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:
REI has announced its support of the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 through a multi-year, multimillion-dollar partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The partnership kicks off this week with the launch of Find Your Park, a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service and setting the stage for the next 100 years.
Target plans to increase the pay of all its workers to at least $9 an hour starting next month, following similar moves by rivals Walmart and T.J. Maxx.In February, Walmart announced it would be giving pay raises to around 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at Walmart U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs in the first half of 2015. Starting in April, current and future hourly associates will make $9.00 per hour, or $1.75 above the federal minimum wage. By February 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour.
Animal welfare NGOs Mercy for Animals (MFA) and The Humane League declared victories this week, having motivated more large food companies to reform their animal treatment policies, this time after exposing supplier cruelty toward dairy cows and veal calves.
After an often-heated six years of confrontation between activist group ForestEthics and paper and packaging giant 3M, the conflict finally came to an end yesterday as 3M announced its new paper and wood pulp sourcing policy. ForestEthics, which has been critical of the corporation’s sourcing policy, has applauded its new commitment to tracing its virgin wood fiber and ensuring it comes from renewable sources.
McDonald’s announced on Wednesday that it is committing to serving chicken raised without antibiotics used in human medicine in all of its U.S. restaurants within two years.The company isn’t going completely antibiotic-free — but will cut the use of antibiotics that contribute to “superbugs” or drug-resistant bacteria that can also harm humans. Often, these human antibiotics are fed to livestock to maximize growth, rather than to treat illness.
Seventy-one percent of active individual investors describe themselves as interested in sustainable investing, and nearly two in three (65 percent) believe sustainable investing will become more prevalent over the next five years, according to a new survey by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing.The Sustainable Signals report examines the attitudes and perceptions of individual investors towards sustainable investing and considers the broader implications for investors, corporations and governments.
U.S. chocolate giant Hershey has announced that it “will transition some of its most popular chocolate brands, including Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars to simpler ingredients." The shift comes in response to tens of thousands of Facebook posts, emails and telephone calls from consumers who took part in a recent campaign spearheaded by GMO Inside, calling on Hershey's to move to non-GMO ingredients.Hershey's confirmed that as part of its commitment to simpler ingredients, its two iconic products, Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, will be non-GMO by the end of the year.In their recent statement, Hershey’s outlines three key principles for moving forward:
Parents have known from time immemorial that fruits and vegetables are good for their children and that everyone should eat more of them. Now, they’re getting more help in their quest than ever before from the federal government, celebrities and Madison Avenue.
The global sustainable investment market has grown “substantially” in the past two years with assets reaching $21.4 trillion by the start of 2014, according to a new report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA).The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2014 finds that the assets employing sustainable investing strategies have risen from 21.5 percent to 30.2 percent of the professional management assets across the regions covered.
A draft of the official new U.S. recommendations for Americans’ diets is out, and for the first time the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has advocated for strong consideration of environmental sustainability in our consumption patterns. Not surprisingly, the “green” aspects of their recommendations are controversial.The committee’s guidance will weigh heavily in the final guidelines issued later this year, after public comment, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will use them to guide spending on government food programs and to educate the American public on the latest thinking about nutrition.
Walmart has announced it will give pay raises to approximately 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at Walmart U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs in the first half of the current fiscal year.Starting in April, current and future hourly associates will make $9.00 per hour, or $1.75 above the federal minimum wage. By February 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour.The compensation announcement came as part of $1 billion worth of comprehensive changes to the company’s hiring, training and scheduling programs, as well as to store management structure. The retailer says these changes will give its associates the opportunity to earn higher pay and advance in their careers.
You may not immediately see the similarities between the recent measles outbreak in the U.S., and the ever-contentious hydra-headed problem of global warming. But on closer scrutiny, both come from what may seem like an insane refusal to accept facts and act in the best interests of everyone concerned. Of course, to those who militate against vaccinating their children and attack the idea of global warming as a human-induced phenomenon, their actions don’t seem insane at all. It should be clear from these two examples that we are controlled by irrational forces that have successfully created the illusion that we are not controlled by irrational forces.
There's a lot of talk about manufacturing’s “New Industrial Revolution.”
But the way we interpret “industrial” — and its definition moving forward — is going to change dramatically. Fewer smokestacks, more 3D printers, more choices.
When industries turned to machines and away from the hands of artisans during the first industrial revolution, the manufacturing of goods became quantity and speed over quality and care. Products lost the potential for personalization, replaced by a one-size-fits-all approach.
Anybody that has seen an episode of Ross Kemp’s “Extreme World" might forgive the production crew if environmental footprint reduction wasn’t top of their agenda when making the show. As the former soap star dodges bullets among far-right factions in Eastern Ukraine or confronts sexual predators in one of South Africa’s most deprived and lawless townships during the latest series, cutting carbon and reducing power use probably isn’t centre of mind.
Inditex, one of the world's biggest fashion firms, has banned the sale of angora wool after activists highlighted the cruel treatment of rabbits by farms in China.The parent company of Zara, Massimo Dutti and Bershka said it would stop selling angora garments in all of its 6,400 shops after facing months of pressure from animal rights campaigners.A PETA campaign against angora wool showed videos of live angora rabbits screaming while fur is pulled from their skins on ten Chinese farms. The video also showed rabbits being stretched on boards and cut as their fur is hacked off.
Despite being one of the most popular gifts for a loved one on Valentine’s Day, jewelry has been notorious for coming at a social and environmental cost that goes well beyond the price tag. Now Signet, the world’s largest jewelry retailer, is being challenged by social and environmental groups across the world to demand that its major diamond and gold supplier, Rio Tinto, clean up its act this Valentine’s Day.