Philanthropy, CSR & Social Responsibility of Business

Philanthropy, CSR & Social Responsibility of Business

The discussions about the social responsibility of business tend to focus on the ethical and economic aspects of this issue. We explore, for example, the business case for CSR, looking to find out if CSR makes sense not just morally but also financially. Yet, the problem is that CSR has a relatively vague definition, and as a result many times we call different things by the name CSR.

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ColorZen’s Cleaner Way to Dye

ColorZen’s Cleaner Way to Dye

The textile dyeing industry is among the worst polluters and water wasters. Dye houses in countries such as India and China dump hazardous chemicals into waterways, making them unsafe for drinking, and haven’t been eager to overhaul centuries-old practices. Tony Leonard, 64, a textile chemist from North Carolina, and Michael Harari, the 29-year-old son of a New York City apparel maker, are out to change that.

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Textile Exchange Hosts Apparel Sustainability Workshops

Textile Exchange Hosts Apparel Sustainability Workshops

Textile Exchange will host two workshops focused on sustainability in the apparel and textile supply chain this August in Southern California. These hands-on workshops will provide a deep dive into the key aspects of social and environmental sustainability from design to manufacturing. Various exercises will allow attendees to begin implementing alternatives right away into operations through awareness and knowledge, while being primed for future sustainability strategy. The main content of the workshop will include: [list style="orb" color="black"]
  • Overview on the impacts of the apparel industry, socially & environmentally
  • Sustainable Materials – detailed descriptions on organic, recycled & cellulosic
  • Responsible Processing – dyeing & finishing
  • Ethical Manufacturing
  • Product Integrity, Transparency, Certification & Labeling
[/list] The workshop is especially designed for attendees involved in: [list style="orb" color="black"]
  • Buying, Sourcing & Production
  • Design
  • Fabric and Garment Development
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Educators for fashion and design
[/list] Dates: Los Angeles, CA: August 21, 2012, at Disney Synergy Lab San Diego, CA: August 24, 2012, at FIDM For More info: Visit Textileexchange.org

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CA to Vote on Genetically Engineered Food Labeling

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A fight over genetically engineered foods has been heating up in the nation's grocery aisles. Now it's headed for the ballot box. Voters will soon decide whether to make California the first state in the country to require labels on products such as sweet corn whose genes have been altered to make them resistant to pests. Proposition 37 promises to set up a big-money battle pitting natural food businesses and activists against multinational companies including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Kellogg. Backers and opponents have already raised nearly $4 million combined for campaigns to sway voters, an amount that's likely to swell into the tens of millions of dollars as the November election approaches. So-called GMO foods - those made from genetically modified organisms - have been declared safe by U.S. regulators. But concern persists about the unforeseen consequences of this laboratory tinkering on human health and the environment. The outcome in California could rattle the entire U.S. food chain. An estimated 70 percent to 80 percent of processed foods sold in supermarkets could be affected, industry experts said, along with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The measure qualified for the California ballot with nearly 1 million signatures; labeling in the state could set a precedent that's followed nationwide. "This will be a big fight," said Shaun Bowler, a University of California, Riverside, political scientist specializing in initiatives. "This is a popular issue because people are very afraid of the words 'genetically engineered.' And the people who sell this stuff are worried about losing sales." Backers of the initiative are encouraged by a pair of recent national opinion surveys showing that about 9 out of 10 consumers support labeling. A California-specific poll, released Thursday by the Business Roundtable and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, showed Proposition 37 has an almost 3-to-1 ratio of support, with 64.9 percent of prospective voters favoring it, compared with 23.9 percent opposed. "People are interested in knowing what's in their food," said Grant Lundberg, a Sacramento Valley organic rice grower who's helping spearhead Proposition 37. "It's something they think is important." Opponents say labeling would unfairly besmirch popular and reputable products, raise food prices and spur frivolous lawsuits while doing little to protect the public's health. Passage of the initiative could create a cumbersome patchwork of state food-labeling laws if other states follow California's lead, they contend. "It really boils down to ... guilt by association that makes genetic engineering something bad, a 'Frankenfood,' " said Bob Goldberg, a UCLA plant molecular biologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. What's clear is that the genetically modified foods have quickly and quietly become a fixture at the American dinner table. If you ate a bowl of cereal this morning, drank a Coke for lunch or prepared packaged macaroni and cheese or an ear of corn for dinner, then you probably ate something that has been genetically engineered. A majority of the foods on supermarket shelves that come in a box, bag or can probably would need to be labeled if Proposition 37 becomes law. Most meat and dairy products, eggs, certified organic foods, alcoholic beverages and restaurant meals would be exempt. In addition, foods could not be labeled "natural" if any of their ingredients were genetically engineered. The initiative defines genetically engineered food as produced from a plant or animal whose biological traits contain DNA that has been manipulated in a laboratory at the cellular level. The technique was pioneered more than two decades ago to boost productivity by making crops resistant to insects, plant diseases, pesticides and herbicides. The biggest successes have been with commodities that are staples in most processed foods. Genetically engineered crops account for about 90 percent of U.S. corn, soybean and sugar beet production. And the trend is growing. Genetically modified fresh fruits and vegetables, including Hawaiian papayas, sweet corn, zucchini and yellow squash are now widely sold. Agribusinesses and their seed subsidiaries are pushing to develop melons that taste sweeter, onions that don't bring tears and tomatoes that stay juicy longer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decreed genetically engineered foods to be safe. Although the agency requires that most food products carry labels with detailed health and safety information including ingredients, calories, sodium levels and potential allergic reactions, the agency has ruled that labels need not reflect whether ingredients have been genetically engineered. The FDA's labeling policy has remained essentially unchanged since 1992, when it said it "has no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way." But some consumers and scientists worry about unforeseen risks, such as the potential for GMO foods to cause allergic reactions in humans or contamination of non-genetically engineered fields. Critics also fear that big companies could gain monopolies over supplies of expensive patented seeds that make crops resistant to being doused with herbicides. "More safety assessments are needed," said Michael Hansen, an evolutionary biologist and senior scientist at Consumers Union in Yonkers, N.Y. About 50 countries across Europe, South America and Asia have passed labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods. In the U.S., similar efforts in 20 states, including Oregon, New York and Vermont, failed to overcome opposition from the processed food and biotech industries. Labels are "very costly, are not going to be informative, and there's absolutely no basis in science for this," said Martina Newell-McGloughlin, director of life and health science research initiatives at UC Davis. The labeling campaign, she said, is sowing "fear and doubt." She said organic farmers and food processors could use the initiative as a marketing tool to boost market share for their products, which are typically more expensive. Proposition 37 supporters contend that if the government, industry and farmers are confident that genetically engineered foods are safe, then they shouldn't mind if consumers know what they're eating. They've dubbed the measure the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. As proposed, labels saying "genetically engineered" would have to be placed on the front of individual packages of raw GMO food products sold beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Similar labels for bulk food would appear on shelves or bins. Processed foods, including canned, frozen and milled products, would carry labels saying they were "partially produced" or "may be partially produced ... with genetic engineering." Enforcement of the act would be left to state agencies and private attorneys, who can file lawsuits seeking court injunctions against the sale of a product. The clash is expected to be thick with dueling scientific studies and experts of all kinds, with millions of dollars devoted to television spots. For now, most of the action is on the Internet. Proponents are at carighttoknow.org and opponents at noprop37.com. "Both sides have fairly credible arguments to make, and they'll dress them up in white coats, said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. "Expect to see a lot of scientists, a lot of doctors and a lot of parents back and forth all campaign long." Source: Sacramento Bee - Battle Over Genetically Engineered Food Heading to Voters

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Starbucks’ EarthSleeve to Save 100,000 Trees

Starbucks’ EarthSleeve to Save 100,000 Trees

SEATTLE - Today, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:SBUX), LBP Manufacturing and Henkel announced the availability of EarthSleeve™, a new hot-cup sleeve that integrates proprietary technology that enables a reduction in overall material usage while at the same time increasing the post-consumer content. These adjustments correlate to a savings of nearly 100,000 trees. Manufactured in Cicero, Illinois by LBP Manufacturing for Starbucks with Henkel adhesive solutions, this new products’ decrease of raw fiber material by 34% and increase of post-consumer content by 25% does so without sacrificing performance or function. With nearly three billion* hot cup sleeves produced in the United States in 2011 and Starbucks representing nearly half of the marketplace, this material evolution will have a substantial impact on the packaging industry. “At Starbucks we are constantly looking to innovate in ways that make our world a better place,” said Cliff Burrows, president of the Americas for Starbucks. “This product represents how the integration of our environmental values and collaboration with like-minded organizations can create significant impact.” The EarthSleeve™ is currently being introduced into Starbucks locations across the United States and Canada and is being evaluated for global usage. In addition to substantial decreases in raw material makeup and a new total usage of 85% post-consumer fiber content, the EarthSleeve™ also allows for a case cube and truckload yield improvement of 15%, reducing the overall environmental impact of the transportation of the sleeves. The product has also been deemed fullycompostable by both ASTM and Cedar Grove requirements, and has recently been approved for repulpability by Western Michigan University. “We are very excited about the opportunities the combined vision and resources of Starbucks, Henkel and LBP have proven what they together can deliver with EarthSleeve™,” added Matthew Cook, President of LBP. “This product represents a whole new level of innovation in packaging performance, sustainability and corporate socialresponsibility we can expect in the future.” "The introduction of the EarthSleeve™ represents an achievement in adhesive formulation," said John Meccia, VP- Paper Converting for HenkelCorporation, whose team collaborated on the development of the multifunctional adhesives used in the project. "Creating a formula that would allow for user experience on par with traditionalsleeves, but effectively facilitate the removal of fiber, framed every aspect of the cooperative effort. Successfully meeting the technical objectives was truly a feat. The implication of our work on the environment is what makes this a real accomplishment." Source: Starbucks.com - EarthSleeve Blends Performance with Environmental Sensibility

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FDA Bans BPA in Baby Bottles and Cups

FDA Bans BPA in Baby Bottles and Cups

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging. Manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the F.D.A. said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence. But the new prohibition does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other containers, said an F.D.A. spokesman, Steven Immergut. He said the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency’s position on the chemical. The F.D.A. declared BPA safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010. Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the agency, said the decision simply codified what the industry was already doing based on the preference of consumers and did not reflect concerns about the safety of BPA in baby bottles or toddler’s cups. The decision “solidifies legally that the use will not happen again in the future” in baby bottles and cups for toddlers, he said. He added that the agency “has been looking hard at BPA for a long time, and based on all the evidence, we continue to support its safe use.” BPA has been used since the 1960s to make hard plastic bottles, cups for toddlers and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those that hold infant formula and soda. Until recently, it was used in baby bottles, but major manufacturers are now making bottles without it. Plastic items containing BPA are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes. The chemical can leach into food, and a study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90 percent of them had BPA in their urine. Traces have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood. Reports of potentially negative health effects have made BPA notorious, especially among parents, and led to widespread shunning of products thought to contain the chemical. Canada, Chicago and Suffolk County, N.Y., have banned BPA from children’s products. In 2010, the F.D.A. said that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.” The American Chemistry Council said in a statement that it had asked the F.D.A. to take action because of confusion, stirred by state legislative and regulatory actions, about whether baby bottles and cups for toddlers contain BPA. It said that manufacturers announced years ago that they had stopped using the chemical in those items. Public health advocates praised the agency’s decision, but said the chemical still presented a health risk. “The F.D.A. is slowly making progress on this issue, but they are doing the bare minimum here,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families. “They are instituting a ban that is already in effect voluntarily.” Some advocates also pointed out that the decision did not include BPA used in containers of baby formula. Dennis M. Keefe, director of the office of food additive safety at the F.D.A., said that a decision on the chemical’s use in such products was under review. Source: NY Times - F.D.A. Makes It Official: BPA Can’t Be Used in Baby Bottles and Cups

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