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.
On Wednesday, the two-year anniversary of the launch of Asia Pulp & Paper’s (APP) Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), an unprecedented initiative aimed at defining a new standard and business model for achieving a deforestation-free paper supply chain, Rainforest Alliance (RA) released the results of its evaluation to gauge the paper giant’s progress on its commitments.
The devastating effects of deforestation and efforts to end it are at the forefront of the sustainability conversation, and global corporations across a variety of industries have responded with zero-deforestation commitments. And, as both PepsiCo and Asia Pulp and Paper have learned in the last few weeks alone, there are plenty of NGOs and other stakeholders on hand to hold companies accountable if it appears they aren’t following through.
Energy Upgrade California®, a statewide initiative aimed at helping residents make more informed energy-management choices, has launched a ten-week contest that will reward Californians playing their part in reducing the state’s energy demands.The winners of the “Play Your Part” contest will win a package containing products that will help them reduce their overall home energy usage.
A field-based survey by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) investigating Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) performance, providing input into an evaluation of APP’s progress on fulfilling its social responsibility commitments, and making recommendations to the company finds little on-the-ground evidence to date that APP is taking sufficient action to resolve land conflict issues.
On Tuesday, SumOfUs, an international consumer advocacy organization, released a new parody video — in conjunction with Doritos’ annual “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial competition — that calls out Doritos and its parent company, PepsiCo, for use of unsustainable palm oil in Doritos products and the subsequent destruction caused to Southeast Asian rainforests, species and communities.
The video, called “A Cheesy Love Story — The Ad Doritos Don't Want You to See,” has reached almost a million views across Facebook and YouTube since it went live on Tuesday.
UK supermarket giant Asda is trialing a new range of vegetable products it’s calling “Wonky Veg,” in a bid to reduce food waste.The retailer created its new range of misshapen fruit and vegetables — sold at reduced prices — after working alongside TV chef Jamie Oliver on initiatives to reduce food waste. The project is to be trialed in five stores across the UK beginning January 26.
When I was young, my grandfather placed stickers saying ‘Turn off if unnecessary’ on light switches, ‘Close the tap while brushing your teeth’ on the sink, and ‘Did you unplug all unnecessary electronics?’ next to the front door. Even though I thought it was weird and controlling at the time, they were my first introductions to sustainability. That, and I was the only one in my elementary school with a cotton handkerchief when all my friends blew their noses with fancy Kleenex pack-by-packs. I also grew up listening to my mother’s best friend, who worked with Greenpeace for over two decades, and became inspired by her exotic stories — chaining herself in protest in various places, or going to Southern Ocean to save the whales.
What if someone said that they could help jumpstart your creativity? What if they said that the very thing that all businesses need to function can enable new thoughts to flow freely?I’m talking about water. Specifially, corporate water use and risk.I realize that water is hardly the usual domain of expansive, fun, free thinking. But, it should be. What if instead of boring (but essential) lists of what to do to assess water risk, the innovation part was clear?
More and more, big companies have a growing responsibility, not just to help their bottom line, but to promote significant positive behaviors that contribute to a healthier world. That often means going above and beyond company-wide sustainability initiatives — committing to consumer education programs and encouraging audiences to be a part of the responsibility we all bear for protecting the environment.
More and more consumers are aware of overfishing and the effects plastic trash is having on the world’s oceans. Various companies are taking small steps in harvesting ocean garbage and recycling it while organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council are raising awareness about the importance of sustainably sourced seafood. One problem, however, is still wreaking havoc on fisheries across the world. Unwanted and abandoned fishing equipment such as nets and pots, often called “ghost gear,” often still traps and kills fish and sea mammals long after their final use.
Global emissions have reached a new peak, but recent developments indicate a new readiness for action on climate protection. This is the message of the 10th edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI); a ranking of the climate-protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide published by Germanwatch and CAN Europe at the COP20 Climate Conference in Lima this week."We see global trends, indicating promising shifts in some of the most relevant sectors for climate protection," says Jan Burck of Germanwatch, author of the Index. "The rise of emissions has slowed down, and renewables are rapidly growing due to declining costs and massive investments."
Today, the world’s largest electronics retailer, Best Buy, announced that it will undertake important improvements to its paper supply chain to better protect Canada’s endangered Boreal Forest. A report launched by Greenpeace Canada two weeks ago revealed the company has been buying more than 100 million pounds of paper every year to produce throw-away flyers, from controversial Canadian pulp and paper company Resolute Forest Products — which has been linked to less-than-responsible operations in the Boreal.
Anyone who exercises regularly or watches what they eat already knows that fast food is bad for your health. But due to the continued popularity of fast food, the FDA has stepped in to try and provide the general public with more information and get them eating better, announcing last week that fast food chains, vending machine companies and other restaurants with more than 20 locations are now required to list the number of calories in each of their menu items.
Global investment in activities that reduce the threat of climate change fell for the second year in a row from $359 billion in 2012 to $331 billion in 2013, according to a new study by the Climate Policy Initiative.Global Landscape of Climate Finance shows that, while public sources and intermediaries contributed $137 billion—a figure largely unchanged from last year—private investment totaled $193 billion, falling by $31 billion from 2012.
AOL and SAP have joined a slew of tech companies to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative lobbying group that has become renowned for its opposition to environmental regulations.Last week, a company representative for SAP cited ALEC's conservative stance on climate change and its long-standing positions on gun control and voter rights as reasons for dropping support.Environmental organizations and public-interest groups have accused ALEC of denying the existence of climate change, which ALEC denies. However, ALEC sponsors model legislation that runs counter to the scientific consensus on climate change.
After a roundtable discussion hosted by Business in the Community, I sat down with Collette Parker of Anglian Water’s customer engagement program to find out more about the opportunities and challenges facing this UK water utility service.