3p Contributor: Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

Recent Articles

Hyatt to Source More Sustainable Seafood

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday August 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments

seafoodHyatt Hotels Corp. recently announced a new initiative to add more responsibly-sourced seafood at its hotels.

The first goal of the initiative is for responsibly-sourced seafood to comprise 50 percent of the company’s inventory by 2018. Part of that goal will be sourcing over 15 percent from fisheries or farms certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

Hyatt has already been partnering with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to stop sourcing very vulnerable seafood species. With WWF’s help, the chain conducted an assessment of global seafood procurement processes at its hotels and identified steps it could take to improve the sustainability of its seafood sourcing practices.

One step it will take is to focus first on certain species including salmon, shrimp, grouper, Chilean sea bass and tuna. Another step is instituting a complete ban on procuring and eating shark fin at all of its restaurants and food and beverage outlets around the world. This step builds on its 2012 commitment to remove shark fin from all restaurant menus. Hyatt will also have employees involved in food and beverage offerings at the company’s owned and managed full-service hotels undergo a sustainable seafood training program developed with WWF. All of these initiatives will be measured with WWF analysis and recommendations.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Massachusetts Food Waste Ban Goes Into Effect in October

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday August 12th, 2014 | 0 Comments

foodwasteFood waste is a real problem in America. The economic impact of food waste in the U.S. is equivalent to $197.7 billion, according to a report by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN).

Massachusetts is about to test drive a law to deal with the mounting issue. Back in January, the state government announced that a statewide ban on commercial food waste would take effect on Oct. 1, 2014. Regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the ban requires any entity disposing of at least 1 ton of organic material per week to either donate or re-purpose the useable food. The remaining food that can’t be used will be either sent to an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility and converted to energy or to composting and animal-feed operations.

Residential food waste from small businesses is not included in the ban which affects about 1,700 businesses and institutions across the state.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Kimberly-Clark Releases Sustainability Report

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday August 11th, 2014 | 2 Comments

ScottKimberly-Clark is a big company with well-known brands like Scott, Depends and Huggies. It has also made some real strides in sustainability, as its latest annual sustainability report shows.

The company achieved a 26.4 percent reduction in water use in manufacturing in 2013, beating its 2015 goal of 25 percent. The report attributes the reduction to a more efficient manufacturing footprint, water conservation programs, and upgraded water and wastewater systems.

All totaled, Kimberly-Clark completed six major water reduction projects last year. For example, it made upgrades to the wastewater system at its Northfleet Mill that allows more than half of the wastewater to be recycled and reused.

When it comes to sourcing, Kimberly-Clark has also set lofty goals. The target is to source 100 percent of its wood fiber from suppliers who have achieved third-party certification of their forestry activities by 2015. Clearly, the company can meet those lofty goals as it met its target in 2012. A 2016 target is to achieve 100 percent chain of custody certification. All of the Kimberly-Clark tissue mills in North America and Europe are already chain of custody certified, along with about 50 percent of its mills in other regions. By 2025, the company plans to source 90 percent of the fiber in its tissue products from environmentally-preferred sources, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood fiber, recycled fiber and sustainable alternative fibers. It has already sourced 71.7 percent from environmentally preferred sources.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Beijing to Phase Out Coal

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday August 8th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Beijing_smog_comparison_August_2005Local authorities in Beijing announced that the city will ban coal sales and use by 2020 to reduce air pollution, Xinhua News Agency reports.

Six Beijing districts will stop using coal and will close coal-fired power plants by 2020. Coal use is expected to drop to less than 10 percent by 2017. Other fossil fuels, including fuel oil, will also be banned.

Coal burning accounts for 22.4 percent of Beijing’s PM 2.5, small airborne particles that contribute to smog. Coal use also accounted for 25.4 percent of Beijing’s energy use in 2012.

The main driver for coal reduction is air pollution, which is notoriously bad in Beijing. Back in February the Guardian reported that Beijing spent a week “blanketed in a dense pea-soup smog.” Beijing’s concentration of PM 2.5 particles rose to 505 micrograms, far above the 25 micrograms the World Health Organization recommends as a safe level.

In 2013, 92 percent of Chinese cities didn’t meet national ambient air quality standards, and coal burning is responsible for almost half of China’s overall PM 2.5 pollution.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Recycling is Built Into Bacardi

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday August 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PR_BacardiCathedralOfRumRecycling old materials is built into Bacardi Limited, the largest privately-held spirits company in the world, and is part of the company’s history. Bacardi founder, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, opened his first distillery in 1862, and repurposing old whiskey barrels was part of his original plan. Flash forward to the present, and Bacardi is still recycling. Bacardi Bottling Corp.’s 92-acre Jacksonville, Florida site recycles materials used to bottle Bacardi rum. The site is the only bottling plant for Bacardi rum branded products sold in the U.S. A variety of materials are recycled at the bottling plant including glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and wastewater.

Bacardi also focuses on reducing the weight of its packaging and reducing hazardous waste. Packaging makes up about 57 percent of its spending on raw materials, totaling about 400,000 tons. Packaging is also responsible for half of the company’s extended carbon emissions, which include emissions from its own operations and those of its suppliers. Since 2008, Bacardi has reduced the weight of its packaging by 23,000 tons, a 7.1 percent reduction. The company’s hazardous waste decreased by 1.5 percent in 2013.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

J.M. Smuckers Commits To a Sustainable and Traceable Palm Oil Supply Chain

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday August 4th, 2014 | 1 Comment

SmuckersJ.M. Smucker recently updated its policy on palm oil sourcing, the company explained in its 2014 corporate social responsibility report.

Smucker’s latest CSR report states that the company is committed to developing a “fully sustainable and traceable palm oil supply chain.” It set a target that palm oil purchases will come from “responsible and sustainable sources” by December 2015. In 2012, Smuckers began buying palm oil from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sources, and received RSPO certification in January 2013.

As a result of the new policy, a shareholder proposal filed by Clean Yield Asset Management and Green Century Capital Management was withdrawn. The food producer is currently valued at $10.8 billion in market capitalization. Its brands include Smuckers’ jams and jellies, Jif peanut butter, Crisco, Folger and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Mars, Inc. Plans to Eliminate Fossil Fuel Use in Direct Operations by 2040

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday July 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments

M&MsMars, Inc. has big sustainability goals. Its 2040 target is to eliminate all fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from its direct operations.

One way it is working towards that goal is by investing in renewable energy. It announced in April that it will invest in and build a new wind farm in Texas, which will help it meet its 2015 goal of 25 percent reduction of fossil fuel energy use and GHG emissions. Its fourth annual Principles in Action Summary contains other sustainability targets and initiatives.

Making its supply chain more sustainable is also important to Mars. As a large and global food company, it uses vast quantities of things like palm oil and cocoa. In March, it launched a new Deforestation Policy and committed to a fully traceable palm oil supply chain by the end of 2015. Mars is also the largest purchaser of cocoa from certified sources, and has increased its purchase of certified cocoa to 30 percent. The goal is 100 percent certified cocoa by 2020.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

WhiteWave Foods Issues Its First Sustainability Report

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday July 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

EBF_5oz_HalfandHalf_0WhiteWave Foods met its 2015 goal to source Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for 100 percent of its liquid creamers in 2012, three years ahead of schedule. The company, whose brands include Silk, Horizon and Earthbound, set the target in 2010. Palm oil is an ingredient used in many of its liquid creamers, and the palm oil industry has a high impact on the environment due to deforestation.

WhiteWave Foods recently released its first corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, which goes on to detail other environmental achievements, including reducing packaging, waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Despite production volume increasing in both North America and Europe, WhiteWave has managed to reduce GHG emissions. It cut GHG emissions in North America by by 32 percent per gallon of product while production volume increased by 57 percent since 2006.

Meanwhile, the company also slashed carbon emissions by 39.5 percent per ton of product in Europe, where product volumes have grown by 22 percent since 2007. While cutting emissions, the company also increased onsite renewable energy production by 30 percent and reduced waste sent to landfill by 47 percent in its European operations.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Pact Apparel Launches Fair Trade Certified Line

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday July 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PACT apparel teePact Apparel, which brand itself as an “ethical and organic apparel basics brand,” announced it is releasing an organic cotton Fair Trade certified line.

The line contains 78 different products with 19 different styles, including baby clothes. For grown-ups, the line features basics like underwear, leggings, camisoles, T-shirts and long johns. In May, Pact launched a Fair Trade certified women’s T-shirt sold exclusively at Whole Foods. This new line will be sold at retailers across the U.S. including Whole Foods and Amazon.

The Fair Trade certified line is produced in a factory in India. For every purchase of a Fair Trade certified garment, Pact will donate a percentage of the sales to a worker-controlled fund. The workers will vote on how to spend the funds which include a disaster relief fund for factory workers, a scholarship fund for workers’ children, infrastructure improvements in their local communities, or a cash bonus.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Better Cotton and Ikea Report Shows Less Pesticide and Water Use

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday July 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

Cotton_picking_in_IndiaCotton is a major world commodity, accounting for almost half of textile production. Traditional cotton farming is hard on the environment, however, as pesticide and artificial fertilizer use is heavy.

The crop accounts for 10 percent of global pesticide use and is grown in about 80 countries around the world. Cotton also needs much water: An average of 10,000 liters of water is used to grow 1 kilogram of cotton, but it can require three times as much if farming practices are poor. However, through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) farmers are reducing their pesticide, artificial fertilizer and water use.

In 2005, Ikea and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started joint cotton projects, and both are founding members of the BCI. The purpose of the initiative is to develop more sustainable cotton production methods.

BCI started with just 500 farmers and a goal to develop more sustainable cotton production methods. Now, through BCI and its partners, 43,000 farmers in India and Pakistan alone are using more sustainable cotton farming techniques, as the latest BCI report shows. Project farmers in Pakistan were the first in the world to produce licensed Better Cotton.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

British Supermarket Powered By Food Waste

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday July 22nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

SainsburyThe British supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s announced that one of its stores will be powered by its food waste. All of the electricity used by the store in Cannock, England will come from what’s called anaerobic digestion, which turns food waste into bio-methane gas that is used to generate electricity. Sainsbury’s partners with Biffa which has anaerobic digestion facilities. Through its use of bio-methane gas, the store is able to come off the national grid for its electricity use. Biffa is one of the leading waste management companies in the UK. The company operates a number of food waste treatment facilities in the UK which recycle or reuse 100,000 tons of food waste a year.

The food waste that powers the stores comes from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK. Any food waste that is not fit for charitable donations or animal feed is sent to the anaerobic digestion facility in Staffordshire and is converted into energy. The electricity for the Cannock store is sent directly through a new 1.5 km long electricity cable from the Staffordshire facility, which opened in 2011. The Staffordshire facility is the largest one in the U.K. that uses food waste, and is licensed to process 120,000 tons of food waste a year.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Kroger Cuts Energy Use By 35 Percent, Ramps Up Sustainability Efforts

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday July 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

KrogerThe Kroger Co. has reduced energy use in its stores by 34.6 percent since 2000, saving more than 2.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). That’s enough electricity to power every home in Charlotte, North Carolina for a year — or the equivalent of taking 362,000 cars off the road for a year. The largest supermarket chain in the U.S. and fifth-largest retailer in the world, Kroger recently published its eighth annual sustainability report, which includes its energy usage reduction efforts.

Kroger’s manufacturing plants also continue to reduce their use of electricity and gas. As of this year’s report, they have saved enough energy to power 8,411 American homes for a year, and cut enough gas to power 442,446 American homes for a year.

Its manufacturing plants are also reducing water use: In 2013, Kroger manufacturing plants reduced water use by 61 million gallons of water. That is equivalent to the annual water use of 1,455 American homes. Additionally, water use at stores in four of its western divisions was reduced by 7.6 percent last year. These figures crushed an initial 5 percent company-wide reduction target for 2014.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Safeway to Eliminate 1 Billion Single-Use Bags By 2015

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday July 17th, 2014 | 7 Comments

SafewaySafeway, the second-largest supermarket chain in North America, is making progress toward its environmental goals, according to its sixth annual sustainability report released last week.

One of the chain’s most notable targets is to eliminate 1 billion paper and plastic bags in its stores by 2015 — and it has already eliminated more than 300 million plastic and paper bags. Safeway is also halfway toward the goal of sourcing of all of its fresh and frozen seafood from either sustainable sources or sources making credible improvements by 2015.

Additionally, Safeway has a goal of producing zero waste across all of its operations. (To qualify as zero waste, a facility has to recycle or divert at least 90 percent of materials that would have been sent to landfills.) A total of nine of its 13 distribution centers and nine of its 20 U.S. manufacturing and food processing plants have already achieved zero waste.

Taking things a step further, two of the grocer’s California distribution centers, Santa Fe Springs and El Monte, haven’t had a trash pickup since. The two facilities combined are almost 2 million square feet and serve over 270 stores.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

U.K. Grocer Becomes the First Retailer to Issue a Sustainable Seafood Report

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday July 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

smoked troutThe British supermarket chain Asda is the first retailer to publish a sustainable seafood report.

The report, titled Wild Fisheries Annual Review, lists all of the fisheries used by the supermarket chain between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2013. The report contains management and sustainability information for all of the fisheries that supply the supermarket chain with wild fish. Seafood from aquaculture (fish farming) is not listed, but Asda hopes to include this information in next year’s report. (As the name implies, it will be published every year.)

The report names each fishery, and information is provided on the location and catch methods, plus sustainability assessments that include environmental impacts.

The report is part of Asda’s commitment to ensure its wild seafood is responsibly sourced. That said, the company knows that some fisheries it obtains seafood from need work and is working to address the issues. One example is Asda’s pledge that all ambient canned and pouched tuna will be line-caught or caught using fish aggregation device (FAD)-free methods by the end of 2014.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

MillerCoors Cuts Water and Energy Use, Pilots Sustainable Barley Farming

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday July 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Coors canNext time you reach for a MillerCoors brew, you can rest assured that the company is doing its part to be environmentally sustainable.

The company has greatly reduced its water and energy usage, according to its latest sustainability report. From 2012 to 2013, MillerCoors reduced the barrels of water it takes to brew one barrel of beer by 9.1 percent. The second largest brewer in the U.S., the company also slashed energy use by 15.6 percent from 2012, saving 1.6 billion mega joules of energy last year. MillerCoors has eight major breweries, and all of them reduced energy use.

Water is a big part of brewing beer, so reducing its usage is not an easy feat for any brewery. From 2011 to 2013, MillerCoors saved over 1.1 billion gallons of water. That’s enough water to fill 1,783 Olympic-size swimming pools or meet the needs of more than 11,500 average American households for a year. One of the ways it achieved the water savings is by converting its Fort Worth Brewery from steam heating to a pasteurizer reclaim system, which uses recirculated water instead of fresh, incoming water to cool beer after pasteurization. It also installed water reclamation systems in six of its eight major breweries, which saves tens of millions of gallons of water a year.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »