Better Business

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Busy? Try the speed read.

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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The scoop: Last week, Ripple’s CEO made an ambitious commitment to go carbon net-zero by 2030 in collaboration with conservation Rocky Mountain Institute and REBA, and pressured other crypto companies to do the same.

Talking points:

  1. Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple (XRP) was built with a finite supply (100 billion) at its inception, making it easier to control mining activities and mitigate its environmental footprint.
  2. Compared to Bitcoin’s 4.51 billion lightbulb hours needed to mine it, the XRP Ledger uses just 79,000.
  3. A lot needs to happen to make do on that claim, but Ripple is the first crypto looking to go carbon net-zero, and they have a plan (see below).

Bottom line: I don’t know if Ripple, Ethereum, and Bitcoin will one day replace Euros, Dollars and Yuan. With that said, why not bet a dollar on the possibility that they one day could?

Dig deeper → 3 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.

Dig deeper 3 min

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  4. Tech

Why are wildfires detrimental to our environment?

  • Burn millions of acres of forests each year; trees are critical to (1) absorbing greenhouse gases to lessen the effects of climate change and (2) preserving biodiversity.
  • Kill and displace wildlife.
  • Disrupt water cycles and soil fertility.
  • Endanger lives and livelihood of local communities.

How are drones being used to fight wildfires?

  • Provide real-time support on the ground for firefighters to improve safety.
  • Map weather patterns to prevent spreading of the fire to mitigate environmental destruction.

What are the benefits of a drone compared to a traditional aircraft?

  • Safer since you don’t need a pilot to operate it.
  • More versatile since a drone can fly in poor conditions and hard to reach spaces.
  • More accurate by using GPS and imaging technologies to generate a “smart map.”

Bottom line

More recently, the use of drones for fire prevention in the U.S. has been gaining support from the federal government. Regulatory hurdles are starting to lessen. Plus, the civil-use of drones is now more widely accepted.

Drones are becoming a key technological advancement in fighting wildfires. They can not only protect our communities, but they can also mitigate the environmental impact caused by fires.

Dig deeper → 4 min

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The scoop: Golf is still growing, but it needs to incorporate sustainable practices to keep trending up.

Why it matters: Golf uses 2 billion gallons of water every day, and makes up over a million acres of land in the US alone.

Our recommendations:

  1. Invest in new technologies that conserve freshwater.
  2. Take advantage of regenerative and eco-friendly management practices like limiting the use of pesticides, encouraging the growth of wild plants off the fairway, or enacting policies that treat wildlife responsibly.

Bottom line: As a major outdoor sport, golf has a serious opportunity here to capture the hearts of young athletes. As much as it will be challenge, golf and sustainability can work together very well.

Dig deeper → 2 min

  1. Better Business
  2. Doing
  3. Lifestyle
  4. People
  1. Capture: This app helps you measure your carbon footprint
  2. RecycleCoach: Become a better recycler using this app!
  3. Buycott: Become a smarter and more conscious consumer using this app
  4. Waze: Use this app to find alternate routes and save money and gas, while reducing the environmental impact of your commute!
  5. PaperKarma: Track and cut paper waste by stopping junk mail using this app.
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What to know American aluminum can suppliers are experiencing a shortage. Unpredictable consumer behavior and increased demand led suppliers to miss production levels and now beverage brands must scramble to compete for what's left.

Why it matters The overall shift from single-use plastics has also led major drink makers to shift from plastic bottles to aluminum cans. And while aluminum cans don't last in the atmosphere forever, they still can have damning effects on waste management. We are living in a world where China doesn't want our trash anymore, and recyclable aluminum cans are more of a band-aid solution of a larger problem.

The silver lining Consider it a stress test. With real-world examples about the fragility of our global system in place, we can now create applicable solutions outside the classroom.

Key recommendations for the shortage

  1. Brands can adapt by providing bulk alternatives to the traditional 12 oz can.
  2. Brands can also educate consumers on the label about the importance of maintaining a can's shape for recycling purposes. I was a beer can crusher in college, and I had no clue that crushing a beer can would make it near impossible to recycle.
  3. To consumer, do you love beer? Me too. Go to your local brewery, and fill up a growler. You can fill up a lot of beer for a great price, straight from the tap. You can support a local business, and the beer tastes fantastic if you pick the right brewer. There are more quality independent breweries out there today than ever before.

Dig deeper → 1 min

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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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The scoop BlackRock’s Larry Fink warns CEOs that the risks associated with climate change will compromise returns without reallocation of capitol, calling for potentially the biggest divestment in finance history.

Why it matters BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, pledges to divest from fossil fuels and coal, increase investment transparency, and promote firm accountability throughout their sustainable transition.

Bottom line Though his letter is a step in the right direction, it merely foreshadows the significant changes yet to come. Executives will either embrace innovation today or be overshadowed by forward-thinking leaders.

Dig deeper → 3 min


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