May Green Briefs

Here are a few environmental news updates.

A new report produced by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made repeated use of a loophole to approve 65% of pesticides in the market, amounting to about 10,000 chemicals, without much if any evidence supporting their safety. These pesticides were given EPA approval for use in agriculture and consumer products, but were pushed through with a regulatory provision called “conditional registration,” which was meant by Congress to be used rarely in order to allow certain pesticides to enter the market while safety testing was ongoing. The NRDC report also found that the EPA does not typically track toxicity data for conditionally approved pesticides.

Clean transportation and energy projects announced in 2012 will lead to 110,000 jobs in the United States, according to a report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs. California, North Carolina and Florida lead the way in jobs due to be created by these projects.

A new Web-based software tool will be implemented by Compass Group, a foodservice management company, that will help reduce the environmental impact and operational costs at almost 10,000 U.S. locations. FirstCarbon Solutions developed the software, which is described as Phase 2 of the already existing Carbon FOODPrint project. It will create benchmarks for the carbon, energy, water and waste footprints of each participating unit, and provide insights into where improvements can be made.

The new Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition (PISC) will help manufacturers, distributors and retailers to collaboratively improve the environmental impact of the pet industry. Planet Dog, Cardinal Pet Care, Natural Capitalism, Only Natural Pet, “I and Love and You” and WestPaw Design are each founding members, and each donated $10,000 to PISC to help it get started.

Founder Chris Bentley said, “Directed by Harvard Sustainability and Environmental Management Graduate Caitlyn Bolton, the new non-profit will navigate the sustainability needs of businesses and serve as a playing field for bottom-up and top-down innovation and collaboration.” PISC will offer a Web-based toolkit that will serve as a guide to sustainability, and an Accreditation and Leadership Award which will allow companies to take voluntary action to adopt sustainable standards.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2013