In a bold and understandably unpopular move this week, the City of Paris banned half its motorists from driving their cars and motorcycles on Monday after a series of warm days and cold nights caused the city's worst pollution levels since 2007, BBC News reports.Part of a scheme to reduce the number of vehicles on the road — and the resulting pollution — the ban was originally planned for Monday and Tuesday; only motorists with odd-numbered number plates were allowed to drive on Monday, and only those with even-numbered plates were to be allowed to travel on Tuesday.
According to global tire manufacturer Michelin, British motorists could be spending over £1B a year and needlessly emitting more than 2B tons of CO2 per year due to under-inflated tires.Michelin’s research suggests that three-quarters of Britain’s 31.5 million cars could have under-inflated tires, leading to unnecessary fuel consumption and excess greenhouse gas emissions.As an averagely under-inflated tire results in roughly 3 percent less fuel efficiency, the company says an average driver could be wasting in the region of £65 a year solely due to the increased rolling resistance. Potentially, more than one billion liters of fuel could also be wasted every year because drivers are not checking tire pressures regularly enough.
Singapore-based palm oil trader Golden Agri Resources (GAR) announced Friday it will extend its forest conservation policy across all of its third-party suppliers — pledging that all palm oil it produces, sources and trades will now be deforestation-free. GAR’s commitment, combined with the similarly sweeping commitment made by the world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, in December, means that over half of the world's palm oil is now covered by zero-deforestation pledges.
Kellogg Company has announced a commitment to work with its global palm oil suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil, “produced in a manner that's environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable.”To do so, Kellogg is working through its supply chain — from suppliers to processors to growers — to ensure that its palm oil is sourced from plantations that uphold the company's commitment to protect forests and peat lands, as well as human and community rights.
Greenpeace certainly is on a roll, counting two major successes in as many weeks with commitments from fashion brand Burberry and retailer Primark to eliminate toxic chemicals from all of their products and production processes by 2020.
Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the launch of the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge to encourage hotels to use best management practices that will save water and money, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change.
Subway announced late last week that it is removing a curious ingredient from its bread — a compound known as azodicarbonamide (or E927), whose other common uses include increasing the elasticity of items such as shoe soles and yoga mats, according to CNN. Though Subway insists the compound is safe and it is commonly added to all types of breads, the company’s decision to remove it comes after pressure from blogger Vani Hari, otherwise known as “Food Babe,” who started a petition to have Subway eliminate the chemical.
On Feb. 5, drugstore chain CVS Caremark announced that it will stop selling tobacco products.It’s a big deal. Here’s why.It signals a step towards more businesses saying, “It’s wrong. So we’re stopping.” Even when the financials — what the sustainability world calls “the business case” — don’t support it in the short term.I’d like to suggest that CVS’ announcement moves the ball downfield for more business decisions based on social and environmental impacts. It creates new, safe middle ground to operate more openly from the “morals” argument as a valued partner to the “money” business case argument.
Experts in public health have struggled with enabling behaviour change for years. The sustainability sector should learn what it can from their experiences. Consumer behaviour change is the challenge of our time. As governments and brands are beginning to realise, upstream improvements are relatively easy to make compared with the herculean task of shifting consumer behaviours downstream. While the sustainability community is just beginning to get to grips with the gravity of this challenge, our colleagues in public health have been wrestling with it for decades. Great progress has been made, but hard lessons have been learned — costly, time-consuming lessons that we can all learn from.
In a bold yet intuitive move for a pharmacy, CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the US by October 1, 2014. It is the first action of its kind by a national pharmacy chain.With more than 480,000 deaths annually, smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States, CVS says. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from around 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade.
WWF says it is cautiously welcoming a first attempt at a Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) by Indonesian pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL), released Tuesday. WWF notes that a commitment to support forest conservation areas equal in size to its plantations sets a new standard for the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia, but is concerned about certain loopholes in the policy, which Greenpeace says is ‘essentially a license to continue forest clearance.’
In the latest in a string of recent efforts to engage children in the joys of healthy eating, First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week that Subway® restaurants has joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative in a three-year commitment to promote healthier food choices to kids. As part of its commitment, Subway will launch a series of fun, engaging campaigns aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in children; set and implement new marketing standards to kids; and strengthen its children’s menu offerings, which the chain says are already nutritious.
16 of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to the findings released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The companies, acting together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015. The independent evaluation found that the companies have so far exceeded their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent.The 16 companies committed to the HWCF calorie-reduction pledge are:
In the 2010 UN Global Compact-Accenture Global CEO Study, 49% of CEOs said that the sustainability agenda can only move forward if driven by greater consumer demand; government and corporate initiatives will not be enough. While sustainability advocates fret that companies are interested in sustainability initiatives only to sell more stuff, CEOs are frustrated by the dissonance between what consumers say they want and the values that their spending reflects. To quote a CEO from the survey:
Last week, Public Health England unveiled its latest Change4Life campaign, which this year focuses on getting people throughout England and Wales to “Smart Swap” fatty or sugary foods for healthier alternatives.The campaign recognizes that it’s unrealistic to expect people to immediately switch from chocolate to fruit, for example, so it is hoping to incentivize making smarter food choices by offering participants money-saving vouchers for healthier foods and drinks and in-store offers from partner retailers such as Asda, Co-operative Food, Lidl and Aldi.
How can utilities be persuaded to help their customers use less electricity and natural gas? It’s entirely possible, starting with regulatory reforms that remove any linkage between the financial health of our hometown utilities and the amount of electricity and natural gas they sell. NRDC and diverse allies have dedicated literally decades of effort to getting such measures adopted, and a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy provides new insights on progress across the United States.
We’ve all faced this great moral dilemma whenever we stay in a nice hotel. The little sign in the bathroom reads, “Please help us protect the environment and conserve water by reusing your towel.” Even those of us who consider ourselves environmentalists often balk; we’re paying hundreds of dollars to stay in their hotel, and, darn it, we really want a clean towel.
From Unilever’s ‘five levers for change’ to Volkswagen’s ‘fun theory’ and Nike’s Fuelband, behavior change has become a key concern for businesses re-orienting their goals around the promotion of sustainable lives. This represents an opportune moment for drawing on the latest thinking from behavioral sciences.
While thousands of retailers across the U.S. and cyberspace are dusting their shelves and crossing their fingers for lucrative Black Friday and Cyber Monday takes, respectively, thousands of organizations around the world are gearing up for an event that represents the true spirit of the holiday season, #GivingTuesday.