Convenient Timing?

Convenient Timing?
Sarah Theodore
I have yet to see former Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth,” but it would be difficult to miss the buzz surrounding it. With all of the media attention on greenhouse gasses and global warming, along with concerns about rising oil costs, I have found myself paying more attention to energy use these days. And if the news I’ve seen coming from the industry is any indication, so have many of you.
For an issue once reserved for tree-huggers, news about environmental sustainability is coming from some unexpected places. Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Lee Scott made headlines when he announced greener goals for the world’s largest retailer. Indicating that he believes, “We should view the environment as [Hurricane] Katrina in slow motion,” Lee outlined company goals of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, creating zero waste and selling products that sustain resources and the environment. He outlined plans that included changes in transportation; store heating, lighting, cooling and refrigeration; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through technology and innovation.
The Coca-Cola Co. recently announced some of its environmental efforts in its 2005 Environmental Performance Measures Report, in which it claims an energy ratio reduction of 5 percent last year, a water use ratio reduction of 4 percent, a solid waste ratio reduction of 3 percent, and a 3 percent increase in recycling for a total of 78 percent of all solid waste. On a smaller scale, Fetzer Vineyards, always a company with an eye toward sustainability, says it is installing a solar power system at its headquarters in California that will supply 80 percent of the bottling facility’s electricity needs. New Belgium Brewing announced its new brewery expansion will feature more natural lighting and a Freon-free heating, ventilation and cooling system. Still other companies have announced initiatives such as purchasing wind power to fuel their facilities.
If the warnings are correct, this is an issue all companies will need to consider, especially those in manufacturing and distribution. I’m curious to know what Beverage Industry readers think. Is your business making changes for the good of the environment? Do you see this as an issue that will affect your company in the coming years, or will these announcements go by the wayside when the shock of higher energy costs wears off or the movie publicity tour is done? Drop me a line and let me know.
In other news…
I am happy to announce that Jenny Zegler has joined Beverage Industry as Associate Editor. For those of you who receive Stagnito’s Rollout e-newsletter, Jenny will be a familiar name. She helped launch the daily online product development publication last year, and we’re thrilled to have her onboard.
Beverage Industry wants your nominations for the best new products of 2006. We will feature our first New Products Awards at the InterBev show in Las Vegas, Oct. 23-26, as well as in the magazine. All products considered must be introduced in 2006. More details to follow soon, but in the meantime, let us know the products you think deserve to be in the running by emailing submissions to BI
Sneak Peek
Cover profile — Beam Global
State of the Industry Report Beverage R&D — Lab testing showcase
Packaging — Inspection equipment
Distribution — Product resource guide
Wholesaler of the year Category Focus — Dairy drinks
Beverage R&D — Color innovation
Packaging — Labeling equipment

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