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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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