Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2013 12:37 PM
One year after the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh killed 112 workers, and seven months after the Rana Plaza factory collapse claimed over 1,200 lives, H&M, the world's second-largest clothing retailer, has announced a plan to ensure that workers making its clothing are paid a living wage.
The move is a first from the divided groups of European and North American retailers that have since been put in the spotlight following the factory disasters. While the separate groups—the mostly-European Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the North American-based Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety—have made some progress on ensuring factory safety and workers' rights in Bangladesh, the issue of compensation is still being debated among government and corporate officials.
Within five years, the Swedish fast fashion giant said 750 of its most important suppliers, covering 60 percent of its goods, should be paying a fair living wage to 850,000 textile workers.
"Textile workers should be able to live on their wage," Helena Helmersson, Global Head of Sustainability at H&M, told the Wall Street Journal. "Wage revisions from the government are taking too long."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2013 11:33 AM
Unilever’s Project Sunlight wants to make sustainable living commonplace so that today's adults have something to hand down to their children.
The broad campaign, which launched on Nov 20, Universal Children's Day, is wrapped up in a short film by Academy Award winning director Errol Morris, and is propelled by research from the company that supports what many parents already know—that having a child is a life-changing experience. Some nine out of 10 parents say children's natural optimism and enthusiasm inspires them to make the world a better place, while seven out of 10 say their main motivation for wanting to live more sustainably is for their children's future.
The company is encouraging people to commit "acts of sunlight," which will be translated into aid for two million children through partnerships with the World Food Programme, Save the Children, UNICEF, and in the US, Feeding America, with the company donating an additional two million meals to help the 1 in 5 children who face food insecurity every day. So far, via hashtag #brightfuture, over 9.6 million 'acts' have been accounted for.
“People find it hard to engage with big global issues like climate change,” Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing, Unilever told brandchannel. “But if we can help people relate 'the big world issues' to the everyday lives of their children and families, we think that people will see the possibilities in the small changes that they can make towards a more sustainable lifestyle.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 11:33 AM
The B Corp, or “For Benefit” corporation, is redefining fiduciary responsibility, governance, ownership and stakeholder relationships in light of an equal increase in stewardship and sustainability obligations by businesses, government and consumers.
“It's not just retailers that take notice of B Corp certification. It can also be a game changer for consumers and investors. Over the past five years, B Lab said small businesses with B Corp certification have had a 30 percent higher survival rate than U.S. small businesses as a whole," Hartford Business noted.
While green products are increasingly available, telling the difference between "eco-friendly" companies and those with a real commitment to sustainable practices has become much easier thanks to B Corp certification, a business badge for companies with a proven track record on sustainability, community, transparency and fair employee treatment.
Companies looking for certification must complete an assessment of their current practices, gather documentation and go through an audit with a B Lab consultant, and pay fees anywhere from $500 to $25,000 depending on size. But the payoff is more than worth the trouble.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 07:52 PM
Toyota has launched a new campaign to bring attention to teen drivers' most dangerous year on the road—their first.
TeenDrive365 emphasizes the importance of parents talking to their teens about the "dangers from distracted driving," Marjorie Schussel, corporate marketing director for Toyota, told Advertising Age. "We as parents need to be models for our children." Schussel cited a national study conducted by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that found that parents "are the No. 1 influence" on what kind of driver their teens will be.
According to the National Safety Council, a teen driver's risk of a crash is three times greater than that of a more-experienced driver; drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to crash as those using hands-free devices; and more teens die in car crashes than from homicides and suicides combined.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 15, 2013 10:54 AM
As palm oil production continues and demand grows, the most vulnerable tropical habitats worldwide are systemically being destroyed. But after an outcry from consumers and activists, some of the biggest consumers of palm oil are making it their business to implement more sustainable production.
The 2013 edition of WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard ranks Ecover, Ferrero, IKEA, REWE, United Biscuits and Unilever as the leaders in the uptake of sustainable efforts.
Earlier this week, Unilever made a transformative move by announcing that all of the palm oil it buys—about 1.3 million tons a year for use in Dove soap, TRESemmé and Flora margarine, among others—will come from traceable sources by the end of 2014, allowing the world’s biggest user of palm oil to guarantee that the oil is coming from environmentally safe and legal suppliers.
The Anglo-Dutch CPG giant has crossed swords with environmental activists for sourcing the oil from plantations involved in mass deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, but the brand has vowed to consciously source its product in the future. "The first step in this whole journey is to know where the stuff is coming from," Marc Engel, Unilever's chief procurement officer, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 5, 2013 08:02 PM
Apple has become the American success story of the digital age. But it never was the "all-American" success story because essentially all of the manufacturing of its iconic, intuitive, lovely and life-changing devices took place outside the United States, mainly in China and other Asian locales.
Now "essentially all" is becoming "most" since Apple took another step to fulfill CEO Tim Cook's recent vow to make adding US jobs a priority. The company plans to open a new plant in Mesa, Ariz., that will create 2,000 jobs to make components for its products. GT Advanced Technologies will make materials there out of sapphire, which is increasingly used to cover camera lenses and home buttons.
"We are proud to expand our domestic-manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona," an Apple spokeswoman said. The company already planned next month a release of a new Mac Pro computer that is being assembled in the US.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 24, 2013 08:08 PM
Mondelez International’s $400 million, 10-year commitment to improve the livelihood of more than 200,000 cocoa farmers and nearly 1 million people in cocoa farming communities world-wide is having effect.
The Cocoa Life partnership with the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) and suppliers Armajaro and Olam, promotes sustainable cocoa farming, improves cocoa bean quality and perhaps most importantly, supports the development of healthy and prosperous Indonesian cocoa communities.
“A sustainable cocoa supply begins with thriving cocoa communities, and more efficient farming improves farmers' financial security," said Cathy Pieters, director of Cocoa Life at Mondelez. “Partnering is key to creating lasting change through our Cocoa Life program. Together with the Indonesian government, our suppliers and other partners, we're empowering cocoa-farming families to create the kind of communities they want to live in, while promoting gender equality."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 23, 2013 07:17 PM
More than half of the 620 Bangladesh garment factories contracted by 23 North American retailers and apparel makers have been inspected for fire and building safety, according to a report from the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
Since the April collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and a November 2012 fire at the Tazreen factory that killed 112, close attention has been paid to Bangladesh's booming garment industry—but it's still not enough. Earlier this month, another factory fire killed nearly a dozen people—a building that was reportedly left out of inspections by both the Alliance and European-based Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
In a bid to be more transparent amid criticism over its non-binding agreement, the Alliance has released a full list of all of its contracted factories that includes names and addresses, as well as number of workers and building composition. The list also indicates which factories are utilized by Accord members.Continue reading...