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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Can Large Companies Lead The Low-Carbon Revolution?
The dismissal of a green advocate at a major energy corporation and other recent developments raise a critical question: Are big companies too invested in the status quo to be trailblazers in the quest to wean the global economy off fossil fuels? Source: Yale Environment 360, 2/9/16

New circular business model tool can help unlock creativity
Industrial designer Cheyenne Schuit has created a tool to help businesses create circular systems which resonate with customer's needs and daily routines Source: The Guardian, 2/11/16

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Liquid Assets
A maverick hedge fund manager thinks Wall Street is the answer to the water crisis in the West. Source: ProPublica, 2/9/16

The real key to remaking manufacturing: Chemistry
In an edited interview, John Warner talks matching brands with sound science, seeking safer alternatives to well-known chemical ingredients and how Six Sigma dogma has convoluted global supply chains. Source: GreenBiz, 2/9/16

EPA Study Finds Electronics Recycling Standards are Well Implemented and Makes Recommendations for Further Improvement
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a study assessing the implementation of the two third-party certification programs for electronic waste recyclers in the United States. EPA's study found that the certification standards are being implemented by auditors with thorough knowledge of the standards. The study identified a number of strengths in implementation of the standards, such as clear and effective roles and responsibilities among the key implementers, and opportunities for constructive feedback integrated throughout the system. The study also offers recommendations for improving the overall effectiveness of implementation, including providing additional training and guidance materials in key topic areas, providing regular updates to the standards and increasing audit times to allow for more thorough audits. Source: US EPA, 2/4/16

Monday, February 8, 2016
Barriers To Pollution Prevention
Many industrial facilities report they are unaware of greener chemicals or alternative technology. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 2/1/16

Why materials will make or break the circular economy
From bio-inspired polymers to toxic compounds, companies like Adidas, GM and Walmart are rethinking the way they use -- and reuse -- materials Source: GreenBiz, 2/3/16

Friday, February 5, 2016
New database reveals which companies disclose carbon risks
A new online search tool allows users to find disclosures of carbon asset risks. Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/16

8 reasons to improve the climate impacts of your supply chain
CDP's Dexter Galvin explains how business can benefit by increasing their supply chain's commitment to sustainability Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/16

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Milking it: critics take aim at new environmental guidelines for dairy industry
The US dairy industry is outlining ways ranchers and producers can reduce their environmental impact. But do the new guidelines go far enough? Source: The Guardian, 2/3/16

Resources related to the Flint water crisis
Collection of posts from Environmental News Bits detailing different aspects of the water crisis in Flint, MI. Continuously updated. Source: Environmental News Bits, various dates

How we got Fairtrade certified gold in the Fairphone 2 supply chain
Smartphones contain dozens of minerals sourced from every corner of the globe, including gold, which is commonly used in printed circuit boards (PCBs) as well as other wiring and components due to its excellent conductivity. And of course, it's not only found in phones. Gold is an essential material in many of today's consumer electronics, and the electronics industry is the third largest consumer of gold worldwide, after the jewelry industry and financial sector. But the path that gold travels from the mine to your phone or other devices is often problematic, to put it mildly. To start, gold is one of the four conflict minerals identified by the Dodd-Frank Act. This means that gold has been known to finance rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Because tiny amounts of gold are extremely valuable, this mineral is also very prone to smuggling. Even outside of conflict and high-risk regions, gold mining poses a wide variety of social and environmental challenges, such as land disputes, sub-standard wages, unsafe working conditions, child labor and mercury pollution. However for many mining communities worldwide, it provides their main source of income and livelihood. For all of these reasons and more, Fairphone is extremely pleased to announce that it has reached a major milestone: Together with its partners, it has achieved the first-ever Fairtrade gold supply chain for the consumer electronics industry. Source: Fairphone Blog, 1/27/16

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