Posted by Shirley Brady on July 10, 2012 12:55 PM
Apple has pulled out of EPEAT, a global non-profit eco-rating service sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and will no longer label its electronic products according to their environmental impact as a result.
In stating its disappointment at the move, EPEAT noted that its certification program is "more than simply a product rating – it is also a community effort by all interested stakeholders to define and maintain best practice in environmental sustainability for electronics."
Tech Week Europe sees it as "a setback to Apple’s green campaign and may have come about because of difficulties in dismantling and recycling new MacBook products."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 10, 2012 10:18 AM
The old saying goes that the Chinese word for "crisis" (危机) is composed of two characters representing both "danger" and "opportunity." Though fallacious, this old trope could not better describe the manner in which cosmetics brand Urban Decay turned a self-created crisis into a public relations windfall.
About a month ago, Urban Decay announced that it would be breaking into China's cosmetics market. And why not? In 2011, China's cosmetic sales hit 110 billion yuan ($17.8 billion), a increase of nearly 19 percent over 2010. According to a 2012 report by Li & Fung Research Centre, during one month in 2011, Urban Decay's competitors Estée Lauder and Clinique saw sales increase by almost 10 percent alone.
Looking at all that money, what Urban Decay lost sight of was its core mission, amongst other things, was all about refusing to test on animals. (China, meanwhile, required animal testing to certify Urban Decay's products.) No surprise, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lambasted the brand's "Decaying Principles":Continue reading...
tech in the spotlight
Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 6, 2012 01:08 PM
Google made tech news headlines with the recent introduction of three new products, two of which round out its new Nexus product line, a brand that puts Google squarely in the hardware business — and in Apple's crosshairs.
The slick, sleek website for Nexus seems to have that cool, clean sophistication we've come to know and love from Apple. All three of the products found there rival Apple products: the Galaxy Nexus phone, which is co-branded Google and Samsung (iPhone), Nexus 7 tablet (iPad), and the Nexus Q streaming media player (watch out, Apple TV).
But the buzz around Nexus Q has reached beyond technology alone. It has raised an intriguing issue that could be seen as either a deeper competitive strategy that pits "Made in USA" against "Made in China", or perhaps, nothing more than an expedient product solution.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 5, 2012 11:02 AM
It turns out Walmart and Tom Cruise have something in common. They both turned 50 this week. And the odd pairing share something else: Both quinquagenarians have set a lot of tongues wagging.
Cruise, of course, set the gossip world aflame in the summer heat for the announced split with his wife of five and a half years, Katie Holmes. Walmart, on the other hand, had a problem that affected a lot more people: some very unhappy folks who want the retailing powerhouse to treat their workers better and be more considerate to small businesses and not steamroll into new neighborhoods.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 4, 2012 10:01 AM
Since the late ‘70s, chocolate maker Nestle has had one group of customers so irate with it for allegedly misrepresenting the positives of breast-milk substitutes to uninformed consumers that they’ve been boycotting their products for decades. Now the company has another problem on its hands.
A study commissioned by Nestle found “numerous” violations of its “measures to combat child labor in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry,” according to Bloomberg.
The Fair Labor Association’s report found that “four-fifths of (Nestle’s) cocoa comes from channels for which information on labor is opaque.” In response, the company hosted a webcast in which it outlined its cocoa plan, including “new monitoring programs in two cooperatives this year and in 30 by 2016.”
“The use of child labor in our cocoa supply goes against everything we stand for,” Jose Lopez, Nestle’s head of operations, stated on the webcast. “You can be here talking about child labor but if there’s no school, it’s not going to work.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 1, 2012 04:47 PM
Walmart Chairman Rob Walton didn't mention the company's Mexico bribery scandal specifically at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Ark., today, but the whole mess hung over the gathering like a pallid mist.
And Walton left little to the imagination when he vowed that the $112-billion world's largest retailers would recommit to "integrity" as one of five "enduring values" that would continue to propel the retailer beyond its upcoming 50th anniversary in July.
"If you work for Walmart, there is no gray area between right and wrong," Walton said in his remarks, a clear reference to the New York Times investigation that allegedly uncovered that the company's Mexican operation had orchestrated bribes of $24 million to help it grow quickly and that some company executives had covered it up.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 1, 2012 01:02 PM
Animal-rights activists have been after chain restaurants for years to stop penning up their pigs and their work is finally paying off. Burger King in April made the promise to unpen the pigs in its supply chain and Wendy’s made a similar promise a month earlier. Now McDonald’s, oft-criticized by animal welfare groups as the world's largest user of beef, is following up on its ethical pledge for more humane treatment of the chicken and pigs of America.
While Burger King says it can do it by 2017, McDonald's (on the heels of its recent "back to the farm" campaign) says it will need at least until 2022 until it can be sure that all of its suppliers aren’t penning up the sows, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Sow confinement has been standard agricultural practice for decades, based on the reasoning that the pregnant animals become aggressive around food,” the newspaper notes. This, of course, has not won too much favor with animal-rights folks.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2012 05:53 PM
How far away is Mexico from the United States? It might as well be on the other side of the world as far as many Walmart shoppers in America are concerned. When they're hunting bargains in the store, the allegations of bribery against Walmart executives as they built their operation in Mexico are about as pertinent to U.S. shoppers as the won-loss record of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Walmart executives have been saying as much since the New York Times broke the news on April 21 about the Mexican bribery scheme, as the company said the investigation wasn't expected to have a material impact on its business. But today, those executives acknowledged that the scope of the bribery scandal could widen — and that it had taken a hit on its reputation.Continue reading...