restrictions and is asking the government to support the specific needs of different organic product categories. The OTA says it will tackle farm, certification, regulatory and international trade issues. Shri Siddharth, India’s secretary for commerce and industry, told industry representatives that his agency will try to work with other government departments to boost organic exports. The government needs to be aware that some organic niche products are expensive and meant for export, not for public distribution.

"India's leading organic companies launch trade body", One India News, December 14, 2010, © One India News
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