European Parliament Votes to Phase Out Palm Oil-Based Biofuels by 2020

The social and environmental impacts of palm oil production are widely recognized. And while the issues of deforestation, habitat degradation and human rights abuses are gaining momentum within the international community, measures designed to curtail them — including certification — are plagued by inefficiencies and a lack of transparency. To address

Case Study: Closed Loop Fund Shows Iowa’s Scott County That Recycling Can Be Profitable

Less than one year after partnering with the Closed Loop Fund and investing $10.75 million in new infrastructure — including recycling carts and a newly upgraded country-owned and operated materials recycling facility (MRF) — Iowa’s Scott County has seen a 61 percent increase in recycling and generated $100,000 in savings and revenue. The Closed Loop Fund financed the acquisition of over 48,500 single stream household recycling in the Quad Cities communities of Scott County. The Scott County Recycling Program provides a model of how

England’s New Open Water Market Slated to Add £200M to UK Economy

England’s Open Water market officially launched on Saturday, April 1st, opening up new economic opportunities worth around £200 million for a wide range of players. Since 2011, only businesses and non-household (including businesses, charities, nonprofits and public sector bodies) customers who use more than five million liters of water a

Report Finds Link Between Improved Health, Access to Nature

Obesity, mental health problems, air and noise pollution, heat stress and social exclusion — these are just a few of the health and social challenges Europeans face today. But according to a new report released by Friends of the Earth in conjunction with the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), increased exposure to nature and green space could help improve both physical and mental health. An analysis of more than 200 academic

Garnier, Target Team Up with Detroit Urban Farm to Build Community Assets

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), an all-volunteer organization revitalizing Detroit’s North End neighborhood through agriculture, will debut a new recreational space and water-harvesting cistern this summer, thanks to grants and material donations from Garnier, TerraCycle and Target Corporation. The announcement coincides with the non-profit’s crowdfunding campaign to help convert a vacant three-story apartment complex into a community resource center. The campaign ends April 2.

Rolling Back Fuel Efficiency Standards Is Bad for Everyone — Including Automakers

The CEO of a large industrial company recently described the Trump administration as “the most pro-business since the Founding Fathers.� It’s a popular perception in the business community, with or without the hyperbole, and the stock market is reacting accordingly. While some might be enthused by the potential for corporate tax reform or a (promised) $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan, it’s more likely they’re referring to the historic rollback of regulations in the works across many sectors, from fossil fuels to mining, guns and finance. It’s taken as an article of faith that this is good for business. But slashing our

Cocoa Giants Cargill, Nestlé, Mars Join Forces to Put an End to Deforestation

Twelve of the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies have agreed to collectively work towards ending deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The agreement commits the participating companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action to address deforestation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) meeting in Bonn, Germany in November 2017. The meeting, which was hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales and organized by World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and The Princes’ International Sustainability Unit (ISU), is the first of its kind covering the global cocoa supply

London, Wales Launch Ambitious New Circular Economy Schemes

More and more, circular economic models are providing ways for governments and businesses to increase efficiency, reduce waste and create new jobs. Two new initiatives in the UK reinforce that adopting circular principles presents significant economic opportunities for businesses. The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has approved a new £50 million

Would Bill Gates’ Robot Tax Help Create Human Jobs?

As a humanist, Bill Gates has been on something of a roll. Recently, he launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion fund for startups working on promising sustainable energy solutions. This isn’t actually that much money compared to what’s needed for a game-changing solution, but Breakthrough Energy will be only part of the funding picture, and $1 billion is undoubtedly a real boost. A prolific philanthropist, Gates is perhaps making up for the years when the Bill

Groundbreaking Report Provides Government with Road Map to Cut U.S. Food Waste

While more than 42 million Americans lack access to a sufficient amount of food, a staggering 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is uneaten, resulting in at least 62.5 million tons of wasted food annually. Meanwhile, a mere 10 percent of food is recovered each year across the entire supply chain. Tackling the growing problem of food waste has become a top priority for governments and businesses across the globe, but many laws and policies designed to enhance food recovery fail to address the needs facing the evolving landscape of food donation. A

#BusinessCase: Report Finds 14:1 ROI for Companies That Reduce Food Waste

As has been much discussed here at Sustainable Brands, roughly a third of all food produced in the world is never eaten, which has tremendous economic, social and environmental consequences. Now, new research on behalf of Champions 12.3 – an all-sector collaboration aimed at halving per capita global food waste at the retail

Circularity of Hazardous Chemicals Requires New Legal Framework, NGOs Say

Policymakers must limit chemicals entering the material cycle and adapt existing legislation in order to protect human health and the environment from toxic substances in a circular economy, say ClientEarth and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) in a new report. The NGOs indicate that the current legal framework has failed to ensure information about dangerous chemicals is diffused throughout the whole material cycle and potential subsequent lifecycles. “The failure places economic operators in a situation where it is more costly to comply with legal requirements protecting human health and the environment when using recycled and recovered materials than with using virgin ones,� the report says. In

VF Corp Joins Over 65 Apparel Giants Acting to Minimize Impacts on Endangered Forests

Today, VF Corporation, the US’ largest fashion conglomerate – parent company of lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories brands including Timberland, The North Face, Lee and Wrangler – released its first-ever Forest Derived Materials Policy, which sets formal guidelines for the company’s purchasing preferences and use of sustainable forest materials and products. “Deforestation and forest degradation continues to be a global issue affecting climate change and human rights

New Campaign from Outerknown Aims to Remind Us #ITSNOTOK to Pollute the Oceans

This week, sustainable menswear brand Outerknown launched #ITSNOTOK, an evergreen giveback program designed to bring awareness to environmental issues – particularly the declining health of our oceans, mostly due to pollution – all over the world. #ITSNOTOK is a call to action to consumers to become part of the solution, rather than the problem, by helping to clean up the oceans. Outerknown – which incorporates ECONYL yarn, made from reclaimed fishing nets and other nylon waste materials collected from the ocean, in many of its products – will donate 100 percent of the profits from the

Rollback of Dodd-Frank Won’t Stop the Shift Towards Greater Transparency

President Donald Trump issued two executive orders last week geared at scaling back or replacing financial regulations that he deems a burden to commerce and growth. The move signals a big win for Wall Street —whose elite are up for top spots in Trump’s cabinet — and comes at the expense of the working class. It exposes investors and the average American to a less-regulated

Oslo Takes Inclusive Approach to Sustainability with New E-Bike Grant

Government-led initiatives designed to cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution in cities, though well-intentioned, often come under fire from those who stand the most to gain from them — the public. Clean air is a high priority for government and citizens alike, but the burden of measures such as carbon taxes on vehicles that don’t meet certain environmental criteria often penalize citizens who commute and don’t have the resources to expend on the purchase of a less-polluting hybrid or electric vehicle — or inner city rent. Like many other cities across Europe and the UK — including London, who surpassed its annual

Is it Time to Add Morality to the Business Case for Sustainability?

Every manager (or consultant) who has pitched an initiative under the banner of “sustainability� has faced the same question nearly every time: What’s the business case? On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with the question. Business is all about allocating some form of capital, be it financial, human or organizational. So it’s not unfair to wonder what the return on the investment might be. But usually, when executives pose the question about sustainability initiatives, they’re asking about the business case in the narrowest sense: Does this thing pay back, in cash, within some short payback period (1 or 2 years)? In response, we’ve all put a lot of effort into making the case

America’s Broken Systems: A Case for Sustainable Design?

The first of a three-part proposal for using sustainability to recharge America’s problem-solving. A short post-election article in Huffington Post by Jenine Durland called “Redesigning America: An Exercise in Broken Systemsâ€� recently caught my eye; it both reminded me of a field I have run across in sustainability, and extends its

More Affordable Devices Lead to Doubling of E-Waste in China Since 2010

The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new research by United Nations University (UNU) shows. Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analyzed — Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam — was 63 percent

SustainAbility: Global Health, Media, Climate Leadership Among Trends Shaping 2017

Think tank SustainAbility has released its 2017 trend report, which highlights 10 issues that are expected to have the greatest influence over sustainability in the upcoming year and their implications for the private sector. 2016 was a year of profound global change, rife with protectionism, populism, and political and economic instability, whose far-reaching effects pose a potential threat to the further advancement of the sustainability agenda. Yet there remain

Why Sweden Is Taking Its Neighbors’ Trash

Sweden has long been well ahead of the curve in terms of activating on sustainability initiatives, particularly when it comes to energy: In 1991, it became one of the first countries to impose a heavy tax on fossil fuels, and in 2012, it reached its 2020 goal to source 50 percent of its electricity from renewables (as of 2016, it had risen to 52 percent – the highest in the EU – with a goal of 100 percent by

2/3 of People Around the World Believe Their Country Is Heading in the Wrong Direction

Is your country on the right track? A new Ipsos MORI study entitled “What Worries the World� seeks to answer this question, asking thousands of adults under 65 in countries across the globe to identify issues that most worry them and whether they think things in their country are headed in the right direction. 18,014 interviews were conducted between August 26 and September 9,2016, among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. The survey was conducted in 25 countries around the world (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India,

London Surpasses Annual Air Pollution Limits 5 Days Into 2017; Mary Poppins Is Not Amused

The City of London broke its 2017 air pollution limits just five days into the new year, a whole three days ahead of its 2016 record. In response, Greenpeace enlisted the help of Mary Poppins to call on politicians to clean up the UK’s air to protect children’s lungs. A silhouette of the childhood champion was spotted flying high over Parliament, armed with her iconic umbrella and a new accessory — a pollution mask. Under new EU rules, any single location in the UK is only allowed to breach hourly limits of 200 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air 18 times in a year, but late last week, the limit was broken on Brixton