Sustainability News - January 2014

Check out our Winter Interns' News Selections:

Celina's Pick: 

NFL to Host ‘Greenest Super Bowl Ever’ at MetLife Stadium, "’Working with the NFL, we can help set the example that even an event that uses as much energy as the Super Bowl can significantly reduce its impact on the environment,’ PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa said." Beyond partnerships: The fourth stage of environmentalism,

Kari's Picks:

Lean Manufacturing Yields "Green" Results, Environmental Leader Kitchell builds on a 2009 study that found a "synergistic relationship between lean manufacturing and  green  processes.  Lean processes reduce waste by minimizing defects, overproduction, transportation, waiting, excess inventory, unnecessary movement and over-processing. "If you’re a manufacturer seeking to do the right thing for the environment for altruistic reasons, you may be able to achieve this goal more effectively by implementing lean systems. Green initiatives are going to be more justifiable long term if they create more success for your business. Establishing a culture that embraces both concepts can attain significant results."

What You Need to Know About Green Meeting Standards, Until recently there have been no standards for organizations planning green meetings, and the efforts varied from offsetting carbon emissions for travel to an event with comprehensive green strategies. "The APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards - ASTM Green Meeting Standards for short - were developed over the course of more than five years by a dedicated group of meeting professionals spanning the realm of the industry. They aim to help others in the field understand what practices should be in place to produce a sustainable meeting, using nine key components of meeting management." The final version of the standard was released in April 2013, and this article lists the nine areas for which guidelines are set.  It also discusses the challenges of third party certification for event planning, in which each event must be evaluated individually.  The suppliers and venues have a much easier time becoming certified, as their operations are fixed, and their certification will assist event planners with their own certification.

Aaron's Picks:

Sonoma County Commits to 100% Sustainable Wine by 2019, Sustainable Brands "Sonoma County has committed to becoming the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region through a three-phased program to be completed within the next five years." The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) organization has issued a public statement explaining their pledge to become 100% sustainable by 2019. The organization constitutes 1,800 wine growers totaling 59,218 acres. many of whom have already done much in this direction. The effort will be accomplished in two phases. The first phase includes trainings of best management practices including, land use, canopy management, energy efficiency, water quality assessments, carbon emissions and health care. Phase two involves certification through an independent third party. This is an example of several businesses in the same industry joining together to create a sustainable collective. Working together they will assist each other in expanding the sustainable wine brand to the entire region.

McDonald's sustainable beef plans: Reactions, "Last week, we broke the story that McDonald’s plans to sell sustainable beef starting in 2016" Reactions: "Many questioned whether sustainable beef is even possible. Bloomberg Businessweek focused on the health aspects of fast food. ‘Sustainably produced or not, a Big Mac will still have 550 calories and about half a day's recommended value of fat,’ wrote Susan Berfield." "The plight of McDonald’s minimum-wage fast-food workers was the concern for Lindsay Abrams of Salon. ‘Maybe it’ll even end up involving treating their employees as ethically as they hope to treat their cattle,’ she wrote." The announcement by McDonalds to sell only sustainable beef has received widespread attention including 70 media outlets. The big question continues to arise how does McDonalds plan on accomplishing this? Many have responded with skepticism. Yet, such a bold endeavor is bound to cause others to follow suit. This is an important announcement for the world of sustainability. For one of the largest beef users, and often criticized in the past, to announce a plan to be truly sustainable with out explaining a plan could have been expected to have criticism. Regardless, it will likely have others inspired to follow. If successful at least some of the complaints directed at McDonalds will be silenced and likely increase access to sustainable beef to the market.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to send us interesting sustainability news stories for next month's edition. Comment below or send stories and links to