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Consumer and tech giants are joining with Forum for the Future and the VICE design team on this site to reach consumers. Hello, millennials?
Decision by search giant to sever link with American Legislative Exchange Council will boost UN climate campaign
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What difference might it make if every product that you could purchase as a consumer had at least one positive sustainability characteristic? This is a question that South African retailer Woolworths is testing and it is enlisting the support of standards to help achieve its ambitious sustainability plan, what it calls the ‘Good Business Journey.’ Read our interview with Lucy King of Woolworths below. The company has made some major commitments to sustainable sourcing as part of its aim to “sell products that cause the minimum of harm to the natural world in the way they are made,” including engaging with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to ensure that its wild-caught seafood comes from sustainable fisheries, as well as with Fairtrade and UTZ Certified to ensure that its coffee and cocoa are traceable and harvested using good practices. Woolworths was also the first African retailer to strike a broad, multi-faceted partnership with an environmental NGO (WWF-South Africa) in order to be certain that its sustainability efforts are on the right track.One of the people behind Woolworth’s Good Business Journey, Lucy King, spoke to us about why Woolworths is using sustainability standards and what they look for in a credible standard.Can you tell us a bit about Woolworths and its sustainability goals?We’re a diversified retailer in South Africa, selling clothing, homeware and food, most of which is our own private label, though we do sell other brands as well. We were established in South Africa, but increasingly we’re expanding throughout Africa and to other parts of the world like Australia.We\'ve been on our ‘Good Business Journey’ since 2007 and have identified six key focus areas that we set our targets around: sustainable farming and fishing; water; energy; waste; social development; and transformation. Going forward we will be extending our focus on ethical sourcing, and health and wellness.We strive to be a leading responsible retailer, by embedding sustainability into the way we do business, whether in our own operations or in our supply chain. This is why we’ve set a target for 2020 for 100% of our products to have at least one sustainability attribute. This might mean that the product is farmed sustainably, or the packaging is recyclable, or that water and energy use has been reduced in production, and we’ve developed a product matrix with a set of criteria to determine what “counts” as a sustainability attribute. Third-party certification is included here as well. We are looking at every product that we put on our shelves to ensure that some consideration for sustainability has taken place.And what about Woolworths engagement with sustainability standards?The MSC was one of the first certification schemes we started working with back in 2008, when we introduced our Sustainable Seafood Policy. Early on we also started working with Fairtrade on the coffee sold in our in-store cafes, and by 2012, all of the coffee beans used in our cafes were Fairtrade certified. We’ve since started working with UTZ Certified on sustainable cocoa sourcing and aim for 100% of the cocoa used in our private label chocolates to be UTZ Certified by 2016, and 100% UTZ Certified cocoa to be used as an ingredient in all private label foods by June 2018. (Learn more about Woolworths\' sustainable cocoa journey with this video) More recently we’ve become members of the Better Cotton Initiative to improve the sourcing of cotton for the clothes we sell. What are some of the main drivers behind your sustainable sourcing and use of standards and labels?In some ways using standards has been a natural transition. We always knew where the coffee beans used in our cafés where coming from, but when we started working with Fairtrade we realised that a large portion of these were already Fairtrade certified. Having that base made it easier to move towards 100% Fairtrade certified coffee beans. At the time in 2012, awareness of Fairtrade in South Africa was still quite low, but today we are seeing an increase in consumer awareness and more retailers selling Fairtrade certified products.Even as one of the first major retailers in South Africa to start carrying certified products, we’re still learning as we go and refining our strategy. We haven’t been using standards long enough to see long-term results yet.Our customers are very educated and want to know where their products are coming from. They are asking more questions and want to be able to trust that the products they are buying and their ingredients are sourced from responsible suppliers. We need to deliver on that, whether through sustainability standards or other tools.Linked to this is traceability and transparency. When it comes to products or commodities where we don’t have a direct relationship with the producers, we depend on standards and certification bodies to provide the assurance that we can’t provide ourselves. This is why UTZ and Fairtrade have been so important to us in the commodity space. They can help us ensure traceability and improvement in our supply chain.You use other sustainability tools, besides standards – can you tell us more about them?For us, when we choose tools, it\'s about understanding the issues we\'re trying to tackle and our strategic objectives, and identifying where we can work directly with our suppliers to drive improvement, and where we need to partner with an organisation who can help us drive improvement on the ground.Woolworths has always placed importance on working in partnership with our suppliers and our flagship programme to advance sustainable agriculture, ‘Farming for the Future,’ is built on this engagement. It’s a holistic and scientific approach to growing food sustainably so that South Africa’s farms will be able to provide enough food for future generations. Focused on building soil health, reducing chemical and water use, integrated pest management and restoring ecosystems, the programme is helping farmers become more resilient and adapt to climate change. With exception to our organic suppliers, all our primary produce suppliers are farming using Farming for the Future principles.How is the Farming for the Future initiative different from international sustainability standards?The biggest difference is the relationship we have with our South African suppliers. When it comes to produce, we know who the farmers are and we’ve always had a strict set of standards they have to meet. We don’t source from the open market. We knew that we had to change the way we farmed and having a close relationship with our suppliers meant that we could partner with them to adopt a new approach. But while we wanted to develop our own approach to sustainable farming that was relevant to the South African context, this is not something we did alone. We engaged with our suppliers and WWF-South Africa to develop our Farming for the Future standards and like other sustainability standards, suppliers are assessed against these standards by a third-party auditor, Enviroscientific.In terms of engaging with standards, what makes them credible? We consider a number of things. First we look at the technical components of the standard as well as its vision, and whether these align with what we’re trying to achieve. We\'re not only concerned with one of social, or environmental or economic - we\'re looking at all three.One thing I haven’t mentioned is that it’s not all about the label. Sustainability standards role in reducing supply chain related risks for businesses is becoming increasingly important. We’re not just using certification schemes as a marketing tool, but also as a way of ensuring traceability and transparency and thereby mitigating risk.We also look to learn from what others are doing, particularly leading retailers and brands in Europe.If people are entrusting companies more and more to do the right thing, how does this affect the responsibility of retailers like yourself?We want to lead customers on a sustainability journey and enable them to make more sustainable choices. Eco-labels and sustainability standards are one way of doing this, but there are a variety of other ways that we as retailers can take responsibility. One is engaging our consumers, educating them about key sustainability issues – as we do with our in-store displays – and rewarding their behaviour. In working with other organisations, like certification schemes, it’s about understanding the unique value and credibility they bring to what you’re doing.You can read more about the Good Business Journey in this 2013 report. Lucy also participated in a session at the 2014 Global Sustainability Standards Conference and you can download her presentation here.Watch a video about Woolworth\'s sustainable cocoa journey belowLucy King, Good Business Journey Analyst, Woolworths South AfricaLucy plays a role in entrenching company-wide commitment to the Good Business Journey (Woolworths’ sustainability programme) and ensuring that all the enablers for achieving the South African retailer\'s sustainability commitments are in place. She has extensive experience in driving sustainability through the value chain and marketing sustainable product choices. Lucy recently played an advisory role to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the 10YFP Consumer Information Programme (CIFP). Lucy holds a degree in Value and Policy Studies and a Bachelor of Philosophy in Sustainable Development Planning and Management from the University of Stellenbosch.Blog Settings Node reference: Ready for Lift off? Interview with standardp�
Canada's top food brand, President's Choice®, modernizes message to reflect today's broader customer cravings
Canada\'s top food brand, President\'s Choice®, modernizes message to reflect today\'s broader customer cravings
Fairtrade opens consultation to align Standard for Gold with international regulations on conflict minerals
ISEAL member Fairtrade International has launched a public consultation on its Standard for Gold and Associated Precious Metals for Artisanal and Small-scale Mining to explore how Fairtrade can best tackle new regulation and legislation in the gold industry. Press release originally published on the Fairtrade website--15 September 2014The aim is for Fairtrade to offer a small, but scalable solution to companies looking to source gold from artisanal and small-scale miners that can demonstrate conformance with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.The consultation will run from 15 September 2014 to 17 October 2014 and the revisions to the Standard will be published in December 2014.The process will provide small scale miners and the wider extractives and jewellery industry a chance to input their views on what options should be included in the document.Greg Valerio, Fairtrade International’s Gold and Precious Metals Programme Coordinator said: “This process will ensure that the Fairtrade Standard for Gold, will become even stronger, deeper and more aligned to international conflict-free sourcing protocols, the outcome of which will create more positive opportunities for artisanal and small scale miners and their communities globally and give gold buyers and the jewellery industry the reassurances it needs when it comes to conflict free sourcing regulations.“This is a significant development for Fairtrade gold and will further strengthen our offering, enabling producers in situations of political and economic turbulence to provide buyers with the information and assurances they need to maintain their commercial relationships.“It is vital that we are nimble and able to adapt Fairtrade Standard to this evolving and complex legal context so that we can enable much-needed systemic change in the gold industry.”The consultation covers a number of topics as Fairtrade International aims to develop a standard that is closely adapted to the specific context and needs of small-scale miners.Of specific note are the following areas:New requirements which relate to the Dodd-Frank Act, Section 1502 (law applicable to US issuers); draft EU Regulation incentivising self-certification for importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold who choose to import responsibly into the EU; and the OECD DDG (Due Diligence Guidance) - referred to by both the US law and draft EU law.The increased participation of workers in the governance of mining organizationsThe management and eradication of toxic substances in mining operationsThe protection of human rightsThe project will be carried out according to the Standard Operating Procedures for the development of Fairtrade Standards. More information on these procedures can be found at www.fairtrade.net.For further details, and to take part in the consultation, please go to www.fairtrade.net/standards-work-in-progress.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Visit www.fairgold.org for further information about Fairtrade gold.For journalist inquiries including more information, interviews, footage and images, please contact Martine Parry, Media and PR Manager in the Fairtrade Foundation UK press office on 44 20 7440 7695 or at email@example.com.Fast FactsAround the world small-scale mining directly employs about 30 million miners and generates economic opportunity and livelihoods for at least 100 million more.Fairtrade gold was first launched in 2011 in the UK closely followed by launches in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and Sweden. Discussions are currently underway to introduce certified gold in the USA and Switzerland in the near future.The Fairtrade Minimum Price for pure gold is set at 95% of the London Bullion Market Association’s (LBMA) fix plus a Fairtrade Premium of US$2000 per kilogram of fine gold bought from the mines. Platinum: 95% LMBA Fairtrade Premium of 15%; Silver: 95% LMBA Fairtrade Premium of 10%. The LBMA fix is the international agreed price for gold. Artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) producers in the mainstream get anything from 50% to 85% of the LBMA fix.Miners can earn a premium of 15% on top of their sale price when they recover and process gold without the use of harmful chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.
In the coming week, representatives from the environmental organization Stewardship Partners will visit the island twice with information about their Salmon Safe certification program, part of an effort to get more island farms and other organizations to consider their environmental impact, not just on the island’s salmon streams, but on Puget Sound in general.
China\'s carbon emissions saw the largest drop in years as the nation furthers structural readjustment to improve growth quality, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.
Today, at the Forest Stewardship Council\'s General Assembly in Spain, ISEAL, along with Kingfisher, IKEA and Tetra Pak and IDH, announced a unique partnership to develop a rigorous approach for evaluating the impacts of FSC certification and demonstrating its value for protecting the world\'s forests. The two-year initiative aims to support the scaling up of FSC certification globally to combat deforestation and threats to the world\'s forests. The three companies, which are some of the largest in the world in the forest products industry, will be working on a collective approach for putting all of the impacts data related to the FSC programme together, as such a methodology does not currently exist. ISEAL will be the convener for this novel partnership, facilitating the group\'s activities, providing standards\' expertise and ensuring that the learning is shared across the other standards and certification schemes in the ISEAL Alliance.Read the full press release below9 SEPT, SEVILLEBy 2050 we’re likely to need three times more wood than we do today, yet forests are fighting for their lives as the ground they stem from is being sought for alternative uses. The key to keeping forests standing is to make them viable so they can compete with alternative land uses that require them cleared. Sustainable wood extraction as a forest conservation strategy has long been recognised as one way to achieve this. That’s why today, a unique collaboration is being announced - to promote the benefits of legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber and clarify the role of FSC certification in the delivery of these values. The two-year initiative from three founding business partners Kingfisher, IKEA and Tetra Pak, is supported by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance. The collaborators will support the development of a methodology for assessing the impacts of FSC forest management certification and the piloting of this methodology in selected areas.In the last two decades The FSC has achieved great things but getting this level of certification to scale has proved difficult. WWF, for example, estimates around two-thirds of the 400 million hectares of production forest in the tropics are operating without a sustainable management plan. So, as the upward trend for more wood continues and pressures to clear forests for alternative use increase - there’s never been a more pressing time to get sustainable forestry management to scale. To do it though, we need to demonstrate in which ways certification contributes to better management of the world’s forests, so that businesses and consumers understand the value and then create demand for certified timber. This collated impact data will enable businesses to see the value they add by specifying FSC certified timber and paper through their procurement policies. The initiative is independent from the FSC but is designed to be useful to the organisation, by providing a tool that will show the contribution it makes to the social, environmental and economic values of the world’s forests. The learning from the initiative will also be shared with other sectors beyond forestry that are covered by more than 20 certification schemes who are members of ISEAL.Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability Director for Kingfisher PLC, launching the collaboration at the FSC’s 20th anniversary General Assembly in Seville, Spain, said:“Our forests are fighting for their lives. As a human being I care about the environmental and the social impacts that is having but as a retailer I also understand the devastating impacts of supply insecurity. The business community can help reverse the deforestation spiral by getting behind sustainable forestry management so that we can get it to scale. That’s why we’ve formed this collaboration. We believe business can be a force for good in keeping forests standing but to do that they need to understand the value of certification and sustainable forestry management. That’s why there’s a pressing need for this collaboration and the business-ready analysis we’re focused on developing.”Notes to Editors Kingfisher, IKEA, and Tetra Pak are co-building a methodology for collating impact data related to the FSC certification scheme. The two-year initiative, which runs from September 2014 to 2016 will be coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance who will convene and facilitate the group’s activities, provide certification impacts expertise and share the learning across other schemes. A method for compiling and packaging existing impacts data for one sector into clear messages doesn’t currently exist. Partners will consult forest experts and communities in this work and the methodology will also be peer-reviewed. The partners will also work together to firm up the linkages between the collected data and what might be the best ways to communicate the information to consumers, employees and other stakeholders. The Founding Partners would love to hear from new backers wishing to support the collaboration. IDH has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing 120,000€ towards the initiative. The announcement of the initiative took place at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the FSC at their General Assembly in Seville in Spain. The FSC was born 20 years ago this week as a market mechanism to promote the benefits of legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber through its certification. The FSC Forest Management certification, is widely recognised as the best way to enable foresters to fell trees in a sustainable way - making their forests commercially viable in the short-term whilst protecting their long-term health. B