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.

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Metal Roofing: An Unlikely Way to Reduce Waste and Save Energy

3p Contributor | Wednesday August 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Red Metal RoofBy Paul Kazlov

As consumers become more educated about the need for sustainable living, many homeowners and homebuyers are prioritizing eco-friendly living in their home purchases and renovations. To meet the public outcry for conservation, recyclability and sustainability, those in the home improvement and construction industries are seeking solid alternatives that will adhere to even the most rigorous standards of eco-friendliness and sustainable living. Of the various home improvement green solutions, metal roofing is definitely one that is gaining great popularity even among the most skeptical homeowners and buyers.

The rise of metal roofing

Made of various metal materials — such as tin, aluminum, copper, and galvanized steel — metal roofs are known to withstand some of Mother Nature’s most wicked rages. Be it heavy rainstorms, hailstorms or snow, metal roofs will keep homeowners safe and away from the elements. In addition to being fire-resistant and impervious to the most unforgiving weathers and troublesome pests, metal roofs are also an environmentally friendly roofing solution for their superior energy-saving features, unmatched longevity and high recyclability.

Energy efficiency

Considered a ‘cool’ roof, metal roofs are an energy efficient roofing solution that will save homeowners up to 40 percent in their energy expenditure. Using a solar spectrum reflectometer and an emission meter to conduct a three-year study on the energy efficiency and service life of metal roofing systems, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Buildings Technology Center found that the high solar reflectivity and emissivity levels of cool metal roofing can greatly mitigate urban heat island effects. Moreover, while white coatings on other roofing materials displayed a 25 to 40 percent drop in their initial reflectance, the metal roof tested retained most of its initial solar reflectance during the study. In fact, researchers found that pre-painted metal was able to keep almost 95 percent of its reflexivity.

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Toledo Loses Drinking Water to Algal Bloom From Farm Runoff

RP Siegel | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

CyanobacteriaA friend and I happened to be traveling through the far reaches of Western New York this weekend, and the weather was getting hot. So, we took a little detour to a park with a beach that fronted on Lake Erie. The place was pretty deserted except for a family who were picking up rocks and an old man looking for sea glass. The water was green with large sections that were brown. A couple of the kids were ankle-deep in the water. Hoping for a swim, my friend asked the mother if anyone swam around there. She made a face and said, “I wouldn’t.”

We didn’t and that was probably a good thing. On our way out we saw a sign that said, “No Swimming by Order of the Health Department.” When we got home we heard the news about Toledo, Ohio, which lies along the western edge of Lake Erie, where health officials had advised residents not to drink the water coming out of their faucets. The order also said not to use it for brushing teeth or give it to pets. Children and the elderly were also advised not to bathe or swim in it.

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Review: MGM Resorts CSR Report

| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment
MGM

MGM Resorts employees perform in a show about sustainability.

Las Vegas — land of excess — seems like a strange home for corporate responsibility. But even casinos (or “gaming and hospitality companies,” as MGM Resorts prefers to be called) find value in looking deeply at social and environmental issues related to their operations. It makes sense since these are enormous operations. MGM Resorts employs 62,000 people at 23 resorts worldwide. Many of the 39 million people who visit Las Vegas annually will stay at an MGM property like Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Luxor, New York-New York or Circus Circus. That’s a lot of people descending on a desert property, with a huge potential environmental and social impact. But as I learned, MGM Resorts is deeply focused on both employee satisfaction and minimizing its environmental footprint.

Diversity, philanthropy, sustainability

MGM’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is focused on diversity and inclusion, philanthropy, and sustainability (the company’s word for environmental efforts). Diversity is a core focus and approximately 65 percent of MGM Resorts’ employees are minorities. MGM Resorts was the first organization in the gaming and hospitality industry to voluntarily adopt a formal diversity and inclusion policy in 2001, and the CSR reporting initiative grew out of the reporting efforts on that policy. Environmental efforts were added to the report in 2005.

The report is titled “Inspiring our World,” which is also the name of the MGM Resorts’ employee show. The Vegas-style production was developed by and for employees to “deepen the company’s corporate culture and motivate employees to excel in guest service while making positive contributions to the communities they call home, embracing diversity and being exceptional environmental stewards.” According to Phyllis A. James, MGM Resorts International Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer , the goal was to showcase the value of sustainability and share some of the big wins MGM Resorts had made in the world of sustainability. Unfortunately for us, the full video is unavailable online so we have to be content with b-roll.

The Inspiring Our World show is a fantastic example of using the company’s core skill set — entertainment — to both drive employee engagement and share the message of sustainability in a non-linear way. No one says CSR reporting needs to come through boring .PDFs full of graphs and charts (although they can certainly help). Wouldn’t it be incredible if MGM Resorts created a similar show in future reporting cycles to talk about their sustainability? That would win them some awards for innovation and certainly lots of press from the sustainability world.

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When it Comes to CSR, Tiffany’s Shines Bright

Leon Kaye | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 3 Comments
Tiffany and Co., jewelry, corporate social responsibility, CSR, diamonds, blood diamonds, Leon Kaye, environmental stewardship, precious metals, gemstones, transparency

Tiffany & Co. just released its latest CSR report.

A business that has existed since the 1830s and is entrenched in American culture would not necessarily feel compelled to ensure it is a leader in ethical and responsible business. But Tiffany & Co. has long been a sustainability leader within its sector. Twenty years before many luxury goods companies began to pay attention to the sourcing of raw materials and how people working within their supply chains were affected, Tiffany’s developed policies that are increasingly becoming more mainstream throughout the jewelry industry.

In its latest corporate social responsibility report, Tiffany & Co. outlines how it sources its precious metals, diamonds and gemstones, as well as the steps it has taken to ensure transparency while mitigating its environmental and social impacts.

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Survey Finds That U.S. Leads the World in Climate Denial

RP Siegel | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 29 Comments

4538083341_7ae99b218d_zThis may confirm suspicions that many of us have already had. Besides leading the world in consumer debt and military spending, the U.S. can now add climate denial to that list. That is, according to a Global Trends survey by the U.K.-based market research firm Ipsos MORI. The study polled 16,000 people in 20 leading countries on eight different topics, including the environment.

Not only was the U.S. last, but it was last by a considerable margin. Consider the following question: “To what extent do you agree or disagree, the climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity?” A mere 54 percent of respondents from the U.S. agreed. Compare that with 93 percent from China and 84 percent from both Argentina and Italy. India, France, Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, South Korea and South Africa all scored 75 percent or higher. Other similar questions yielded similar results. These results were in alignment was data compiled by Pew Research a year ago, which examined the issues that people in various countries considered the greatest threats.

Tied for second-to-last with 64 percent were Great Britain and Australia. What do these three English-speaking countries have in common? Among other things, global media holding company News Corporation, the world’s second-largest media conglomerate, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Canada, which is also blessed with Murdoch’s version of the news, was only slightly better, with 71 percent agreeing.

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PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy Collaborate On Recycling, Drinking Water

| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

plasticwaste005Plastic waste is inundating urban, rural and wilderness landscapes and inland waterways, as well as our ocean waters. Besides the visual blight, plastic waste kills, seriously injures or damages wildlife and domesticated animals. The slow degradation of synthetic plastics, moreover, releases a mix of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere, land and waters, poisoning the natural ecosystems and resources that form the foundation of our economy and society.

The average American tosses away some 185 pounds of plastic per year, an estimated 50 percent of which is used only once before being discarded. Overall, the recycling rate for plastics in the U.S. is around 42 percent, a rate that public- and private-sector organizations are working to raise, both for self-serving, as well as more altruistic, motivations.

Late last week, PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced the launch of “Recycle for Nature,” a five-year partnership that will see the two organizations place recycling bins at gas stations and convenience stores across the U.S. In addition to reducing plastic waste by spurring more recycling, the initiative aims to save and restore 1 billion gallons per year of drinking water sourced from five of the most heavily populated and scenic U.S. waterways, PepsiCo and TNC explain in a press release.

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The Millennials Perspective on Impact Investing

3p Contributor | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared in Green Money Journal. Click here to view more posts in this series.

Julius Tapper of TD Bank Group and four other millennial change-makers discuss their feelings about impact investing in a recent issue of GreenMoney.

Julius Tapper of TD Bank Group and four other millennial change-makers discuss their feelings about impact investing in a recent issue of Green Money.

By Cliff Feigenbaum

Green Money Journal‘s new issue has an impressive set of five articles that all come from millennial voices and deal with their approaches to investing and business.

In the July edition, Liesel Pritzker Simmons of Blue Haven Initiative walks us through the experiences that have shaped her thoughts on investing, while offering some suggestions for financial advisors;  Julius Tapper of TD Bank Group provides a personal story about the importance of aligning identities in the investment world;  Morgan Simon of Pi Investments & Transform Finance pushes us to achieve more community accountability and more actively engage the people that matter most in impact investing; Brian Weinberg of Nexus describes the global organizing of millennials taking place through Nexus; and Justin Conway of Calvert Foundation provide some observations of how millennials are already changing the investment conversation.

Take some time to read these article excerpts, below, from some millennial leaders who are actively pushing the envelope in helping to shape how not just millennials, but all of us, think about and engage in investing and business. We hope you find some of their perspectives exciting and challenging, and ultimately cause you to be more inspired in your work to build a better world. We’ve certainly got a lot of work to do together.

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Design, Equity and Public Health Outcomes

Sherrell Dorsey
| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

community design, smart growth, architecture, architecture public health, cdc, built environment, public health, thomas fisherCan good design improve the health of the public?

This is the question rattling the brains of architects and urban planners as they convene frequently at conferences to trade best practices on helping cities to recover from the sins of post-industrial buildings by leveraging design as a mitigating cure-all to detrimental health statistics plaguing communities around the world.

For Thomas Fisher, professor of architecture and dean of the University of Minnesota, design is capable of serving as a means through which we build healthier environments and influence healthy human behavior.

“It’s not just keeping people safe or meeting the building codes or fire codes, it is really a responsibility about keeping populations healthy,” Fisher told Fast Company.

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Bigger Fish Eye Mid-Tier Smart Energy Storage Market

| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sharp_Offices_310_233 Bigger fish are taking greater interest in the mid-tier energy storage market, looking to capitalize on technological advances and the introduction of energy storage mandates and development programs by governments in California, Hawaii, New York and Puerto Rico.

Following the path of entrepreneurial startups such as Santa Clara, California’s Green Charge Networks, Sharp Electronics on July 29 announced its SmartStorage solution is now available throughout the Golden State.

Akin to Green Charge’s GreenStation, Sharp’s SmartStorage system employs the latest in lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery storage technology and intelligent demand response (DR) software algorithms to enable commercial and industrial utility customers to better manage electricity consumption — specifically demand charges. In contrast to standard residential rates, which have been falling, utility demand charges have been rising at some 10 percent per year.

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Kimberly-Clark & Greenpeace: #ForestSolutions Twitter Chat Recap

Marissa Rosen
| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Five years ago, Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace established a framework for collaboration to work positively toward long-term solutions to conserve and protect forest resources worldwide. Appropriately marking the traditional “wood” anniversary, K-C and Greenpeace hosted a first-of-its-kind Twitter chat on August 5th, 2014, to discuss progress and future goals.
kcc-twitter

The chat covered topics such as how K-C and Greenpeace resolved their differences five years ago, what they’ve achieved since, how their relationship thrives, and where the two are moving next.

Twitter chat guests included:

  • Peggy Ward (@PeggyatKC), Kimberly-Clark’s sustainability strategy leader for North America consumer tissue
  • Richard Brooks (@RBGreenpeace), forest campaign coordinator for Greenpeace Canada
  • Rolf Skar (@RolfSkarGP), forest campaign director for Greenpeace USA

Facilitators were Journalist and Social Media Strategist, Aman Singh (@AmanSinghCSR), and TriplePundit Founder and Publisher, Nick Aster (@NickAster).

The conversation took place at #ForestSolutions. In case you missed it, the Storify Twitter Chat summary is below. 

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Tesla and Panasonic Agree to Build Battery Gigafactory

Leon Kaye | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Tesla Motors, Panasonic, gigafactory, Leon Kaye, lithium ion batteries, Elon Musk, Reno, battery technology

Tesla will partner with Panasonic to build the world’s largest battery factory.

Two companies, one long a leader in battery manufacturing, the other an upstart disrupting the entire industry, have agreed to work together and build a large-scale battery factory in the United States. Late last week Panasonic and Tesla Motors inked an agreement that outlines a framework for building what Tesla has called the “Gigafactory.”

This latest partnership builds upon the relationship the Japanese electronics giant and Silicon Valley luxury electric vehicle maker have long fostered. Panasonic invested millions of dollars in Tesla earlier this decade in a bid to accelerate the expansion of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and the company also became one of the car manufacturer’s most important suppliers of lithium-ion batteries.

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UPS Sustainability Report Proves It: Carbon Management is Good Business

| Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

UPS sustainabilityThe new UPS sustainability report has come out and so has the company’s latest financial report. That coincidence provides an opportunity to take a closer look at the strategies that mature companies can enlist to maintain profitability while juggling two colossal new challenges to their business model: the demands of an increasingly carbon-constrained economy and the emergence of significant new market forces enabled by online technology.

The financial report makes it clear that UPS has recognized that new online shopping trends demand new investments. The shipping giant was overwhelmed by a rush of online orders last holiday season, and it is determined to step up its game this year with a $175 million stake in new sorting infrastructure and software improvements.

That investment resulted in a short-term hit on profitability, but UPS is confident that it will pay off in the long run. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the company’s new ‘Committed to More’ sustainability report.

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Wikileaks Targets Australia with New Leak and More Controversy

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Wikileaks_logo.svgJust when we started to forget about Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, the activist organization is back in the news. This time it isn’t the covert tactics of the National Security Agency, Guantanamo prisoners or the touchy nature of the federal government’s overseas relations that Wikileaks is fingering, but the Australian government.

On Tuesday Wikileaks released information about a gag order that prevented Australia’s media from informing the public about investigations into a multi-national graft case. In addition to publishing the information on its website, Wikileaks also released notice of the gag order to the Guardian in the U.K.

According to the Guardian, the Supreme Court of Victoria said it placed the ban “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations.” What has critics particularly concerned, however, is the nature of the gag order, which prevents Australian media from even acknowledging that there is a ban in place.

“Who is brokering our deals, and how are we brokering them as a nation? Corruption investigations and secret gag orders for ‘national security’ reasons are strange bedfellows,” asserts Wikileaks.

According to its website, the gag order relates to the “secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).” Those indictments and the ongoing investigations are linked to a scandal that surfaced in 2012  concerning alleged payments between RBA staff and government officials in Asia.

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H&M, The World’s Largest Organic Cotton User: Better Enough?

Leon Kaye | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments
HM, organic cotton, cotton, fashion, Leon Kaye, better cotton initiative, organic, textile exchange,

Can organic cotton make a difference? H&M seems to think so.

Its clothes are still largely manufactured under dubious conditions in Bangladesh, and many critics doubt the company’s commitment to sustainable apparel, but H&M can claim again one top ranking: the world’s largest procurer of organic cotton. When considering the company’s massive impact across the globe, however, the reaction of many will only be yawns. And with the amount of land worldwide devoted to producing materials for the textile and fashion industry, will a growing sliver of this total now certified “organic” really make a difference for people and the environment?

According to the Textile Exchange’s most recent Organic Cotton Market Report 2013, H&M has reemerged as No. 1 in its annual business rankings of worldwide organic cotton buyers. H&M had topped the list in 2010 and 2011, only to fall to second in 2012. The increased proportion of organic cotton H&M had sourced was largely the result of this jump — according to the company, the share of cotton coming from organic sources rose from 7.8 percent in 2012 to 10.8 percent last year. But with the decade about halfway finished, it is doubtful H&M can meet one of its most important sustainability goals.

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