Greenpeace released the ninth edition of its Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report today, ranking 25 supermarkets on the sustainability of their seafood procurement. Whole Foods ranked first for the third year in a row, followed by Wegmans, Hy-Vee, and Safeway in the “good” category. In total, 80 percent of evaluated retailers received passing scores overall.Supermarkets were scored across four areas:
General Mills cereals has committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from the rest of its cereals in response to consumers’ changing preferences. The company says more than 60 percent of its cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and original Cheerios (which also went non-GMO last year), are already made without artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources, and have been that way for some time.
Growing public health and consumer safety concerns about the overuse of antibiotics in food has sparked a wave of resistance, with both Subway and Kroger facing pressure this week to curb their reliance on antibiotics — which the companies say they use to promote growth and produce their meat efficiently.Opposition to the excessive antibiotics use has arisen from the spread of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ bacteria, which render infections that are normally treatable with antibiotics more severe and even deadly. Food contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria is one way in which ‘superbugs’ can be transmitted from farms to people.
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the main dietary source of artificial trans fats, after determining they are not safe to use in food. This move is hardly surprising, given that in November of 2013, the FDA made this preliminary determination. The announcement likely means an increased amount of palm oil, a trans fat-free vegetable oil, in the American diet — and an opportunity for companies to source only palm oil that is deforestation and peat-free.
Last week, a colorful protest temporarily diverted attention from the red carpet parade at the 2015 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Awards at New York City’s Lincoln Center.Dressed in sleek formal wear, activists deployed a large banner over the heads of the crowd while others handed out balloons and business cards printed with a parody logo of the demonstration’s target: Ralph Lauren.
The Norwegian parliament has unanimously voted for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (GPFG) to adopt strong divestment criteria for companies involved in coal mining and coal fired utilities, including 49 companies and subsidiaries based in the United States.The GPFG is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund and the new criteria will most likely force it to divest from 122 companies totaling $8.7 billion, according to calculations made by Urgewald, Greenpeace and Future in Our Hands.The exclusion criteria states that any company deriving more than 30 percent of its activity from coal will be excluded from GPFG’s portfolio, including both coal mining and coal fired utilities.
Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL), one of the world’s largest producers of pulp and paper, has today announced an end to deforestation as part of a new Sustainable Forest Management Plan.Deforestation for pulp and paper, and palm oil, is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia. If properly implemented, APRIL’s pledge will prove to be another major step by business towards protecting Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands.
Ben & Jerry’s has announced that it will institute its own internal carbon tax of $10 for every metric ton of its greenhouse gas emissions, from farm to landfill.Using a recent Lifecycle Analysis that gave the ice cream company a “cow-to-cone” picture of its carbon footprint, Ben & Jerry’s says it will be putting the funds from the tax to jumpstart sustainbility programs it’s already working on. Due to the fact that the dairy component counts for 42 percent of its overall lifecycle emissions, the company will start by working with farmers to develop and implement carbon footprint-reducing strategies.
In a landmark move last week, France's parliament voted to forbid major supermarkets from destroying unsold food, encouraging them to donate to charities or to farms for animal feed, as part of a national campaign against food waste; an estimated that up to 66 pounds of food are wasted per person each year. The French government announced in 2012 that it wants to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025.The amendment, unanimously approved Thursday by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, is part of a larger environmental bill. The overall bill will go to a vote Tuesday in the Assembly, then goes to the Senate, and is likely to pass in both houses.
Today, Walmart announced a commitment to improving farmed animal welfare across its global food supply chain with one of the most comprehensive animal welfare policies of its kind. The change in policy comes after six hidden-camera videos taken by animal welfare group Mercy For Animals (MFA) at Walmart pork suppliers across the country exposed extreme animal abuse.
Employer-sponsored smoking cessation programs with financial incentives are associated with higher rates of quitting smoking and sustained abstinence, according to a new study by the CVS Health Research Institute and researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.Published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study helped shape a new smoking cessation program for CVS Health employees that will launch in June 2015.
These are times of major changes in how people live and consume. Today’s developments demand from us new ways of producing and consuming, given the increasing scarcity of natural resources and the rapid growth of the global consumer class, especially in developing countries.One of the greatest challenges facing governments and companies around the world is how to influence consumers into developing more sustainable buying habits and lifestyles. There is a significant opportunity for businesses to help consumers make major changes in their lifestyles and purchasing habits.
From universities and churches to prominent investment funds, fossil fuel divestment continues to gain traction among diverse groups around the world.80 percent of global fossil fuel reserves need to remain unburned to avoid global warming more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels, the internationally accepted target for climate policy.
Today, global viscose giant Aditya Birla Group announced an industry-leading commitment to eliminate sourcing from the world’s ancient and endangered forests for all of its Viscose fibers, which are widely used in clothing and textiles.Aditya Birla is India’s largest multinational conglomerate (with US$40B in revenue) and the world’s largest producer of Viscose, manufacturing 20 percent of the world’s supply of the material, which is made from wood pulp. The commitment applies to wood and pulp sourcing for all its mills, including those in Canada, Indonesia and China.
Chipotle has become the first major restaurant chain to announce it will begin serving only food that is free of genetically engineered ingredients, The New York Times reports.Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, said this is another step toward the company’s vision of changing the way people think about and eat fast food.“Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors,” he said.
The European Commission has launched an online consultation on how science and innovation can help the EU “ensure safe, nutritious, sufficient and sustainable food globally.”The consultation will underpin the debate on a future research agenda to help tackle global food and nutrition security challenges. It will focus on the areas where the EU's research efforts can have the strongest impact, including how to improve public health through nutrition; increase food safety and quality; reduce food loss and waste; make rural development more sustainable; increase agricultural yields through sustainable intensification; and how to better understand food markets and increase access to food for people around the world.
In its new position paper published today, Halting Deforestation and Achieving Sustainability, the Rainforest Alliance addresses the recent surge in deforestation-free pledges. Timed to coincide with an Innovation Forum event in Washington, DC on “How Business Can Tackle Deforestation,” the paper argues the deforestation-free trend is an exciting development, but needs definition, focus, and accountability to deliver lasting benefits for forests, people and the planet.
In recent years it’s become common knowledge that companies using palm oil in their snack foods or publishers sourcing paper fiber from Indonesian pulp mills may be at risk of contributing to deforestation and labor rights abuses.
Today, Yum! Brands, the second-largest fast-food giant in America thanks to its KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands, became the latest food company to commit to sourcing deforestation- and peat-free palm oil. NGOs including the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Greenpeace are applauding Yum! for being the biggest global fast food company to commit to sourcing better palm oil, but note that the commitment falls short of perfect.According to Yum!'s new palm oil policy: