9
May

Nike Challenges Customers to Design Their Own Virtual Green Athletic Wear

Nike has just released its most recent sustainability report, and it is quite possibly one of the most compelling and engaging I have ever come across. Few corporate social responsibility reports keep me up past my bedtime: in fact, many hasten that hour. But Nike has launched an interactive sustainability report that educates, innovatesand brings sustainability alive.

Not all of the news coming from Nike’s Beaverton headquarters is sunny. Excessive overtime is still a nagging problem in the company’s contract factories, and Nike admits many of the factors are within the company’s control. The complete elimination of hazardous chemicals from its supply chain will take time. And the company’s water footprint is still huge. But Nike is charging ahead with a sustainability agenda that just a few years ago would have seemed unthinkable. And rather than taking a self-congratulatory tone, Nike draws stakeholders in on its journey to share the company’s successes and shortcomings.

One example of how Nike engages stakeholders is by demonstrating the impact that the 16,000 various materials used to manufacture its sporting apparel have on the environment. A tour of the Nike Material Index (NMI) allows users to compare organic versus conventionally grown cotton, learn about recycled polyester and how it outperforms nylon, and explains the various components that comprise a pair of athletic shoes. While users design their version of green athletic wear, they learn how Nike assesses the overall sustainability performance of the materials based on energy, chemistry, water and waste. Jargon that often weighs down sustainability reports is replaced, dare I say, with fun.

Such an exercise is important because it reminds customers about the challenges that emerge with the convergence of performance and sustainability. Leather, for example, is sourced from tanneries that are certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG). More consumers would rather avoid leather altogether, and Nike is open to synthetic alternatives. But all synthetics on the market use solvents that are harmful to the environment. To that end, Nike in some ways is not just a branded athletic wear company, but a chemistry research and development firm. Curiously, Nike is becoming a leader in green chemistry that would make companies like Dow Chemical squirm.

From waste diversion to improving labor rights to revamping its manufacturing operations, Nike’s driving goal is accomplish what seems impossible: stay profitable in a world with constrained resources. The company has structured its long term plan at three levels: aim for what it aspires to do, set targets and demonstrate commitments for each goal. Such an approach works because it keeps the company focused on its long term goals, holds the company accountable to what it has promised stakeholders and prevents Nike from setting expectations too high.

Start exploring the company’s corporate responsibility report and see for yourself. What Nike has accomplished is far more than just demonstrating that it is a clothing manufacturing company that is doing good. In fact, exploring the site makes you wonder why Nike still bothers with shoes and athletic gear – it should become a sustainability strategy consulting firm in its own right.

Article was written for Triple Pundit (Published May 4, 2012) by Leon Kaye, a Sustainability consultant and editor of GreenGoPost.com

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3
April

Volkswagen’s green commitment: $52 billion by 2016

German automaker Volkswagen aims to drop the average emissions from its new vehicles to 120 grams CO2/km by 2015, as part of a “fundamental ecological restructuring” likely to be worth more than €40 billion (US$52 billion by 2016.

The company says more than two thirds of its entire €62.4 billion (US$82.1 billion) investment programme for the coming five years will be directly or indirectly spent on “ever more efficient vehicles, powertrains and technologies, as well as environmentally compatible production.”

VW has been looking to bolster its green reputation since being targeted by campaign group Greenpeace over its alleged lobbying against deeper cuts to EU emissions targets.

The company’s new emissions reduction target would represent a 30 percent cut on 2006 levels for Europe’s largest carmaker, and a sizeable reduction on its current average emissions for new vehicles of 135.5g/km, which sits fractionally below the E.U. average of 136.1 g/km in 2011.

VW said that under the new plan it wants every new model generation to be on average 10 to 15 percent more efficient than its predecessor, while emissions will also be cut from both production processes and manufacturing plants.

As part of the announcement the company unveiled a new €600 million (almost US$790 million) investment designed to expand its use of renewable energies such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power, in order to achieve a 40 percent reduction in emissions from energy supplies by the end of the decade.

Plants will also aim to reduce water and energy consumption, as well as overall emissions, by a quarter over the next six years.

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management, also declared that 2013 would be the “year of e-mobility” for Volkswagen, starting with the release of the two door mini e-up!, which will then be followed by further all-electric or partially-electric vehicles from many of the Group’s brands.

“Our declared goal is to make Volkswagen the leading automaker in ecological terms, too,” he said on the eve of the Geneva motorshow, before stating that Volkswagen’s new five year strategy will focus on responsible conduct towards employees, society, and the environment.

“To take pole position and to sustain that lead over the long term, you have to understand all these dimensions of our business and to practice them convincingly at every level,” Winterkorn added. “We are raising the bar much higher when it comes to sustainability.”

 

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28
February

Canadian ‘B Corps’ Put Their Money Where Their Branding Is On Social Causes

For-profit companies that trumpet a commitment to social and environmental causes often struggle to prove to investors and customers that their dedication to betterment runs deeper than a clever green-washing campaign.

But that has begun to change.

A growing number of Canadian companies are now becoming certified as “B Corps,” a new designation that seeks to distinguish firms that are committed to improving more than their bottom line.

Jay Coen Gilbert, Founder of B Corps shares his vision to harness the power of business to solve society’s problems through B Corporations — a new standard labeling socially and environmentally responsible companies. B Corps will help corporations be profitable while solving society’s problems.

The aim, says Dermot Hikisch of B Lab, a Pennsylvania-based non-profit that has certified more than 500 B Corporations in the U.S. since 2007, is to do the same thing for companies serious about addressing social and environmental issues as Fair Trade certification has done for firms dedicated to ethical labour practices.

“Consumers, investors and even employees aren’t necessarily believing what a company says until they have a third party seal of approval on it,” Hikisch told The Huffington Post. “B Lab acts as that third party standard to make sure these companies are as good as they say they are.”

Since 2009, 39 Canadian companies — ranging from engineering firms to coffee retailers — have become designated B Corps, with 27 new companies certifying in the past year.

As Hikisch explains, achieving certification is “no small measure.” In addition to passing a social and environmental “impact assessment,” companies must articulate their commitment to these values directly into their articles of incorporation.

“You have to have a board meeting to really walk through [it] with your board and your shareholders [and] say, ‘I’m going to make this amendment to my documentation to say that we shall consider stakeholders within our business,’” he says. “They’ve baked it right into their company.”

Altering the company bylaws is intended to prevent these values from being abandoned in the event of a big corporate shake-up, such as a merger or acquisition.

Tim Masson, executive vice-president of The Ian Martin Group, an Oakville, Ont.-based employment consulting firm, didn’t mind the added paperwork.

“We became a B Corp to help clarify, define, and articulate our purpose as an organization,” he said in a press release. “We hope to learn from other B Corps, improve our impacts, measure our progress, and become more transparent and accountable to that purpose.”

Some of the allure no doubt stems from a desire to attract capital from the burgeoning impact investing industry, which seeks to put its money on precisely the kind of firms that B Lab certifies.

As Bill Young, founder of Toronto-based Social Capital Partners, a non-profit social finance organization, explains, “A certification process on social business helps an investor who wants to do that kind of thing, but doesn’t have the time themselves or the means to really test the legitimacy of the social purpose. It’s a valuable service to know that someone has done that.”

Impact investor Joel Solomon concurs.

He says it’s “still too early to expect that [all companies] would be aware of the designation,” but he has begun to take notice when a company has achieved B Corp certification.

“B Corp certifications add a layer of confidence and are a signal of a level of commitment and values by an entrepreneur or company,” Solomon, who is chairman of Vancouver-based Renewal2 investment fund, said in an e-mail.

The B Corp movement has had to overcome several hiccups in the U.S., where corporations that make decisions that prioritize environmental or social goals over profits can face legal action, and some states prohibit corporations from making changes to their bylaws.

To address this, B Lab spearheaded legislation, which has been adopted in seven states since 2010, to create a different class of company. Among other commitments, so-called “benefit corporations” are required by law to make “a material positive impact on society.”

California-based outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia Inc. is among the corporations that have made use of the new legislation, and ice cream icon Ben & Jerry’s plans to incorporate as a benefit corporation in the state of Vermont in the coming months.

According to Allyson Hewitt, director of social entrepreneurship at the Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District, which has been at the forefront of the Canadian B Corp movement, it’s somewhat easier for Canadian corporations to become B Corps.

As she explains, corporations on this side of the border must already “consider other stakeholder interests besides shareholders,” and are required by law to abide by some of B Lab’s standards, such as offering relatively generous (at least compared to the U.S.) maternity leave benefits.

Still, Hewitt’s team is investigating the possibility of drafting benefit corporation legislation in Canada, which she says may strengthen the designation. Their findings will be released in a white paper in the next few months.

As Hikisch sees it, there is significant “upside” potential for the movement in Canada, which is now home to the second-highest number of B Corporations after the U.S.

“Canada is one of those places [where] business owners do believe and know that they can be a big part of the solution, and not have to wait for … governments to act or the consumers or anyone else to do the job for them,” he says. “I have no doubt that there [are] over 500 to 1,000 potential B Corporations in Canada.”

6 CANADIAN B CORPS THAT ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE:

        • DIRTT, which stands for “doing it right this time,” designs and builds custom, sustainable office interiors. Among its offerings are floors that house telecom and electrical cables, and “living walls” that turn room dividers into hanging gardens. Headquartered in Calgary, DIRTT now has offices across Canada and the U.S., including in New York, Chicago and L.A. The company employs 580 people.
        • British Columbia-based Salt Spring Coffeecelebrated its 15th anniversary of selling fair trade coffee in 2011. The company boasts it “pays above market rates to farmer-owned coffee co-operatives that do not harm the environment with their production methods.” The company reports $10 million in sales annually and employs 60
        • Founded in 1994 by Carol Newell and Joel Solomon, Renewal 2 is a social venture fund that aims to turn a profit by investing in socially conscious enterprises. The fund says it has placed “$7million of equity investments” and also placed “$20 million in conservation financing, social purpose non-profit real estate, social enterprise business lending, education, convening, capacity enhancing shared services for charities, and the building of financial services for philanthropists.” Among the companies in its portfolio are Better Energy Systems and Sensible Organics.
        • Vancouver-based Ethical Bean has been selling fair trade coffee since 2003. One dollar of every unit of coffee sold at the retailer goes to charities helping children in Guatemala. The company has 26 employees.
        • Fairware provides custom-branded products to companies and organizations that want to increase their brand exposure with promotional product lines. The company is involved directly with causes, providing products that can be used as prizes for charity raffles, for instance. Among its clients are Aveda, BC Hydro and Amnesty International.
        • Vancouver-based Lunapads offers reusable cloth sanitary napkins, as well as a line of women’s underwear. The company describes itself as a “women-owned and operated social mission-based business.” It has been in business since 1993.

Story run by Huffington Post, February 3, 2012

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9
January

Five Trends Shaping Sustainable Brands in 2012

A few weeks ago, Raphael Bemporad, Principal of BBMG of NYC had the opportunity to grab lunch with a good friend, and renowned business guru Bob Bloom, to seek his advice as we looked ahead to the New Year.

“Looking ahead is useless,” he said in his typically wonderful, challenging way. In the context of market volatility, transformational new technologies and the exponential velocity of change, we have to instead “look around the corner.”

For Bob, success requires letting go of yesterday’s financials, five-point plans and outdated business models to bravely seize opportunities that are fiercely focused on leading innovation to create shared value.

It’s great advice. And, in the spirit of looking around the corner, we wanted to offer five trends that we believe will shape sustainable brands in 2012.

1. The Ubiquity of C2C

In 2012, we will experience a fundamental paradigm shift from a business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace to a consumer-to-business (C2B) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace—where creating, buying, selling and sharing products and services will increasingly be driven by consumers themselves.

This is happening in the context of radical personalization, collaborative consumption and co-creativity, where brand purchases and experiences are dis-intermediated by traditional brands and retailers and unleashed via new technologies and platforms (from Good Guide to Etsy to Getaround) that firmly place more power in the hands of consumers.

Success now means rethinking sales channels toward more direct interaction and inviting consumers in to imagine, create and extend how our brands live in the world.

Figure 1. Etsy’s explosive growth has been fueled by an increasing consumer appetite for radical personalization and co-creativity.

2. The Rise of Generation “Why?”

The rise of the C2C marketplace is driven in part by the influence of values-aspirational, practically minded New Consumers looking for brands that deliver total value: products that work well, cost less, last longer and do some good.

Youthful, educated, wired and mostly female, this New Consumer is asking “why” they should care about brands; and, if they can’t find what they’re looking for, “why not” just create the solutions themselves? New Consumers are more practical and more purposeful, and they’re not willing to wait.

And, with billions of these New Consumers entering the marketplace in developing economies, the key question will be whether brands can reach and delight them—beyond just more consumption—to inspire responsible purchases and deeper participation with health, happiness and sustainability in mind.

Figure 2. A favorite among New Consumers, Warby Parker delivers total value: stylish, practical, reasonably priced eyeglasses that also provide societal benefit.

3. The Race to Relationship

Thanks to Groupon and its countless competitors, 2011’s year of the deal saw virtually every brand category join an unfortunate race to the lowest-price bottom that is destroying brand value, reducing consumers to commodities and undermining our shared, long-term success.

Sure, we dig deals and we always will. Yet by focusing so relentlessly on unsustainable price discounts, we undermine the very potential for our brands to do more and mean more for our customers.

Instead, we believe 2012 will see a race to relationship, where the most successful brands will break free of the lowest-price trap and deliver more value by empowering consumers with better products and experiences and championing their success. ­Patagonia’s disruptive Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign highlights this commitment to creating enduring products and relationships by promising to make “useful gear that lasts a long time” and inviting us to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle and reimagine how and what we consume together.

As one of our favorite clients says, “We don’t want a one-night-stand with our customers. We want long-term love affairs.”

Figure 3. Patagonia’s brave Cyber Monday campaign focused on long-term impact instead of a quick sales bump.

4. The Imperative of Sustainable Brand Innovation

Whether it’s reducing resource risks in supply chains, driving efficiencies into workflows or reaping the rewards of increased transparency and corporate reputation, we believe sustainable brand innovation offers unmatched opportunity for exponential value creation for business, consumers, society and our planet.

In 2012, sustainable brands large and small will increasingly connect consumers, brand teams, suppliers and subject-matter experts in the innovation process to embed sustainability and social purpose into every business strategy, product design and stakeholder relationship.

Creating better brands, products, packaging and platforms, the highest performing companies will integrate practical, environmental and tribal benefits in every new offering—therefore becoming agents of change at a faster speed and larger scale than ever before.

Figure 4. The Neutrogena Naturals brand embraces innovation through partnerships with the Linus Paling Institute, technology scouts and experts in various health and science fields.

5: The Evolution from Occupy to Engage

If the most emblematic word of 2011 was “occupy,” we believe the word of 2012 will be “engage.”

With an existential howl against the status quo, the global Occupy movement represents a deep yearning for a new way of doing business that replaces short-term, transactional, profit-only thinking with a more responsible, transparent and equitable economy that creates more value for more people in more ways.

In 2012, there is good reason to believe that sustainable brands can lead the way.

In states from California to Maryland to New York, B Corporations are engaging policymakers to pass legislation that recognizes (and incentivizes) corporate accountability to all stakeholders: investors, consumers, employees, community members and the environment.

The Harvard Business Review hails the benefits of “The Good Company” that combines financial and social logic into its operations by engaging employees, partners and community institutions in building enduring value and success.

Meanwhile, pioneering brands from Levi’s to Coca Cola to Nike are engaging consumers so they spend less, enjoy more and take action on issues that improve our shared future—from protecting safe drinking water to preserving endangered habitats to creating more opportunities for the producers of their products around the world.

 

Figure 5. Brand as movement: Levi’s Water<Less jeans go beyond a disruptive manufacturing process to a cause partnership with Water.org and tips helping consumers save water.

As we enter a new year and look around the corner, we believe the most successful brands will meet the needs, hopes and aspirations of New Consumers; build more respectful, collaborative and enduring relationships with all stakeholders; and unleash our collective co-creativity to bring better, smarter and more impactful ideas to life in ways that create shared value for all.

An article written by Raphael Bemporad, Principal at BBMG of NYC for Sustainable Life Media

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5
January

Green Mountain Coffee To Test Waste-To-Energy Technology

 

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters – known for its Keurig brand of individual coffee cups – may soon be able to turn its waste stream into a source of power for its Vermont operations.

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota is working with Wynntryst, LLC, an energy solutions company based in South Burlington, Vermont, to develop a gasification power system for the company.

The project specifically focuses on converting Green Mountain’s coffee residues, plastic packaging, paper, cloth or burlap, and plastic cups into an energy source.

“This project is an extension of work performed by the EERC for NASA, which explored the conversion of waste from a space station and future Martian and lunar bases into heat and power,” says EERC Deputy Associate Director for Research Chris Zygarlicke. “This project will similarly utilize a mostly renewable and bio-based waste and convert it into electricity for the coffee industry.”

“The first step of the project is to demonstrate that we can gasify the complex mixture of waste and produce clean synthetic gas, or syngas, by utilizing the EERC’s novel advanced fixed-bed gasifier (AFBG) system on the biomass–residue mixture,” says Project Manager and Research Scientist, Nikhil Patel.

The syngas will then either be utilized in an internal combustion engine or a fuel cell for efficient production of electricity and heat or be converted to high-value biofuels or chemicals. The pilot-scale tests will evaluate the quality of syngas that can be produced from the Green Mountain waste.

“Over the years, the EERC has developed and tested numerous small gasifier systems like this on a variety of biomass feedstocks,” Zygarlicke said. “The EERC system has already produced power by gasifying forest residues, railroad tie chips, turkey litter, and other biomass feedstocks and burning the produced syngas in an on-site engine generator. The coffee industry residues will be similarly tested.”

The EERC will use the outcome of the pilot-scale efforts to propose a full-scale commercial demonstration system for installation at various Green Mountain sites.

 

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications, and a regular contributor to Sustainable Life Media.

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19
December

Kraft Completes Farm-To-Fork Environmental Impact Survey

The bulk of Kraft Foods’ environmental footprint originates on the farms that grow ingredients for the company’s products, according to a multi-year footprinting project that measured the company’s full impact on climate change, land and water use.

The comprehensive survey was completed with sustainability consulting firm Quantis Inc. and reviewed and analyzed by World Wildlife Fund and academics at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

Insights from the survey include:

  • More than 90 percent of Kraft’s carbon footprint originates outside its plants and offices, and nearly 60 percent is from farm commodities.
  • About 12 percent of the carbon footprint is from transportation and distribution of products from stores to consumers’ homes.
  • About 5 percent of the carbon footprint is from consumers, mostly in food preparation.
  • More than 80 percent of the land impact is from agriculture. In comparison, the impact from manufacturing facilities and offices is negligible.
  • About 70 percent of the water footprint is from growing raw materials (including agricultural commodities used to make food products), while only 10 percent comes from manufacturing facilities/offices.
  • Another 10 percent comes from consumer use, mostly from food preparation.

“Having the ‘big picture’ of our total footprint–from farm to fork–validates the focus of our sustainability efforts, particularly advancing sustainable agriculture,” says Roger Zellner, Sustainability Director for Research, Development & Quality.  “Experts say climate change, land and water use may be among the biggest challenges in feeding a world of 9 billion people in 2050.  As we continue our sustainability journey, we now have more insight into where we can make the greatest difference.”

While the company does not own farms, the survey supports the work of its sustainable agriculture efforts on key commodities to improve crop yields, reduce environmental impacts and improve the lives of many of the farm workers and their families.

“This study shows that in order to make meaningful change and conserve nature’s valuable resources, companies need to work with their suppliers to reduce the impact of producing raw materials,” says Dave McLaughlin, VP of Agriculture at World Wildlife Fund. “This means forging long term partnerships based on shared objectives, creating a transformational supply chain, a key strategy of WWF’s market transformation initiative.”

Expanded Sustainability Goals

Last May, Kraft Foods announced expanded sustainability goals and highlighted progress against its six sustainability focus areas. Kraft Foods now has added transportation and agricultural commodities to what it will be measuring. From a 2010 base, by the end of 2015 Kraft Foods plans to:

  • Increase sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities by 25 percent
  • Reduce energy use in manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Reduce energy-related CO2 emissions in manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Reduce water consumption in manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Reduce waste at manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Eliminate 50,000 metric tons (100 million lbs.) of packaging material
  • Reduce 80 million km (50 million miles) from its transportation network

Kraft’s achievements from the period 2005 through 2010 include:

  • Energy use is down 16 percent
  • CO2 emissions are down 18 percent
  • Incoming water is down 30 percent
  • Net waste is down 42 percent
  • Packaging is down 100,000 metric tons (200 million lbs)
  • 96 million km (60 million road miles) have been removed from its transportation/distribution network

Kraft’s associate director for life cycle management, Dan Pettit, describes the footprinting process and its effects on operations in a video here.

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12
December

Heineken encouraging people to drink less beer?

Heineken has launched a campaign which is designed to make people drink less beer – or as the company puts it to encourage the responsible consumption of its brands.

The new theme, titled ‘Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers’ continues to use Heineken® to deliver this message.

This initiative encourages aspirational behaviour among adult consumers. Heineken says that it has chosen to launch this programme in the festive season to maximise the impact of the message.

Alexis Nasard, Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Heinken has both the opportunity and the responsibility to encourage moderate drinking. This approach breaks from the norm of traditional responsible consumption messages and takes a progressive stance by showing that drinking responsibly can be aspirational. ‘Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers’ is a natural next step in our long term commitment to encouraging responsible consumption.”

‘Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers’, will be executed through the use of various online and offline media channels, with strong emphasis on social media. In the 85 second film ‘The Sunrise’, Heineken®’s legendary hero demonstrates how to celebrate the night to the fullest, including turning down a beer and choosing a bottle of water instead.

Cyril Charzat,Senior Director, Global Heineken Brand, added: “In the film, our ‘man of the world’ brings to life the powerful idea that there are no limits, when you know your limits. We want to show that enjoying Heineken® in moderation can be an integral part of connecting and engaging with friends, meeting new people and exploring new experiences.”

‘Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers’, will be executed through the use of various online and offline media channels, with strong emphasis on social media. In the 85 second film ‘The Sunrise’, Heineken®’s legendary hero demonstrates how to celebrate the night to the fullest, including turning down a beer and choosing a bottle of water instead.

Cyril Charzat,Senior Director, Global Heineken Brand, added: “In the film, our ‘man of the world’ brings to life the powerful idea that there are no limits, when you know your limits. We want to show that enjoying Heineken® in moderation can be an integral part of connecting and engaging with friends, meeting new people and exploring new experiences.”

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12
December

Major Consumer Brands Improve Climate Scores 54%

 

Major consumer brands continued to make strong progress in corporate climate responsibility (CCR) in the past year, according to the latest review by Climate Counts.

The 2011 assessment results show Climate Counts’ average scores have improved 54% since 2007, while nearly two-thirds of companies improved their standing from 2010. Climate Counts assessed 136 companies in 16 industry sectors for their 5th annual scorecard.

“We’re witnessing a remarkable shift across the corporate community,” says Mike Bellamente, Climate Counts Project Director. “As business risks associated with climate change continue to grow, sustainability is becoming intertwined with long-term strategy at the highest levels of business. Our optimism is tempered by the reality that global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, but corporate leaders appear to be on the right track.”

Climate Counts is most encouraged by the movement at the top end of the rankings this year, with 13 companies scoring 80 points or higher (out of a maximum 100 points), representing more than triple the number of companies to achieve that threshold in 2010.

“Leading edge companies are demonstrating how climate leadership enhances their bottom line,” said Bellamente. “Of the 20 largest companies scored, 17 are scoring at the highest level.”

Unilever emerged as the top company for the first time ever, supplanting Nike, which held the top spot for three consecutive years. Unilever exemplifies the integrated approach to CCR that Climate Counts is seeing from industry leaders. Their “Sustainable Living Plan” enables Unilever to identify every opportunity across their operations to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

Climate Counts scores the largest companies (by revenue) in 16 industry sectors on their actions to address climate change. The companies are assessed on a 100-point scale based on 22 criteria. The criteria measure a company’s efforts to assess their climate footprint, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support progress on climate legislation, and communicate their efforts clearly and comprehensively to consumers.

This year’s Climate Counts sector leaders are as follows:

  • Airlines: Southwest Airlines (55)
  • Apparel/Accessories: Nike (85)
  • Beverages – Beer: Anheuser-Busch (57)
  • Commercial Banks: Bank of America (82)
  • Consumer Shipping: UPS (80)
  • Electronics: Hewlett-Packard (83)
  • Food Products: Unilever (88)
  • Food Services: Starbucks (70)
  • Home and Office Furnishings: Herman Miller and Masco (63)
  • Hotels: Marriott (73)
  • Household Products: L’Oreal (78)
  • Internet/Software: Microsoft (68)
  • Large Appliances: AB Electrolux (80)
  • Media: General Electric (77)
  • Pharmaceuticals: AstraZeneca (86)
  • Toys & Children’s Equipment: Hasbro (52)

A report and the full 2011 Climate Counts review are available at www.climatecounts.org. The non-profit organization also has a voluntary scoring and benchmarking program called Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2).

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications, and a regular contributor to Sustainable Life Media.

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8
December

Tesco, Swisscom Receive Gigaton Awards

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group, Gigaton Award Winner George Buckley, CEO, 3M, and Sunil Paul, Founder of the Gigaton Throwdown at the 2010 Gigaton Awards in Cancun. Image courtesy of gigaton-awards.com

 

UK-based retailer Tesco and Swiss telecommunications company Swisscom are among the companies that received Gigaton Awardsover the weekend celebrating their business leadership in carbon emissions reduction.

The Carbon War Room, the Gigaton Throwdown, and the World Climate Summit gave the awards for “high standards of disclosure, exemplary performance, and inspirational behavior to lead their respective sectors to long term sustainability.”

Tesco has made significant progress reducing emissions from its supply chain and created a Knowledge Hub program showcasing pilots of carbon reduction plans and training.

Judges singled out Swisscom for its portfolio of green ICT products and services that support a more sustainable work and lifestyle for its customers.

Other companies receiving awards include solar panel maker Suntech, electronics and lighting company Philips, industrial power company Schneider Electric and utility Centrica.

“We applaud the 2011 Gigaton winners for their outstanding efforts that will set the industry standard in carbon reduction and sustainability,” said Sir Richard Branson, Co-Founder of the Carbon War Room. “My fellow Academy of judges picked the very best companies from a great shortlist, and we look forward to seeing the ripple effect their efforts will inspire.”

Twenty-five companies were nominated for awards, based on an assessment of performance on a range of metrics, including disclosure, and reductions in the volume and intensity of emissions over the last year. Company data was taken from the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Global 500 Report, which examines the carbon reduction activities at the world’s largest public corporations.

The winners were then selected by the 21-seat independent Academy – including Yvo de Boer, former director general of the UNFCCC; Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC); Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin; Kevin Conrad, Special Envoy and Ambassador for Environment & Climate Change, Papua New Guinea and Prof Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, as well as senior executives from top global companies, politicians and NGOs.

A Special Gigaton prize, newly awarded this year, for the country that has been the most inspiring example for renewable energy and energy efficiency investment and deployment was given to Germany

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6
December

Tiffany Releases First-Ever Corporate Responsibility Report

Renowned jeweler Tiffany & Co. released its first-ever corporate responsibility report in conjunction with a new sustainability website.

The report provides insight into Tiffany’s standards and operations regarding the sourcing of precious materials. The company says it works to purchase diamonds either directly from a mine or a supplier that only sources from known mines. In addition, the company uses gold, silver and platinum sourced from responsibly mined metal deposits and recycled sources in the U.S. to minimize environmental and social risks.

Tiffany works with nongovernmental organizations as well as the mining and jewelry industries to improve mining standards, and in an effort to benefit the economies and societies of diamond-producing countries, Tiffany says it has invested in manufacturing operations, as well as employee development and training programs at its cutting and polishing facilities in Belgium, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Vietnam.

In 2010, Tiffany donated close to 2% of pre-tax earnings to charitable purposes, through its Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

The report also states Tiffany’s bags, boxes and catalogues are manufactured with materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Tiffany engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide limited assurance on select metrics in the Corporate Responsibility Report. Future reports will show progress and year over year performance comparisons.

“Our position as a leader in the luxury jewelry market gives us the opportunity and the responsibility to set an example for the industry and to conduct our business in a manner that is consistent with our core beliefs—protection of the environment, respect for human rights and support for the communities in which we do business,” said Tiffany & Co. Chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski.”

Tiffany & Co. recently joined the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption and uses the report to communicate on its progress.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal of Cleantech Communications, and a fequent contributor to Sustainable Life Media

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