3p Contributor: Audrey Khuner

Audrey is a freelance copywriter. She has worked with every kind of company, helping them to communicate their message of sustainability. Careful to never greenwash, Audrey believes that transparency in marketing is just as important as branding. And that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive. When she's not blogging, marketing sustainability or writing radio commercials for Chinese food, you can find Audrey rock-climbing, riding her bike around San Francisco, or looking for work (she's available for hire, call now!)

Recent Articles

AussieBum’s New Undies Made From Bananas

| Wednesday March 17th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Is that a banana in your underwear, or are you just excited by eco-fashion?

The answer is both.

AussieBum has recently announced its release of a new eco-friendly line of men’s underwear made with 27% banana fiber. This is a world-first, according to the company.

So much for Fruit of the Loom’s dancing men dressed like giant apples and grapes, this company actually uses real fruit, while reducing its impact on the planet.

Why only 27% banana fiber? “Naturally, you can’t really add anymore banana fiber than that because it might be a bit squishy,” says company spokesman Lloyd Jones. Ew.

The rest of the light-weight, absorbent material is made of 64% organic cotton and 7% lycra.

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Saul’s Deli Bridges the Gap Between Traditional and Sustainable

| Friday March 12th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Et tu, Saul’s Deli?

I’ve somehow always managed to compartmentalize comfort food and sustainable/healthy food.

The latter is what I eat on a regular basis—quinoa from the organic grocery, locally grown kale from the farmers’ market—that’s my regular diet. But sometimes I want to break away from all that healthiness and enjoy a greasy, meaty Rueben.

And maybe, for those few heavenly corned beef moments, slathered in Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, I don’t want to think about where the cow came from or what he was fed or how much damage I’m doing to the planet.

But alas, I’m from Berkeley. And, like a growing population of responsible eaters, we care about stuff like that.

I grew up four blocks away from Saul’s Deli. Their matzoh ball soup was always a close second to Grandma’s, Dad’s and Aunt Kathy’s. Okay, I guess that makes it a close fourth. If I wanted latkes when it wasn’t Hannukah or gefilte fish when it wasn’t Passover, I always knew where to go.
Karen Adelman and Peter Levitt, co-owners of Saul’s Deli, are well aware of their loyal customer-base. They have always made it a priority to cater to those traditional Jewish tastes. But as the sustainable food movement becomes more and more prevalent, they also have a second priority. Or, as Adelman put it, “I wouldn’t want to sell meat that I wouldn’t eat.”

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Ben & Jerry’s Plans to go 100% Fair Trade

| Wednesday February 24th, 2010 | 7 Comments

Fair labor conditions never tasted so good.

Ben & Jerry’s announced last week that they will be 100% fair trade by 2013.  That means that all of their “global flavor portfolio” will be composed of Fair Trade Certified™ ingredients, such as cocoa, vanilla, fruits, nuts, etc.

The successful ice cream company was the first to introduce fair trade ingredients to the market back in 2005, but co-founder Jerry Greenfield decided that only some wasn’t enough.

“Fair Trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie,” said company co-founder Jerry Greenfield. Always with the dessert metaphors, Jerry?

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Detroit’s Schools Offer New Class: Working at Walmart

| Thursday February 18th, 2010 | 12 Comments

“When I grow up, I want to work at Walmart.” A phrase I would expect to be uncommon coming from high school students. However, in a city with a 50% unemployment rate and public schools struggling to stay open, the education system has joined with Walmart to help our country’s future generations learn to, well, work at Walmart.

Four inner-city Detroit high schools have teamed up with the world’s largest retailer to offer classes in “job-readiness training.” This program, launched last week, is during school hours and gives students high school credits toward graduation in addition to entry-level afterschool jobs. Sean Vann, principal at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, explained that 30 students at his school will get jobs at Walmart.

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New Leaf Paper Launches Online Eco Audit Calculator

| Wednesday February 3rd, 2010 | 3 Comments

According to the Environmental Paper Network, choices about paper use and selection are the most significant decisions one can make to impact the planet. Printing double-sided, or, better yet, not printing at all, can hugely reduce environmental footprint. But until the world decides to go 100 percent digital, paper is a necessity. When it comes to creating paper with the least impact on the environment, New Leaf Paper is leading the pack.

Continuing in its tradition of pioneering the sustainable paper industry, New Leaf has launched an online Eco Audit calculator. This tool helps New Leaf customers and their clients share the environmental benefits of using post-consumer recycled paper instead of virgin paper. New Leaf has offered this tool offline for the last ten years, providing print-ready, customized Eco Audit for their customers. While New Leaf Paper has more than eight million Eco Audits in circulation, this is the first time that customers have the online tools for their own use.

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McDonald’s Gets Green…In Its Logo

| Monday December 7th, 2009 | 4 Comments

mcdonalds

McDonald’s is doing things a little backwards. Usually, how it works is: companies go green, and then change their logo to reflect these new, sustainable practices.

But McDonald’s Europe has decided to go ahead and make that logo switch first. An Associated Press article reports that European McDonald’s is exchanging its traditional red color for a deep hunter green in an effort to project a more environmentally friendly image.

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Campaign against Sustainable Forestry Initiative Escalates

| Thursday November 19th, 2009 | 5 Comments

Picture 2ForestEthics versus SFI. The green industry is overwhelmed by trustmarks and certification organizatons. As a result, consumers don’t know whom to believe anymore. As it turns out SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) is funded and managed primarily by large logging companies, whereas ForestEthics is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting endangered forests. (And then there’s the Forest Stewardship Council – FSC – just to make things even more complicated, as highlighted in this NY Times article.)

Both ForestEthics and the Sierra club have filed complaints against SFI at both the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. The organizations accused the certification program of lax standards and deceptive marketing intended to obscure responsible foresting standards. But this ongoing war came to a head at last week’s Greenbuild conference.

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7-Eleven Wrapping Nature’s Naturally Wrapped Fruit

| Wednesday November 11th, 2009 | 4 Comments

bananas

There are so many great things about bananas. In addition to being an important source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, they’re naturally wrapped, so companies that sell them don’t have to worry about packaging. That is, unless that company is 7-Eleven.

Last month, 7-Eleven tested a new plastic wrap to keep single bananas yellow and firm for five days (more than double the two-day shelf life for unwrapped bananas), according to an article from ABC news. This is no small matter, as the chain will sell more than 27 million bananas this year.

That means 27 million individual plastic wrappers that are entirely unnecessary. But the question is, who is the culprit here?

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Give more, Useless

| Friday November 6th, 2009 | 4 Comments

startup-friday.jpg

teef2Believe me, USELESS, I get it. I get the point you’re trying to make. Your anti-consumerism, “Use less, give more” message is not a new one. However, following it with a list of products to purchase definitely is.

I understand that you mean to be somewhat ironic. And I get how handy it is that when you combine the words “use” and “less” into one word, you end up with “useless” (somehow I suspect that’s how this whole company came about – clever name first, company second).

And sure, your cleverly designed hoodies are made of organic cotton and your cute, logoed bottles are BPA free. And I appreciate that you donate 10% of your profits to fund water and sanitation projects in the developing world. You’re better than a lot of companies out there. BUT, you’re still selling products!

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3rdSpaces Helps SF Venues with New Mandatory Waste Ordinance 

| Friday October 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

startup-friday.jpg

logo3rd spacesWith San Francisco’s mandatory waste ordinance in effect as of Wednesday, the city’s businesses and residences are now required by law to compost their food waste. This is a big shift for the city’s over 4000 restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that will now have to divert a huge section of their waste to their green bins. Luckily, there is one company uniquely poised to help San Francisco’s venues take on this challenge: 3rdSpaces.

3rdSpaces is the city’s first entertainment venue sustainability company. CEO (and my friend) Mike Zuckerman started 3rdSpaces a number of months ago. By working closely with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, 3rdSpaces provides a service to help local venues save money through sustainability. And this new waste ordinance couldn’t have been more well-timed for the firm’s big launch.

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Southwest Announces New “Green Plane”

| Thursday October 22nd, 2009 | 4 Comments

SW plane Truly sustainable planes with alternative fuel or higher efficiency may still be many, many miles away, but Southwest seems to be have introduced a quick layover with yesterday’s debut of their “Green Plane.”

The greening of the plane is based mostly on eco-friendly interior materials, from InterfaceFLOR carpeting to new lightweight, leather-like leather alternatives for their seats, to a more environmentally-friendly life vest pouch!

According to Reuters, all of the initiatives being tested on this Green Plane combine to a add up to a weight savings of almost five pounds per seat, thus saving fuel and reducing emissions. Southwest also announced that next month, they’re kicking off a more robust onboard recycling program that will allow the airline to capture more recyclable material and divert it from the waste stream.

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Formula Companies Pushing Products in Third-World Countries

| Tuesday September 29th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Baby formulaNew innovations are being created constantly to make everyday activities more sustainable. And yet at the same time, baby formula companies are pushing products that make life’s most sustainable activity (in every meaning of the word) less sustainable.

In addition to the huge benefit that breastfeeding has on health (including significantly reducing infant mortality), breasts and human nipples are natural and entirely reusable, not to mention completely free! Think of all the resources saved. All the shipping and packaging of formula – totally unneeded. So why are breastfeeding rates dropping, especially in developing countries such as Vietnam where it’s needed most?

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Fashionistas, Ad Execs and Environmentalists Descend on NYC

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

This time in September marks a convergence of three big New York City events: Fashion Week, Advertising Week and Climate Week NYC.

Three of today’s most influential industries that both support each other and battle each other for public attention. On one hand, consumerism is the opposite of sustainability. Though at the same time, phenomena such as eco-fashion and green advertising are bringing climate change more and more into the public eye.

Climate Week NYC is an event organized by such organizations as The Climate Group, the UN, Tck Tck Tck Campaign, and more. Fashion Week, however, was sponsored by… Mercedes Benz. I guess “eco” wasn’t really the theme this year. Advertising Week, however, has a different focus than years past.

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Have a Branded Sweet & Solar Wedding

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

SunCrystals

Share your special day with 19 other couples and an “all-natural, low-calorie sweetener.” In a somewhat misguided brand launch, SUN CRYSTALS® is sponsoring a solar-powered New York City wedding for 20 lucky couples.

How is marriage related to sweetener or to the environment? Because it’s the “first all-natural, low-calorie sweetener that marries stevia and sugar cane, two plants nourished by the sun.” Yeah, that’s a stretch.

The SUN CRYSTALS® Brand is a member of 1% For The Planet®, donating 1% of sales to the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). And from what it says, the product seems natural-ish. But branded weddings? How low have we stooped as a society? What’s next, sponsored births and funerals?

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Plants Need CO2, Therefore It Doesn’t Cause Global Warming?

| Wednesday September 9th, 2009 | 3 Comments

HLeightonStewardI’m sure the Internet has its fair share of wackos trying to prove that global warming is not human-made nor dangerous. But I’m going to focus on this one, because he’s just so adorable.

His reasoning: Plants Need Co2. Therefore, how could CO2 be a pollutant? In fact, he’s so emphatic about this that he named his organization just that: “Plants Need CO2”

The mission of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit? “To educate the public on the positive effects of additional atmospheric CO2 and help prevent the inadvertent negative impact to human, plant and animal life if we reduce CO2.”

Yes, we all learned in 3rd grade biology that plants breathe in CO2. This does not mean that it’s not a pollutant.

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