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Meet the man brokering a path to economic reconciliation

JP Gladu says it's time governments deliver change through supply chains - by doing business with Indigenous entrepreneurs

As the CEO of the Toronto-based Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, JP (Jean Paul) Gladu can often be spotted at conferences and functions in a sharply tailored suit with a fashionable flash of lavender or plum peeking out his breast pocket. But Gladu is quick to tell audiences that he’s as comfortable in boardrooms as he is in his bush clothes hunting moose on his First Nation on the shores of Lake Nipigon, near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Growing up Anishinaabe hunting and fishing with his father, a second-generation logger and chief, Gladu had always planned on becoming a conservation officer. His first job out of forestry school involved working with over 40 First Nations communities across Ontario through the federal First Nations Forestry program, and that, says Gladu, “is when I fell in love with my community.”

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Is your ethical investing app upselling greenwash?

'Animal welfare’ funds heavy in animal testing? Low-carbon funds dripping in oil? Your BS-free green guide to 9 SRI apps

 

Gone are the days when penny pinchers walked into their local banks and signed onto whatever investments their financial advisors recommended. A deluge of young investors is shaking up the investment community, demanding that their hard-earned savings do more than just tick upwards until they retire in Florida.

And since, let's face it, few of us really have time for or interest in sitting through dull bank meetings to talk mutual funds, low-fee automated robo-advisors are stepping in to deliver feel-good investments you can order up in minutes on your smartphone.

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Canadian food companies lag on animal welfare

Couche-Tard, Sobeys at back of pack while British grocers top latest Business Benchmark on Animal Welfare

Cage-free. Antibiotic-free. Certified humane. Food companies have been responding to growing public concern over animal welfare by offering up shelves (and menus) full of labels promising better living conditions for the animals we eat. But how are they putting those claims into practice on farms and in slaughterhouses across the globe?

UK-based Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare has just released its seventh annual ranking of the world’s largest food and drink companies, checking on who's putting their money where their mouth is and who's not even at the table. This year, BBFAW assessed 150 grocers, food makers, restaurant chains and suppliers on their farm animal welfare policies, practices and performance. It examines thorny issues like the confinement of animals, antibiotic and growth hormone use, as well as whether companies have, say, senior management in place to move policies beyond feel-good pledges (turns out that 43 % of companies now have explicit board or senior management oversight of farm animal welfare, up from 22 % when the benchmark launched in 2012).

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Retail stores scramble to deal with hormone disruptor-laced receipts

How are Loblaw, Sobeys, Walmart and other top Canadian retailers responding to receipt controversy? CK investigates

We come in contact with them every day of our lives. Wedged into wallets, they chronicle the highs and lows of our retail therapy, our mid-afternoon mocha binges and the daily tab for being human in a consumer economy. Turns out common thermal receipts also deliver a dose of estrogen-mimicking chemicals, which is thrusting the spotlight on the workers who handle them and the retailers that dole them out.

The results of an experiment released last week by Environmental Defence found that handling thermal receipts for around 15 minutes (the estimated time a cashier comes in contact with receipts over an eight-hour shift) caused significant spikes in urine  levels of hormone-disrupting Bisphenol A (BPA), as well as BPA’s controversial replacement chemical, Bisphenol S (BPS). It all adds up to bad news for major Canadian retailers.

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Can Loop’s 21st century milkman fix plastic plague?

TerraCycle's new circular shopping platform rescues big packaged brands from PR crisis

Remember the sea turtle with a straw fused up its nose? The viral image that broke your heart and made you swear off straws? There’s more. On February 4, the UK’s RSPCA released the latest round of disturbing photos of wildlife - maimed seals, ducks, deer, even cats - ensnared in plastic bags, bottles and other snaggy remnants of our disposable economy. A flurry of British media headlines cut to the chase: record numbers of animals are killed or injured by plastic.

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Global 100 eyebrow raisers

Big oil and big pharma aren’t everyone’s vision of sustainability superstars. So why are they on CK's Global 100 list?

 

With additional reporting by Toby A. A. Heaps

Over nearly a decade and a half of writing a weekly column and several books under the Ecoholic banner, I ranked endless streams of products from worst to best in terms of planetary impact, from beer companies to banks, footwear to ethical funds. Many weeks, judging the environmental and social costs of, say, a bar of soap was often tough. Evaluating the sustainability of an entire publicly-traded multi-billion-dollar corporation is, well, a whole different ball game.

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How Gucci gang became the world’s most sustainable fashion corporation

Paris-based Kering has been ranked the world's second most sustainable corporation overall

Neon green, according to Vogue.com, is "winter’s hottest trend.” But while the fashion world fleetingly embraces this season’s blinding shade of chartreuse, one major international apparel corporation has been betting on the staying power of a deeper shade of green. Yes, the gang behind Gucci is making high heels with bio plastics, weaving abandoned fishing nets into men’s jackets and cladding metallic accessories with recycled palladium from old catalytic converters used in medical appliances.

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On the menu: plant and lab-grown meat

The food industry is taking notice of the growing market movement towards alternatives to conventional meat

At a bustling restaurant in downtown Toronto, rumour has it Silicon Valley’s hottest innovation is here somewhere. Not the latest smartphone wedged to a diner’s ear two tables over, but a heaving burger, served up with pickles and special sauce, according the specials board. So, what does this burger do that makes Bill Gates and friends line up to throw bags of cash at it? Technically, it sizzles and “bleeds” much like any other rare burger – except no cows, or turkeys or chicken for that matter, were harmed in its making.

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Trash talk

A recent move by China to tighten recycling requirements has thrown municipal recycling schemes across Canada into turmoil.

In a riot of clamouring bottles and backfiring brakes, a week’s worth of your trash gets trucked off to be recycled. It's all very comforting to those of us who brag that we recycle everything – unless, like half the planet, your town was selling your discards to China.

After years of buying over 50 per cent of the world’s scrap paper and plastic to fuel its growing resource-hungry economy, China announced it’s through with being the world’s “garbage dump” and, as of January 1, barred imports of our recycling it says are too often contaminated with garbage and even hazardous waste.

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Nude food

By Adria Vasil
Zero-waste grocery stores are beginning to appear across Canada, with the aim of curtailing the scourge of food packaging.

The letters glazed on the large shopfront window promise something most grocers don’t typically offer: food in the buff.

This is Nu, Ottawa’s first zero-waste grocery store, where virtually everything on offer comes stripped of packaging, or naked as the name suggests in French. Inside the airy 1,700 square foot space, you’ll find display cases of fresh fruits and vegetables, with no cling wrap, Styrofoam trays or spools of plastic baggies in sight. A wall of shiny stainless steel containers offers an array of oils, vinegars and soy sauce not to grab and lug home – these jugs have taps with rows of refillable glass jars sitting beneath them (in case you forget to bring your own containers from home). Even mayonnaise and ketchup come in bulk here, in the refrigerated case next to slabs of tofu, cheese and, on Thursdays, hummus.

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