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Archive for the 'Ethical Business' Category

NEWS WATCH! WHOLE FOODS MARKET REFOCUSES – - STRESSES VALUE

Posted in Cool Products, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, Healthy Food, News Brief, Sustainable Food on August 3rd, 2008

COMPANY MAKING “A STRONG EFFORT” TO CHALLENGE ITS COMPETITORS ON PRICE

wholefoodsa1.jpegThe sketchy economy, high cost of fuel and skittish job market are taking their toll on Whole Foods Markets, as once loyal customers look elsewhere in search of deep discounts on necessary food and household items.

To combat the losses, the extent of which are unclear, Whole Foods has announced a line of lower-priced generic products, a staple of traditional supermarkets, together with deep discounts on many existing items. The goal here is to make the chain synonymous with value, a tough task after years of being known for upscale gourmet items.

Only time will tell how this works out. Hopefully company management finds a way to serve both masters effectively without destroying what it is that makes the Whole Foods experience special.

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HEALTH WATCH! NEW EVIDENCE LINKS POPULAR HPV DRUG TO DEATH, PARALYSIS AND OTHER MEDICAL WOES

Posted in Ethical Business, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on July 10th, 2008

WATCHDOG GROUP’S FOIA INVESTIGATION UNEARTHS GARDASIL’S DANGEROUS SIDE EFFECTS

2007-08-10-smartteen2.jpgJudicial Watch is one of those self-appointed, self-righteous, allegedly non-partisan – though clearly conservative – beltway groups that I often find myself disagreeing with, sometimes vehemently so. This has been the case ever since they were at the forefront of conservative billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife’s, amply funded attempt to discredit former President, Bill Clinton. History buffs will remember that Judicial Watch under its previous president, Larry Clayman, initiated no less than 18 separate lawsuits against the President Clinton, his administration and specific members of his administration.

Equally offensive to progressives, myself included, are Judicial Watch’s positions against day laborers; their labeling as murder the death of Terri Schiavo; and their calls for the Naval Inspector General to investigate the “legitimacy and propriety” of the awards John Kerry received for his service in Vietnam.

The group, however, redeemed itself somewhat when they sued the Bush administration for access to the minutes of Vice President Cheney’s Energy Task Force; again when they sued Cheney and Halliburton for allegedly “fraudulent accounting practices” and when they sued the Secret Service to “force the release of logs detailing corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s visits to the White House”. Now this is speculation on my part, but it’s probably a safe bet that these latter efforts WERE NOT underwritten by Scaife.

This is a good thing because prior to 2002, DC insiders had known Judicial Watch as “essentially Richard Mellon Scaife’s tool” (Source: MediaTransparency), the group between 1997 and 2002 having received over 7 million dollars from various Scaife controlled foundations.

Jumping ahead to the present, Judicial Watch has apparently found a new – perhaps even higher calling – which is keeping America safe from the questionable business practices and greed of Big Pharma. In this context, the recent report from Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, concerning the potentially fatal side effects of the HPV (human papilloma) vaccine, Gardasil, deserves mention.

According to Judicial Watch, at least ten deaths have been linked to Gardasil, since September, 2007, while the total number of those believed to have died after taking the controversial new drug could number as many as twenty. Per group president Fitton, the FDA also produced 140 “serious” reports (27 of which were categorized as “life threatening”), 10 spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome – all since January 2008. Judicial Watch discovered this and other damning information in confidential FDA documents obtained via recent Freedom of Information Act filings.

Among the cases cited by Judicial Watch is that of a 20-year-old female with no medical history who after receiving the drug on April 1, 2008, died four days later. An autopsy was unsuccessful at determining the cause of the young woman’s death. Another tells the story of a 14-year-old female who after receiving the vaccine, took 6 steps, fell to the ground unconscious and had a 60 second grand mal (Epileptic) seizure. Then there was the case of the woman, who following vaccination with Gardasil, lapsed into a coma and is now paralyzed. Follow this link to Judicial Watch for the rest of this report.

Now my friends, this is serious business, not only for the women already negatively affected by the drug, but also because Merck’s aggressive marketing plan includes lobbying to have the vaccine mandated for all young girls as part of their school vaccination programs. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already recommended that 11 and 12-year-old girls begin receiving the controversial new treatment.

Not content with merely injecting young women, Merck is allegedly also about to begin lobbying the FDA to approve the vaccination for young boys as well, and for women older than the 9 to 26 year old group for which Gardasil is currently approved.

Needless to say, the mainstream media has largely ignored this story, dependent as they are on drug company advertising. So it is up to you and I to pass the word and to warn friends and family about this latest example of drug company potentially marketing a product – in this case a critically needed product – that is not as safe as they would like us to believe.

But to be fair here, one should also consider Judicial Watch’s previous financial pedigree, specifically their close ties to ultra conservative, Scaife, and the fact that it is possible that Judicial Watch is blowing this entire matter way out of context to support the conservative position, which insanely considers Gardasil evil as it allows young women to be sexually permissive without potential consequences. How anyone could wish HPV on anyone as punishment for having sex outside of marriage shows how sick in the head many of these so-called conservatives really are.

To put this matter to rest, Merck should come clean with their research and address Judicial Watch’s concerns and not hide behind the FDA as Drug Company’s usually do when they are found to be at fault. Transparency here would go a long way to regaining the public’s confidence.

In the interim, I will be telling all of my friends to hold off on inoculating their loved ones with Gardasil, which is a shame because the drug serves an important purpose protecting the young people of America and the world from this horrible disease.

- Denis

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AMAZON RAINFOREST NUTS HELP FUEL FIRST BIOFUEL FLIGHT

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco Warriors, Ethical Business, News Brief, Sustainable Transportation on February 25th, 2008

A VIRGIN ATLANTIC JUMBO JET FLIES FROM LONDON TO AMSTERDAM WITH ONE OF ITS FUEL TANKS FILLED WITH A BIO-JET BLEND OF BABASSU OIL AND COCONUT OIL

virginjet2.jpegBritish billionaire Richard Branson, the principle shareholder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and numerous other Virgin named companies, went on record the latter part of last year pledging to incorporate bio fuels into his airline’s fuel mix. Yesterday, he did so.

A biofuel mix is reported to have provided 25 percent of the fuel for yesterdays jumbo jet flight from London to Amsterdam. The biofuel was a blend of 20 percent neat biofuel composed of among other ingredients, Babassu oil and coconut oil, and 80 percent conventional jet fuel. According to Branson, tests have shown it was possible to fly with as much as a 40 percent blend.

Branson went on to say that it was unlikely the nut of the wild growing babassu palm would play a key role as airlines turn to renewable fuel sources. The nut was used for the test, as the company did not want to use any product where they would be “competing with staple food sources.”

Branson agrees with yours truly that algae produced in places like sewage treatment farms is the most likely future source of renewable fuel for the airline industry.

This is not Virgin’s first experiment with bio-fuels. Last year, Virgin started to power some of its trains using a fuel containing 20 percent biodiesel produced mainly using British rapeseed oil blended with U.S. soybean oil and palm oil from the Far East.

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GREEN ENERGY INDUSTRY TAKES ROOT IN CALIFORNIA

Posted in Alternative Energy, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, Ethical Living, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business, Sustainable Living on February 2nd, 2008

IN RECENT MONTHS, THE INDUSTRY HAS ADDED SEVERAL THOUSAND JOBS IN THE PRODUCTION OF SOLAR ENERGY CELLS AND INSTALLATION OF SOLAR PANELS ON ROOFS

solarmodul1.JPGAs of this writing, three-quarters of the nations demand for solar energy and equiptment comes from residents and companies in California. This is not all that surprising considering that California has among the most warm, sunny days of any of the continental states.

But will it continue a grow to be a mainstream industry, or will it be doomed to fall by the wayside the way it did during the last solar boom in the 1970’s?

To be successful and more than a passing fad, solar energy needs to pass through to the mainstream and not be limited to the elite fringes of California society, as it is today.

In the posting linked below, MATT RICHTEL and JOHN MARKOFF of the New York Times take a closer look at this and other questions facing this fledging industry as it attempts to transition into the west coast’s go-to employer for the twenty -first century.

-LIB

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CHRISTMAS TREES GO ‘GREEN’ FOR UPCOMING HOLIDAY

Posted in Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, Sustainable Values on November 27th, 2007

TO OBTAIN GREEN CERTIFICATION A FARM MUST MEET CERTAIN STANDARDS FOR MANAGING WETLANDS, NUTRIENTS AND PESTS. WATER AND SOIL CONSERVATION MEASURES ARE REVIEWED, AND BIODIVERSITY AND WORKER SAFETY ARE ALSO CONSIDERED

christmastreesgi.jpg Nearly 29 million households bought a fresh Christmas tree last year, according to industry estimates. This year those consumers, well at least a lucky 200,000 of them, will have another option available to them. This year they will be able to buy a Christmas tree grown under environmentally sustainable conditions. A “green” Christmas tree, so to speak.

Sustainable Christmas trees are the brainchild of several of the nation’s largest Christmas tree growers. To be certified “green”, a grower must comply with strict standards established for managing wetlands, nutrients and pests. Water usage and soil conservation measures are also considered, as are biodiversity and worker safety.

“These measures help mitigate some of the environmental dangers of Christmas tree farming, such as excessive use of pesticides and contribution to erosion,” according to today’s Associated Press posting on the topic.

The green trees will be recognizable by special labeling. If you are in the market for a Christmas tree this holiday season, why not buy green. You will be glad you did.

-LIB

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SCHWARZENEGGER UNVEILS PLAN TO INSURE SEVEN MILLION

Posted in Consciousness, Eco Warriors, Ethical Business, Health Watch, News Brief on October 10th, 2007

INSURANCE COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS IN CALIFORNIA WOULD BE BARRED FROM DENYING COVERAGE DUE TO AGE OR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

doc.jpg After much speculation, California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has gone on record with his plans to insure the almost seven million Californians who presently do not have health insurance.

Under the governor’s bill, Californians would be required to have health insurance and businesses would be required to offer it. Individuals unable to afford this coverage would be able to obtain it through a subsidized state account, offset by contributions from companies unable to offer their own coverage plans and from the proceeds of the California Lottery.

But the best part of the Schwarzenegger plan is that it would ban insurance companies doing business in the state from rejecting applicants because of their age or previous medical condition, that tired old chestnut, which the insurance companies use to refuse insurance to any poor soul that has had the misfortune of having suffered from some life threatening disease in the course of their life.

Hooray for Schwarzenegger, a Republican, for having the courage to stand up to the insurance juggernaut and for putting his political rhetoric into a cohesive, comprehensive plan.

Now it is up to the heavily Democratic state legislature to combine the best elements of the Schwarzenegger plan with comparable Democratic plans and produce what hopefully will be the blue print that other states rush to emulate.

-LIB

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SUSTAINABLE COSMETICS GURU, DAME ANITA RODDICK, DEAD OF BRAIN HEMORRHAGE

Posted in Conscious Actions, Cool Products, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, News Brief, Sustainable Business on September 12th, 2007

RODDICK USED HER SUCCESS AS A BUSINESSWOMAN TO AID ORPHANS IN ROMANIA, SPONSOR FOOD AND SHELTER PROGRAMS FOR THE HOMELESS IN LONDON AND HELP MANY HUMAN GLOBAL RIGHTS AGENCIES.

anitaroddick.jpgThe environment lost a friend yesterday with the passing from a brain hemorrhage of cosmetics entrepreneur, Anita Roddick. Ms. Roddick, the founder of cosmetics manufacturer/retailer, the Body Shop. was 64 years old.

A true eco-warrior, Anita Roddick, was one of the first modern day entrepreneurs to practice sustainable business practices. This was decades before they would fashionably break into mainstream business.

But fashion, or at least the ‘putting on airs’ was not what this courageous cosmetics entrepreneur was all about. Leveraging her position, and the Body Shop’s global network of stores – over two thousand at last count –to fight for what she believed in, was.

This included, in the early days of her career, fighting to ban the then industry standard of testing new product formulas on animals.

Today it is quite common to see the words ‘not tested on animals’ displayed prominently on many of the world’s finest cosmetic and beauty product packages. But this was not the case in the late 1970’s when the Body Shop and Ms. Roddick were starting out.

But then, it wasn’t fashionable either – particularly not for a woman – to use one’s purchasing muscle to bring about real, tangible changes in the lives of those from whom it purchased it’s supplies. Which is precisely what Ms. Roddick did with her now famous “Trade not Aid” campaign.

Believing that it was far better to offer indigenous people a path to financial self-sufficiency than a one time financial handout, the Body Shop, under Ms. Roddick’s leadership, instituted “Trade not Aid”, which was a policy of puerchasing, whenever possible, many of the raw ingredients featured in the company’s proprietary line of sustainable beauty products and cosmetics, from indigenous tribes in remote areas of the world.

A major success, “Trade not Aid”, created a ripple in the continuum that will be felt for generations to come through the contributions of the descendants of those whom the program helped. A more fitting legacy than this one could not hope to achieve.

And to think that it all started in a dingy little store that was in such bad repair that Ms. Roddick had to use common house paint –in this case the green color that would be closely associated with the Body Shop over the years – to cover up the mold that was slowly overtaking the premises.

But humble conditions notwithstanding, this first store was also the birthplace of many of the concepts, which would set the Body Shop apart from other companies in it’s industry.

Perhaps the best known of these was the company’s container recycling campaign, which encouraged Body Shop customers to return empty product bottles to the store for refilling. This enabled the customer to save a little money on the purchase and created less waste to wind up in already overcrowded landfills.

But the story of Anita Roddick does not end with the Body Shop, and her achievements in that context. There is more, far more. In recent years, after relinquishing day-to-day control of the Body Shop to professional managers, Ms. Roddick refocused her boundless energy on a cause close to her heart, that of human rights, specifically, Third World debt relief, aiding orphans in Romania, and closer to home sponsoring food and shelter campaigns for the homeless in London.

It is in these areas where Ms. Roddick’s loss will truly be felt.

RIP “Queen of Green”. You have set an example we will be hard pressed to follow. But try we will.

-LIB

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IN A FIT OF GREEN CONSCIOUSNESS, SONY OFFERS FREE RECYCLING OF ITS PRODUCTS

Posted in Conscious Actions, Corporate Responsibility, Ethical Business, News Brief on August 17th, 2007

COULD CHANGE THE WAY THAT ELECTRONICS COMPANIES DEAL WITH THEIR TRASH

Playstation3vector.svg.png Sony (SNE) plans to offer free recycling of all its products in the USA, a move that may change the way the electronics industry deals with its trash.

Customers will be able to drop off Sony TVs, stereos, laptops and other items at centers run by Waste Management, a company that oversees garbage and recycling operations in many municipalities.

Starting Sept. 15, 75 Waste Management centers will accept Sony products free of charge. Within a year, 150 will. Sony eventually hopes to have one center within 20 miles of most U.S. residents. Customers can find a center at www.sony.com/recycle.

Sony is also considering a mail-in program, says Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics. It must first figure out how to handle shipping for large items such as TVs.

The program is one of the first of its kind in the USA. Sony and other electronics makers have argued that recycling electronics is too difficult and expensive. It can cost as much as $60 to dismantle and recycle an old TV.

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FORMER COAL MINE TO HOUSE SIXTY-SIX WIND TURBINES

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Ethical Business, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business on July 18th, 2007

NEW FACILITY WILL GENERATE ABOUT 99 MEGAWATTS

windturbin1.jpg Pacific Power has announced it applied for approval to turn a former Wyoming coal mine into a wind farm.

Regulators in Wyoming received the request for approval to install 66 wind turbines at a former coal mine, the Portland Business Journal reported.

The Glenrock Wind Energy Project would be built at the site of Pacific Power’s Dave Johnston Coal Mine and is expected to be able to generate about 99 megawatts.

The coal mine had been in operation for about 40 years until it was shut down in 2000.

Source: UPI

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GOOGLE TO GIVE TEN MILLION IN GRANTS TO HELP COMMERCIALIZE PLUG-IN HYBRIDS AND FULLY ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Conscious Actions, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, News Brief, Sustainable Business on June 24th, 2007

GOOGLE IS BACKING FUEL-EFFICIENT, HYBRID CARS AS PART OF A PLAN TO MAKE THE ENTIRE FIRM CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2008.

pluginhybrid.jpgGoogle’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, will give $1m in grants to encourage the adoption of hybrids.

It has pledged a further $10m to help commercialise plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles.

“We believe our support can stimulate public consumption,” said Urs Hoelzle, Google’s operations senior vice president.

“These types of cars could make a big difference in how much carbon they produce,” he added.

Power producer

The firm said the hybrid vehicles produced 65% fewer CO2 emissions than the average car in Europe.

Google’s own fleet will be converted to hybrid technology and the firm will look for grant proposals to promote further use of fuel-efficient cars later in the year.

Google said it was investing in renewable energy sources and offsetting emissions that could not be eliminated directly, in order to go carbon neutral.

The US web giant announced it had finished phase one of a 1.6-megawatt solar panel system at its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

It will provide almost a third of the HQ’s energy needs. The firm has also committed to creating an additional 50 megawatts of renewable energy by 2012 – enough to power 50,000 homes.

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