With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
From the ongoing debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to ingredients lists so complicated they should come with a scientific dictionary, consumers are becoming increasingly active about the ingredients in their favorite food and personal care products. While many companies turn a deaf hear to customers' requests for transparency, some are heeding the call and taking steps toward sustainable ingredients sourcing.
Here are 10 of our favorite success stories (and one cautionary tale that shows what not to do).
Another petition started by Kavanaugh inspired PepsiCo to remove BVO from its Gatorade drinks last year. Following Coca-Cola's announcement, Pepsi confirmed it will remove the ingredient from its entire product line, including Mountain Dew and Amp -- two beverages that still contained the ingredient.
Azodicarbonamide, Hari explained, is used in yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather, the World Health Organization has linked it to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma, and it is banned as a food additive in Europe and Australia. Subway responded to the petition saying it would phase out the ingredient and announced last month that it has completely eliminated it from its bread.
The chain, which operates more than 1,450 restaurants across the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and France, revealed that since March 2013, it has labeled all the ingredients in its menu items, including GMOs. This makes Chipotle the first American fast food chain to voluntarily display the presence of GMOs in its products.
Its new effort extends to its adult brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear. By the end of 2015, the company will be the first major company to remove harmful chemicals from its line of consumer products.
Coalition members signed a declaration which asks “Congress to pass comprehensive and effective chemical safety reform legislation now.” The declaration also states that reform “must respect the rights of states to protect their residents when the federal government fails to do so, and require the Environmental Protection Agency to take fast action on the most harmful chemicals.”
In a blog post earlier this year, GMO Inside.org took credit for General Mills’ statement that it was making its regular Cheerios out of non-genetically modified sources (GMOs) – a change from its other Cheerios products, which do contain GMOs.
Although General Mills seemed to downplay the shift away from genetically modified sugar and cornstarch in its Cheerios cereal, the move is significant nonetheless and may signal the future of ingredient sourcing.
“I’ve been in the food industry for 35 years. I have never seen a consumer issue come on this fast,” Stephen Hughes, chairman and chief executive of Boulder Brands, told the Los Angeles Times. “Forty-three percent of our consumers want to see a non-GMO Smart Balance.”
Avon joined that list in April, announcing that it will begin phasing the chemical out of "the few" products in its line that include it. Although it remains to be seen how quickly these companies will remove the ingredient from their product lines, it's certainly a step in the right direction.
In a 2009 press release, CEO Steve Wasik, the very same man who told publications like Treehugger that Sigg's bottles did not contain BPA, explained that bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have a water-based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. He continued to explain that NOW all Sigg bottles are BPA free, which wasn't much consolation for consumers who had been drinking from their supposedly BPA-free bottles for years already.
So, let this be a lesson to brands big and small: If you're going to do transparency, it's probably a good idea to start by telling the truth.
Image credit: Flickr/carbonnyc
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is an editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.