Reducing your chemical footprint: Taking charge

Buying more sustainable products is now the expectation of U.S. consumers. Market research firm Nielsen projects that the sustainability market will hit $150 billion in sales by 2021. For perspective, that’s larger than the entire video game industry. And demand for sustainable products is growing four times faster than conventional products. Millennials and Generation Z are fueling this transformation.

One of the top consumer concerns about products? Ingredient safety.

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Businesses are leading Congress on climate action

This article originally appeared in The Environmental Forum.

It is a political reality that Corporate America has tremendous influence in Congress – and many companies have used this power to oppose environmental regulations and strong action on climate change. But the activities of the past two months suggest this is starting to change, which is great news given the urgency of the climate crisis. Dozens of leading businesses are finally making climate action the priority it should be, and urging Congress to enact national policies addressing the issue head-on. If this trend continues and accelerates, it will play a huge role in creating the breakthrough moment when lawmakers see ambitious climate action as not only a scientific mandate but a political necessity. Read more

Cities are growing faster and smarter, but can they go greener? We asked Siemens.

When you think about Siemens, you’re probably picturing medical scanners, energy generators, or transportation equipment. You might not be thinking about smart cities, or how the company is working to accelerate technology innovation, eMobility, resilience, and urban sustainability. But that’s just what Martin Powell, the Global Head of Urban Development at Siemens, focuses on each and every day.

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Sephora’s safer ingredient announcement is turning heads – here’s why

We recently reported that Sephora became the first major specialty beauty retailer to release a public-facing chemicals policy. As a complement to their policy, Sephora also promotes their Clean at Sephora labeling program, an avenue for showcasing brands with an embedded safer ingredient philosophy. Sephora recently updated this program: going forward, a product bearing Sephora’s Clean label must avoid a list of more than fifty ingredients (in some cases, ingredients are allowed in restricted concentrations).

With Clean at Sephora, the retailer extends its strategy to capture the growing “naturals” market segment, especially among millennial shoppers. While Clean at Sephora may receive most of the media attention, Sephora’s chemicals policy is an essential addition to the retailer’s sustainability efforts. The Clean program recognizes products pursuing leadership, but the new chemicals policy will impact all of the products sold in Sephora’s stores.

How does the policy stack up against EDF’s 5 Pillars of Leadership for Safer Products?

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Food companies should know what’s in the packaging. Here’s why.

This is the fourth in a series evaluating the challenges in single-use food packaging waste.

Recently, we recommended a series of steps that companies can take to address EDF’s top-ten list of chemicals of concern in the food supply, including setting new packaging specifications, verifying compliance, and tracking progress. Perhaps surprisingly, one action you haven’t seen us recommend – until now – is one of the key tenets of EDF’s Five Pillars of Safer Food Leadership: supply chain transparency, in this case into chemical additives to both raw material and final paper and plastic packaging.

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Applying technology to sustainability is a win-win for business and profit

This week, business executives, tech entrepreneurs, and investors met in Aspen, Colorado at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2019 conference. This annual gathering brings movers and shakers together to discuss the latest tech trends and how businesses can find a competitive edge in a fast-paced marketplace. From retail to transportation to entertainment, technology advances are changing every industry, and knowing where the trends are heading can mean the difference between Netflix and Blockbuster. Read more

Meet e-commerce’s sustainability problem that isn’t the cardboard box

With the click of a button, our groceries, clothes, personal care products, household items – just about anything – could arrive on our doorsteps in a neatly packaged cardboard box. It’s convenience, delivered. But at what cost?

What happens behind-the-scenes to get a package delivered to your door is taking a toll on our planet and our health. Freight is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and a major source of local air pollution. The rise in e-commerce is a growing part of increased pollution and poor air quality.

The truth is, “free shipping” isn’t really free. We’re just paying for it in other ways.

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What presidential hopefuls can learn from the original “Climate Corps”

The 2020 presidential candidates are starting to introduce an array of proposals to fight climate change. Included in the mix are multiple calls for creating a “Climate Corps” – a national service initiative designed to engage America’s youth to advance climate solutions.

I’m excited by the increased attention on climate change and about the debate on how best to involve the next generation in solving the climate crisis. As candidates and public officials look to develop their policy ideas, they might look to lessons learned from the original Climate Corps – Environmental Defense Fund’s fellowship program that empowers the next generation of sustainability leaders to help major companies, organizations and industries to take action on clean energy and climate.

Here are four considerations to help inform the effective design of any national climate-related service initiative.

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Sephora: First major beauty retailer releases a public chemicals policy

Sephora has released a public-facing chemicals policy, becoming the first major specialty beauty and cosmetics retailer to do so. The policy “seeks to strengthen ingredient safety and transparency” and applies to all formulated beauty and personal care products that are sold online and in stores, including both private label and third-partner brands. The policy is global in scope.

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