Weekly Sustainability Updates from TreeZero

Agroecology: A Path to Sustainable Development

A tailored combination of both science and cultural wisdom, agroecology’s core elements comprise a strong emphasis on diversity, synergies, recycling, efficient use of resources, ecological and socioeconomic resilience, the co-creation and sharing of knowledge, and the link between human values and sustainable livelihoods. It also includes the role of culture in food traditions and the important role that responsible governance mechanisms—covering issues ranging from tenure to the way that public subsidies are used—must play to support long-term investments in sustainability. https://bit.ly/2q1DNVg

Oreo Is Officially Switching To Sustainable Cocoa

Mondelēz, the company that produces Oreos, has announced that they will only use sustainable cocoa in its signature cookies as of this month. They will use cocoa from sustainable farmers through its cocoa sourcing program, Cocoa Life. The company is hoping this route will help them quickly scale their eco-friendly sourcing efforts. Cocoa Life was established to help farmers produce cocoa in more eco-friendly ways. To do so, the organization teaches sustainable agricultural practices which work to fight climate change. Through this approach, they focus on increasing cocoa yields while monitoring and restoring degraded forests. The program also helps communities tailor their own plans to improve their small business while protecting the surrounding ecosystems. Cocoa Life plans to invest $400 million in the next few years and help thousands of cocoa farmers. The organization works with six mains cocoa-growing regions which include Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, India, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. Since it was launched in 2012, the program has proved to be successful in creating a sustainable cocoa supply chain. As of last year, Cocoa Life already helped 120,500 cocoa farmers in 1085 communities. To mark the company’s shift toward sustainable ingredients, Mondelēz will be stamping its Oreo packs with the Cocoa Life logo. https://bit.ly/2GUCUZ0


Measure to go to voters in November – The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (House Bill 332), along with companion legislation calling for a voter referendum as required by the Georgia Constitution (House Resolution 238), would dedicate a portion of the existing state sales and use tax on outdoor recreation equipment for land conservation. If signed by the Governor and passed by voters in November, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act would provide for the dedication of up to 80% of the existing sales and use tax on outdoor sporting goods as classified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), with an initial dedicated amount of approximately $20 million annually. The legislation would sunset after ten years, with the option to be renewed. Funding dedicated through the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act would be used to maintain and improve access to wildlife management areas, protect lands critical to clean water, and acquire and improve parks and trails. Only projects approved by the Department of Natural Resources and consistent with the state’s established goals for conservation would be eligible for funding. https://bit.ly/2GOpQ7H

Aflac wins PR News 2018 Award for Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Aflac has been named winner of PR News’ 2018 CSR Awards and Nonprofit PR Awards for its Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Aflac’s 2016 CSR Report, “Everyone Has the Power to Do Good,” features employees and independent sales agents who have championed social responsibility efforts in their respective communities. “We are thrilled that PR News has recognized Aflac with this award, because it is the content of the report that drives the quality of the report,” said Aflac Senior Vice President, Chief Brand and Communications Officer Catherine Hernandez-Blades. “We are proud of our reputation as a company that does things the right way, with transparency, honesty and ethics. It has been our company’s commitment for more than 60 years, and this award serves as confirmation that doing good in the community is very good for business.” Notable highlights from Aflac’s report include raising more than $110 million in contributions for childhood cancer support services and research; strengthening the company’s emphasis on diversity, gender parity in pay, and ethics in the workplace; and reducing the businesses’ carbon footprint through its Smart Green program. In addition to the Sustainability/CSR Report win, Hernandez-Blades received the CSR Professional of the Year award. Visit Aflac’s CSR microsite to access this year’s report. https://prn.to/2GBg0CI

New weekly podcast: John Gummer on modern slavery in public procurement

In Innovation Forum’s new regular podcast this week hear from former UK environment secretary John Gummer – Lord Deben – on modern slavery in public procurement and plastic packaging. Plus, in our round up of sustainable business news, why Greenpeace International has left the FSC, the implications of the conviction of human rights defender Andy Hall in Thailand, and why brands need to worry about vanilla. https://bit.ly/2qgGOky

The global status and trends of Payments for Ecosystem Services

James Salzma
Recent decades have witnessed a considerable increase in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)—programs that exchange value for land management practices intended to provide or ensure ecosystem services—with over 550 active programs around the globe and an estimated US$36–42 billion in annual transactions. PES represent a recent policy instrument with often very different programs operating at local, regional and national levels. Despite the growth of these programs, comprehensive and reliable data have proven difficult to find. This Analysis provides an assessment of the trends and current status of PES mechanisms—userfinanced, government-financed and compliance—across the domains of water, biodiversity, and forest and land-use carbon around the world. We report the various dimensions of growth over the past decade (number of programs, geographical spread, dollar value) to understand better the range of PES mechanisms over time and to examine which factors have contributed to or hindered growth. Four key features stand out for scaling up PES: motivated buyers, motivated sellers, metrics and low-transaction-cost institutions. There are now over 550 PES programs around the world, with combined annual payments over US$36 billion. https://go.nature.com/2GIQStE

Earth Day Sunday 2018: Sense of Place

Each year, Creation Justice Ministries offers Christian education materials to equip faith communities to protect, restore, and more rightly share God’s creation. Our 2018 theme is “Sense of Place” and offers insights about living in harmony with local ecosystems and watersheds, rightly sharing places with a diversity of peoples, and respecting the history of your place. To connect with others who are planning Earth Day Sunday activities, join the Earth Day Sunday 2018 Facebook event. http://www.creationjustice.org/place.html

UMaine scientists envision smart mills, new papers for medicine and food packaging

By Lori Valigra
University of Maine professor Doug Bousfield aims to develop fully recyclable packaging using cellulose nanomaterials derived from wood pulp. The cellulose nanomaterials hold promise for replacing the thin layer of noncompostable aluminum used now to keep oxygen from getting in to spoil the chips, and grease from the chips from getting out through the package to soil consumers. “We’re looking at alternative packaging based on cellulose nanofibers to replace common snack packaging, so it should break down,” Bousfield told the annual Paper Days meeting of Maine’s paper industry at the university, held Wednesday and Thursday. https://bit.ly/2Hhx01R

Walmart’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign Gives Communities a Seat at the Table for Hunger Relief

For every participating product purchased at U.S. and Puerto Rico Walmart stores or on Walmart.com from April 2 – April 30, 2018, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits. Participating suppliers represent some of the nation’s leading food companies: General Mills, The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay/Quaker, Bush Brothers, Clorox Sales Company, Conagra, Motts, Unilever, Maruchan, Pinnacle Foods, Post, and JM Smucker. Walmart will start the campaign with a $1.5 million donation and aims to donate a total of $3 million to Feeding America based on the public’s social media engagement in the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign.
Visit Walmart.com/fighthunger for further details. https://bit.ly/2IAprTu