Berkeley Takes on the Sugary Drink Industry

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday October 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

sugary_drinks_supermarketBerkeley, California has been called the epicenter of many things. In the 1960s, it played a pivotal role in the anti-war movement, the counter-culture movement and the free speech movement. And as Robert Reich, University of California, Berkeley Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, recently pointed out in his blog, the area may soon have one more attribute to add to its fame: the first city to tax sugary drinks.

If this doesn’t seem like much of an accolade, consider New York. The indefatigable ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to push through a ban on sugary drinks a few years back and was soundly rebuffed by the courts for executive overreach. The credit for that failure was attributed to the soda industry, which lodged a vigorous campaign to stop the restriction and has been equally focused on dispelling criticisms of the sugar industry.

But just because New York is big, populous and has lots of lobbyists and good lawyers, doesn’t mean the fight is over concerning food regulation and sugar, apparently. After all, if our national neighbor to the south can push through a soda tax, well, why not a little American city with a world-famous research center?

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Why Sustainability is Integral to Enterprise Risk Management

Leon Kaye | Wednesday October 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Enterprise risk management, sustainability, Workiva, supply chain, social responsibility, Leon Kaye, corporate governance, investor responsibility research center,

Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy, 2012.

Enterprise risk management (ERM) has long been a growing priority of corporate executives and boards — not a surprise since political, economic and social change can occur quickly. But a study issued by the business reporting firm Workiva suggests sustainability-related risks should be part of a company’s core ERM analysis. Climate is an obvious reason, as many businesses learned after Hurricane Sandy two years ago. But other factors, from supply chain management to confronting water scarcity, are behind why the study’s authors insist businesses need to take sustainability seriously if they are to remain viable for the long term.

Sustainability is more than highlighting environmental and social risks, however. The Workiva report insists that in order for sustainability to be part and parcel of a company’s risk management plan, buy-in has got to start at the top, board- and executive-level, with a solid corporate governance structure. And before those groans start coming out of the boardroom, it’s important to remember that many reports already out there prove that a company focused on being sustainable and socially responsible is one that also enjoys an improved financial performance.

But how should sustainability-related challenges be implemented and monitored?

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California Organic Dairy Farmers Hit Hard By Drought

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday October 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

organic dairyIt’s easy to see the impact of the three-year-long California drought in residential areas anywhere in the state. Just look for brown lawns or green lawns with patches of brown. Or drive through parts of the San Joaquin Valley and see idled farmland. It’s harder to see with the naked eye the effects of the drought on the dairy industry in general and the organic dairy industry specifically. But report after report by various media outlets reveals that organic dairy farmers are being hit very hard in the Golden State.

California is the state with the most organic dairy cows, and it gained that spot in just a few years. California had less than 100 organic dairy farms in 2008, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. By 2011, the state had 57,809 certified organic dairy cows, making it the state with the highest amount of them. California is clearly an important state for organic dairy production. And the lack of rainfall in the state means it’s hard for organic dairy farmers to keep grasses green.

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Is Jessica Alba’s Diaper Company ‘Honest’ About Its Eco-Credentials?

Alexis Petru
| Wednesday October 15th, 2014 | 3 Comments

Jessica AlbaThe Honest Company, a line of eco-friendly baby, personal care and cleaning products dreamed up by Jessica Alba, has become wildly popular among parents looking for an alternative to Pampers and Johnson & Johnson. But, in a marketplace overcrowded with questionable celebrity products – from Suzanne Somer’s ThighMaster to Jessica Simpson’s line of edible cosmetics – is it any wonder a conscious consumer would approach a company created by a Hollywood actress with a heavy dose of skepticism?

To find out if the Honest Company is serious about sustainability, a good place to start is its origin story. Alba said the idea to create her own baby product line came to her when she was pregnant with her first child: Alba’s mother recommended a laundry detergent specially formulated for babies that she had used during Alba’s own childhood, Alba said in an interview with the Thomas Reuters Foundation. But when the “Sin City” actress used the detergent, she broke out into a rash – which motivated her to investigate the health effects of chemicals in everyday consumer products.

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Procter & Gamble to Boost Conservation in Water-Stressed Areas

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday October 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

P&GProcter & Gamble, commonly known as P&G, expanded its sustainability goals to include water conservation and sustainable packaging. P&G expects its manufacturing facilities to reduce water use by an added 20 percent per unit of production, with a focus on water conservation initiatives at facilities in water-stressed areas. P&G has four locations in California, a state experiencing its third straight year of drought. The drought is one of the worst on record.

Additionally, the company is on track to meet its goal to reduce packaging by 20 percent per unit of production by 2020. P&G has reduced its packaging by 4.5 percent percent per consumer use since 2010, according to its 2013 Sustainability Report. This progress has spurred the company to add more packaging goals. One of those goals is doubling the use of recycled resin in plastic packaging. The other is ensuring that 90 percent of its product packaging is recyclable or programs are in place to create the ability to recycle it.

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SXSW Eco Interview: Jessica Kowal, Boeing

| Wednesday October 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

250px-Boeing-Logo.svgAviation may account for only 2 percent of global carbon emissions, but it’s quickly expanding and is likely to account for 3 percent by 2030. I had a chance to talk with Boeing‘s Jessica Kowal last week to learn about the ways that airlines and aircraft manufacturers plan to reduce this potential impact.  Essentially, there are three ways:

  • More efficient planes
  • More efficient routing and planning
  • Better fuels, especially biofuels

Watch our conversation below…

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San Francisco Law: Airbnb Wins, Vacation Rentals Lose

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 1 Comment

San_Francisco_residence_Airbnb_DOhmerAirbnb has finally gotten a break. After years of increasing scrutiny by cities like New York — which has contended that the sharing economy business has, in some cases, been operating illegally within the metropolitan area — Airbnb can finally chalk one up on its side.

The coup may not help its legal woes in New York, but it’s bound to make San Francisco home-sharing advocates a bit happier. On Oct. 7, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to legalize home rentals of 30 days or less for the city’s permanent residents.

Residents were previously restricted from renting out their homes for periods of less than 30 days, according to a law that the city said protected housing rates and helped to regulate property rentals. The new law allows residents who live in the city for a minimum of nine months of the year to rent out rooms or residences for short stays for up to 90 days of business per year.

Sharing economy advocates fought hard for the change, arguing that the rentals helped cash-strapped homeowners make their mortgages. As of next February, residents who register with the city, agree to pay hotel tax on their rentals and carry a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance can now legally rent out their digs.

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Living Progress: A Holistic Approach to Creating a Better Future

Alex Vietti
| Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, speaks to a crowd at the HP Living Progress Exchange at SXSW Eco 2014.

Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, speaks to a crowd at the HP Living Progress Exchange at SXSW Eco 2014.

Living Progress is HP’s vision of creating a better future for everyone through innovation and technology. Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, shared some of the strategies and projects the company is involved in around the world on the last day of the SXSW Eco conference.

First, Librie dove into the immense realities of HP’s scope and impacts: It is virtually impossible to go a day without interacting with some kind of HP technology, whether it is by a credit transaction or social media activity. Today, more data is created in 12 hours than was created in all of human history up to 2003, and HP’s Public Cloud uses more energy than all of Japan. If lined up side-by-side, the 8 to 10 million additional servers needed to store this data over the next 3 years will require the space of Manhattan.

These realities not only drive the necessity to think holistically, but also demonstrate the high degree of responsibility that HP has to lead us all in a more sustainable direction. Recognizing these impacts has motivated the company to consider the triple bottom line, Librie continued, because its team knows business-as-usual is not sustainable. 

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How Brands Are Using Your Selfie for Marketing

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Ditto, selfie, marketing, privacy, Instagram, social media, Twitter, selfies, Leon Kaye, Facebook

Dear Tostitos-sorry, I didn’t buy these but they’ve been in my kitchen for months and will soon be composted

I only got 10 likes in the last five minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
Let me take another selfie. . .

–“#Selfie,” by the Chainsmokers

Most of us who live on social media know that companies such as Instagram allow you to use their services on the condition that they can use your services, royalty-free, without any notification.

That was one reason why I avoided using Instagram at first, although almost 6,500 photos later, I got over those privacy concerns pretty quickly. Not that anyone would want to use photos of my dog, my dome smooshed into a bike helmet, or me doing a yoga backbend in front of the Taj Mahal. Maybe. But I also do not pose for selfies brandishing my middle finger, with my tongue wagging out, or passed out buried in a pile of empty Corona bottles (I only drink local or organic brews). Triple Pundit doesn’t need the embarrassment, nor do any of my business clients. But for those of you that love to post pics of your shopping expeditions or favorite junk foods, be aware: Your selfie could very well be dissected and analyzed by the digital marketing startup Ditto.

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How to Become a B Corp in Six Weeks or Less

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This is the tenth in a weekly series of excerpts from the new book The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the series.

B Corp Certification Six Week ChartBy Ryan Honeyman

Welcome to a six-week, turbocharged Quick Start Guide to becoming a Certified B Corporation.

The size and complexity of your company will affect how quickly you can move through the steps to B Corp certification. For example, smaller companies — especially service companies or companies without outside investors — should be able to move through the Quick Start Guide in less than six weeks. Larger companies with a sizable number of employees and/or departments will probably need the full six weeks or more.

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Unilever and WRI Partner to Stall Global Deforestation

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
WRI, World Resources Institute, forests, global forests, Unilever, Leon Kaye, deforestation, supply chain, Global Forest Watch, transparency

Learn how indigenous lands protect against forest loss in Brazil

One of the more welcome trends in recent years is the increase in partnerships between NGOs and businesses to work on sustainability challenges. The nonprofit has the expertise and capacity to work on issues from water to land rights; companies in turn have the funds, technology or brand recognition that can help raise awareness and scale these programs. One of the latest high-profile partnerships is between Unilever and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which have worked together to further a much needed agenda: increase transparency in agricultural supply chains to stall the pace of deforestation.

WRI has long included deforestation within its body of work, which makes it a natural fit to partner with a company such as Unilever, which uses palm oil in many of its products. And the growing demand for palm oil over the past decade is one of the major factors behind global deforestation. Despite growing awareness about deforestation’s catastrophic effects, the felling of trees, mostly to create farms and pastureland, continues. In fact, University of Maryland study suggests the rate of forests lost between 2010 and 2012 was the equivalent about 50 soccer fields every minute of every day — over a span of 12 years. Last month’s Climate Summit in New York resulted in a pledge to restore 350 million hectares of forest worldwide by 2030, a massive undertaking considering that landmass is about the size of India. So, can the Unilever-WRI alliance help?

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SXSW Eco Interview: Alejandro Rios, Masdar Institute

| Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

masdar-institute-logoWe’ve been following Masdar Institute for some time on 3p, which meant I was particularly pleased to talk to Dr. Alejandro Rios last week at SXSW Eco.  Specifically, we talked about a new project called ISEAS, which stands for “Integrated Seawater, Energy and Aquaculture System.”  The concept is every bit as interesting as the acronym suggests.  Take the challenges of feeding people, producing clean energy and dealing with scarce fresh water, and engineer a solution for all three.  It may be a tall order, but the ISEAS project proposes to do exactly that.

In a nutshell, Masdar Institute is attempting to use halophytes (plants that grow in seawater) to produce biofuels while at the same time filtering the pollutants associated with growing fish or shrimp in aquaculture ponds. The benefits are potentially huge:

  • The process uses only salt water, which is plentiful — even in Abu Dhabi — thus eliminating any debate about whether it wastes water.
  • The halophytes will also eliminate waste from the aquaculture — a major problem in traditional shrimp farming operations.
  • Useful biofuel will be produces when plants are harvested — possibly even jet fuel.
  • The whole thing is a carbon sink with a negative carbon footprint.

Granted, it’s all just an experiment at this point, but in the video below, Dr. Rios explains the basics…

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Lego to End Partnership with Shell

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Greenpeace LEGO campaignLego recently announced that it will not renew its contract with Shell when it ends in 2016. “We want to clarify that as things currently stand we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends,” the company said in a statement released last week. The announcement comes after a three-month-long campaign by the environmental group, Greenpeace. The group set its sights on Lego, demanding that the toy company drop its partnership with Shell.

The company made it clear that it did not like the campaign by Greenpeace. Instead of a campaign targeting the company, Greenpeace should have had “direct conversation with Shell,” Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, president and CEO of the Lego Group, said in a statement by the company. Knudstorp added that Lego does not “want to be part of Greenpeace’s campaign, and we will not comment any further on the campaign.”

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The Carbon for Water Program’s Impact in Rural Kenyan Homes

RP Siegel | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Triple Pundit’s RP Siegel visited Kenya to learn more about the LifeStraw Follow the Liters campaign. This is the second post from his trip. In case you missed it, you can read the first post here.

IMG_20141010_104431Last week, I described a school visit, in which the team introduced a number of LifeStraw Community Filters — provided by the Follow the Liters Campaign that just kicked off this week. The program will provide clean water to 125,000 school children in western Kenya.

On Friday, I made a number of home visits with Steve Otieno, Vestergaard‘s country director for climate & water in Kenya. Steve manages the Follow the Liters campaign here. He also managed the Carbon for Water program, which, funded by carbon credits that were administered by Climate Care, provided nearly 900,000 LifeStraw family filters back in 2011. The company maintains a staff in the area, who, assisted by a large volunteer force, makes regular home visits to ensure that the families are using the filters properly and are having no issues with them.

The company had hoped that after the pilot was completed, the program would continue to expand across Kenya. But the carbon market, which drives the program, has not kept pace. Now they are looking into other funding sources including local governments.

At the opening ceremony on Monday, Steve said, “We have been a family, but now we are a community.” Over these past few days I have come to see the meaning behind these words.

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After the Climate Summit: The U.N.’s Way Forward

Mary Mazzoni
| Monday October 13th, 2014 | 2 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

Triple Pundit was one of hundreds of organizations to attend the annual SXSW Eco conference in Austin last week. This post is part of our ongoing coverage.

Triple Pundit was one of hundreds of organizations to attend the annual SXSW Eco conference in Austin last week. This post is part of our ongoing coverage.

If you’re anything like me, it was tough to step away from the computer during Climate Week NYC. Like so many others, I scrolled tirelessly through Twitter during the People’s Climate March, which drew more than 400,000 supporters from all over the world in a hopeful foreshadowing of things to come. Then it was quickly on to live feeds of the United Nations Climate Summit, a historic gathering that promised to pave the way to a more sustainable future.

But last week as I strolled through the Austin Convention Center at the 2014 SXSW Eco conference, I overheard murmurings that the march and summit had disappeared from news feeds as quickly as they arrived — that the media had all but forgotten the momentum supporters worked so hard to build.

Of course, just because a subject vanishes from the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t mean it loses its footing at the forefront of the public agenda. For activists, supporters and, yes, even world leaders, the U.N. Climate Summit is still very much a hot topic. As a group of sustainability professionals, nonprofit leaders and reporters filed into a U.N. panel discussion at SXSW Eco, it was clear the summit still mattered a great deal to us. We all had one question on our minds: What happens next?

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