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Climate Friendly Corporations: Nestle, eBay, Sunny D

  • by
  • September 12, 2010
  • 6:00 am
Climate Friendly Corporations: Nestle, eBay, Sunny D

The past couple of weeks have brought news of some very surprising environmental efforts from large companies. Of course, like most large corporations who are making efforts toward sustainability, some of these companies have a long way to go. But giving credit where credit is due is increasingly important when it comes to the environment.

Perhaps the most surprising ventures come from Nestle. I, myself, am a huge skeptic of Nestle, mostly due to their incredibly shady bottling of community water, which they sell for millions in profits. They have been known to completely drain local water sources and sue communities who fight against their environmental destruction.

However, two pieces of news have come from Nestle in the past few weeks that could be promising. The first is Nestle’s investment in — and commitment to — sustainable coffee. This is an investment of 500 million Swiss Francs, or about $487 million U.S. dollars. Another element of this is, of course, fair trade and the amount farmers are making for their products. Considering Nestle buys ten percent of the world’s coffee, all of this is a very good thing:

Under the plan, Nestle would double the amount of beans they purchase directly from farmers to 180,000 tons by 2015 and source 90,000 tons of coffee in accordance with Rainforest Alliance Principles by 2020.

The second Nestle news tidbit has to do specifically with water and is quite thought-proviking. For World Water Week this year, they are committing to sustainable water operations – that includes reducing their water usage at their plants, assisting farmers with sustainable agriculture practices, etc. But unfortunately the article leaves out any mention of their bottled water arm and whether or not they will continue their drain-and-sell operations in freshwater sources. So, I’ll be keeping my eyes out for more news on that front.

Success number two is from eBay. The company is piloting a program of reusable shipping boxes that can be passed between eBay sellers and buyers. The company has manufactured 100,000 of these boxes and is testing them out. If successful, the program could save 4,000 trees a year.

Finally, we’ve got Sunny D. Yes, you read right. I was surprised to hear that Sunny Delight has achieved zero waste in 2010, three years ahead of their 2013 goal. Their waste reductions saved the company $169,000 last year. They have also released their full 2009 Sustainability Report, which outlines their other efforts as well. They’re making great strides in other areas, including moving to completely recyclable plastic pallets.

I myself was pleased to hear about these efforts by large companies to be more sustainable. Have any of you heard of other environmental successes of late? Let’s celebrate the progress we’re making — it’s important.

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photo credit: istock

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114 comments

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4:12PM PST on Nov 28, 2010

thanks for sharing

1:58PM PDT on Sep 18, 2010

I'm not as distrusting as most of you are. I give them the benefit of doubt. I hope they do what they claim. I don't buy their bottled water but douse other products of theirs.

9:31PM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

Well...the best thing we can do, as I see it, is thank them for doing the good stuff and stop buying bottled water so they'll stop doing the bad stuff.

10:14AM PDT on Sep 16, 2010

I don't know about trusting Nestle, but it is a step in the right direction.

11:02PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

It is too easy to forget to be thankful. When you do, it puts things in perspective. One example is that it reminds you of what you are doing and inspires you to keep going. Thanks for the reminder; not that I was losing inspiration, but it's good to nip these things in the bud :)

9:39PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

Nestle is green-washing in the same way that McDonald's claims to be environmentally friendly, or Exxon's pitiful investment in algae fuel (vis a vis its $40B profit).

Nestle buys community water @ less than $0.01/gallon, & sells for upwards of $10/gall. Arrowhead is one of their brands.

Bottling municipal water is a massive taxpayer subsidy for corporations & in this case, the corporation isn't even american but Swiss !!!

9:37PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

I can't even start to put in writing how I feel about what I just read about Nestle, the way I understand it they are blinding you/us with their supposed do-good on the one hand but continue denying people of their BASIC need for water, unbelievable, the chutzpa...
Without water you can't make coffee!
I did not know about the water, thank you for informing, I shall now have to find a different coffee, I actually love Nescafe Red Mug, But I will not give my hard earned money to a corporation that exploits like this! And no do-good activities will earn them brownie points, not in my books!

8:28PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

thanks for post

8:00PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

Monday I found out that Nestle no longer uses HFCS in their flavored milks. My daughter wanted chocolate milk and the local organic dairy chocolate was out. I was reading the other labels showing her the HFCS. I got to Nestle and it said sugar. She got Nestle.

7:51PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

how can one call a company like Nestle "climate friendly" when they are participating in the privatisation of water much like Coke and Pepsi?! Token efforts are still only tokens and mean almost nothing to them on the whole.

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