Better Brands

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The scoop: Hershey is accused of avoiding to pay premiums on cocoa deals that would help alleviate farmer poverty.

Hershey versus West Africa: Hershey denies the allegations. The lvory Coast and Ghana, who make up 2/3 of the world's cocoa production, are preventing Hershey from using sustainability schemes in West Africa.

These schemes allow brands to market their product (in this case chocolate) as fair-trade, ethical, etc.

A broader point about corporate sustainability: Hershey's (alleged) loophole attempt is all too common in the age of crony capitalism.

Corporate sustainability seeks long-term profits by aligning business models with healthier environments and more prosperous economies. Working around basic premiums that keep hard-working cocoa farmers out of deep poverty is not a sustainable business model.

Bottom line: West African cocoa regulators are sticking to their guns on this issue. I don't think they're bluffing. Recommendation: avoid Hershey products until they provide a more transparent response.

List of popular Hershey products to avoid this holiday season:

  1. Hershey's (duh)
  2. Butterfingers
  3. Reese's
  4. Pay Day
  5. Jolly Rancher
  6. Twizzler's
  7. York Peppermint
  8. Breath Savers
  9. Ice Breakers
  10. Heath Bar
  11. Rolo
  12. The Whatchamacallit Bar
  13. Take 5
  14. Milk Duds
  15. Mr. Goodbar
  16. Almond Joy
  17. Whoppers
  18. Kit Kat
  19. Good & Plenty
  20. Pirate's Booty
  21. SkinnyPop
  22. Krave Jerky

Dig deeper → 1 min

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Big picture: GM released a new electric Hummer this week. It got me thinking, is it time to make the switch to electric vehicles?

Benefits of electric vehicles:

  1. Lower carbon footprint... social impact ✓
  2. Lower maintenance costs... convenience factor ✓
  3. Tax credits... financial incentive ✓

Cost of electric vehicles:

  1. EVs require minerals like cobalt and lithium to function. Mineral mining is a tough industry with poor standards in developing countries like Bolivia and Chile. Organizations are working to change that.
  2. Electric vehicles have a limited driving range compared to their gas cousins. You may find yourself charging up more than usual.
  3. High sticker prices: The average price of a new electric vehicle is almost double the price of a gas car.
  4. Limited amount of charging stations: this is a tricky one, because there are still more charging stations per EV on the road than there are gas stations for gas cars. Unless you go on a road trip, most of your charging will probably be at home anyway.

Bottom line: With billions of dollars flowing in, the electric vehicle moment is not only here to stay, it is booming. If you 1) need a car in your life 2) want to be a part of a cleaner future and 3) can afford the extra monthly cost (for now), then making a switch to electric vehicles is the right thing to do.

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The scoop As consumer goods go green, PepsiCo announced last week its plan to further develop and scale the world’s first recyclable paper bottle.

Paper bottles PepsiCo will begin testing on the new paper bottle in 2021. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and is designed to be fully recyclable in standard waste streams.

Bottom line

  • We need innovation and ambition in the food & beverage space, this is a good place to start
  • Limiting the amount of waste in the ocean is always a win, but Pepsi still has a long way to go
  • Organizations are building new, innovative ways to clean up Pepsi’s mess.
  • This is definitely a bit of greenwashing
    • The announcement calls for R&D testing in 2021, so we may not see paper bottles on the shelf for some time.
    • Furthermore, Pepsi did not elaborate on its major paper proposal’s inevitable impact on trees.
    • Will there be ecological offsets for the increased production of PepsiCo recyclable paper bottles?

Dig deeper → >1 min

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What they do KAJ is a B2B entertainment consultancy that offers full service solutions ranging from brand experience; marketing, strategy, sponsorship and content creation and more.

Talking points

  • Forbes inc. estimates a $7 billion dollar revenue loss for the US concert and live event industry. This will inevitably lead to the downfall of startups like KAJ. 
  • PPE prices have more than tripled in price as a reflection of increased demand from COVID 19.  

Why it matters PPE shortages are increasingly likely, and life threatening.

The pivot KAJ partnered with ApeironMed, a PPE supplier to co-sign a fundraiser to supply PPE at cost for Canadian hospitals in need.

For the people It’s important for small businesses and community members to do their part. KAJ listened to their community and saw an opportunity to connect a network to a cause. To learn more how they did it dive a little deeper below.

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Key factors Most of Lulu’s materials are not eco-friendly.

Their sustainable packaging policy includes steps to keep packaging to a minimum. The Climate & Sustainability section of their website is buried on the bottom, so it's not a centerpiece of their marketing. Here at Sustainable Review we are passionate about doing > saying , but if Lululemon was really doing something great around sustainability, it would be the focal point of their brand.

Bottom line This company has been around for too long to not be doing more for environmental impact. Not bad. but less talking and more doing, please.

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The scoop John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods, sent out a dire message about the global food chain supply breaking as millions of chickens, cattle and pigs face euthanasia due to widespread closures of slaughter houses. 

Where it stands

  • Meat processing plants across America face closure due to the pandemic. 
  • Processing plants use the ’just in time’ inventory system.
    • Animals have limited processing time, after which they get too big and loses their monetary value for companies such as Tyson.
  • It is difficult for meat processors to pivot between varying amounts of demand, exposing its shortcomings as a reliable form of food production. 

What are the main concerns?

  • Most meat processing plants operate in counties in America worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Thousands of animals and workers in these poorly-sanitised plants remain in close proximity to one other. 
  • The chances of infections spreading are incredibly high in the plants, with over 5,000 meat workers and 1,500 workers contracting the virus since April. 
  • Meat processing systems lack a vital aspect of sustainability: resilience. 

Zoom out Farmers have discarded millions of pounds of edible food due to the virus and warn of increased food security concerns. Almost 30-40% of food is wasted in America, equivalent to an estimated value of $162 billion every year. 

Bottom Line Our food systems need to focus on resilience plans moving forward, making them more adaptable and decentralised to effectively deal with external disturbances such as a pandemic.

Dig deeper → 5 min

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I had the chance to sit down 1on1 with TemperPack co-CEO Brian Powers. In our conversation, we talked social entrepreneurship, venture capital and the future of sustainability. Last month, the sustainable packaging start-up closed a $22.5 million Series B, led by billionaire Steve Case's Revolution Growth, bringing its total funding to $40 million.

The story TemperPack was founded in 2015 as a partnership between two friends from Maryland and a third colleague from school, the company was born out of a desire to reduce the amount of unsustainable packaging that correlated with the growing world of e-commerce delivery.

The products TemperPack launched ClimaCell© in 2018. ClimaCell© is a bio-foam material made primarily from plant starch in our proprietary formula. They also produce JootBox©, which is a 100% recycled joot fiber that is recycled from used burlap sacks.

Check out the full interview here.

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Check it out Founded in April, Zauben is an end-to-end product and service company centered around green roofs and living walls.

The story Chief Vision Officer & Founder Zachary Smith was uniquely inspired by the abundance of artificial tools and toys in our everyday life. Smith observed expanding city limits, looming threats from climate change, and an increasing dependence on technology.

Learn more Green building remains a relatively young, untapped market in the United States. Zauben looks to be at the forefront of this hot urban trend in the coming years. They have a team of dedicated, award-wining designers who are ready to kick-ass in their first year of launching. Get ready to green the world with Zauben.

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