Sustainability News for Your Holiday Time Reading

Each week, Green Seal’s Interns share sustainability news and features articles to keep us on our toes. We’re guessing that you may be lounging at home, or sitting in a quiet office with some time to catch up on reading. If so, check out this week’s picks:

Kari’s Picks:

EDF LogoSurvey Highlights Public Trust in Companies Addressing Climate Change

Environmental Defense Fund blog, Dec. 12

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has worked with large corporations, such as McDonalds, Fedex and Walmart to decrease energy use and overall environmental impact, while remaining competitive. EDF, with an independent research organization, recently conducted a survey of consumers. The results: 82% trust companies more when their efforts to reduce emissions and climate change are clearly and transparently communicated. About half of respondents listed NGOs, such as EDF, as the most trusted source of information on companies’ performance.

International Effort Moves Forward to Develop Global Standard for Corporate Sustainability Ratings 

 CSR Wire, Dec. 18

“The Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) today announced the key set of core Principles it will use for accrediting sustainability ratings worldwide…GISR will not rate companies on sustainability measures, but will instead accredit sustainability ratings, rankings or indices that meet certain standards of excellence for assessing corporate sustainability performance.”

There are currently more than 100 rating systems, which evaluate the performance of over 10,000 companies.  The GISR’s goal is to “further harmonize and expand the global market for high quality sustainability ratings, rankings and indices.”  “Investors are increasingly evaluating companies in terms of their ability to meet sustainability challenges and they are seeking assurance that a rating system provides an accurate picture of how well a company is building the natural, social and human capital needed to operate sustainably well into the 21st century.”

Looking Ahead – 5 CSR Trends on the Radar for 2014

CSR Wire, Dec. 18

Part of the Consumer Perspectives Series, this article outlines sustainability predictions for 2014.

  1. New Materials – the increasing scarcity of resources is prompting companies to look for alternatives.  Inspiration from the natural world (such as biomimicry), a focus on innovation in research and design efforts, and collaboration with other organizations is expected to continue.
  2. Ingredient Transparency – Consumer interest in the ingredients in their foods has recently been focused on GMOs, but is expected to continue to grow into other issues.  “Progressive companies will push the envelope on the transparency front and share more facts with consumers about what’s in their food.”
  3. Employee Engagement – “Companies that give employees some choice in how they participate or the ability to influence their company’s CSR efforts may discover they have ‘improved retention and ultimately, positive bottom line results.’”
  4. Social Entrepreneurship – Small start-ups are vying with large corporations for talented young professionals.  “The research provides evidence that a paycheck is no longer enough for this generation of workers; they want meaningful work with a purpose.” “Companies may also want to rethink their old models for innovation and incorporate a social intra-preneurial approach that can unleash a whole new paradigm for creating products that are sustainable, marketable and profitable while delivering an added benefit to society.”
  5. Climate Change Adaptation – “Issues like water scarcity, extreme storm systems, floods and wildfires have already caused disruptions for some companies, including their ability to source raw materials reliably and sustainably.”  Proactive companies are addressing climate change risks across the supply chain.

Lisa’s Pick:

91% Say Companies Should Implement More Sustainability Practices

Environmental Leader, Dec. 17

“The study found about half (51 percent) of respondents indicate reports from third party organizations are the most credible means by which a company can convey its efforts to be more energy efficient.”  “40 percent of consumers say manufacturers are not doing enough in terms of environmentally friendly manufacturing procedures or products, according to a September study by Underwriters Laboratories.”

Aaron’s Pick:

Nike moves to water-free, chemical-free dyeing

Sustainable Business News, Dec. 17

Nike has begun implementing a new technology to dye textiles that does not require water or chemicals by utilizing carbon dioxide. As a result, the manufacturing process consumes less water also eliminating the addition of hazardous chemicals to the water supply. Furthermore, by eliminating the need to dry materials afterwards, 60% less energy is required. Prior to this development, Nike utilized over 3 billion gallons of water in its textile manufacturing plants. “The technology, Nike says, can revolutionize textile manufacturing, whose toxic footprint comes mostly from dyeing and which relies on enormous amounts of water.”

The process actually invented 25 years ago by a company DyeCoo. Unfortunately, the cost of the process prevented the methods commercial use. But recent investments made by Nike into the technology have made the process more affordable and possibly marketable to other companies.

Nike was once a company under serious scrutiny from consumer groups for the labor policies of suppliers. Yet, the company has recovered significantly, largely due by to the reputation it has gained for being on the forefront of positive environmental policies. While still under scrutiny from Greenpeace and other non-profits for environmental concerns, Nike has also done much in the way of reporting and lobbying for greater environmental regulations worldwide. The model sets an example to other large corporations of the benefits of good corporate social responsibility planning.

Do you have an article to share with Green Seal staff and supporters?

Comment below or send the link to Green Seal’s Communications Specialist Brie Welzer at bwelzer@greenseal.org.

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