Navex Global

March 13, 2021 by  
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Navex Global taylor flores Sat, 03/13/2021 – 11:02 NAVEX Global is the worldwide leader in integrated risk and compliance management software and services. Our solutions are informed, driven and refined by direct feedback from our customers, the industry’s largest community of risk and compliance technology users. Our commitment: helping organizations protect their people, reputation and bottom line.

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The potential for carbon-capture tech is captivating

February 4, 2021 by  
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The potential for carbon-capture tech is captivating Heather Clancy Thu, 02/04/2021 – 01:30 This week, oil giant ExxonMobil pledged $3 billion to the development of a carbon capture and storage business over the next five years — in a bid to manage its business risks associated with climate change. CEO Darren Woods noted in the company’s press release: “We are focused on proprietary projects and commercial partnerships that will have a demonstrably positive impact on our own emissions as well as those from the industrial, power generation and commercial transportation sectors, which together account for 80 percent of global CO2 emissions.”  Even Elon Musk is intrigued by the emerging market for carbon removal innovations, as his recent tweet promising $100 million for the “best carbon capture technology” well illustrates. The good news is that even without the pocket change the Tesla billionaire is promising, 2021 is shaping up as a potential tipping point for carbon removal solutions in the United States.  The biggest breakthrough came with the passage of a two-year extension to the 45Q corporate tax credit for carbon removal projects in the dying days of the Trump administration — projects now have until Dec. 31, 2025, to commence construction — along with the publication of guidance from the Internal Revenue Service about how it can be applied. The credit allows for a deduction of up to $50 per metric ton of carbon captured and sequestered, but many viewed the earlier timing window as too restrictive to really jumpstart the market.  In our view, DAC is feasible, available and affordable. “The final rule will provide long-overdue regulatory and financial certainty to incentivize private investment in economy-wide deployment of carbon capture, removal, transport, use and geologic storage across a range of key industries,” noted the Carbon Capture Coalition , an industry group convened by the Great Plains Institute that advocates the cause.  Like another industry group focused on advocating carbon removal solutions, Carbon 180 , the coalition has some suggestions for policies it would love to see the Biden administration embrace related to the nurture of carbon capture and storage approaches that go beyond planting trees.  One argument in favor of direct air capture (DAC) investments fits well with the new president’s climate-equals-job-creation mantra: A June analysis by the Rhodium Group suggests the industry has the potential to create at least 300,000 U.S. jobs. DAC technologies remove emissions from the atmosphere, then store them geologically or use the captured CO2 as a feedstock for something else, such as fuel, chemicals or construction materials.  The need for cost-effective carbon removal solutions is urgent. The International Energy Agency reports that around 30 carbon capture and storage projects have been approved since 2017 — the ones already in operation sucked up around 40 million metric tons last year. But that’s a teeny-tiny amount compared with the roughly 35 billion metric tons of carbon the industrial and agricultural worlds spit up annually. Some models figure we need carbon removal methods to draw down at least one-quarter of the current emissions in order to really address climate targets. It’s widely believed that the U.S. tax credit should make DAC more attractive to companies beyond the oil and gas companies, and power, chemical, cement and steel companies that typically have shown interest in the earlier projects. The list of examples is already growing. United Airlines in December said it would become a “multimillion-dollar” investor in 1PointFive, a joint venture between Occidental Petroleum and Rusheen Capital Management developing an industrial-sized DAC plant using technology licensed from Carbon Engineering (CE). E-commerce company Shopify was actually CE’s first corporate buyer ; it is investing in the Canadian company’s first commercial plant in Squamish, British Columbia, which should be up and running by August. Climeworks’ technology captures atmospheric carbon by drawing in air and binding the CO2 using a filter. The filter is heated to release the concentrated gas, which can be used in industrial applications, such as a source of carbonization for the food and beverage industry. Media Source Courtesy of Media Authorship Julia Dunlop/Climeworks Close Authorship Other tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Stripe are talking up direct investments in carbon removal technologies. Last week, Microsoft announced an extensive portfolio of carbon removal projects as part of an update about its year-old carbon-negative strategy . In aggregate, the company reduced emissions by 6 percent in its first year. It also purchased the removal of 1.3 million metric tons of carbon from 15 suppliers, across 26 projects — including bioenergy, blue carbon, forestry and agricultural soil sequestration. Its nod to DAC includes a contract for 1,400 metric tons of CO2 captured by a plant being developed by Climeworks in Iceland .  “In our view, DAC is feasible, available and affordable,” says Steve Oldham, who as CEO of CE obviously has a vested interest in seeing the market move toward the mainstream.  The plant CE is planning to build in the Permian Basin of Texas, with construction scheduled to begin by the end of 2021, will be capable of removing 1 million metric tons of CO2 per year at a price of $95 to $250 per metric ton, according to Oldham. The ultimate price will depend on the financing the project receives — it will take two to three years to build it. For context, carbon capture costs easily can run $600 per metric ton. So, that’s a significant reduction. In Oldham’s view, DAC investments are necessary to “decarbonize in parallel” with renewable energy deployment. To those who suggest carbon capture schemes perpetuate fossil fuels extraction and production, he says it’s not feasible to transition cold-turkey and that it’s imperative to finance removal alongside new generation capacity. “One plus minus-one is also zero,” he says. As corporate climate types are aware, most strategies for carbon removal will include a portfolio or projects — including nature-based solutions such as regenerative agriculture or forests or blue carbon as well as the sorts of innovations that the DAC crowd is hoping to perpetuate. Research published in mid-January in the journal Nature Communications suggests that creating a “wartime” response to climate change by investing 1.2 to 1.9 percent of GDP in DAC innovation and deployments could stimulate the removal of 2.2 to 2.3 gigatons of CO2 per year. But it’s no silver bullet: Even “massive deployments” aren’t likely to start reversing concentrations until the 2070 timeframe, according to the researchers. Really, we have no time to waste, and the companies investing directly in projects are to be commended for being in the advance guard of action. Pull Quote In our view, DAC is feasible, available and affordable. Topics Carbon Removal Direct Air Capture Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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4 alternative protein trends to watch in 2021

January 4, 2021 by  
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4 alternative protein trends to watch in 2021 Jesse Klein Mon, 01/04/2021 – 01:30 It is highly probable your children will be vegans eating a Christmas ham Dec. 25, 2050. Alternative proteins will be the norm very soon and we might look back at this decade as the time when real shift in diets occurred.  Don’t believe me? Here are a few stats. Venture capital invested $1.5 billion in alternative proteins in 2020. The plant-based meat market is predicted to grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021 . And by 2040, 60 percent of meat sales will be plant-based or cultured meat products.  Every movement has the trends that significantly shape its future and others that quickly die and are forgotten. Here are four trends for 2021 that are expected to last beyond the initial excitement.  1. Fermentation is king  Fermentation, using genetically engineered microbes to mass-produce plant-based proteins, is on the verge of dramatically altering our protein food system. The value of fermentation lies in the system’s simplicity, effectiveness and flexibility to be used across food categories. Perfect Day uses fermentation to make dairy-like products while startups such as Clara Foods are focusing on egg substitutes . And there is about to be even more competition. According to a Prepared Foods report , 44 new fermentation companies launched in late 2019 and early 2020, a 91 percent increase compared to 2018.  But it looks like there will be plenty of money to go around. Even as COVID-19 upended global markets, alternative protein companies focusing on fermentation raised $435 million in venture capital by July, 58 percent more than in 2019. High-profile investors such as Al Gore and Bill Gates got in on the 2020 action, leading an $80 million investing round for Nature’s Fynd in March. And in December, Nature’s Fynd added $45 million from Oxford Finance and Trinity Capital. The company uses microbes found in Yellowstone National Park’s famous geysers to grow a protein with all nine amino acids. As we move to 2021 and beyond, fermentation technology likely will become a pillar of the alternative protein supply chain.  2. A move to direct-to-consumer In early 2020, some premier alternative protein companies had restaurant-only strategies. Impossible Foods had chefs such as David Chang serving the burger at its trendy restaurants. Soon after, the focus expanded into fast-food chains. But when the pandemic shut down restaurants, it expedited a shift to grocery stores and even direct-to-consumer purchasing.  You can buy Impossible’s ground “beef” at 15,000 Safeways, Krogers, Trader Joe’s and many other grocery stores across the country. Beyond Meat, which was in grocery stores before Impossible, can be shipped directly to your door. Impossible Foods also created a shop section on its website, bypassing the grocery store middlemen completely.  Eclipse , a vegan ice cream company based in the Bay Area, shifted from partnerships with popular ice cream shops such as Salt & Straw to chef collaborations on limited-edition pints ice cream lovers can buy directly from Eclipse online. Next year, alternative protein companies will continue to take the pandemic’s lessons to heart by giving consumers the convenience of direct purchasing while the companies get to rake in dollars without the help of restaurants or grocers. Atlast and Meati are two companies using precise mushroom cultivation to produce whole cut substitutes that taste and act like the real heterogenous meat versions. Photo by  Ksenia Lada  on Shutterstock. 3. An opportunity in whole cuts  While the alternative protein industry has made huge strides in the areas of ground beef and processed products such as chicken nuggets or fish sticks, a huge section of the meat market that has yet to be successfully tapped into is whole cuts. In fact, according to a USDA agricultural marketing and economic report , about 80 percent of meat purchases are whole cuts such as chicken breasts, steaks and loins. In 2021, the alternative protein industry will need to focus on innovating in this very valuable part of the market. Some are already doing it and planning on coming to market with consumer products next year. Atlast and Meati use precise mushroom cultivation to produce whole cut substitutes that taste and act like the real heterogenous meat versions.  “The way we make bacon is the equivalent of making mushroom pork belly,” said Eben Bayer, CEO of Atlast. “We grow this blob of mushroom like a big piece of meat, and we run it right through a conventional pork slicer.” To create bacon that has different layers and doesn’t act like a standard mushroom, Atlast tightly controls and changes environmental factors such as airflow and temperature during the growing process to create mushroom sections that taste fattier and other sections that get crispy to create that true bacon experience. While the industry inches towards whole cuts in 2021, the companies that figure out how to make convincing plant versions of steaks, chicken breasts and hams at scale will have cracked the alternative protein market wide open. 4. A focus on non-allergenic substitutes  Many standard ingredients for alternative proteins are soy, oats, legumes and nuts. These are also some common allergens. One percent of the U.S. population is allergic to nuts. And estimates suggest up to 6 percent of the population has a gluten sensitivity, along with the many who have jumped on the trend of cutting out gluten without any intolerance. Legume allergies, such as peanuts and soy, are also frequent. In 2021, the industry will need to start creating products that cater to this demographic. Going vegan or vegetarian for people with allergens can be extremely difficult and limiting. Soy and gluten-free vegan options such as Sophie’s Kitchen seafood products or Atlantic Natural Foods’ Neat Meat will be important in making alternative proteins accessible to everyone.  Topics Food & Agriculture Alternative Protein Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The plant-based meat market is predicted to grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021 . Photo by Line Tscherning for  LikeMeat on Unsplash .

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3 big trends headlining a tumultuous year in food

December 11, 2020 by  
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3 big trends headlining a tumultuous year in food Jim Giles Fri, 12/11/2020 – 01:45 I’m going to try to make sense of this tumultuous year, starting with three trends from the past 12 months that I see as key to the immediate future of food. 1. An insane year for alternative proteins The trend: By Dec. 1, venture capitalists invested a whopping $1.5 billion in alternative proteins during 2020, according to the latest data from the Good Food Institute . That money — close to double the 2019 total — is making the industry increasingly visible. At the start of the year, the Impossible Burger was available in around 150 stores — now you can find it in more than 15,000. Newer alt proteins are also coming. Just last week, Singapore became the first country to approve the sale of lab-grown meat . And while the field may not need further incentives, it got one anyway: This week, the XPRIZE Foundation announced a new $15 million competition focused on chicken and fish alternatives .  The twist: Moving fast means breaking things. I see two bumps in the road. First, alternatives have a tiny market share because animal meat is cheap and, for now, tastes better. Consumption of animal products should and will decrease, but many alt protein brands and startups will disappear before that happens. The second challenge was summed up by the French ag minister’s response to the news from Singapore : “Meat comes from life, not from laboratories. Count on me so that in France, meat remains natural and never artificial!” I’d bet on seeing more of a backlash against alt proteins. The question is whether it will dent the industry’s trajectory. My take: The minister should visit a concentrated animal feeding operation and explain why he describes what happens there as “natural.” 2. How committed is your company? The trend: Where do we start? How about June, when Unilever committed to zeroing-out emissions from all its products by 2039 ? Or last week, when Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, said it would spend  $3.6 billion over the next five years as it moves toward a 2050 net-zero target? Or back in March at Horizon Organic, a U.S. dairy brand that committed to going carbon-negative by 2025 ? Those are just the first three that come to mind in a bumper year for target-setting. The twist: What’s the rest of the industry doing? Far less, in many cases. When experts at CDP, a nonprofit that tracks sustainability commitments, surveyed 479 food and ag companies , only 75 reported having emissions commitments in line with the Paris Agreement. The situation is worse for deforestation. Around half of companies that source soy told CDP that they can track their purchases to the country of origin and no further. This means that when it comes to Brazil and other forest nations, most food companies are blind as to whether their soy comes from newly cleared land. My take: I’m going for glass half-full, at least on emissions. The industry is way behind where it should be, but every company that sets a meaningful target heaps a little more pressure on those that haven’t. 3. The rush for regenerative ag  The trend: Another area where a flood of new initiatives in 2020 made it challenging to keep up. Big industry names such as Bayer and Cargill said they would help farmers transition to regenerative methods, and big names from the wider corporate world — JPMorgan Chase and IBM, for instance — bought some of the first carbon credits from Indigo Carbon, an soil offsets marketplace. Nori, an Indigo competitor, closed a $4 million funding round . Another disruptive company, Farmers Business Network, launched a service designed to help farmers earn a premium from regeneratively farmed grain . Again, those are just the first examples that come to mind. The twist: No one disputes that these efforts will be good for soil health. But do regenerative methods sequester as much carbon as advocates claim? Some prominent experts think not. In May, the World Resources Institute warned of regenerative ag’s ” limited potential to mitigate climate change .” If so, should we be building an offsets market around soil credits? Again, experts have doubts: One important step toward such a market, the creation of a protocol for soil carbon offsets, was the subject of multi-pronged criticism . My take: If I’m honest, this worries the hell out of me. Imagine the PR storm if a big company shrinks its carbon footprint using credits that later come under attack in the media. The ensuing controversy could do huge damage to efforts to pay farmers to store carbon in soils. That’s it for part one of my 2020 roundup. Look for more of my reflections (and maybe some predictions) before the end of December.  This article was adapted from the GreenBiz Food Weekly newsletter. Sign up here to receive your own free subscription. Topics Food & Agriculture Alternative Protein Regenerative Agriculture Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Dairy Management Inc.’s Krysta Harden on the dairy industry’s net zero initiative

December 10, 2020 by  
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Dairy Management Inc.’s Krysta Harden on the dairy industry’s net zero initiative This video is sponsored by Dairy Management Inc. “Our net zero initiative is part of our overreaching environmental goals set by our industry earlier this year, but really I think we’re planting the seeds for what’s going to be a great future for U.S. dairy – looking at issues including getting to carbon neutrality by 2050, but we also have water quality goals and nutrient management goals.” Jim Giles, senior food & carbon analyst at GreenBiz, interviewed Krysta Harden, executive vice president of global environmental strategy at Dairy Management Inc. during the VERGE 20 virtual event (October 26-30, 2020). View archived videos from the conference here: https://bit.ly/3kMjeXt . taylor flores Thu, 12/10/2020 – 09:25 Featured Off

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Dairy Management Inc.’s Krysta Harden on the dairy industry’s net zero initiative

New benchmark shows that biodiversity is in fashion

December 3, 2020 by  
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New benchmark shows that biodiversity is in fashion Liesl Truscott Thu, 12/03/2020 – 01:00 This week, in advance of World Soil Day — Dec. 5 — the Textile Exchange Corporate Fiber and Materials Benchmark (CFMB) Program is launching a new tool to help the fashion and textile industry take urgent action on biodiversity. The Biodiversity Benchmark , developed in partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy and Conservation International and supported by Sappi, will enable companies to understand their impacts and dependencies on nature in their materials sourcing strategies, chart a pathway to delivering positive biodiversity outcomes, and benchmark their progress. Outcomes and learnings can be channeled back into the community to support further improvements. The benchmark is in beta and comments will be open through Jan. 31. All interested companies are eligible, and it is free to participate. More than 200 companies already report through the CFMB. With the Biodiversity Benchmark, the aim is to integrate biodiversity into existing materials and sourcing strategies, rather than approach biodiversity as a new or disconnected topic. The aim is to integrate biodiversity into existing materials and sourcing strategies, rather than approach biodiversity as a new or disconnected topic. The inclusion of biodiversity is part of Textile Exchange’s Climate+ strategy, which focuses on urgent climate action and recognizes that soil health, water and biodiversity will play a key role in this transition. Benchmarking drives a race to the top and is one way Textile Exchange mobilizes the industry to accelerate the uptake of preferred materials. It is my hope that this new benchmark will help transform biodiversity commitments into actions. A risk — and an opportunity The Earth’s interrelated systems of water, land, biodiversity and ocean are facing unsustainable pressure. We cannot win the fight against climate change without addressing nature loss.? — Science Based Targets Network, 2020 When surveyed in 2019, 42 percent of our member companies put “biodiversity risk” as important or very important to them. A sustainability strategy is no longer an option, it is now table stakes. Considering biodiversity as part of the strategy is the next step, not only because biodiversity is an urgent issue and the right thing to do, but also because it poses real business risks, particularly as many businesses are directly dependent on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to human systems and well-being. A company that recognizes biodiversity risk as a priority would acknowledge the importance of nature’s services to its business as well as how its operations affect biodiversity. The fashion industry, for example, is very dependent on natural resources and healthy agricultural and forestry ecosystems. The Biodiversity Consultancy’s chief executive, Helen Temple, sees this as an opportunity: “The fashion and textile industry now has an opportunity to establish a leadership position in how it tackles biodiversity and nature loss.” No-regrets approach This Biodiversity Benchmark Companion Guide is designed to catalyze companies to think about their fiber and material choices in relation to their dependencies, risks, opportunities and impacts through a biodiversity lens. While a company’s biodiversity strategy is being fully developed and science-based targets confirmed, we advocate a no-regrets approach , as defined by the UNDP, UNEP and IUCN and expressed by the Science Based Targets Network. Such an approach focuses on maximizing positive and minimizing negative aspects of nature-based adaptation strategies and options. No-regret actions include measures taken which do not worsen vulnerabilities (for instance to climate change) or which increase adaptive capacities and measures that always will have a positive impact on livelihoods and ecosystems (regardless how the climate changes). It’s there to encourage companies to start immediately by taking positive action. From my own industry — apparel and textiles — I want to share three examples of companies taking action on biodiversity: Suppliers leading the way: Sappi Biodiversity is never more relevant than with suppliers, who are arguably the closest to the issue, working directly on the land and in ecosystems, sourcing, refining and renewing resources. Sappi is a leading global provider of dissolving pulp and of everyday biobased materials created from renewable resources, from packaging paper to biomaterials such as nanocellulose. They’ve been committed to sustainability for decades and a U.N. Global Compact member since 2008. Krelyne Andrew, head of sustainability at Sappi Verve, explains why. “Our goal is to be a trusted, transparent and innovative partner. … By promoting sustainable and innovative approaches to forest management, we ensure that all the benefits of healthy forests are maintained for people and the planet. Biodiversity conservation is a central pillar of our land management.” Biodiversity conservation is a central pillar of land management. In South Africa, she explains, Sappi owns and leases 964,000 acres of land, of which about a third is managed for biodiversity conservation. In North America, Sappi is a founding member of a new risk assessment platform, Forest in Focus, aimed at assessing the health of wood baskets using trusted public data to drive action. Sappi is also accelerating partnerships to help achieve its ambitious goals. Luxury meets biodiversity: Kering In July, Kering announced a dedicated biodiversity strategy with a series of new targets to achieve a “net positive” impact on biodiversity by 2025. It included launching the “Kering for Nature Fund: 1 Million Hectares for the Planet” to support the fashion industry’s transition to regenerative agriculture. Aligned with its long-term commitment to sustainability, Kering’s biodiversity strategy outlines steps to not only minimize biodiversity loss across its global supply chains, but also support nature and create net positive conservation. The strategy encourages the prevention of biodiversity degradation, the promotion of sustainable and regenerative farming practices favoring soil health and the protection of global ecosystems and forests that are vital for carbon sequestration. As Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs, describes it: “Thriving biodiversity is intrinsically linked to the long-term viability of our industry, and society more broadly. Integrating a dedicated biodiversity strategy — which is now part of our wider sustainability strategy — into Kering’s day-to-day operations is pivotal for our contribution to bending the curve on biodiversity loss over the next years. Business has a serious role to play in shifting towards a ‘nature-positive’ economy and ahead of the establishment of the Global Goals for biodiversity in 2021, it is important that Kering’s strategy aligns with the scientific community so that we are already on the right path and taking the actions that are urgently needed.” Smaller brands taking bold action: INDIGENOUS INDIGENOUS, which promotes “organic and fair trade fashion,” was founded on the fundamental belief of supporting climate justice. Indigenous peoples own or steward about a quarter of the world’s landmass and are the guardians of more than 70 percent of the earth’s remaining biodiversity. When we think about protecting biodiversity on the planet, indigenous peoples need to participate as a cornerstone of the conversation. As industry begins to realize the importance of protecting biodiversity, Scott Leonard, the company’s CEO, believes business leaders must come together to rebuild the rights of nature economy and align on accountable supply chain practices. “The road ahead to adopt business practices that protect biodiversity is an arduous task,” he says. “We need much stronger alignment with all stakeholders in the value chain surrounding industry to adequately scale the rapid adoption of next generation solutions that truly protect our biodiversity. Our current consumption patterns are not an option for our future and yet we continue to allow more deforestation, forest degradation, species extinctions and massive carbon loss as each day goes by.” Collaborative leadership: Fashion Pact The Fashion Pact — more than 60 CEOs from the industry’s leading companies, representing more than 200 brands — is focusing on the collaborative action needed to bring solutions to a global scale. Alongside setting seven tangible targets for climate, biodiversity and oceans, the companies are beginning their first collaborative activity on biodiversity. “We are very excited for the launch of the Textile Exchange Biodiversity Benchmark,” said Eva von Alvensleben, executive director of the Fashion Pact. “Not only is this a step forward for our signatories in advancing on their global commitments but [this] will allow for the development of a common understanding of the information needed to shape effective biodiversity strategies as an industry.” It’s clear that we have a mountain to climb, but I am encouraged by the number and ambition of new commitments on biodiversity from companies of all market segments and parts of the supply network. Meaningful change requires bold action, and we hope we can provide a catalyst for this within the textile industry with the Biodiversity Benchmark. Pull Quote The aim is to integrate biodiversity into existing materials and sourcing strategies, rather than approach biodiversity as a new or disconnected topic. Topics Supply Chain Biodiversity Apparel Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Image credit: Sappi

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Pressure on creatives: PR, advertising firms targeted by fossil fuel divestment movement

November 30, 2020 by  
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Pressure on creatives: PR, advertising firms targeted by fossil fuel divestment movement Michael Holder Mon, 11/30/2020 – 01:00 As fossil fuel companies’ social license to operate becomes increasingly frayed, more industries in their orbit are getting entangled in the reputational quagmire that is now part and parcel of any activity that exacerbates the climate crisis. Airlines have faced “flygskam” — or flight shame — which has seen some travelers shun air travel, heightening pressure for the sector to demonstrate that it can develop a flight path to net-zero emissions. Similarly, carmakers around the world are racing to develop fully electric models in response to escalating consumer and regulatory pressure. And energy providers the world over are rushing to slash their reliance on fossil fuels as the clean energy transition gathers pace.  Now advertising and public relations companies, it seems, are also feeling the pressure from the societal drive for a rapid net-zero transition — and it is posing difficult questions for an industry far more used to pushing messages from behind the scenes than being front and center of the story itself. Yet that is precisely where the industry has found itself, after a new grassroots campaign — Clean Creatives — launched this month in the United States, aimed at pressuring advertising, PR and public affairs agencies to end what it regards as “greenwashing and misinformation campaigns that help delay climate action.” We can’t let these major oil companies that are spending most of their capex on oil and gas run a bunch of advertising pretending they’re renewable energy companies. Anyone doubting the seriousness of the campaign needs only look at the team behind it. Clean Creatives is backed by the same organizations and individuals that helped trigger the fastest divestment movement in history, convincing thousands of investors to ditch fossil-fuel assets and arguably doing more damage to fossil-fuel companies’ license to operate than any other campaign. Backed by climate activist and journalist Bill McKibben — who wrote an article in the New Yorker titled ” When creatives go destructive ” calling on major advertising and PR firms to stop working with oil, gas and coal companies that are not taking concerted action to decarbonize — the campaign aims to shine a spotlight on the scale of money being poured into boosting fossil-fuel firms’ reputations. It is a big business. Between 2008 and 2017, fossil-fuel industry trade associations in the U.S. spent almost $1.4 trillion on public relations, advertising and communications, according to Clean Creatives. Since the 1990s, the world’s top five public oil companies alone — Exxon, BP, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips — have spent over $3.6 billion on reputational advertising, much of it centered on projecting an environmental and socially responsible image, according to a Brown University study . Yet the actual figure could be even higher, as it is difficult to lift the bonnet on the often private relationships between PR firms and their clients. Campaigners have long argued that while major fossil fuel companies are spending big sums on publicly pushing messages that suggest they are committed to decarbonizing by investing in greener forms of energy, in reality, the overwhelming majority of their capital expenditure still goes towards oil and gas. Now, this new campaign wants to call out PR and advertising firms on this apparent disconnect. “That’s exactly what we’re trying to highlight — we can’t let these major oil companies that are spending most of their capex on oil and gas run a bunch of advertising pretending they’re renewable energy companies,” Jamie Henn, co-founder of global climate campaign group 350.org and producer of the Clean Creatives campaign, told BusinessGreen. “The reason they do that is to maintain their relevance to the economy, to convince politicians that they don’t need regulation, and to try and get the public to not worry about the fact that these companies are destroying the planet.” He argued oil and gas company advertising is usually not directed at getting consumers to buy their products and services but is more akin to political lobbying. “This is political advertising that they’re running to maintain their influence over public policy,” he suggested. And as pressure ramps up on major advertising and PR firms for change, the impact is already being felt. Almost immediately in response to the Clean Creatives campaign, communications consultancy Porter Novelli announced it would end its working relationship with the American Public Gas Association from 2021. Clean Creatives hopes others soon could follow suit. “We think this campaign can be quite effective because if there was ever a target that cares deeply about their public image, it’s PR and ad people,” Henn said. “They’re uniquely sensitive to critiques like this.” The pressure on the industry has been building for quite some time already, and the reputational hazards are already being laid bare. Last week, it emerged that FTI Consulting — one of the largest management consultancy and communications firms in the world — has been dropped by at least three clients, while several other global asset managers are also reviewing their relationship with the firm, due to revelations about its controversial work with oil companies in a New York Times expose earlier this month . When contacted by BusinessGreen, the firm declined to comment. We think this campaign can be quite effective because if there was ever a target that cares deeply about their public image, it’s PR and ad people. “The precedent has now been set that if you want to be known as a green PR company or want to work with clients who care about sustainability, you can’t work with the fossil fuel industry,” Henn said. “We’re seeing that with FTI Consulting, and we’re also seeing that with Porter Novelli.” He argued the ripples from these reputational risks have the potential to spread much further than the PR and advertising industry itself, too, as the issue poses wider questions for any company that contracts out its PR and advertising services, not just the agencies themselves. “A lot of businesses think really deeply about transparency when it comes to sustainability — such as who their suppliers are, what pesticides they use, or whether they are buying materials from sustainable sources,” Henn explained. “The same question is rarely asked about their PR and advertising firms, but it’s a crucial issue, because if you’re paying millions of dollars a year to an agency that is also spreading misinformation on climate change, you’re spending against your values — just in the same way that you wouldn’t want your organic cereal to come from a wheat field sprayed with pesticides.” Yet it is clear that the industry — like many so many others — is in danger of totting up significant long-term costs in return for the money it earns from fossil fuels in the short term. And just like fossil fuel companies themselves, they also risk upsetting staff and stakeholders, and losing out to competition in a future talent pool drawn from an increasingly climate-conscious public. Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association in the United Kingdom, believes it therefore is becoming increasingly untenable for advertising, PR and lobbying firms to engage in blatant greenwashing on behalf of fossil fuel clients. “I think we’ve been at that stage for some time, but it is now accelerating partly because it’s of huge concern to the people working in the industry,” he told BusinessGreen. But for advertising, PR and lobbying firms looking to avoid the reputational risks of working with fossil fuel industries, there are not always easy answers. Turning down a client contract to run a major PR campaign for an oil major that consistently has lobbied against climate action and has not even signaled its intention to be part of a future net-zero economy is one thing, but more clients from carbon-intensive industries do not fall quite so easily into the climate laggard category. One could argue, for example, that having set net-zero targets and started to demonstrate a willingness to align with the Paris Agreement goals, oil majors such as Shell, BP and others have an entirely legitimate case for enlisting PR firms to showcase their green efforts. As with the financial divestment movement, there is a valid debate about whether engagement with high-carbon firms that are working to reduce their emissions is more effective than simply severing ties. Many within the energy and PR industries would argue that in publicly showcasing a carbon-intensive firm’s decarbonization plans, they help build momentum in support of climate action and make it more likely that ambitious emission reduction strategies are enacted. Yet the Clean Creatives campaign specifically calls out PR giants such as WPP and its subsidiary Ogilvy for working with Shell and BP, respectively. As with all of the PR firms contacted by BusinessGreen for this article, WPP declined to comment. Woodford believes agencies may face some difficult decisions over which clients to work with in the short term, but that it will become increasingly straightforward to tell the difference between a fossil fuel company paying lip service to climate action and one which is genuinely intent on reinventing its business over the coming decades in support of a net-zero emission economy. “I think it’s up to each individual firm and management team to make their own decision and judgements for whether their agency believes a company is going fast enough or acting seriously enough to tackle the climate crisis,” he said. “But whether that’s a favorable or unfavorable view, the pressure from the public and from governance is ultimately all going in one direction, and I think that’s a very good thing.” If you want to be known as a green PR company or want to work with clients who care about sustainability, you can’t work with the fossil fuel industry. The Advertising Association has been at the forefront of an industry-wide initiative in the U.K. that launched earlier this month dubbed Ad Net Zero , which aims to achieve net-zero emissions across the development, production and media placement of advertising over the next decade. It also intends to work with production agencies, clients and event organizers to decarbonize the wider value chain, while harnessing the power of their work to influence and promote more sustainable consumer choices. The initiative has had widespread support from across the advertising sector — including from WPP — according to Woodford, who says Ad Net Zero will be working with advertising businesses “wherever they are on the [net-zero] spectrum to help them improve their performance.” But while much of the focus has been on the negative greenwashing activities of some firms in the industry, advertising, PR and lobbying also can be used to accelerate climate action. For example, last year 20 U.K. advertising and communications agencies including Greenhouse PR, Barley Communications and Borra Co signed a pledge launched by sustainability consultancy Futerra to avoid working on fossil fuel briefs, promising to “use their power for good.” McKibben last weekend described PR campaigns and snappy catchphrases used to launder fossil fuel firms’ reputations as the kindling “on which the fire of global warming burns,” but in the right hands these tactics also can act as grease for the wheels of climate action by drumming up public support for the positive, exciting future the net zero transition offers. “The sector can help businesses drive positive change,” says Woodford. “Momentum is building across all sorts of industries, and I think the role of the advertising and PR industry is to amplify and accelerate that, to help businesses that are doing the right thing win in the marketplace, which can also encourage others to do the same.” As the net zero transition accelerates across economies and societies, there will be challening decisions for companies in all industries to make about the future direction of their business. But for ad and PR agencies which are all too aware of the value of maintaining a strong public reputation, those decisions likely will have to be made very quickly indeed, and the direction of travel suggests the pressure on them to avoid working with laggard fossil fuel firms will only intensify. As Woodford says, the potential impact of the adverting and PR industry on the pace and direction of the net zero transition therefore could be hugely significant. “Hopefully the tipping point is where you see the full array of competitive forces aligned to reducing the carbon footprint of industry and society, and people competing on this basis,” he explains. “This is where advertising is a great driver of competition and innovation.” Pull Quote We can’t let these major oil companies that are spending most of their capex on oil and gas run a bunch of advertising pretending they’re renewable energy companies. We think this campaign can be quite effective because if there was ever a target that cares deeply about their public image, it’s PR and ad people. If you want to be known as a green PR company or want to work with clients who care about sustainability, you can’t work with the fossil fuel industry. Topics Marketing & Communication Corporate Strategy Climate Strategy BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Various climate change-related placards carried by protesters at the Global Climate Strike Rally and March in downtown San Francisco in September 2019. Shutterstock Sundry Photos Close Authorship

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Pressure on creatives: PR, advertising firms targeted by fossil fuel divestment movement

Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life

November 25, 2020 by  
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Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life Jesse Klein Wed, 11/25/2020 – 01:30 In 2017, Hazel Technologies was a plucky young startup with enough scientific success to raise $800,000 in seed funding and score a $600,000 development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In late 2020, the company is finding early commercial success in its mission to decrease food waste through its innovative packaging. Hazel creates packaging inserts, or satchels, that release ethylene inhibitors and other natural chemicals to slow down the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables. In the past three years, the company has expanded its product line from inserts for tropical fruits such as guava, starfruit and avocado to specialized ones for berries, grapes, plums, broccoli and others. Now, Hazel is in the process of developing commercial pilots in the meat and other protein aisles. Hazel CEO Aidan Mouat said the technology is flexible enough to be optimized for a specific customer’s crop and location while also powerful enough to delay ripening by five to 10 days for many fruits and vegetables.  “We have one production line in which we make the necessary technical adjustments on a crop-by-crop and sometimes even on a country-by-country basis to achieve the end result that we’re aiming for,” Mouat said. “In a way, we’re trying to standardize the shelf life using a single unifying technology platform.”  If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer. The key is Hazel’s time-release technology, according to the company. Hazel’s satchels contain 1-methylocyclopronene (MPC) inhibitors to slow down ripening. But in many fruits such as avocados, the ethylene receptors are replaced every 24 hours, so a one-shot application doesn’t work. The packets treat the fruit over time to continually put the receptors to sleep and slow down ripening.   Hazel said its technology’s ease of use sets it apart from approaches offered other competitors. While coating technologies such as those made by Apeel Sciences have to be applied to each fruit, Hazel’s customers simply toss the baggies in the boxes with the produce, noted the company’s early customers.  “The customer shouldn’t have to interact with the technology,” said Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development at Mission Produce, one of Hazel’s clients. “If they do, we’ve lost. Educating the consumer on interacting with a technology that’s extending shelf life is going to be pushing water up the hill.” Hazel’s new products are breaking barriers in new categories. Grapes, which don’t ripen once picked, weren’t thought to be affected by MPC inhibitors. But Hazel’s customer Oppy, a grower/shipper of berries, grapes, apples and pears from Chile and Peru, saw a profound effect on an often overlooked but important area: the grape’s stems. “The stems arrive much greener and hydrated. Much less dry. And we also see less shrivel on the grapes themselves,” said Garland Perkins, senior manager of insights and innovation at Oppy . “If [a retailer] sees grapes that look like they have a dry stem, they’re going to reject them.” Those rejections usually end up in the trash. Hazel also helped Oppy with the Italian Gold Kiwi. Shipped the traditional way, the fruit was arriving with very low pressure — indicating a riper fruit, meaning the retailer had to sell the fruit quickly. According to Perkins, after applying Hazel, the fruits started coming in with higher pressures, giving grocery stores more flexibility about how long to keep them on their shelves.  “A lot of times with sustainability, it needs to make sense from a business perspective,” she said. “In a lot of cases, no one can make sustainable efforts that aren’t also very good on the bottom line.” Hazel promises an improved product and customer experience, fewer rejections from retailers, a higher-quality product that can be priced higher and less waste along the way. But if less produce is going bad and more is lasting longer, there’s an inherent dichotomy at play for suppliers that could eat into their profits. The longer their fruit lasts, the less consumers and retailers need to buy. “There’s an old adage in produce that one of the best sales tools you have is the dumpster,” Cortes said. “That’s an archaic way of looking at it. Because while that’s the easy way, I think the better way is to give customers a better and more positive experience. That’s going to drive more demand.” And decrease food waste.  Mission Produce consistently has been able to extend the shelf life of a ripe fruit by two to three days with Hazel, Cortes said. Bill Purewal, founder of PureFresh, and Christopher Gonzalez, vice president of sales at WP Produce, also report extended shelf lives of their produce by 20 to 30 percent after using Hazel. The extensions have allowed both companies to ship to farther away destinations such as the East Coast, and allowing some operations to think about shipping to Europe and Asia. I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible … “If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer,” Cortes said. 2020 wasn’t a normal year for anyone, especially retailers. Growers and shippers such as PureFresh needed innovative ways to help adjust to the massive changes in demand caused by the pandemic.  “We were worried we would pack all this fruit and it [would] not be able to go anywhere,” Purewal said. “It would just sit in our cold storage because we didn’t know what the demand was going to be lighter.”  At the start of the pandemic, fruit was moving very slowly through the supply chain, he said. So Purewal decided to spend a little more money on a technology such as Hazel to elongate shelf life and protect the fruit against the pandemic’s supply-chain disruption.   That investment also has long-term implications. Mouat insists climate change was a much bigger threat to the produce industry than the pandemic this year. According to him, for example, the U.S. plum crop was one-tenth the volume compared to last year due to warmer temperatures and wildfires.  “We’re here to help,” he said. “I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible, because trying to constrain operations to fit certain types of packing motifs or certain types of distribution motifs is going to become more challenging as things continue to change.” Pull Quote If you tell any retailer, ‘Hey, I can give you two to three days of added time to sell through fruits,’ that’s a game-changer. I think the industry became very critically aware that it needs more technologies like ours, not just that are sustainable and enhance shelf life but are operationally flexible … Topics Food & Agriculture Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Hazel’s small packages release natural chemicals to slow the ripening process of many fruits./ Courtesy of Hazel

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Upstart Hazel finds cachet for innovative sachets that extend produce shelf life

Wartsila’s Risto Paldanius on the pathways to 100% clean energy

November 23, 2020 by  
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Wartsila’s Risto Paldanius on the pathways to 100% clean energy This video is sponsored by Wartsila. “Right now the industry grid scale energy storage is dominated by lithium-ion technology as restoring waste thanks to the EV car and battery development and the costs coming down, but I think we’ll be seeing more and more longer duration batteries in different view formats which we might even not know yet.” Sarah Golden, senior energy analyst & VERGE energy chair at GreenBiz, interviewed Risto Paldanius, vice president of Wartsila Americas, during the VERGE 20 virtual event (October 26-30, 2020). View archived videos from the conference here: https://bit.ly/3kMjeXt . taylor flores Sun, 11/22/2020 – 19:14 Featured Off

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Wartsila’s Risto Paldanius on the pathways to 100% clean energy

Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard

October 21, 2020 by  
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Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard Jesse Klein Wed, 10/21/2020 – 00:01 Not many audits are 14 years in the making. But after almost a decade and a half of creating the most holistic and encompassing mining standard, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) released its first audit of a mine today . That mine is Carrizal, based in Mexico. It extracts zinc, lead, copper and silver, important minerals for many consumer electronics, jewelry and auto manufacturers. The mine achieved an IRMA Transparency designation, meaning the site was audited by a third party and shared its results about the operation of the mine with the industry so partners may have a clearer picture of where the mine succeeds and where it needs improvement. For decades, many mining activities have caused acid runoff into essential water and food sources, noise and air pollution, and even the uprooting of native communities. When public advocates get wind of these environmental and human rights abuses, they often show up on the doorsteps of consumer-facing jewelry and electronic brands that use mined materials. Protesters hold these companies responsible for violations happening a long way down their supply chains. Most of these companies don’t have any direct contracts with mines, but they still need to respond to the public outrage and be part of the solution.  “There is a deeply broken trust between many mining companies and the communities that are around them,” said Aimee Boulanger, executive director of IRMA. The IRMA standard is a chance to put mining onto a new path of sustainability and accountability. As part of the audit disclosed this week, Carrizal was rated quantitatively with a percentage on each of IRMA’s 26 sections with over 400 requirements. It scored at least 50 percent in more than a third of the chapters. For example in principle three, Social Responsibility, it achieved a 49.7 percent across categories such as fair labor, occupational health and safety, community health and safety, security arrangements and cultural heritage preservation. When a mine achieves an average of 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent on all sections, the mine gets an IRMA 50, 75 or 100 score respectively. The sections cover a range of concerns including environmental impacts on air, water and waste, human rights and safety requirements, native community relationships, greenhouse gas emissions and even how the mine will be responsibly closed when it stops operating in the future. The mining industry has broken many trusts along the way. It’s starting to turn that around.//Courtesy of Carrizal Calling all stakeholders To develop the standard, IRMA brought together multiple stakeholders in mining; nonprofit groups, mining-affected communities, mining companies and the purchasers of mined materials including Tiffany & Co. and Microsoft, which are all members. This group worked together with IRMA to create a standard that covers the major mining issues for the environment, workers’ rights and community relationships. According to Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany, the company helped create and pushed forward a methodology for determining a living wage in a variety of countries.  The IRMA standard is extremely attractive to companies such as BMW (another member) and Microsoft because it covers all minerals and all issues. A car or computer has dozens of mined materials including cobalt, lithium, copper, gold and zinc. The supply chain is extremely lengthy and confusing. “In case of the wiring harness, there are roughly 100 partners in the supply chain for just that one part,” said Claudia Becker, a senior expert on sustainability and responsible supply chain management at BMW. “So the transparency is incredibly difficult to achieve.” Ephi Banaynal dela Cruz, senior director of responsible sourcing at Microsoft, agreed: “Our supply chain has a lot of ambiguity built into it.” Having an individual standard for each material is much too cumbersome, especially when many issues overlap or are very similar. The IRMA standard is for all materials and covers both human rights issues and environmental issues.  For those who just hope this goes away, and they continue business as usual, they’re about to find that business as usual is no longer an option. “The idea was to bring all these issues under one house,” Boulanger said. “We don’t want to talk about human rights or clean air or worker safety or how the mine is going to be cleaned up. We don’t want them traded off against each other anymore.” And when there is a substantial difference in mining practices, IRMA is dedicated to filling in the gaps. For example, Boulanger indicated that the standard is looking into creating a more comprehensive guide for lithium brine extraction, an important and very different kind of mining for the electronics and battery industries.  While having such a broad standard and a varied board means that the priority materials, locations and environmental issues will vary extensively from stakeholder to stakeholder, Banaynal dela Cruz thinks that’s to the organization’s advantage.  “It’s a way to divide and conquer,” she said. “We will prioritize things differently, and it could allow us to get the scale of adoption [of the standard] much faster.” According to Banaynal dela Cruz, the goal is a world where Microsoft will have many options for responsible mines to work with. Because consumer-facing brands such as Microsoft don’t work directly with mines, it is a lot of effort to verify the mines far down their supply chains. The best bet for having a responsible mine in their supply chain is to encourage responsible mining everywhere. And there is a need for a global standard so companies don’t just pick up and go somewhere where laws and protections are weaker.  According to Becker, she has sent 20 letters off to mining companies in BMW’s supply chain to encourage them to complete an IRMA audit and the company is requiring an IRMA audit in all contracts starting this year. But even though companies are moving towards requiring audits, none that spoke to GreenBiz plans to sever ties with mines that don’t obtain a certain score.  “We are happy about every mining company that undergoes the IRMA audit,” Becker said. “I think it’s a huge step. This level of transparency is really unique for the industry. And that takes a lot of braveness for companies to sign up for that audit.” Instead, there is a focus on continuous improvement. According to Boulanger, many IRMA standards go way above and beyond traditional government regulations in countries with large mining industries, so the organization isn’t expecting many mines to meet the standard right away.  “We really believe that we should not dilute the standard,” Banaynal dela Cruz said. “But we need to make sure that there is a pathway for different mining entities to enter the standard.”  Carrizal is leading the way forward for transparency in mining, but it will need to continue implementing improvements to remain in good standing with IRMA and work towards the IRMA 75 or 100. For example, according to Carlos Silva, head of Carrizal, the audit revealed the mine wasn’t sharing enough information with workers about the option to unionize. IRMA pushed it to do so more explicitly.  “[IRMA] wants us to make sure to share the information about unionization,” he said through a translator. “That was a little bit surprising. We thought we were sharing that they are free to do it. But IRMA wants us to emphasize that part.” This is just one small example of what changes will need to come to mines all over the world if IRMA gets its way. Mining has a torrid history and an uncertain future as companies continue to tear through mineral deposits for their products. It won’t be solved overnight, IRMA is just starting to turn the industry in a new direction. “It’s a moment for those who are willing to step to it,” Boulanger said. “For those who just hope this goes away, and they continue business as usual, they’re about to find that business as usual is no longer an option.” Pull Quote For those who just hope this goes away, and they continue business as usual, they’re about to find that business as usual is no longer an option. Topics GHGs Human Rights Chemicals & Toxics Minerals Mining Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Carrizal becomes the first mine to participate in an IRMA audit, signally a new normal for the industry. //Courtesy of IRMA

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