A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

Archive for December, 2011

Maplecroft Study Indentifies Nine Nations at Extreme Risk for Deforestation

December 30, 2011 | No Comments →

The world’s highest rates of deforestation, a key factor to rising atmospheric CO2 levels and subsequent climate change, are occurring in the emerging economies of Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria, according to research released earlier this month by risk analysis and mapping company Maplecroft.

Maplecroft’s new  Deforestation Index concludes that economic growth, poverty, corruption and the rise of biofuels are among the major causes of deforestation in nine countries which Maplecroft now classifies as “extreme risk.”

These endangered nations are:

Rank      Country

1           Nigeria

2           Indonesia

3           North Korea

4           Bolivia

5           Papua New Guinea

6           Democratic Republic of Congo

7           Nicaragua

8           Brazil

9           Cambodia

The report also details specific challenges faced by different countries.

For example, (more…)

Brooks Sports Releases First Corporate Responsibility Report

December 28, 2011 | No Comments →

Brooks Sports, Inc. released its first corporate responsibility (CR) report earlier this month.

Brooks Sports, parent of leading running brand Brooks and women’s active lifestyle brand Moving Comfort, aptly titled the report Running Responsibly and is using it to:

  • highlight the company’s environmental and social performance in 2009 and 2010 and
  • outline challenges and key focus areas for the future.

Among the sustainability achievements, Brooks has:

  • modified materials used in the manufacture of the vast majority of Brooks shoes. For example, virtually every component of the Cascadia 6 has an environmentally-friendlier feature, such as materials made of recycled content, soy-based foams and water-based inks and adhesives.
  • reduced packaging materials needed and waste generated in the manufacture of its shoe boxes.
  • reduced the use of hazardous substances in the manufacturing process. I n 2010, Brooks listed 193 chemicals on its restricted substance list and actively tracked 67 of the highest risk substances. All 49 of Brooks’ footwear component and material suppliers, and contract factories have enlisted in its Restricted Substances program to help make Brooks products as safe as possible.

With regard to factory and supplier performance, Brooks: (more…)

Seat Fabric in Ford Focus Electric Made From Used Plastic Water Bottles

December 26, 2011 | No Comments →

The new Ford Focus Electric features seat fabric made from REPREVE®, a polyester fiber derived from a hybrid blend of recycled materials, including used plastic water bottles and post-industrial waste.

REPREVE is manufactured by Unifi, Inc, a global leader in sustainable textile solutions, and Ford is the first automakers to use this branded fiber for its seats. According to Ford, the seat fabric on each Focus Electric now includes the equivalent of more than 20 plastic bottles per car.

For years, Ford has been committed to finding a sustainable solution for textiles used in car production.

In 2009, the company mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles.

Now, Ford is taking it a step further by mandating that fabric be 100 percent sustainable in vehicles with eco-conscious powertrains like Focus Electric.

REPREVE fits the bill. Unifi officials report that all told, 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles are used in the seat fabric of a single Focus Electric. (more…)

Frito-Lay Expands Use of All-Electric Delivery Trucks: One Step Closer to Most Fuel-Efficient Fleet in the Country

December 23, 2011 | No Comments →

Earlier this month, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America announced the addition of ten new trucks to its growing all-electric fleet – a move that pushes the company closer to its goal of becoming the most fuel-efficient commercial fleet in the country.

Frito-Lay is working with Smith Electric Vehicles, the nation’s top manufacturer of battery-electric commercial trucks and a leader in the development of commercial electric trucks designed to operate at peak effectiveness in urban environments. All told, Frito-Lay says it plans to deploy 176 all-electric vehicles in the US and Canada this year.

Some benefits of these trucks include: (more…)

Light Green Consumers Affected by Recession

December 21, 2011 | No Comments →

The green consumer product market continues to evolve.

Today, store shelves are stocked with more eco-friendly products than ever before, and there’s increasing competition for marketshare. Plus, manufacturers are responding to a growing sophistication among consumers who want accurate brand information presented in a way that’s easy to understand.

But even so, recent survey results from Grail Research indicate that the recession has had a significant impact on consumer behavior in this market. For example, the new study shows that:

  • Since 2009, the “dark green” consumer segment has grown slightly, but the total number of green consumers has declined.
  • Four in ten (43 percent) of “light green” consumers reduced their use of green products or switched to conventional ones.
  • The percentage of “non-green” consumers increased from 15 percent to 22 percent.
  • Both green and non-green consumers alike cited price as the number one deterrent preventing them from buying green.
  • While certifications matter, most US consumers are confused about how to interpret green credentials, and most don’t actively look for green information about the products they’re buying. Only 11 percent said they seek information about green products and practices on a regular basis.

Interestingly, Grail Research also found that companies are often perceived by consumers as green, even if they do not exclusively manufacture green products. For instance, here’s the 2011 list of the five companies that are top of mind for consumers when they think of a green company: (more…)