October 10, 2014

Everything is kind of awesome again, at least as far as Greenpeace is concerned. Once again, the world’s arguably most dogged environmental organization has succeeded in hitting a company where it hurts – in this case, sabotaging a major marketing deal between Royal Dutch Shell and Lego. Under the agreement, signed in 2011, Shell gave out Lego toy sets to gas station customers in 30 countries that filled up with at least 30 litres of gasoline. Greenpeace, strongly opposed to Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic, reacted by launching an online protest/petition that went viral. More than a million signatures later, Dutch-based Lego has given in. It announced Thursday it would not renew the contract with Shell. Question is, were they going to renew it anyway? We’ll never know.

What’s in that stink?

SC Johnson, the Wisconsin-based maker of household cleaning and air freshening products, said Thursday it would start disclosing the fragrance ingredients in specific products in spring 2015. The company, like many in the industry, does disclose overall ingredients but has not previously tied those ingredients to particular products. It will begin this new disclosure initiative in the United States and Canada, then Europe, starting with air care products and expanding from there into other categories. It may be the right thing to do, but it’s also a reaction to main competitor Clorox, which announced in late September it would start product-specific ingredient disclosure. It’s a big shift for the industry, which has historically been extremely secretive about fragrance ingredients.

Control of dot-eco domain goes to Canada

Corporate Knights reported Thursday that ICANN, the world’s Internet domain regulatory body, has given control of the new “dot-eco” top-level domain to a small Vancouver-based company called Big Room, which in its application had the backing of a global coalition of more than 50 environmental organizations. It took Big Room seven years, and a short-lived battle with another applicant backed by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, to convince the regulator it would give the dot-eco domain a higher social purpose. The company hopes to have its dot-eco name registry operating sometime next year.

CK launches workplace safety web series

Visit corporateknights.com throughout the rest of October to follow our just-launched workplace safety web series, starting with today’s in-depth piece by award-winning journalist John Lorinc. In his story, Lorinc identifies fundamental shifts in our economy that are making traditionally low-risk, “safe” jobs – such as part-time retail and hotel service positions – more dangerous. The series is a partnership with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability. Over the coming three weeks, we’ll also look at which industries are best and worst at disclosing workplace safety data, as well as the challenge of making sure safety standards trickle down through the supply chain. Another question we’ll answer: Why are injury claims in Canada’s east falling faster than in the west? Finally, we’ll end with a report on Canada’s latest worker safety data.

California tops at preparing for climate change

A new online tool developed by the Georgetown Climate Center lets users easily find out which U.S. states are making the most progress with climate adaptation and which ones are lagging behind. And, perhaps to no one’s surprise, California has come out on top, followed by Massachusetts and New York, reports Grist.org. This is exactly how Corporate Knights scored the Top 3 states in its Green Provinces and States ranking, which we released this past June. The difference is that instead of focusing on climate adaption plans, CK’s ranking scored states and provinces on 10 key performance indicators across six categories – air and climate, water, nature, transportation, waste, energy and buildings. We also had a 10-point bonus system that rewarded jurisdictions for having certain environmental programs in place. What’s interesting – and sad – about the Georgetown ranking is that just 14 out of 50 states have a finalized climate plan.

Tesla Unveils Powerful Model D

For all you Elon Musk fans out there, we would be remiss to not mention the unveiling yesterday of Tesla Motors’ new Model D electric car, or officially called the P85D. Wired.com is calling it Tesla’s “most powerful car ever.” That’s assuming, of course, you consider 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds fast. The Model D – basically a sportier, turbo-boosted version of the Model S – will also have all-wheel drive and an autopilot feature. “Tesla is adding a radar that can see through fog and snow; a camera with image recognition capability to spot traffic signs and lights, as well as pedestrians; 360-degree ultrasonic sonar; and a system that combines all the data those produce with navigation, GPS, and real-time traffic systems,” according to Wired.com.

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