Is Wendy’s Dropping Soda From Its Kid’s Menu?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday January 16th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Wendy'sOne more fast food chain may be dropping soda from its kid’s menus. Although Wendy’s has yet to confirm it, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reports that the fast food chain is removing soda as the default option in its kid’s meals. The move is praised by CSPI, MomsRising.org and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

McDonald’s made a similar announcement in 2013, and its policy goes into effect this year. Subway, Chipotle, Arby’s and Panera Bread don’t include soda in their kid’s meals either. The ICCR filed a shareholder resolution last year with Wendy’s, but withdrew it when the company agreed to consider removing sodas from the kid’s menu.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Will the Chevrolet Bolt EV Push Electric Vehicles to the Mainstream?

Leon Kaye | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 5 Comments
Chevrolet Bolt, Chevy Volt, EVs, electric vehicles, Mary Barra, NAIAS, Detroit, North American International Auto Show, Leon Kaye, concept cars, range anxiety, gm, general motors

The Chevrolet Bolt was unveiled Monday at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Concept cars at automobile shows generally offer the following: great opps for selfies, dreams over driving a vehicle that will never exist and, of course, the occasional eye roll. But this week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, one concept car dazzled because of its design and its potential to transform the automobile industry: General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet Bolt EV, which could hit the market as soon as 2017.

The Bolt is a huge step closer toward the holy grail of electric vehicles (EVs): affordability and sustainability — the latter of which in this case is defined by range, the current bugaboo of most EVs. Sure, we love Tesla for its phenomenal design and range of 265 miles between charges. Unfortunately, the sticker price, which ranges between $70,000 and $90,000, is out of range of most of our budgets. GM’s Chevy Spark EV could be a car for the rest of us, with a price of about $20,000 after federal rebates. But with a range of about 82 miles, it fails to snag interest from most consumers due to that massive hurdle: “range anxiety.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Countries Likely to Best Survive Climate Change

3p Contributor | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 336 Comments

3605107785_5f1f291f91_zBy Jon Whiting

Climate change is here, and it will affect every country as it worsens. But the harsh reality is that its effects won’t be felt equally.

The map below highlights that while climate change is caused primarily by rich, technologically advanced nations, its impact will hit the poorest nations hardest. Most European and North American countries are relatively better prepared and less vulnerable to the effects of climate change, while many countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East exhibit a dangerous combination of high vulnerability and low preparation.

The map, by the Eco Experts, visualizes data from the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaption Index. The index, published annually since 1995, analyzes 192 countries on 45 internal and external indicators of climate change exposure.

The index is built on two variables: ‘vulnerability’ and ‘readiness,’ for which a country gets a separate mark for each. These scores tally up to produce an overall total indicating how the nation would fare.

The findings highlight the need for richer countries to do more to support poorer nations, helping them prepare for the severe impacts of climate change.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Chinese Court Clears the Way For Environmentalists to Bring Suit

RP Siegel | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 1 Comment

shanghai smogThe news from China seems to be improving. First, the Asian nation agreed to target peak carbon emissions and produce 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. Now China is beginning to take action on pollution, a problem that has become quite severe.

The Chinese Supreme People’s Court just announced that it will reduce the court fees required for environmental groups to bring lawsuits against polluters. The ruling applies specifically to “social organizations involved in public interest litigation” targeting environmental concerns.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Deforestation Slows Economic Recovery in Haiti

| Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 0 Comments

home-slideshow-3 1 Haiti has long been plagued by natural catastrophes as well as political-economic strife. Looking to break a cycle of poverty and environmental degradation, multinational businesses, multilateral development banks, foreign aid agencies, non-governmental organizations and local communities are working to help put Haiti on the path to recovery from a devastating 2010 earthquake.

Haiti has the highest rates of deforestation of any country in the world – a mere 2 percent of Haiti’s original forests remain. Deforestation on such a grand scale has contributed significantly to a host of profound, persistent socioeconomic problems. Loss of soil from erosion, higher and more extreme incidences of flooding, degradation of water resources, and habitat destruction have all but crippled agriculture and drastically reduced biodiversity in Haiti. Compounding this, shifting seasonal rainfall patterns and less in the way of precipitation are also taking a heavy toll.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Recycling with Purpose: Chevy Volt Battery Cases Become Duck Houses in Russia

Leon Kaye | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 0 Comments
John Bradburn, Recycling, GM, General Motors, Chevy Volt, scaly sided merganser, zero waste, waste diversion, duck houses, bat houses, Leon Kaye, David Tulauskas

The composite for these battery cases is difficult to recycle.

Zero waste has become the mantra at companies across the board, from vineyards to CPG giants such as Procter and Gamble. The waste diversion bug has hit General Motors (GM) as well, as the automaker continues to increase the number of its facilities that are landfill-free. The brain behind new ways to get rid of garbage is GM’s global manager of waste reduction, John Bradburn, often called the “MacGyver of waste” by his colleagues at the company’s campus in Warren, Michigan.

Among the many ways in which Bradburn’s team diverts garbage from permanent interment in dumps has a human, as well as an ornithological, side to it. GM’s continued success with its Chevy Volt means more batteries moving through the company’s supply chain as they are hauled from suppliers’ warehouses to their final installation within a new Volt. Unfortunately, the composite that does a fine job protecting the cases during their transport is difficult to recycle. But several years ago, Bradburn found a way to repurpose these cases, and he made many friends with conservation groups in the process.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Ecolab’s Minnesota Offices to Go 100 Percent Solar

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Ecolab_SunEdison_St_Paul_Minnesota_TonyWebsterYesterday we reported on Minnesota’s efforts to increase the use of solar power in the private sector by requiring utility companies to ensure that at least 1.5 percent of their power is derived from solar sources. It’s a bold idea, but one that seems to be creating some interesting synergy between utility providers and private businesses in the state.

Fortune 500 company Ecolab has announced it will join the renewable energy initiative by going solar at its St. Paul, Minnesota offices. The company, which is a global leader in energy, hygiene and water technologies, has signed a deal with SunEdison to purchase enough solar power to offset 100 percent of the electricity used by the 2,500 employees that staff its St. Paul headquarters.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Benefit Corporation Laws: Delaware vs. California

3p Contributor | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a two-part series that highlights notable differences in benefit corporation law in two influential states, Delaware and California. This post originally appeared on Law360.

10322135893_dd0d2ff48d_zBy Jonathan Storper

Benefit corporation law has been enacted in 19 states, including Delaware, California, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia. Ten other states have introduced the legislation.

For the first time, this new corporate form provides a legal basis for companies to have a positive social and environmental purpose in addition to creating shareholder value. Without it, the company’s responsibility is to maximize value to shareholders.

Entrepreneurs find the form attractive because it provides a simple and consistent platform to protect a corporate mission and balance it with shareholder value instead of creating complex and expensive corporate class structures, which are of limited value to protect the mission in certain circumstances.

To be successful, however, founders and investors must be aligned on core values, revenue objectives and exit strategies, perhaps to a greater degree than with general-purpose corporations. This is the first new corporate form with a national scope to be introduced into American law since the limited liability company in 1977. Delaware is of particular significance because it is the recognized leader in corporate law, and over half of all public companies are domiciled there.

California is the largest state and has provided the country with the benefit corporation model legislation. Delaware differs from the model legislation in notable ways. This article compares the two states.*

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Chipotle Says ‘No’ to Pork After Supply Chain Violations

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 0 Comments

chipotle Chipotle Mexican Grill is serious about upholding its Food With Integrity program. It’s so serious about it that the Mexican food chain suspended a pork supplier for violating the company’s standards, the Associated Press reports.

As a result, Chipotle stopped serving pork at hundreds of its restaurants. It’s the first time the company has had to stop serving an ingredient.

Chipotle found out about the supplier’s violations through a routine audit, and most had to do with how the pigs are housed. Chipotle requires its pork suppliers to house pigs humanely and not in cramped pens. The company’s website states that it has sourced 100 percent of its pork from producers who follow its guidelines.

When it comes to beef that doesn’t meet its “responsibly raised” standards, Chipotle has posted signs in a restaurant stating that the beef has been “conventionally raised.” “In this case, we won’t make that kind of substitution,” Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told the AP.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Four Action Steps to Prepare for the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire

3p Contributor | Wednesday January 14th, 2015 | 0 Comments

CDP_graphic_CMYKBy: Stewart Rassier

It’s the new year; have you set your environmental footprint goals for 2015 and beyond? Setting emissions targets can be a daunting task, but it is also a very tangible way to demonstrate a strong commitment to corporate citizenship.

More than 4,500 companies begin the process of measuring, managing, and mitigating their contributions to climate change by completing the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire, which is a key standard for environmental emissions reporting.

Why companies participate in CDP

Initially, companies participated in CDP because of requests from investors and internal stakeholder interest. While these factors persist, an emerging third factor is driving participation: Large companies with comprehensive supply chains are strongly encouraging their business partners to participate.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

‘Solar Gardens’ Growing New Potential for Energy in Minnesota

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday January 14th, 2015 | 4 Comments

solar_garden_Xcel_MikeWestonEnvironmental organizations have been trying to figure out how to encourage more private investment in solar power for some years now. So has the federal government, which has provisions in place that allow and encourage both residents and small solar operators to sell power to utility companies without a fee or penalty.

Oftentimes these two federal laws are viewed as contentious issues by utility companies — which are required by law to buy the solar-generated surplus from operators, often at a lower rate than the commercial price set for the power.

One of the more innovative ideas that has come up to address this need is Minnesota’s solar energy legislation, Statute 216B.164. The statute was enacted in 2013 to help the state meet its self-mandated clean energy goal of 31 percent by 2020. (The EPA suggested goal for Minnesota for 2030 is 15 percent.) Provisions in the statute call on local power companies to ensure that at least 1.5 percent of their power is produced from solar by 2020. Minnesota Statute 216B.164 also lays out provisions for creating “solar gardens” that are supported by private investment, calling for these projects to begin coming online in 2014.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Top 10 Carbon Market Predictions for 2015

3p Contributor | Wednesday January 14th, 2015 | 0 Comments

9114215588_6ee6221483_zBy The Climate Trust

Last week, the Climate Trust, a mission-driven nonprofit that specializes in climate solutions, with a reduction of 1.9 million tons of greenhouse gases to its name, announced its second annual prediction list of 10 carbon market trends to watch in 2015.

The trends, which range from increased climate change adaptation measures at the state and city-level to new protocols for agriculture and forestry, were identified by the Climate Trust based on interactions with their diverse group of working partners—government, utilities, project developers and large businesses.

“We’re excited to once again look at the overall market with fresh eyes and identify areas of potential movement and growth,” said Dick Kempka, vice president of business development for The Climate Trust.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Florida Tea Party Group Clamoring for More Rooftop Solar

RP Siegel | Wednesday January 14th, 2015 | 6 Comments

rooftop solar revOur journey toward a sustainable future has been and will undoubtedly continue to be an uneven ride, marked by setbacks one day and breakthroughs the next. You can’t take much for granted on this landscape, either. It used to be that conservatives could be counted on to take the side of the established fossil fuel industries.

Look at North Carolina, for example. Down there you have utility giant Duke Energy trying to pass a bill that would allow fees to be charged to utility customers who generate their own electricity using rooftop solar and sell it back to the utility through net metering. Appalachian Power in Virginia has asked for similar fees. Public Service Co. of New Mexico has a similar proposal in the works. Most experts agree that these actions would have a discouraging effect on people who were considering the possibility of adding solar to their homes.

You might have thought it was safe to take that trend for granted as something that red states were doing. But a Tea Party group in Florida called Conservatives for Energy Freedom has taken the opposite tack, asking for a measure that would “encourage and promote local small-scale, solar-generated electricity production and to enhance the availability of solar power to customers.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Bolstering Regional Management for Sustainable Tuna Fisheries

3p Contributor | Wednesday January 14th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Triple Pundit picture copy 2By Susan Jackson

The overfishing of the bigeye tuna stock in the central and western Pacific Ocean was one of the most talked about fisheries stories of 2014. Maybe that’s why, at the end of last year, almost every stakeholder in the industry and conservation community expressed stern criticism for the lack of effective measures to end overfishing in the western and central Pacific, where the species’ decline is most pronounced.

When it comes to tunas, there are five regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) that cover all oceans. The members of these organizations – which include all of the major fishing nations and coastal states – have the mandate to collectively adopt conservation and management measures for those fisheries. Responsibilities vary depending on the region, but a tuna RFMO’s purview can include monitoring how much fish is harvested per year; the gear types that are allowed; when fishing in certain areas or times is closed; the number of vessels that can be active in a fishery; requiring the use of human observers or satellite tracking systems to monitor fishing activities on the water; mandating the use of technical solutions to mitigate the catch of sensitive marine species; and much more.  These RFMOs all also have systems for assessing compliance with their regulations by their member states. Most importantly, over decades these treaty-based organizations have established a legal framework within which members adopt binding measures that carry the force of law.

One of these five organizations, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) – whose membership includes nations from the EU to China, Japan to the U.S., and New Zealand to the Solomon Islands – recently wrapped up a disappointing year-end session. Little was accomplished for tuna sustainability despite calls for several necessary and significant policy changes from a diverse group of concerned parties.

Like any organization composed of many governments, bureaucratic slog and political posturing can too frequently reign over decisive action. With the example from the recent WCPFC meeting, it’s perhaps understandable that the calls for an entirely new, from-the-ground-up international governance system continue and may even be gaining some momentum. 

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Eat a Lionfish, Save a Coral Reef

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday January 14th, 2015 | 9 Comments

Red_lionfish_NCarolina_PaulaWhitfieldWith the growing focus on endangered species and diminishing fish stocks, it seems odd to report on one marine species that is doing quite well these days. In fact, it’s doing so well that it has gained the attention of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which sees the species as “one of the greatest threats of this century to tropical Atlantic reefs.”

It’s also gaining the attention of chefs, cookbook authors and opportunistic fishing enthusiasts — in fact, just about anyone that might have an occupational interest in harvesting large numbers of exquisitely beautiful, venomous fish with a mean sting.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »