Where Unilever’s product labeling initiative could have a huge impact

June 26, 2020 by  
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Where Unilever’s product labeling initiative could have a huge impact Jim Giles Fri, 06/26/2020 – 01:00 One of the most significant projects in sustainable food in 2020 was unveiled last week. The news is important partly because of the company involved: CPG behemoth Unilever, which reaches 2.5 billion consumers every day through 400 brands, which range from Ben & Jerry’s to Hellmann’s and appear on shelves in 190 countries.  The other reason is that the plan is genuinely ambitious . The company is committing to net-zero emissions from all products by 2039, spending $1 billion on climate and nature projects over 10 years, and planning on labeling each of its products with information about the carbon emitted in the product’s creation. This last point is particularly significant. Consumers, especially younger adults, consistently say that climate concerns influence their purchasing. Yet this influence is diluted because most people have little insight into the emissions linked to specific products. Clearly communicating emissions on every product could leverage those concerns in a scalable way, boosting sales of low-carbon products and punishing emissions-heavy options. So will Unilever’s labeling decision change the way people shop? We can’t say for sure, because most consumers have never seen a carbon label. But there’s evidence for optimism. Clearly communicating emissions on every product could leverage those concerns in a scalable way, boosting sales of low-carbon products and punishing emissions-heavy options. There’s data on the impact of other kinds of labels, for instance. Over the past five years, several countries, including Chile, Mexico and Israel, have attached health warnings to sodas and other sugary beverages. A meta-analysis of 23 studies of these initiatives , released last month, showed the labels work: Consumers who see them are less likely to purchase high-sugar drinks. When carbon labels have been deployed, usually in small experiments, they also seem to work. Researchers at Chalmers Technological University in Sweden, for example, looked at the impact of emissions information on meal choices at their institution’s cafeteria. Sales of high-carbon meat dishes fell by almost 5 percent — a modest drop, but significant for an initial experiment based on a simple intervention.  A final reason for optimism is that while Unilever is by far the biggest food company to roll out carbon labels, it is not alone. Oatly and Quorn recently announced plans to start displaying carbon footprint data on products. Twelve food and beverage brands also have earned the new Climate Neutral certification and began displaying the associated label. Put all that together, and it looks like Unilever’s move could trigger structural change. But before I get carried away, let’s look at two factors that could undermine its impact. First up is the label itself. In an email, Rebecca Marmot, Unilever’s CSO, told me that her company is focusing on collecting footprint data and will turn to the labels once that’s in place. How Unilever eventually communicates carbon levels will be critical. How big will the label be? Where will it appear? Will consumers be able to make sense of it? It won’t be an easy challenge. Space on food packaging is extremely tight, and consumers are already exposed to multiple labels relating to sustainability. (457, by one count ). The second issue is cost. Of those 457 labels, organic is probably the most well known. Demand for organic food has shown double-digit growth in many recent years, yet it still accounts for around only 5 percent of U.S. food sales and less than 1 percent of planted acreage. Cost is critical here: Surveys show that organic food has a 7.5 percent premium, with some goods, including milk, eggs and bread, costing close to twice as much.  This is a reminder that for many consumers, cost trumps environmental concerns. In a way, though, that’s what makes the Unilever announcement so exciting. We’re talking here about the company behind Knorr, Lipton and Magnum. These are not niche brands targeted at affluent, sustainability-minded consumers willing to pay more. By introducing carbon labeling into everyday products found in the biggest chains and the smallest corner stores, Unilever is testing whether environmental concerns resonate with a much, much larger segment of consumers. This article was adapted from the GreenBiz Food Weekly newsletter. Sign up here to receive your own free subscription. Pull Quote Clearly communicating emissions on every product could leverage those concerns in a scalable way, boosting sales of low-carbon products and punishing emissions-heavy options. Topics Food & Agriculture Marketing & Communication Food & 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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Where Unilever’s product labeling initiative could have a huge impact

How to safely dispose contaminated gloves, masks, wipes and more

April 16, 2020 by  
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Our new normal, the novel coronavirus pandemic, has caused society to take up more rigorous hygiene regimens. Unfortunately, personal protective equipment like masks and gloves quickly become contaminated, and they shouldn’t be tossed carelessly — especially not littered in parking lots, where they are destined to end up harming the environment. Because the pathogen causing COVID-19 can survive for hours or even days on different surfaces, observing appropriate disposal protocol is crucial. So, here are some recommendations, which are both safer for public health and better for our planet, on what to do with used gloves, masks, disinfectants, wipes, paper towels and more. Gloves Those who venture out shopping for essentials during this pandemic are often sporting disposable gloves. But wearing the same gloves from place to place or using your phone while wearing gloves just spreads germs. It’s important to regularly change gloves if you are wearing them. Wondering about proper methods to remove contaminated gloves from your hands? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers an illustrative tutorial page. After safely removing your gloves, you can dispose of them in a trash can. Do not be the person that throws them on the ground! Of course, the Waste Advantage Magazine recommends bagging used gloves before throwing them away for safe disposal. Some gloves can normally be recycled, but during the pandemic, it is best to throw gloves away to keep everyone safe. To reduce waste, you can also simply wash your hands with hot, soapy water after running an errand. If you visit multiple stores, wash your hands after each one. Masks Another prevalent countermeasure against COVID-19’s spread is wearing masks, for which the World Health Organization (WHO) offers downloadable tutorials. WHO recommends to “discard [the single-use mask] immediately in a closed bin.” Related: Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats Traditionally, masks are supposed to be discarded frequently. But with the current shortages, many people are making their own with cotton and/or wearing the same mask for long periods of time. If you have paper masks, they should be carefully removed and thrown out after each use. They cannot safely be reused or recycled. N95 masks should be reserved for medical staff only. If you do have N95 masks, check with your state’s public health department, your city’s health department or local hospitals for donating procedures. Have a cloth mask? The CDC offers advice on how to make, wear and wash cloth masks. After each wear, wash cloth masks in a washing machine before reuse. Hot water and regular laundry detergent should do the trick at cleaning these masks, and you can also add color-safe bleach as an extra precaution. Disinfectants, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer Household cleaning products and hand sanitizers are being used much more than usual. So what should you do with all of the packaging? Packaging can be appropriately discarded in either recycle bins or trash cans, depending on the labels. Related: How to properly and safely dispose of these 10 items in your home As for sponges and scouring pads, those should be thrown in the trash. For containers of specialty cleaners, like oven cleaner, check with your local waste management company for advice on how to safely dispose of these items. According to Earth911 , it is important to read the labels of cleaning items for specific disposal instructions. “For example, many antibacterial cleaning products contain triclosan, which could contribute to the antibiotic resistance of bacteria, so it should not be poured down your drain.” Wipes Despite marketing’s ploy to pass off the ever-popular wipe as ‘flushable,’ it isn’t. Many municipal plumbing systems were not designed to handle flushed wipes. While many people stocked up on wipes after the toilet paper supply ran dry, disinfectant wipes have also flown off the shelves. But Green Matters warns against flushing both ‘flushable’ and disinfectant wipes. “The only thing (besides bodily fluids) that you should be flushing down the toilet is all that toilet paper you stocked up on.” RecycleNow also explains, “Baby wipes, cosmetic wipes, bathroom cleaning wipes and moist toilet tissues are not recyclable and are not flushable, either, even though some labels say they are. They should always be placed in your rubbish bin.” Paper towels and other paper products Many paper products are labeled as ‘made from recycled materials .’ Accordingly, many consumers believe paper towels and napkins can be chucked into recycling bins. However, Business Insider cautions otherwise. Why? Soiled paper towels and napkins ruin whole batches of recyclables. Besides, if you purchased recycled paper towels, their “fibers are too short to be used again,” meaning they can’t be recycled, even if they are clean. If you used paper towels with chemical cleaners or if they are greasy, they should go into the trash. If you are sick, the trash can is again the best place for used paper products. Otherwise, paper products that are not chlorine-bleached can be composted . Images via Inhabitat, Unsplash and Pixabay

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Healthy Wines: What the Labels Really Mean

February 8, 2019 by  
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Fellow wine lovers, I have good news and bad news. … The post Healthy Wines: What the Labels Really Mean appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Healthy Wines: What the Labels Really Mean

Survey Results: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info?

September 19, 2018 by  
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Thanks to those of you who responded to last week’s … The post Survey Results: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Survey Results: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info?

Earthling Survey: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info?

September 12, 2018 by  
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Express your opinion and help drive environmental change. Every week, … The post Earthling Survey: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earthling Survey: Read Labels for Ingredients and Recyclability Info?

‘Plastic Free Trust Mark’ helps customers dodge plastic packaging

May 28, 2018 by  
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New labeling will assist shoppers in buying food  and drinks that aren’t packaged in plastic . Campaign group A Plastic Planet is behind what’s called the Plastic Free Trust Mark, adopted thus far by some supermarket chains and a tea company. The campaigners are hoping that the labeling will inspire more retailers to jump on the plastic-free bandwagon. The Plastic Free Trust Mark has been launched to support retailers which have made pledges to phase out plastic packaging. Early adopters are Tea brand @teapigs , Dutch supermarket chain @Ekoplaza and @IcelandFoods https://t.co/wmbTqQybMF — A Plastic Planet (@aplastic_planet) May 17, 2018 Sometimes it’s obvious that the food item you’re about to buy is wrapped in plastic — other times, not so much. For example, the discovery that most of the tea bags in Britain contained plastic shocked consumers. A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland told The Guardian , “Our trust mark cuts through the confusion of symbols and labels and tells you just one thing — this packaging is plastic-free and therefore guilt-free.” The new Plastic Free Trust Mark could help shoppers discern whether or not there’s plastic in packaging with a quick glance. According to U.K.-based tea brand Teapigs , one of the early adopters of the new labels, there are several alternative materials to use in accredited packaging: glass, metal, wood pulp, compostable biomaterials  and carton board. Sutherland said she hopes the move helps slash plastic waste , saying, “Finally shoppers can be part of the solution, not the problem.” Related: First plastic-free supermarket aisle opens in Amsterdam Along with Teapigs, U.K. grocery store chain Iceland is adopting the label and plans to roll it out this month on some of their own label products. They’ve already set a goal to remove plastic packaging from their label products by 2023 . Iceland managing director Richard Walker told the Guardian, “With the grocery retail sector accounting for more than 40 percent of plastic packaging in the U.K., it’s high time that Britain’s supermarkets came together to take a lead on this issue.” Netherlands-based grocery store chain Ekoplaza is also introducing the label in 74 outlets. Earlier this year, the company launched the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle at an Amsterdam location. + A Plastic Planet Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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‘Plastic Free Trust Mark’ helps customers dodge plastic packaging

EPA’s New Fuel Economy Labels Include Greenhouse Gas Rating (Video)

May 26, 2011 by  
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The above video offers up a brief look and quick explanation of the EPA’s new fuel economy labels. Carmakers will be required to include the label on all 2013 models and beyond

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EPA’s New Fuel Economy Labels Include Greenhouse Gas Rating (Video)

TVs Will Get Energy Efficiency Labels in 2011

December 23, 2010 by  
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Starting in the new year, TVs will be outfitted with Energy Guide stickers much like those on household appliances such as refrigerators or washers and dryers, allowing consumers to make energy efficient choices more easily. The Federal Trade Commission is requiring all TVs to bare the stickers, which will feature the estimated annual energy cost of the TV, with a scale comparing it to other TVs in the same size range.  The figures are based on a cost of 11 cents per kWh and five hours use per day

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TVs Will Get Energy Efficiency Labels in 2011

Virgin Media Launches Sustainability Website

December 14, 2010 by  
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A lot of companies out there tend to slap the words green, sustainable, etc. on their labels without backing those claims up with any legitimately sustainable practices.

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Virgin Media Launches Sustainability Website

EPA’s New Fuel Economy Labels Open For Public Comment

August 30, 2010 by  
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The US Environmental Protection Agency has released its new vehicle fuel economy labels which are proposed to replace the current vehicle labels starting with the 2012 model year. The new labels provide consumers with additional information and a comparative ranking for new cars, with a comparison bar (not unlike what is now provided on appliances like refrigerators and clothes dryers) showing where the particular vehicle falls along the line from best to worst in fuel efficiency, greenhouse gasses, and other pollutants. Two alternative forms of labels (plus a third option which is not proposed for use at this time) are now open for public comment .

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EPA’s New Fuel Economy Labels Open For Public Comment

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