PepsiCo and Nature conservancy form strong alliance, plant-based wetsuits, Twitter's transparency drive and the campaign to improve childhood development

PepsiCo and Nature Conservancy promote recycling

Drinks giant PepsiCo and the Nature Conservancy have formed a five-year partnership called Recycle For Nature to encourage consumers to recycle and to boost water conservation in the US.

The Recycle for Nature initiative is looking to boost the nation’s recycling habit by adding recycling locations around the US, starting with fuel stations and convenience stores, and by directly linking the amount recycled to funding for five major drinking water conservation projects in the US.

For every quarter-percentage-point increase in the national recycling rate, PepsiCo will contribute $31,250 in funding for water protection, up to $250,000 a year. The company will also provide up to $50,000 in additional funding based on its recycling points donation programme. The goal is restore one billion gallons of water in rivers that supply drinking water to 35 million people across nine states.

“The Nature Conservancy is providing innovative solutions to protect our drinking water, and PepsiCo has the ability to engage the public in an activity that can be scaled and applied to communities across the nation,” says Giulio Boccaletti, managing director for global water at the Nature Conservancy. “Together, our efforts are far more significant than what we could have achieved on our own.”

The Recycle For Nature initiative is part of PepsiCo's collaboration with Walmart to increase recycling and investment in the Closed Loop Fund, which provides financing to municipalities and other organisations that support recycling.

Patagonia makes greener wetsuits

Patagonia has introduced the first plant-based alternative to the traditional wetsuit.

Wetsuits are predominantly manufactured using petroleum-based neoprene. With an eye towards improving its carbon footprint, Patagonia sought new sources to produce neoprene, such as limestone. But, though better than fossil fuel, limestone did not generate a substantial net environmental benefit.

Enter Yulex, a biomaterial company, which approached Patagonia in 2008 after reading its blog post lamenting the absence of truly green wetsuits, and proposed a compelling solution: guayule biorubber. The guayule plant is a renewable, non-food crop grown in the US that requires little water, uses no pesticides, and has a relatively clean manufacturing process.
After years of research and development, the companies were able to manufacture a wetsuit using 60% guayule biorubber and 40% conventional synthetic rubber. The companies continue to work towards a wetsuit that’s 100% plant-based.

“Patagonia is guiding the action sports industry to a new level and setting an example for the importance of sustainable practices,” says Jeff Martin, founder of Yulex. “Yulex views this partnership as a major step towards a future where use of our renewable, guayule-based biomaterials is the industry standard for consumer, medical, industrial and bioenergy products.”

United upgrades its carbon calculator

United Airlines has advanced its 2013 carbon calculator with the launch of CarbonChoice, a tool for its corporate cargo customers to track and now offset emissions associated with their air freight accounts.

CarbonChoice provides regular, customized reports to United’s cargo customers with metrics most relevant to them, such as the total number of shipments made during a specific reporting period, the tonnes of carbon emissions generated from those shipments, and the airports they most frequent.

“United Cargo shippers consistently tell us they’re focused on understanding their company’s environmental impact, and they’ve asked us specifically for a large-scale programme like this,” says Jan Krems, United’s vice-president for cargo. “CarbonChoice provides our customers the detailed data they need to better achieve their own companies’ sustainability commitments.”

The airline partnered with Sustainable Travel International (STI) to design and develop the emission calculation and reporting tool, and to identify high-quality reduction projects that United’s cargo customers can support to offset their emissions. Each project is independently verified, and selected based on its relevance to United’s most visited destinations, in addition to the direct and indirect value it provides communities, says Andrew Grossmann, director of partnerships and engagement at STI.

“Many airlines are currently exploring the adoption of tools that help them to better manage performance and support sustainable development in key communities,” says Grossmann. “While CarbonChoice is unique to United Airlines, we have received significant interest from other airlines interested in tools and partnerships that can make a real difference, and we’d like to see this sector really rise to the occasion.”

Twitter’s latest transparency report

Twitter continues its fight for data transparency following the release of its fifth biannual Transparency Report.

The report includes two years of global data concerning government requests for users’ account information, requests to withhold content, and copyright takedown and counter notices. Notwithstanding its efforts, Twitter is still prohibited from publishing information on US national security requests.

The US remains Twitter’s biggest requester of user data, accounting for 61% of all inquiries worldwide. In the latest six months, the US government requested user data from Twitter 1,257 times, not including an undisclosed number of national security requests.

But the US certainly isn’t alone. Government requests for user information increased by 46% in six months across 54 countries, including eight countries that had not previously requested such data.

Earlier this year, Twitter met with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation to request permission to publish national security data requests in much smaller ranges than currently permitted, as these broad ranges, according to Twitter, “do not provide meaningful or sufficient transparency for the public, especially for entities that do not receive a significant number of – or any – national security requests.” The company also asked that it be allowed to publish the different kinds of national security requests it receives and indicate “zero requests” when applicable.

The meeting did not prove fruitful, so Twitter sent its drafted mid-year Transparency Report to the DOJ, including data on US national security requests, and asked the DOJ to note which information was considered classified or unlawful to publish. Twitter has yet to receive a response.

“While we are heartened by the latest version of the USA Freedom Act of 2014 … which would reform certain aspects of government surveillance and allow Twitter to provide more meaningful transparency to its users, we remain disappointed with the DOJ’s inaction,” Twitter says.

Campaign seeks to improve childhood development

A new multi-stakeholder campaign is hoping to close the word-gap in American low-income families by showing parents how to interact effectively with their babies.

Eighty per cent of a child’s brain development happens by the age of three. Yet recent research shows that on a daily basis, only 49% of low-income parents in Oakland sing to their children and only 52% read to them.

The “Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing” campaign is the brainchild of several organisations working to improve child development in the Oakland, California, area, including the Bay Area Council, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and Kaiser Permanente, in partnership with “Too Small to Fail,” a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

The campaign’s creative concept was developed by ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which sought a more emotional way to connect with parents than traditional advertising media – and settled on clothing. Goodby Silverstein co-chairman and partner Jeff Goodby says his team looked for the best opportunity to intimately connect with parents when they’re with their children, what he calls “the diaper changing media opportunity”.

“The most emotional physical connector we identified was clothing,” says Goodby. He says the buying of clothing for babies and young children is connected to “the feeling that you're committed to this little person for years to come and want to do the right thing for them”.
The team worked with a psychologist to develop the campaign’s playful yet informative graphic designs, which were printed by clothing retailer Oaklandish to create a line of onesies, shirts, blankets and totes. The line will be given away at 15 locations across Oakland including hospitals, pediatric clinics, and child care programmes, and is also being sold online, where one item will be donated for each one sold. With the clout of “Too Small to Fail” behind them, the group hopes to expand the programme nationwide.

“There’s no bigger difference we can make in children’s lives than stimulating their brains during the first five years,” says Jim Wunderman, president of Bay Area Council. “We’re thrilled to partner with Too Small to Fail on this exciting campaign. Among the thousands of children that will benefit from ‘Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing’ could be the next Steve Jobs or Henry Kaiser, leading a new generation of invention, progress and prosperity.

carbon footprint  childhood development  DOJ  government request  Nature Conservancy  Patagonia  PepsiCo  sustainable travel  Twitter  United Airlines  water conservation  water protection  wetsuits  Yulex 

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