Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye is a business writer and strategic communications specialist. He has also been featured in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. When he has time, he shares his thoughts on his own site, Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). He is currently traveling in South America.

Philip Morris, smoking, tobacco, smoking bans, tobacco, Uruguay, Gates Foundation, International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, ICSID, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Leon Kaye

Philip Morris Sues Uruguay Over Anti-Smoking Campaign

One can surmise the many things tobacco companies have in common with fast food corporations, including the fact they must expand their business abroad while sales stagnate on both sides of the Atlantic. The result is that the World Health Organization estimates that 70 percent of the 8.4 million deaths that will be attributed tobacco use in 2020 will occur in developing countries. One country that has long run an aggressive anti-smoking campaign is Uruguay, but its laws are under threat by a lawsuit filed by Philip Morris International.

Lowe’s, Friends of the earth, bees, neonicotinoids, neonics, Leon Kaye, pesticides, retailers, Trillium Asset Management, Domini Shareholder Investments, shareholder activisim

Lowe’s to Stop Using Bee-Killing Pesticides

Shareholder activism made a difference again with yesterday’s announcement that Lowe’s will phase out the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides. Also referred to as “neonics,” which environmental watchdog groups said have been a leading contributor to “colony collapse disorder.” As the populations of bees have declined worldwide, these chemicals are often still sprayed on nursery plants, and are also in pesticides sold on store shelves

YesWeCode, computer science, hackathons, social enterprise, Leon Kaye, coding, STEM, STEM inclusion, Detroit, SAP, Twitter Chat, Twitter

The STEM Jobs Gap and Minority Youth Engagement

#YesWeCode, led by Van Jones, advocates for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) inclusion and wider access to computer science education for minority students across the country.

Recycling, plastic, oil prices, Leon Kaye, plastic recycling, PET, sustainability

Plastic Recycling Suffers from Lingering Low Oil Price

While solar and wind power continue to become more competitive in price to fossil fuels, the same is not holding true for plastics. The sudden drop in fossil fuel prices over the last several months have sent plastic recyclers scrambling to save their businesses. From China to Quebec, recycling companies have been struggling to stay in the black, even though more municipalities are mandating recycling for either waste diversion purposes or to stay compliant with a local sustainability plan.

Driscolls, Sakuma Berries, Leon Kaye, farmworkers, boycott, Familias Unidas por la Justia, farming, supply chain

Farmworkers’ Union Calls for Boycott Against Driscoll’s

Driscoll’s organic blackberries, strawberries and raspberries can be found in grocery stores throughout the country. Though they are environmentally friendly, a farmworkers’ union in Washington State has recently called for a consumer boycott, citing unfair working conditions.

Palm oil, RSPO, Yum Brands, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, transparency, human rights, Leon Kaye, fast food

Yum! Brands Commits to 100 Percent Responsible Palm Oil

The purveyor of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell says it will ensure its suppliers meet guidelines set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Yum! Brands’ announcement comes fresh off yet another report that showed large companies have a long way to go when it comes to sustainable palm oil.

Jerry Brown, drought, conservation, California, Leon Kaye, California Department of Water Resources, water conservation, water technology

California Imposes Statewide Mandatory Water Restrictions

Yesterday Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order that he said is necessary in order to make California drought-resistant after the lowest snowpack on record. The executive order calls for increased water conservation, increased enforcement, a streamlined state government response and investment in new water technologies.

ADM, Green Century Capital Management, New York State Common Retirement Fund, shareholder activism, shareholder proposals, palm oil, responsible palm oil, soy, responsible soy, Leon Kaye, climate change, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, deforestation

ADM Bows to Shareholder Pressure, Commits to New Deforestation Policy

Food and commodities giant ADM, which has reached over US$80 billion in revenues, says it will develop a no-deforestation policy in a move to source soy and palm oil more responsibly. The change occurred after a shareholder proposal, submitted by Green Century Capital Management and the New York State Common Retirement Fund, requested that ADM set quantitative goals for a reduction in supply chain impacts from deforestation.

REI, National Park Service, National Park Foundation, Find Your Park, Leon Kaye, national parks

REI Launches Celebration of National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary

REI has announced that it will support the National Park Service through a partnership with the National Park Foundation. No word on whether Sally Jewell, the Secretary of Interior who was previously the CEO of REI, had any involvement in this campaign, but the timing is excellent nonetheless.