From the Web: Target Vows to Use Its Power & Scale to See that All Packaging Is Recyclable

Target says it will use its “power and scale” as one of the country’s largest retailers to advance the idea that all packaging will be recyclable one day, and to help consumers understand how and why recycling is so important. With that in mind, the retailer has joined the Material Recovery Facility of the Future, a collaborative committed to seeing that flexible packaging is recycled and that the recovery community captures value from it. The announcement is one of Target’s five new sustainable packaging goals it released yesterday.

Target’s chief sustainability officer, Jennifer Silberman, says that by using Target’s power and scale as one of the country’s largest retailers, the company can be a catalyst for change in the industry.

One challenge the recycling industry currently faces is that of flexible plastic packaging. Flexible packaging is displacing many types of packaging formats, including those that are traditionally recycled – but currently, in North America, flexible packaging is not accepted in most recycling programs. With the Material Recovery Facility of the Future collaborative, retailers including Target have joined forces to advance the idea that all packaging must be recyclable.

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From the Web: IKEA unveils plan to lift 200,000 people out of poverty

IKEA recently announced it’s building new production centers in Jordan this summer, as part of a plan to create employment for 200,000 disadvantaged people around the world. The facilities will be open and running by August, and will provide jobs to refugees producing rugs, cushions, bedspreads, and other handmade woven items.

These particular facilities are the result of a partnership with the Jordan River Foundation, a non-governmental organization founded by Jordan’s Queen Rania. To start out, these particular plants will only employ 100 people, rising to 400 within two years. About half will be local workers and the other half will be Syrian refugees.

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From the Web: US Business Schools Failing on Climate Change

Coca-Cola and Nestlé have recently closed facilities, and Starbucks is bracing for a global shortage of coffee — all due to effects from climate change. Climate change impacts every resource used by businesses: from agriculture, water, land and energy to workers and the economy. No business will be untouched.

Future business leaders are not being prepared for the climate change challenges their companies are certain to face. (Except for those at SEMBA, of course!)

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From the Web: Can this startup use blockchain to brew up more sustainable coffee?

An entrepreneur with a background in verifying the provenance of so-called conflict minerals is applying that expertise to keep tabs on one of the world’s most widely traded commodities: coffee. Tracking this kitchen staple requires a mélange of emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

The goal of his venture, bext360, is to help coffee buyers automate their dealings with fair-trade farmers, allowing them to more closely track the source and quality of the fair trade beans they’re buying while speeding up payments for local growers.

For buyers, the service promises deeper transparency, as well as a way of automating the verification process. For harvesters and growers — largely women — the service could mean more ready access to investment capital, according to bext360 CEO Daniel Jones.

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From the Web: American energy use, in one diagram

Spring brings new growth, new possibilities, and, best of all, a new spaghetti diagram from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) at the Department of Energy.

Every year, LLNL produces a new energy flow chart showing the sources of US energy, what it’s used for, and how much of it is wasted. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s worth a look.

Learn more (via Vox) >>

From the Web: Save the Planet – Get a Bike!

A new book, How Cycling Can Save The World, argues that from improving public health to mitigating climate change, replacing cars with bikes could have an exceptionally large impact on the health of the planet.

Peter Walker, political correspondent and contributor to The Guardian’s bike blog, writes in his new book: Biking is not as unsafe as it seems, and it’s often the fastest and most enjoyable way to get around.

But Walker also takes it a step further. While he admits the title is a bit grandiose, he also tells Fast Company that it’s not far from the truth. From eradicating health concerns linked to inactivity, to mitigating climate change, to boosting local economies and building community, biking, Walker says, is an integral part of the solution.

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A ‘Shark Tank’ for Impact Investing: SEMBA’s Net Impact Chapter Featured

This post was edited by Mike Rama, SEMBA ’17, and originally was featured on Net Impact’s Hub Announcements.

The SEMBA Net Impact chapter held a pitch event described as a “Shark Tank for impact investing.”

Net Impact is an accelerator with chapters across the country that works to orient professionals and students to solve social and environmental challenges. The SEMBA Net Impact chapter is a hybrid chapter at the University of Vermont, Grossman School of Business, focused on bringing together current students, alumni, and community members in an effort to mobilize awareness and action on sustainability.

What makes this chapter stand out is the unique programming that equips its members with the skills and connections to drive impact now and throughout their careers. “Our chapter programming falls under three main categories: skill development, alumni relationships, and building collaborative networks with the community and other academic departments,” says Michael Rama, the Vice-President of the chapter.

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From the Web: Millennials Are Pushing B2B Companies Toward Greater Social Impact

Our economy changes a little every day as Millennials begin to take on more substantial business roles, opening companies and rapidly becoming a larger share of the workforce. It’s no surprise that their spending habits reflect not only in general consumer behavior, but also a shift in B2B sales.

And the major factor that affects how Millennials spend money is a company’s ethical and moral behavior, especially concerning the environment. The flood of Millennials in the B2C and B2B marketplaces is altering the way companies do business. This changes the game for B2B entrepreneurs and sales professionals who are preparing for the future of commerce.

Learn more (via Forbes) >>

From the Web: Pesticides are not needed to feed the world, UN says

The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.

new report, being presented to the UN human rights council, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.

Learn more (via The Guardian) >>

From the Web: Congress Just Made It Officially Legal To Kill Hibernating Bears

Hunters in Alaska can now track and kill hibernating bears thanks to a U.S. House and Senate resolution rolling back Obama-era regulations against the practice.

President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on Monday, which rolled back Alaska’s ban on killing the vulnerable bears, along with wolf cubs in dens. It also allows for hunters to target the animals from helicopters.

The Republican-sponsored legislation impacts 76.8 million acres of federally protected national preserves across Alaska.

Learn more (via The Huffington Post) >>