Researchers Find Hidden Value in Carbon Offsets

| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 2 Comments

ImperialICROATitleClimate change skeptics and deniers habitually assert that cutting carbon emissions and putting a price on carbon would jeopardize economic growth and job creation. Hence, by their reasoning, we’re better off living with the rising costs and profound threats resulting from rising greenhouse gas emissions and a warming climate.

Research carried out by Imperial College London in partnership with the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA) indicates otherwise. In Unlocking the Hidden Value of Carbon Offsetting, the researchers conclude that investing in carbon offset credit programs yields significant social, environmental and economic returns beyond greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

According to the research results, investing in voluntary carbon emissions offset credit programs creates economic development opportunities, enhances environmental conservation, and improves people’s lives by realizing a host of social benefits that range from household savings and health benefits to healthier water resources. Overall, they determined that the additional value – beyond emissions reductions – of each metric ton of carbon emissions avoided by purchasing offset credits totals $664. Ipso facto, they add, carbon offset credits are systemically undervalued.

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Fast Food Sales: “That’s Not Ketchup…It’s Blood”

Bill Roth | Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Whats_Hot_Top10McDonald’s store sales just took another nose-dive. Global same store sales tanked more than three percent. One investment analyst entitled his analysis of McDonald’s prospective sales growth as “That’s not ketchup…it’s blood.”

The three stated reasons for McDonald’s sales declines were: competition; the company’s own missteps, including a TV story in China showing work associates mishandling chicken; and “shifting consumer tastes.” The harsh sales reality for McDonald’s and other fast food retailers is that consumers increasingly associate eating their food with being fat and unhealthy. For the millennial generation focused on being “cool with a purpose,” the eating of fast food is definitely not cool or purposeful.

Fast food schizophrenia damages brand equity

The marketing of fast food is schizophrenic. Fast food used to be well understood by consumers as being cheap, tasty and convenient. Now the same fast food restaurant chain will run simultaneous schizophrenic ads where it promotes a healthy chicken wrap in one ad and its supersized hamburger loaded with bacon and cheese in another. This marketing schizophrenia only serves to undermine the customer’s understanding of the chain’s core values. In comparison, Chipotle’s stock continues to soar to record levels based on its singular marketing focus of selling sustainably-sourced, good food.

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Stronger Local and Trans-border Policies Needed to Tackle Air Pollution

GreenFutures
GreenFutures | Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Ibrahim Maiga

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently sounded the alarm about global air quality. In the 1,600 cities it monitors, only 12 percent of people breathe air that falls within its quality guidelines. In February of this year, the concentration of pollutants in the air in Beijing and Shanghai was more than 20 times WHO limits. But Delhi was the city found to have the world’s highest annual average concentration of PM2.5 – fine particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 microns, and considered the most harmful form of air pollution to human health, the WHO reported in May.

These are just the statistics we know about: The WHO recently told the Guardian some of the worst cities for air pollution “are not collecting data regularly.”

The good news is that the policies and technologies that are needed to address the two main causes of all this air pollution – heavy industry and vehicles – have been tried and tested for decades now. “Effective policies restrict the amount [of pollutants] that various polluters can emit, and then companies have options about how they choose to do it,” says Deborah Seligsohn, an environmental policy analyst specializing in China and India, based at the University of California, San Diego.

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What This 3-D Printed Lip Balm Jar Means for the Future of Cosmetics Packaging

Sherrell Dorsey
| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Anitas balm, 3d printing, 3d printing cosmetics, loreal, bio plastics, estee lauder, sustainable cosmetics, aveda, origins, cargo cosmetics, terracycle, lush cosmetics, eco friendly cosmetics, beauty productsMillions of cosmetic tubes, jars, caps, wands and other hard-to-recycle packaging materials are sent to landfills each year. Not only do our personal care packaging disposal habits wreak havoc on our waste streams, they also ask us to consider: To what extent of environmental costs are we willing to pay in order to maintain our beauty routines?

The onus doesn’t simply fall on the consumer to re-think the way we toss our toiletries. Mass-market brands like LUSH Cosmetics, Cargo Cosmetics and Aveda that have concentrated their efforts on producing smarter and easy-to-recycle lines have demonstratively served both people and planet with their business models.

“Sustainability in the beauty sector is not new given the efforts of brands such as Aveda CPR, Unilever compressed deodorant can, and Cargo now discontinued PlantLove lipstick eco-friendly formula with biodegradable packaging,” explains Tina-Gaye Bernard, cosmetics industry marketing consultant, founder of Cocoa Chic Beauty and former director of marketing for brands such as L’Oreal, Sue Devitt Beauty and Clinque. “Cosmetic industry manufacturers will continue to pursue cost and earth efficient improvements.”

In 2011, Garnier partnered with free waste collection programs TerraCyle to divert a significant portion of its packaging waste from landfills. Through the partnership, Garnier works with Terracycle to allow salons and individuals to recycle their packaging through the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade program — a free recycling program for hair care, skin care, and cosmetic product packaging, as well as a fundraising opportunity for participants. To date, the program has collected over 4 billion units of packaging waste and has raised over $82,000 dollars for charities.

But what if there was another way that cosmetics companies could marry both quality packaging with earth-friendly principles?

When entrepreneur Anita Redd, who faced a challenge when the packaging for her natural skin care products–Anita’s Balm, was discontinued by her supplier, she found cohesive solace between her all-natural lip balm line and a biodegradable jar she crafted with a 3-D printer. The bump in her proverbial road turned out to be just the challenge she needed to re-think her mission of marketing high-quality, natural products with guilt-free packaging.

Her custom designed and printed jars are now patent pending.

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‘More Than Me Academy’ Educates and Protects Vulnerable Girls in Liberia

3p Contributor | Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Erb Perspective blog, a publication of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute at the University of Michigan.

More Than Me Academy provides quality education to at-risk girls from the West Point slum of Liberia.

More Than Me Academy provides quality education to at-risk girls from the West Point slum of Liberia.

By Marianna Kerppola

As I entered the classroom, 26 girls between the ages of 10 and 18 chanted: “Welcome to More Than Me Academy. We are the girls of Power class, What is your name?” I answered “Marianna” and watched their charismatic teacher prompt the class to spell out my name phonetically as my heart melted.

More Than Me (MTM) Academy is a girls school in Monrovia, Liberia founded in September 2013. MTM enrolls 125 girls from a slum called West Point, a neighborhood known to have the highest rates of child prostitution in the country. MTM works towards making sure that “education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, define the lives of the most vulnerable girls from the West Point slum of Liberia.” Because of the 14-year civil war in Liberia, education has lagged for all children — but girls in particular. Most of the girls’ parents are illiterate, never having a chance to go to school while Charles Taylor pummeled the country. As a result, these families are stuck in a cycle of poverty, without the support of organizations, like MTM.

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Stories & Beer: Sept. 25 — Positive Tourism

Marissa Rosen
| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

logo-2It’s time for a special “Stories and Beer” on Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. Pacific (9:30 Eastern) at the Impact HUB San Francisco.  We will be deviating from our usual format to bring you a series of presentations on positive tourism in honor of World Tourism Day (WTD).  Register here!

In support of WTD, Altruvistas, Travel Massive and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) have combined forces to organize a special evening featuring an exciting line-up of speakers:

  • Rodney Fong; Commission VP, San Francisco Planning Commission
  • John Picard; Founder and CEO, John Picard and Associates
  • Malia Everette; Founder and CEO, Altruvistas 

World Tourism Day (WTD) was created  by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide. This year’s WTD will be headquartered in Guadalajara, Mexico, with complementary events all over the globe.

NOT IN SF? NO WORRIES! RETURN TO THIS PAGE ON SEPTEMBER 25 TO VIEW THE EVENT LIVE! 

Our event is volunteer-driven and will benefit ECPAT, the leading global anti-child trafficking in tourism organization. We’ll be raffling off tours and giveaways to support this wonderful organization.  Giveaways include prizes from Hotwire, Russian River Adventures, Incredible Adventures, Localite Tours, Magic Bus Savor Oakland and more.

Join the WTD conversation on social media at #WTD2014, and join our conversation at #3pChat.

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The End of Apartheid Litigation and the Future of Corporate Accountability

Michael Kourabas
| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Late last month,

Late last month, a New York District Court judge tossed the last of the apartheid-related cases pending against two American corporations, Ford and IBM.

The quest to hold corporations liable for alleged human rights abuses committed abroad was dealt another blow late last month when a New York District Court judge tossed the last of the apartheid-related cases pending against two American corporations, Ford and IBM.

In a begrudging bow to current precedent, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, of the Southern District of New York, denied plaintiffs’ motion to amend their complaint because they would be unable to meet the stringent demands of a test announced by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in the year.  More importantly, if the law of the Second Circuit becomes the law of the land, U.S. corporations could be effectively immune from civil liability for violations of international law that are perpetrated exclusively by foreign subsidiaries on foreign soil.

The Alien Tort Statute and a refresher on the Supreme Court’s Kiobel decision

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) grants jurisdiction to U.S. District Courts “of all causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nation or of a treaty of the United States.”  As I described in an earlier piece for TriplePundit, the question of the ATS’ application to corporations is muddy.  In the seminal 2013 case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Kiobel), the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by Nigerian citizens who alleged that Shell and other oil companies aided in the Nigerian government’s violent suppression of resistance to drilling operations in Nigeria.  In affirming the holding of the Second Circuit, the majority held that, because all of the alleged human rights abuses occurred abroad, the plaintiffs could not overcome the presumption against the application of U.S. law to conduct occurring outside of the U.S. (aka “extraterritorial” application).

“Touch and concern”

In Kiobel’s most important passage, the Court added that:

 [E]ven where [plaintiffs’] claims touch and concern the territory of the United States, they must do so with sufficient force to displace the presumption against extraterritorial application. Corporations are often present in many countries, and it would reach too far to say that mere corporate presence suffices.  (my emphasis)

The Supreme Court did not define the all-important phrases, “touch and concern” or “sufficient force,” leading lower courts and pundits to fight about whether or not the opinion completely closed the door to lawsuits against corporations that allegedly violated international law in a country other than the U.S.  Further confusing the matter is that the Second Circuit, in its decision in the Kiobel case, held that the ATS “simply does not confer jurisdiction over suits against corporations,” and though the Supreme Court did not appear to go this far, it did affirm the Second Circuit’s holding.

Thus, after Kiobel, whether and/or how a corporation could be held liable under the ATS remains an open question.

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with Flip Labs on Seafood Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 10 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

2836470601_80e8ea39c0_zFact: More than one-third of the seafood sold in North America is mislabeled, by either type of fish, catch method or provenance. And upwards of 24 million tons of seafood is caught and sold illegally every year.

Traceability is a hot-button issue in all supply chains, but when it comes to the food we eat, these figures become even more unsettling. As Cheryl Dahle, founder of Future of Fish and CEO of Flip Labs, noted in a recent op/ed on Triple Pundit: “Beyond what that deception may mean for your health, it is also a window to other more systemic challenges, including pirate fishing, human trafficking, and widespread fraud and corruption.”

She went on to explain that these problems can’t be addressed by a few consumers making the choice to “eat local.” “We need to rebuild the systems and behaviors of the global interconnected brokers, corporations and governments that touch your food before it hits your plate,” she wrote.

To accomplish this, stakeholders in the seafood industry have come together to compile verified data on where and how a fish is caught. Regulators already require any seafood caught or sold in the U.S. to provide documentation of where, when and how it was caught. But, as 3p correspondent Lauren Zanolli pointed out, that information is still often filed on paper forms, and there is no way of knowing if it will follow the right piece of seafood through the supply chain. So, naturally, some questions remain about how to improve traceability in seafood supply chains.

As part of 3p Traceability Week, Cheryl Dahle of  Flip Labs will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about seafood traceability. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with MJ Freeway on Medical Marijuana Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 12 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

4473997946_9140fb05b5_zSustainability is inching ever-closer to the mainstream, but it isn’t the only green revolution sweeping the nation. I’m referring, of course, to marijuana legalization. The “Reefer Madness” days are long gone: Medical marijuana sales are now permitted in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and two states (Washington and Colorado) have outright legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over.

The industry has proven to be a big money-maker — Colorado raked in about $12.6 million the first three months after marijuana was legalized — but some growing pains remain. Washington and Colorado, where recreational pot is legal, have seen a wave of ‘marijuana tourism.’ As flocks of tourists seek out a taste of legalized marijuana, some inexperienced smokers may catch a sour buzz — as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd experienced firsthand when she took one too many bites of a pot edible while visiting Denver. As Dowd found out, some edibles do not include dosage instructions; the candy bar she ate, for example, was intended to be divided into 16 pieces for novices, but that recommendation was not included on the label.

When it comes to medical marijuana, these concerns can become even more pronounced. Things like dosage instructions, predictable levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and verification that the marijuana contains no additives are necessary if the product is to be dispensed for therapeutic purposes. For both medical and recreational use, it is also pertinent for legal processors, infused product manufacturers and retailers to verify that the marijuana they sell was sourced from legal grow operations. All of these concerns make traceability a big issue for this fledgling industry.

As part of 3p Traceability Week, the MJ Freeway team will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about medical marijuana traceability. Based in Denver, Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana sales are legal, MJ Freeway provides software solutions that help producers, processors, infused product manufacturers and retailers track the product throughout the supply chain — from field to cash register. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with Indigenous on Fashion Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 11 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

6626081235_996c0cb8ab_zThe fashion industry has one of the most controversial supply chains out there: Finding a garment that’s made from sustainable materials by workers who were paid fair wages can seem next to impossible for concerned consumers.

Since clothing manufacturing is typically contracted out to third-party factory operators, it was once possible for big brands to claim ignorance and hide behind their convoluted supply chains — but those days are long gone. Ever since the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse claimed the lives of 1,129 garment workers in 2013, the spotlight has increasingly centered on sustainability within the fashion supply chain — and a growing number of consumers are asking where their clothes came from.

Behind relatively simple questions — such as what a garment is made from, who made it and where — lie even more complicated queries: Is end-to-end traceability even possible? Will brands jump on board? What is already being done to pull back the veil on the fashion supply chain?

As part of 3p Traceability Week, Matthew Reynolds and Scott Leonard, co-founders of the fair trade fashion label Indigenous, will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about fashion traceability. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with Source Intelligence on Mineral Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 13 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

On August 22, 2012, the SEC issued a final rule on conflict minerals in accordance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The rule requires companies to disclose annually whether any conflict minerals — tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold that originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo or an adjoining country — are necessary to the functionality or production of a product. If these minerals are deemed necessary, as defined by the provision, companies must provide a report describing “the measures taken to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of those minerals.” Each report must include an independent private-sector audit.

Outside of the jewelry you’d expect, these minerals are used in a wide array of products, including the beloved technology many Americans now consider to be essential to their way of life. In fact, some estimates suggest that at least half of all SEC issuers will be impacted by the regulation.

June 2 was the first filing deadline for registrants to comply with the SEC’s conflict minerals rule — which sent the Web into a flurry about how companies were handling the requirement. While disclosing the presence of conflict minerals may sound simple, most companies had to complete rigorous supply chain investigations in order to discern where minerals came from in the first place. This challenge begs the question: If companies don’t know where minerals come from, how are consumers supposed to make informed decisions about the products they buy? And, perhaps even more importantly, how can we hope to eliminate conflict minerals — and other minerals mined in socially or environmentally irresponsible ways — from store shelves?

As part of 3p Traceability Week, Tristan Mecham, director of product development for Source Intelligence, will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about minerals traceability. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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Google, Ford Among Companies Accused of Climate Change Hypocrisy

Leon Kaye | Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Climate change, climate change hypocrisy, forecast the facts, citizen engagement laboratory, google, ford, ebay, ups, Microsoft, Leon Kaye, climate change deniers

Ford is accused of climate change hypocrisy, but is that fair?

Companies including Google, UPS, Ford Motor Co., Microsoft and eBay have long positioned themselves as leaders in the fight against climate change — their work, in fact, has been regularly featured here in Triple Pundit by many of our writers, including me. But Forecast the Facts, a project of the Citizen Engagement Laboratory, has issued a scathing report on what it describes as their funding of “climate change deniers.”

And it is the aforementioned companies for which Forecast the Facts has the harshest words. This report “raises questions about Google’s own honesty”; calls out Bill Ford for his company’s donations to climate deniers who “thwart, even mock, sustainability”; equates US$1 million in Microsoft donations to funding Big Tobacco scientists; and in turn is dismissive of eBay’s and UPS’ efforts related to sustainability based on some of the donations these companies have given out the past few years.

But is it fair to paint these companies as hypocritical based on some of their political donations?

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PwC: Five-Fold Rise in Pace of Carbon Emissions Cuts Needed

| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

344841Ongoing increases in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mean the world’s largest economies will have to work that much harder and pick up the pace of energy-sector GHG emissions reductions in order to avoid the risks and impacts of runaway climate change, according to an analysis of economic growth rates and GHG emissions for G20 economies produced by PwC.

Home to the world’s largest economies, G20 countries will have to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sector 6.2 percent for every dollar of GDP — every year from now to 2100 — in order to keep global warming within the 2 degrees Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) limit agreed to by nearly 200 nations as part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Copenhagen Accord. That’s more than five times the current pace, PwC analysts highlight in the sixth annual Low Carbon Economy Index, 2 degrees of separation – ambition & reality report.

“After a decade of carbon inertia, we are way behind, and now need to decarbonise at more than five times our current rate to avoid 2 degrees Celsius … Making up for the inadequacy to date will be technologically harder, financially costlier, and climactically riskier in the future.” Leo Johnson, a partner in PwC’s sustainability and climate change unit, stated.

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Chiquita Sued For Deceptive Sustainability Claims

RP Siegel | Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 3 Comments

BananasOne aspect of our world that has undisputedly changed is the increased transparency and availability of information. This makes it harder for companies and politicians to get away with making false claims.

Last month, Chiquita Brands International received notice of a lawsuit filed by Seattle-based Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) accusing the company of deceptive advertising practices. Specifically, the company claims in their advertising that their “bananas are farmed in an ecologically friendly and sustainable manner.”

This, according to WASH founder Eric John Harrison, “is far from the truth.”

Says Harrison: “Chiquita sells millions of pounds of bananas that are produced in ways that destroy natural ecosystems and contaminate the drinking water of local communities living next to Chiquita’s largest Guatemalan supplier. The pesticides and fungicides used on these Chiquita-contracted plantations are toxic, and the aerial application falls on homes, schools and residents.” According to the lawsuit, some 7,200 residents are at risk in the Guatemalan communities of Ticanu, Barra Nahualate, Playa Semillero, San Francisco and Madre Vieja.

WASH has previously reached a settlement with Chiquita’s rival Dole in Guatemala in which Dole agreed to provide clean drinking water to seven communities in the vicinity of Ocos.

Chiquita’s practices, according to Harrison, were hidden, even to Rainforest Alliance, which monitors activities in the area and has endorsed Chiquita with their green frog logo. This could be due to the use of independent contractor COBIGUA, which sells million so of pounds of bananas to Chiquita annually and even bears the Chiquita logo on its trucks.

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Policy Points: On Carbon and Water, Policymakers Should Listen to Small Business

American Sustainable Business Council
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Policymakers, business owners and concerned citizens gather at the Maryland Climate Change Summit in Annapolis, Md.

Policymakers, business owners and concerned citizens gather at the Maryland Climate Change Summit in Annapolis, Md. in 2013.

By Richard Eidlin

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues proposals for new regulations, lobby groups that say they represent business interests screech and holler. They say that regulations hurt business and kill jobs. And unfortunately, some policymakers listen to them.

But what do actual business owners say?

It turns out that they agree with the general public. For example, across party lines, they support proposals that protect clean water and limit the impact of climate change. Policymakers would do much better to listen to these actual business owners, rather than lobby groups that are out of touch.

Two recent polls make the point quite clearly. The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) commissioned scientific, national polls of small business owners. One set of questions focused on clean water, and the other asked about carbon pollution.

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