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Green/Sustainability

General Mills Holds Its Nose, Leaps into Climate Change

GM-cereal

General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and other such consumer goods, took a bold step into the CSR pool this week by announcing that it would make changes to its agricultural practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously mounting related advocacy efforts designed to affect public policy.

What does this mean? From the company’s post on the matter yesterday:

“Nearly 2/3 of the GHG emissions and 99 percent of water use throughout our value chain occur upstream of our direct operations in agriculture, ingredients and packaging”

So they’re insisting that their suppliers get on board by reducing those emissions and “achiev[ing] zero net deforestation in high-risk supply chains by 2020″…or else. We assume.

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Mediabistro Course

Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

With Drought Measures Becoming More Strict, Nestle Continues California Water Bottling

arrowheadNestle is kicking up controversy with its continued water bottling operations despite a drought that is so severe, it has prompted water restrictions.

Nestle owns Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, which is sourced from a spring  Millard Canyon, CA. Nestle Pure Life is another one of its brands, both of which are bottled on a Native American reservation in the state.

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency because of water shortages. On Tuesday, water regulators approved fines of $500 for things like watering lawns and washing cars. The measures were put in place after the governor announced he wanted to reduce water usage by 20 percent and that goal hadn’t been achieved. The drought has been going on for three years. Other measures will be considered if water usage still isn’t reduced.

Reservations are considered sovereign states that don’t have to follow state regulations. But knowing the dire situation that the state is in, should Nestle do something?

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TOMS’ Chief Digital Officer Outlines Brand’s ‘Giving’ Formula

Toms Shoes Periodic TablesArgentina’s loss in the World Cup final may have hit one company personally. A 2006 group trip giving shoes to Argentine children inspired Blake Mycoskie to launch TOMS, or “tomorrow’s shoes”. For the brand’s logo, he borrowed light blue and white stripes from the Argentine flag.

“TOMS is based on giving shoes in a sustainable way, on a one-to-one basis”, said its chief digital officer, Zita Cassizzi. She was referring to their M.O. – for every pair of TOMS shoes a customer buys, the company gives a pair to a child in need. While presenting at ANA’s Digital & Social Media Conference, she also discussed TOMS’ expansion to eyewear and coffee.

Cassizzi outlined TOMS’ omni channel marketing strategy, with 5 online and offline elements:

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Greenpeace Not So Good with the Green Stuff

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Today in News We Missed: last week, leaked documents revealed that nonprofit Greenpeace International isn’t the best when it comes to handling its own finances.

The organization issued an official apology to its many small-time donors for a currency exchange error/financial bet that led to the loss of more than 3.8 million euros.

That’s not all, though…

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Harley Davidson: When Eco PR Just Doesn’t Fit

Electric Harley

Wouldn’t a plug-in version of this be considered a kids’ toy?

It is no secret that the world needs protection from its inhabitants. What with all the alerts about our ozone being ravaged by coal, smog, pollution, and all that hair spray they put in the Kardashians’ wigs, it’s a miracle we can even breathe.

That’s why “Green” or “Eco” (for ecology, just in case) PR is a big thing now. Appliances use less electricity; even light bulbs have gone the way of the HDTV. And yet, impressive as Tesla’s electric cars may sometimes be, they’re still up against oil lobbyists and those Koch guys.

And now, entering into the fray: Harley-Davidson!

Wait, what?!

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EPA Head Hits Reddit to Promote New Climate Initiative

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It appears to be official: when you have a campaign to promote and would like to do a little bit of that old-fashioned engagement with the public, Reddit is the place to be. It’s not just for reputation management.

Yesterday EPA administrator Gina McCarthy hit the AMA section to answer questions about President Obama‘s new regulations on C02 emissions.

How did she do?

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Levi’s CEO’s Message About Not Washing Your Jeans Comes at a Good Time

levi'sSpeaking at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Green conference yesterday, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh, wearing a pair of jeans (naturally) admitted that they hadn’t been washed in a year of wears.

“We are the ultimate in sustainable apparel,” he said. He also talked up a new line of Levi’s , Wellthread, that can easily be recycled and uses less energy and water to create. (They’re available in Europe and online in the US.) And there’s a line of jeans called Waterless that use less water to get a “wash” when they’re produced.

These comments come at a good time. Climate change is in the news daily. Despite the number of people out there still denying the very clear science that says, yes, this is a fact and it’s happening, addressing the issue in some way is smart. People ready to act on the global warming crisis will be happy for the opportunity to purchase products that do something to help. A sustainable message right now is a very relevant one; it’s good for business, good for the brand, and, hopefully, good for the Earth.

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Not Sure What to Do in the Dark During Earth Hour? Durex has a Suggestion

Durex #TurnOffToTurnOn - OFFICIAL - YouTube-2The lights and TV are off, the router is unplugged, and you’re stuck in the darkened house with your significant other for a whole hour…what, oh what could you possibly do to pass the time? Pick up your cell phones to check Instagram?

Think again.

Condom brand Durex, which recently announced its partnership with the green initiative Earth Hour, has a better suggestion: Use this time to “reconnect with each other whilst the lights are out.” *Wink, Wink*

That means not only unplugging your electric devices, but powering down your mobile ones — the brand’s Turn Off to Turn On campaign maintains that we should take that extra step on March 29, because it’s hard to connect to each other when you’re busy connecting to five different social networks, your text history, and your email (shocker).

In a release, the company muses, “By not only turning off all lights on March 29, 2014, but also switching off all gadgets and gizmos, people can use this opportunity as an excuse to swap their laptops for some loving and ditch their phones to enjoy some foreplay….The wonders of technology help to bring people together, but is it also a key factor in keeping them apart? With today’s couples interacting with their devices more than each other, could gadgets and gizmos be the main reason behind the fact that people are having 20% less sex than in 2000*?”

Very possibly, yes. Read more

San Francisco Thinks Bottled Water Should Tap Out

water bottles

We feel you, bro.

Whoever came up with an idea to sell water, bottle it and charge as much as $5 for it is nothing short of an evil genius, like Wile E. Coyote, only this cat dines on roadrunner stew nightly. The bottled water industry is now a $60 billion industry — annually.

While it’s nice and all healthy-like that all this water is being guzzled, the plastic bottles are causing quite the ecological kerfuffle. To wit, San Francisco has decided it is mad as hell and it’s not going to take it anymore as it prepares to become the first city in U.S. history to ban the sale of any plastic bottles. Anywhere.

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Exxon Mobil CEO Is All for Fracking, But Not in His Backyard

rex-tillersonExxon Mobil‘s website assures the public that when hydraulic fracturing (fracking) takes place, “Throughout the entire unconventional gas life cycle – from exploration to decommissioning – care is taken to minimize the disruption to the community and protect the environment.”

So, there should be no reason for anyone to fear or protest against fracking taking place near their homes, right? Right! Unless, of course, you’re Exxon Mobil’s Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson has joined a lawsuit to halt the construction of a water tower that could be used in the fracking process near his 18-acre Texas homestead. The lawsuit argues that the project would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.”

But according to the Exxon Mobil site, such noise and traffic concerns are tantamount to non-issues:

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