Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fair Trade-Maggie's, Patagonia, HonestTea

Triple is too uncritical for my preferences, but they do publish some good articles from time to time to my taste.  I am happy to learn about Patagonia's extending their certifications to the social side to what appear to be the highest levels, unless they actually would go and start a full-fledged co-op supplier. Maggie's Organics did that in Nicaragua, I recall
There is news about HonestTea, founded by an old college friend of mine.  Although bought by Coca-cola a couple of years ago, they are increasing their sustainable ingredients independently.  Then, an interview with IKEA USA struck me as uninspiring and uncritical business news. 

Patagonia Goes Fair Trade

By | October 22nd, 2013

patagonia-fair-tradePatagonia made headlines when they admonished us: “Don’t buy that jacket.” In fact, they made so many headlines, we bought them anyway. Their commitment to environmental sustainability keeps them at the top of GoodGuide’s apparel recommendations. And they’ve even dipped their toes into social sustainability, with the Footprint Chronicles, a collective documentation of the supply chain and local impacts of all of their products. Today, Patagonia announces that it is taking its commitment to social responsibility much, much further – beyond documentation into third party verification.
In the Fall 2014 season, nine styles will be Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA. This step, a first from a major retailer, represents a huge vote of confidence for the Fair Trade apparel industry in general.
“Offering Fair Trade products is an important new tool for us to help ensure fair wages and workplace safety for the workers in the supply chain who sew Patagonia clothes,” says Cara Chacon, Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility for Patagonia in a press release. “We are also empowering the people purchasing our products. This effort is part of a larger strategy to raise awareness with our customers on how they can make a difference in the world with their purchasing decisions.”
Fair Trade USA’s certification works a bit differently in the apparel industry than it does for food and agriculture. When it comes to crops like those Fair Trade bananas and chocolate you may see on co-op shelves, the focus is primarily on protecting the agricultural workers, making sure they have living wages and giving them the freedom to improve their own situation. In the case of apparel, those benefits are also extended to the factory workers who cut, make and sew the products.....  

Honest Tea Increases Organic Purchases and Fair Trade Premiums

Gina-Marie Cheeseman By | October 24th, 2013 0 Comments

Honest TeaThere is so much to like about Honest Tea’s 2013 Mission Report. The company, founded in 1998, and purchased in 2011 by the Coca-Cola Company, increased organic purchases and fair trade premiums. In fact, Honest Tea increased organic ingredient purchases to 4.9 million pounds in 2012-2013, 13 percent more than the year before, and six times more than 2007.
The company is no stranger to organic ingredients. In 1999, it created the first organic ready-to-drink bottled tea, and in 2004 converted all of its tea and juice drinks to certified organic. The company contributed increased its Fair Trade premiums in 2012-2013 by 19 percent over the previous year. Honest Tea works with Fair Trade USA, and its organic products are certified by Pennsylvania Certified Organic and the USDA National Organic Program.
“Our progress in growing the demand and the supply of organic ingredients helps illustrate that our efforts to democratize organic and healthy beverages are bearing some fruit, but there is still more work to be done,” said Honest Tea co-founder TeaEO, Seth Goldman.

In addition to its organic and fair trade purchasing, Honest Tea is not afraid to take a stand on labeling genetically modified (GMO) products. It not only supports GMO labeling, but states that Honest Tea beverages “do not and have never contained GMOs.” All of its packages are labeled with a “No GMOs” logo in addition to a statement that says, “No GMOs means that if there is a bioengineered version of an ingredient, we don’t use it.” The company’s strong stance on GMO labeling might seem to create friction with its parent company, but Goldman insists that isn’t the case. In a blog post last year, he stated, “There are bound to be moments when our enterprise does not share all of the same ideas as our parent company. But there’s never been any pressure to compromise Honest Tea’s products, our ingredients, or our commitment to our mission.”....

Interview: IKEA Unveils New Sustainability Strategy

By RP Siegel | October 7th, 2013

ikea logoMike Ward, President of IKEA USA gave the keynote address at the 6th Annual Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Conference in Orlando last week where he unveiled IKEA’s sustainability strategy.
I caught up with Ward a couple of days later to discuss the new strategy in greater detail.
TriplePundit: What are the main elements of IKEA’s new sustainability strategy?
Mike Ward: The new strategy really outlines for us how we want to transform the business in the next few years, using sustainability as a key platform of the business plan. People and Planet Positive is a way to explain to ourselves and to everyone what we’re going to be focusing on.
3p: So what’s different now?
MW: We’re looking at three change drivers. The first is a more sustainable life at home. We’ve always been fascinated with the way people live, and have focused our innovation on improving life, always at a low price. Sustainability adds another dimension to that challenge. Next we discussed energy independence and independence in the way that we source materials. That shows up in our commitment to renewable energy and the work we’ve done in our supply chain, particularly with respect to wood and cotton. The third aspect is a better life for the people and communities where we do business.
3p: What does sustainable life at home look like?
MW: That is where we can really add the most value. We have to be clear that even though people are becoming more aware, it’s a hard change for some people to make. But we, and all retailers, can be a big part of motivating people to make the change to a more sustainable way of living at home, because our products are so good.
3p: How do you reconcile being a provider of low-cost furnishings with bringing sustainability into people’s lives, in cases where the more sustainable options currently cost more, like organic food, for example, or cotton, or LED light bulbs?
MW: Cotton is a good example. We buy quite a bit of cotton. In fact, almost one percent of all the cotton grown in the world goes into IKEA products. The way we’re working with cotton is to really go back to the source. We work with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) where we have an opportunity to influence the way it is produced. This is an independent organization that works with farmers to help them figure out how to use less water, less pesticide, and less fertilizer, therefore growing cotton more sustainably.
3p: And adding your buying power helps improve the prices.
MW: Yes, it does. We’ve set a goal that by 2015, all the cotton we buy will be produced in line with the BCI standards.....

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