Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, announced today that leading fashion, footwear and outdoor brands, including H&M and Eddie Bauer, will join The North Face in adopting the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) – a third-party certified animal welfare and traceability standard that upholds the ethical treatment of animals along the down and feather supply chain. The North Face initially worked with Textile Exchange and Control Union Certification, an accredited third-party certification body, to design version 1.0 of the standard, which was launched earlier this year.
Upon completion of the RDS in January 2014, The North Face gifted the standard to Textile Exchange to administer and evolve it as needed, as well as work with more brands and down suppliers to implement the standard. As part of this effort, Textile Exchange is evolving the standard through a stakeholder feedback process that includes input from brands and NGOs such as Adidas, Outdoor European Group, Outdoor Industry Association, and Four Paws.
“As more brands adopt the RDS, it will bring improved animal welfare conditions and better traceability in the down supply chain at a much larger scale than any one organization or one supply chain could accomplish alone,” said Anne Gillespie, Director of Industry Integrity of Textile Exchange.
Down and feathers that are used in apparel, bedding and home goods are traditionally sourced from geese and duck that are grown for the food industry — and in recent years animal welfare groups have raised concerns about live-plucking and force-feeding practices found among certain suppliers. In response, Textile Exchange and its partners worked with a diverse set of stakeholders and did extensive research, including visiting the sourcing regions in remote areas of Europe and Asia, to fully understand conditions and address issues along the global down supply chain in its creation of the standard.
Day-to-day, a rotating list of companies announce their latest efforts to set new sustainability industry standards, from game-changing initiatives such as Walmart’s Sustainability Index and Puma’s triple bottom line accounting system to a spectrum of brands broadcasting new metrics, programs or platforms that advance their corporate sustainability goals. Setting the pace for industry-leading change has become an industry standard. While this type of leadership is commendable (and necessary), it does not always guarantee systemic change. This is one important distinction between two standards recently launched by two outdoor apparel giants: Patagonia’s Traceable Down Standard and The North Face’s Responsible Down Standard.
Patagonia, which launched its new standard last November and announced that from fall 2014 forward all its down-insulated products will contain only 100 percent “traceable down,” is certainly an exemplar of all-things-good for the outdoor and apparel industry. As Patagonia has done in the past with its commitment to organic cotton and recycled polyester, the company hopes its new down traceability standard will “inspire other companies to look closely at their own down supply chains and utilize the model.”
When you’re at a music festival, ears attuned to pulsating drum beats and hypnotic vocals, the last thing on your mind is saving Mother Earth. Yet, a growing number of music festivals across the country – and world – are going to great lengths to go green. From investing in carbon offsets to promoting waste diversion and offering attendees locally sourced food, beer and wine, large-scale music events from Tennessee to California are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. All this is good and well, but the most sustainable step that music festivals can take has nothing to do with going green.
I recently had the opportunity to think through how the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, a festival that takes place in San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park every year, could take their commitment to sustainability to the next level.
More articles on the controversy surrounding bottled water can be found here!
On a recent walk along New York City’s Union Square Park, I came across a beautiful sight: walking in 95-degree humid heat, I saw fountains and fountains of cold, clean, and free drinking water. A city employee, wearing a ‘NYC Water’ t-shirt, urged me to hydrate and drink some of “the best tap water in the world.” Not used to such humidity and heat, I took this as a much-welcomed request (I live in San Francisco where it is 60 degrees as I write this).
After some prolonged gulps, I heard the man explain the virtues of New York City’s tap water: “It’s Healthy, It’s Affordable, It’s Green, and It’s Convenient.” New Yorkers profess that their tap water is indeed “the purest and tastiest” in the world. This summer, the New York Department of the Environment is rolling out an environmental education campaign on city streets to inform residents of just that–and to discourage people from buying bottled water.
More and more, company websites are becoming dynamic educational tools that businesses can use to communicate their sustainability strategy to stakeholders. As a recent report published by AltaTerra Research reveals, corporate marketing and stakeholder communication are evolving in interesting ways. The report analyzes the evolution of corporate sustainability reporting and evaluates how sustainable business leaders are communicating their sustainability strategy online.
AltaTerra Research hosted a webinar yesterday in which it reviewed key findings from its recent report, entitled “Greening the Company Website: A New Era in Online Sustainability Reporting.” During the webinar Jaclyn Pitera, senior research analyst and lead report author, presented her research findings while Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact at Starbucks, shared best practices for sustainability reporting and stakeholder engagement from his experience with the Starbucks Shared Planet website.
Corporate Social Responsibly is more than just about selling sustainable products, issuing annual reports, and reducing carbon and water footprints: it’s also about how businesses treat employees and the corporate culture that’s promoted within company walls. Jeffrey Hollender, Seventh Generation’s Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Inspired Protagonist, spoke about this holistic approach to CSR during his visit to the Presidio Graduate School yesterday.
Throughout his conversational presentation, Hollender gave examples of companies that are not only doing well by doing good, but are also doing well by being nice. According to Hollender, a truly sustainable business is one that values its employees and acts responsibly from the inside out.
Hollender mentioned one company in particular, Linden Lab, which he also writes about in his new book, The Responsibility Revolution. Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life, uses an in-house software tool called the “Love Machine” that helps employees recognize fellow staffers’ achievements in an online forum. Hollender said that on average a Linden Lab employee appreciates a colleague once a day. Imagine that.
About 2,600 MBA students and business professionals from around the world got together a week ago at the 2009 Net Impact Conference at Cornell University to learn and discuss how to use business as a force for social and environmental good. The event was a success on many levels, and I’d like to highlight some of the creative ways that Net Impact made the conference a great Green Event–as well as suggesting tips for improvement for future conferences.
Cause for Applause
- Compostable cups, silverware, plates. Great job at making those products available throughout the conference.
- Farmer’s market closing reception. Way to integrate Cornell’s/Ithaca’s local food growers and community in the event! All that produce (and cheese!) from Upstate New York was quite a treat.
- Partnership with Terrapass to offset the conference’s carbon consumption and staff travel.
Tips for Improvement:
Honest Tea‘s President and “TeaEO” Seth Goldman doesn’t think he’s sold out. During the closing keynote address at the 2009 Net Impact Conference today, Goldman explained his decision to allow Coca Cola to acquire 40% of Honest Tea by reassuring event goers that his commitment to producing a healthy, organic, less sweet drinks has not changed since the multinational became a majority player in his company. According to Goldman, the only thing that’s changed is that more people around the country have access to good iced tea.
When Goldman first started to make tea using thermal bottles and empty Snapple containers in 1998, he probably never thought that his home-grown business would be connected to Coca Cola, a producer of high fructose corn syrup drinks. From the beginning, Goldman wanted to produce a low-calorie, low-sugar, organic drink that was a healthy alternative to the high-sugar carbonated beverages already in the market.
When you hear the name Johnson & Johnson, you might think about baby oil, baby powder and band-aids–and not necessarily think of them as leaders in sustainability. At a speaker panel at the Net Impact Conference on Friday, several J&J company leaders spoke to how the company’s Credo is the backbone of its sustainability strategy and how they have avoided greenwashing as they implement their “Healthy Planet 2010 goals.”
During the talk, Al Iannuzzi, Senior Director of J&J’s Worldwide Environmental Health & Safety unit, told a story of his early days as an environmentalist in the 1970s who believed that “corporations are evil.” He resisted working for big corporations until he read J&J’s Credo–which upholds its responsibility to its employees, the environment and communities–and found an interesting job within the company. He’s been with J&J now for nearly 30 years and wants everyone to know how J&J is using business for good.
Net Impact chapter leaders from around the country kicked off the 2009 Net Impact Conference today to share best practices on how to successfully manage a social impact club that adds value to people’s lives and their communities. Many words of wisdom were imparted, especially about finding new ways to inspire member action and participation. If your city or school does not have a Net Impact chapter, keep reading because much of that advice can also be applied to various types of clubs and organizations.
As 3p readers know, the growing scarcity of freshwater is causing significant social and environment problems around the world. From a rise in cholera in parts of Africa to chronic water shortages in Australia as a result of drought, people everywhere are feeling the impact of the global water crisis.
Imagine H2O, a non-profit that aims to turn the world’s water problems into opportunities for entrepreneurs, is running a business plan competition to encourage water technology innovation. Through the inaugural Imagine H2O Prize Competition (which is accepting entries until Nov. 16, 2009) and its business incubator, the organization aims to bring water technology from entrepreneurs, investors, inventors and academics around the world to address critical water challenges.
As research from global water organizations, such as the World Water Council, indicate, addressing water conservation is critically needed. Participants of Imagine H2O’s competition will not only help solve a timely global issue, they will also receive assistance to bring their business idea to market. In addition to having the opportunity to receive $70,000 in cash and in-kind services, competition participants will also benefit from Imagine H2O’s incubator program.