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Campbell’s Joins Growing List of Food Brands Pledging to Help the Environment

Campbell’s Joins Growing List of Food Brands Pledging to Help the Environment


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Campbell’s is collaborating with the Environmental Defense Fund to help improve water quality and reduce greenhouse gasses

Can Campbell’s help reduce the harmful impacts we’ve inflicted on our environment?

Campbell’s and its subsidiary, Pepperidge Farm, have announced a collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund and have pledged to help improve water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by optimizing fertilizer use, reducing pesticide usage, and conserving soil. To achieve these goals, the company will work with United Suppliers, a cooperative of locally owned and controlled agricultural retailers on their Sustain platform, which develops sustainable agricultural practices across the country.

“Meeting the challenge of feeding a growing population will require increased crop yields while reducing the environmental impacts of crop production,” said David Festa, EDF vice president, ecosystems in a statement. “The good news is that there are tools and programs available to help farmers optimize their fertilizer use. Campbell’s commitment will help bring these resources directly to farmers on the ground and make fertilizer optimization the norm.”

Campbell’s is certainly not the first company to go green(er): Ben & Jerry’s just released a new “Save Our Swirled” ice cream flavor that is supposed to raise awareness about anti-global warming efforts, and Yum Brands (Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell) pledged to help stop deforestation.


Food sustainability a growing concern for US consumers, Israeli AI startup says

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

Tastewise, an AI-powered platform that uses computer learning to predict food trends, in a Wednesday report forecast a growing consumer interest in sustainable food choices.

The Israeli startup’s technology aims to keep abreast of changing food trends by scouring menus and billions of social media posts, photos, and recipes, providing real-time data on food and beverage trends.

Its new report said that, since a year ago, 23 percent more consumers were prioritizing sustainability in their diet. It analyzed data from some two billion online social interactions, over three million online recipes, and the menus of 274,000 restaurants.

Health concerns were consumers’ top focus when it came to sustainability, followed by environmental considerations, with 39% of conversations on sustainable foods focusing on health benefits. Local food was a topic of 15% of discussions, and recycling 13%.

Only 1% of the discussions involved animal rights, 1% talked about pollution, 2% on ecology and 3% on climate change. Animal rights, pollution and ecology saw a huge drop in interest since the previous year.

Consumers are growing increasingly concerned about waste, with 8.5% percent of conversations focusing on the topic, representing a 20% increase over the previous year. Only 10% of those talks discuss meat, despite the animal agriculture industry’s massive environmental impact.

Veganism was the leading diet for sustainable eaters, with 31% of vegans motivated primarily by health concerns, 12% by fitness, and only 2% by animal rights. Seventeen percent of online conversations about sustainability discussed veganism.

Geographically, interest in sustainability was concentrated on the coasts, with liberal politics and a cultural concern with the environment correlated with interest in sustainable foods.

California was the leading US state, home to 22% of the country’s sustainable restaurants.

The researchers saw a rise in online conversations on meat alternatives, and an increase in discussions on the use of seafood in sustainable recipes. Pollock was the most popular item on sustainable seafood menus, found on 80% of them, and oysters the fastest growing topic in online discussions. Salmon was the most talked about sustainable seafood.

Other growing trends were juice and smoothie bars promoting sustainable packaging, including environmentally friendly cups and straws “on the go” food and beverages, including sustainable coffee and juice sustainable dark chocolate and cocoa beans and healthy waffles and oats on restaurant menus.

The study predicted that “sustainability will define the industry in 2020.” It was not published academically or peer-reviewed, but intended for use by marketers to better adapt to trends in the coming year.

“Sustainability is an issue that’s increasingly important across food categories and markets,” Tastewise co-founder and CEO Alon Chen said in a statement. “If a menu or a product doesn’t offer sustainable seafood, it’s time to catch up to consumers’ heightened culinary consciousness.”

Tastewise bills itself as a tool for hospitality and food brands and counts Campbell’s, Coca-Cola and Nestle as customers. The company was founded in 2017 by Israelis Chen and Eyal Gaon.

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Conserving Land

One of the most straightforward reasons that a plant-based diet is better for the environment is simply that it’s more efficient. Eating plants—instead of eating animals who eat plants—cuts out the enormous environmental burden that goes along with animal agriculture. Raising animals for food “introduces a major extra step of waste relative to the efficiency of us just eating the plant foods directly,” says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM , co-author with Mark Bittman of How to Eat . “If you just eat the plants, you cut out the middleman.”

Pastures for Livestock

In the United States, 415 million acres, or 18 percent of all U.S. land, is dedicated as permanent pastures to raise livestock, according to research by Christopher Gardner, PhD, who studies human nutrition and food systems at Stanford University.

Livestock production is the single largest driver of habitat loss, according to research from Florida International University published in 2015 in the journal Science of the Total Environment . In the Amazon, where the rainforest plays an integral role in regulating the world’s oxygen and carbon cycles, cattle ranching accounts for 80 percent of deforestation rates.

Land Used to Grow Crops for Animal Feed

In addition to the land needed for the animals themselves, there’s also the vast amount of land needed to produce crops to feed the animals. In fact, the majority of cropland in the United States is not used to produce food that people will eat but to produce crops that animals will eat. Between 2000 and 2010, 80 percent of the plant proteins produced in the United States were allocated to animal feed, either domestically or abroad.


Campbell’s Joins Growing List of Food Brands Pledging to Help the Environment - Recipes

By Thomas Campbell, MD • Reprinted with permission from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

There is a proliferating variety of plant-based milks available. Sorry, dairy industry – I’m going to go ahead and use the word “milk”. I commonly get asked about which plant-based milk is the best choice.

Briefly, here are some of my thoughts on the various plant-milks, in alphabetical order.

Please note an important disclaimer: these impressions are based on availability I have in my local store. There certainly may be variations and differences between brands that I’m not aware of.

Almond Milk: I like the nut milks the best, but it’s important that you only choose unsweetened varieties. In my location, I can get unsweetened plain, vanilla, and chocolate.

Cashew Milk: Same as almond. Get unsweetened varieties only, which are a good choice.

Coconut Milk: This is essentially very dilute coconut fat, though perhaps not always as dilute as some of the nut milks. This is similar in nutritional content to the unsweetened nut milks. Again, I’d only consider the unsweetened and low-calorie varieties.

Hemp milk: If you get the unsweetened variety (0g sugar), the nutrition on some brands looks pretty good. Some brands include more protein than the nut milks, though other brands are richer in fat. Choose lower calorie varieties if possible. In addition, this is harder to find, I think in part because the taste doesn’t have as much appeal.

Oat Milk: No added sugar, and yet the sugar is sky high. How did they get oats and oat bran to be such sugar bombs? I avoid this.

Pea Protein Milk (Ripple): I don’t like the added oil, not to mention the fact that it would be a fairly rare circumstance when I recommend consuming isolated plant proteins. And this is basically a liquid formulation of isolated plant protein and oil. The original, vanilla and chocolate varieties also all have added sugar.

I’ve never personally had this milk, but I appreciate the marketing push behind this brand for the general population. When given a choice between cow’s milk and this milk, I would recommend this product (and then ask, “have you tried unsweetened almond or cashew milk?”).

Rice Milk: This used to be what my family drank years ago. It was one of the early varieties of plant milks available in our area. But there’s a problem here similar to the oat milk. With no added sugar this still manages to be a relative sugar bomb. In addition, there’s added oil in some of these. As if that wasn’t enough, it is a totally unnecessary source of arsenic in the diet. I avoid this.

Soy Milks, Flavored Varieties: Many of these are super high in added sugars. I ask my patients to avoid these unless they specifically and clearly are labeled “unsweetened.” Chocolate soy milk – just forget it. There are, however, some varieties of vanilla that I’ve found that have no added sugar. Be careful, though. The standard vanilla varieties are very high in added sugar.

Soy Milk, Original/Plain: I like soy milk for having a more complete nutrient profile, which is useful if you’re in the situation of actually wanting to increase calorie intake. It includes far more protein than most other plant-based milks. But the original varieties have added sugar. I certainly don’t want my patients to have that, so I ask they only choose varieties that are “unsweetened.”

A side question that commonly comes up: shouldn’t I be avoiding soy? The short answer – no. Soy doesn’t seem to increase risk of breast cancer or lead to hormone problems. It potentially may actually decrease risk of some of these things.

A small minority of the population may have food allergies and sensitivities and soy is a slightly more common plant allergen. Depending on the study you read, less than 1% of the population (as assessed by food challenge tests) and perhaps as much as 2-3% (as assessed by IgE blood test) has a soy allergy If you’re one of a small minority of folks with an allergy or intolerance, by all means, definitely avoid soy.

Soy Milk, Restaurant Editions (coffee shops, etc…): Unfortunately, you’re really not doing yourself any good by getting soy lattes or other soy drinks out at coffee shops, although you may feel more virtuous as you place your order. A small soymilk at Starbucks, or, sorry, a “Tall” soy milk at Starbucks has 21 grams of sugar. Holy sweetness! Some of these shops use super sweet milk to keep customers coming back.

Soy Milk, Unsweetened: Great. See above.

Editor’s note: If you decide to drink soy milk and want to avoid GMOs and glyphosate, you should choose organic soy milk products.

Quinoa Milk: Did you know there was such a thing? Unsweetened varieties can be OK, if you like the taste.

In summary, some general points:

  • Choose unsweetened milks only and avoid varieties that are high in sugar despite having no added sugar (namely oat and rice).
  • Many people new to plant-based diets are not consuming significant amounts of greens and beans every day, as we all should be. Thus, they may not be consuming enough calcium. Learn about plant-based diets and calcium. For people in this camp (which is many, many people), I like for them to get a serving a day of a fortified plant milk containing added calcium. Most plant milks are fortified with calcium, but occasionally they are not fortified. Choose brands fortified with calcium unless you are confident you are consuming plenty of dark leafy greens every day and beans every day.
  • None of these plant milks are amazing in any particular health-promoting way. So drinking more is not better. Have a serving or two a day for cereal, perhaps as a drink ingredient, or for cooking and baking, but I don’t see any value at all in drinking glass after glass of any of this stuff. In fact, I worry when my patients are getting many of their calories in liquid form. Use your teeth and chew some whole foods.
  • This shouldn’t need to be said but every once in awhile you hear of some awful tragedy of severe infant-malnutrition from parents following some very bizarre idea of optimal nutrition: never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, use these plant milks as a substitute for infant formula.

Overall I find the fact that there are so many plant-based milks available, a positive market trend, making it easier than ever to eliminate animal milk from the diet.

References

1 Zuidmeer L, Goldhahn K, Rona RJ, et al. The prevalence of plant food allergies: a systematic review. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008121:1210-8 e4.


So, what can you do to make a difference?

1) Keep reading labels. Palm Oil goes by many names, including Palm Kernel Oil, Palmitate, and Glyceryl Stearate. You’ll be amazed how ubiquitous it is, once you learn to recognize its many names.

2) Read RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil report. It outlines the health, human, and environmental impacts of this destructive product and lays out exactly what we are asking shoppers and companies to do to eliminate it.

3) Take action online. Tell the Snack Food 20: Don’t replace trans fats with conflict palm oil.

Thanks to the support of RAN activists and allies, we are making progress and gaining traction. But we’ll need to keep pushing to reach the tipping point. I am convinced that you all can provide the additional momentum we’ll need to remove conflict palm oil from our food supply.


From soaring sales to growing cynicism: how immune-supporting claims are shaping food and drink NPD

Immunity has become big business. In the wake of Covid-19, Brits are no longer taking their body’s natural defences for granted. The vast majority – 79% – say they have become either slightly or much more concerned about their immunity in the past year, according to our exclusive poll of 1,982 UK adults with Harris Interactive.

That’s had clear implications for the food and drink industry. Just a year ago, the appeal of immunity-supporting products was largely confined to the ‘wellness’ set. Now, they are a mainstream proposition.

With that wider appeal have come a spate of new products touting their links to immunity. In the first 10 months of 2020, 1.7% of global launches boasted some kind of claim, according to Innova Market Insights. Five years beforehand, that figure stood at 1.0%.

The growing interest in immunity-focused marketing has been noticed by Chris Blythe, owner of design agency The Brand Nursery. “What the last year has done has brought health more into focus for the UK – that sense of wanting to do the best for your body,” he says.

So just how big can immune-supporting food and drink get? What is the key to success in this market? And is there an opportunity beyond the immediate health concerns presented by Covid?

Consumer appetite

The idea of immune-supporting food and drink seems to resonate with consumers. Four in 10 have bought some form of food and drink to help their immune function since the onset of the pandemic, our survey with Harris Interactive revealed.

Although that will include naturally healthy foods such as fruit & veg, shoppers are just as open to products that are specifically engineered to support immune function. A total of 45% of respondents to our survey said they would consider buying food and or drink with added vitamins.

So it’s no wonder mainstream brands are starting to take note. In October, Unilever launched a PG Tips Plus range with three functional brews – including an ‘Immunity’ blend with added vitamin C. Then in January, Costa unveiled its Latte+ drinks, designed to offer a caffeine kick with a vitamin boost. The three-strong range, which includes Caramel Oat, Vanilla Coconut and Hazelnut Almond variants, boasts added ingredients such as vitamin B12, zinc and protein.

Smaller brands, too, are getting in on the act – generally with a more specialist, scientific take on the trend. Take Emmunity, a soft drink that claims to “harness the healing and immunity-boosting benefits of nettle”. The creation of chemists Roy Lamb and Nasir Isaji, it launched last month in partnership with development, branding and marketing consultancy Brand Relations.

The consultancy’s MD Richard Horwell is confident the proposition will hit home. For him, the thirst for drinks with added benefits will only grow. “Pre-Covid, people were happy to drink a Diet Coke. Now they want to drink water or something functional,” he explains. “The younger market wants a drink that will give them something extra – especially something that can help your immune system.”

There are similar levels of confidence at Modern Baker, which launched a ‘smart loaf’ in February. The result of five years’ R&D, the seeded Superloaf contains “a unique blend of fibres” and “plant chemicals” that are designed to optimise your gut health, says Modern Baker co-founder Leo Campbell.

Modern Baker lauched its Superloaf in February with immunity claims on pack

Costa unveiled a Latte+ range in January, designed to combine health credentials with a caffeine kick

Moju's Vitamin D shots launched last March, just as the first national lockdown hit

This immunity brew is part of the functional PG Tips Plus range, launched in October

Crucially, it claims to “support normal immune function” through the use of micro-nutrients. Modern Baker decided to add that information on-pack in the wake of Covid, explains Campbell, due to the growing power of the claim. “Two messages that used to resonate were ‘5 a day’ and calories. Now it’s those and immunity – that’s been corroborated at Tesco level,” he says.

That message seems to have got through on Amazon Fresh, where the Superloaf made its debut. In its first two weeks on the site, sales were six times higher than forecast, says Campbell.

Growing sales

Businesses that were playing in the immunity space before the pandemic are also boasting a boost to sales. Take Biotiful, which has long traded on the link between the probotic cultures in its kefirs and a healthy immune system. Its sales shot up 33.9% to £16.1m last year, making it the fourth largest yoghurt drink on the market [Nielsen 52 w/e 5 September 2020].

Founder Natasha Bowes says the growing interest in immunity was “categorically” a factor behind this success. It has given the brand confidence to invest in innovation such as its Kefir+Coffee product, launched earlier this month.

Biotiful has also forked out on marketing with a breakfast-focused campaign. “We’re asking consumers to consider upgrading their breakfast with these products”, says Bowes, who will be working with influencers such as former Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson to promote that message.

Biotiful has picked its influencer partners carefully. “We wanted people who are authentic and trusted and as far away from gimmicks as possible – those who actually look to truly help the people who follow them,” says Bowes.

Claims crackdown

But not all products have been so careful in their marketing. In September, a study looking at posts tagged as immune-boosting on Instagram found they generally promoted ”misleading information about immunity and advanced products and services of no proven immunological benefit”.

That’s led the Advertising Standards Authority to take a stand. Last July, it issued advice reiterating there are “strict rules around what advertisers can say about the links between their products, the ingredients in them, and health”. Immunity claims can be made on products that contain vitamins B12 and C, selenium and iron, but even then, brands have to be careful to avoid promising too much. Instead, they must say the nutrient “contributes to the normal function of the immune system”.

Already, some food and drink businesses have fallen foul of the rules. Last May, kefir and gut health brand Chuckling Goat was reprimanded by the ASA for implying its products could boost immunity.

Incidents such as these are likely a factor behind the growing consumer cynicism around the subject. Our survey with Harris Interactive found 49% of consumers were sceptical over immunity claims in food and drink.

This increasing consumer scrutiny is likely to determine which brands continue to be successful in this space, says Biotiful’s Bowes. “In this current day and age, whatever is a gimmick will be identified as that,” she argues. “Consumers are very smart and have information at their fingertips.”

That sentiment is backed up by Rich Goldsmith, founder of juice shots brand Moju. “In general, we see products doing well where there is a clear synergy between the product and the claims,” he says. He cites the example of Moju’s vitamin D shot, launched last March, which is “a food-first approach to supplementing your diet and utilise ingredients that have close associations to immune support”.

Natural credentials

Goldsmith doesn’t see a need to make overt immunity claims in marketing. “In fact, that actually drives cynicism. Do it in a genuine and authentic way, build it into the product from the very beginning,” he advises. “What we’re seeing a lot of is just refortification, which isn’t hard to do. Now I think consumers are becoming wise to that and are taking more interest in more natural products.”

This point about ‘natural’ perceptions could be pivotal. For Blythe of The Brand Nursery, this is where the future of the market lies. He believes brands containing ingredients that are naturally good for you – such as blueberries and ginger – are seen as less “gimmicky” than products containing added vitamins among a host of unrecognisable ingredients.

“People for whom boosting their immune system is most important are likely to be people who value natural foods and natural products,” he says. “If you want to take care of your body, it’s a natural extension to want to consume things that are unprocessed.”

Blueberries and ginger are among the natural ingredients being used in immunity-supporting products

Modern Baker points out that these claims can be particularly powerful in everyday items. Its Superloaf, for example, is designed as an alternative to ultra-processed bread. “We tackled a staple food,” stresses Campbell. “Having minor brands tinkering around the edges like coconut water and fibre granolas aren’t going to shift the diet. We have to look at staple foods before any systemic change is going to happen.”

So it’s essentially far more complex than adding vitamins and shoving an immunity claim on pack. But if brands can get their proposition right, immune-supporting food and drink could be a trend that lasts way beyond the immediate impact of Covid. “It’s been a year now. Some attitudes will be entrenched and it won’t go back to normal for everyone. Or ‘normal’ will be different,” argues Blythe.

This is echoed by Bowes at Biotiful, who says the year of Covid restrictions has changed mindsets. “The impact wasn’t for a week, month or for three months, it’s been a year. So it’s extremely unlikely we can just brush it off even after the full vaccination programme is completed,” she says. “The selection of naturally and truly immune-supporting foods is something that is bound to stay with us.”


MEET SOME OF OUR PEOPLE

Vaibhav “Vee” Tanksale

Pride in an iconic Kiwi brand

Vee has dedicated over seven years to working at Griffin’s and in that time he has progressed through a number of roles all the way up to Manufacturing Manager. For him, it’s the sense of pride in an iconic Kiwi brand that motivates him.

“One of the things that attracts me to working for Griffin’s is, it’s really cool to be involved with an iconic NZ company. It’s a really good feeling to walk out there and say we are one of the best manufacturers in NZ, and I am the Manufacturing Manager for it.”

Vee also credits the people at Griffin’s for making it such an attractive place to work. He says they have always been supportive of whatever role he’s been in and helped him succeed, with great career progression through supportive managers and training.

For Vee, the opportunities at Griffin’s have been limitless.

“The opportunity is there, the company doesn’t limit you – I would always recommend Griffin’s as a place to work.”

David Mael

Growing with Griffin’s

David Mael is the ultimate example of growing with a company – he started out at The Griffin’s Food Company in 1974 in the production team, learning all the equipment. At the time, he saw it as a great opportunity to get himself established in life – work for a reliable company, a well-known brand, get some skills, experience, and even a mortgage!

As time went on, David was happy to work at Griffin’s in many different roles over the years – there’s been a real opportunity for career progression. Stepping into leadership was “daunting at the time,” he says, but the crew around him were encouraging and supported him to grow. He was even supported to complete US correspondence studies.

At one stage he was sent to China to set up a plant – a huge turning point in his career, he says. Since then he’s travelled all over the world with Griffin’s – to America, Japan, France, Fiji and Thailand.

David is really impressed with Griffin’s employee training scheme, which helps people come in at the ground level and work their way up the company. He says the scheme is great because “you don’t get stuck in one job – you learn it and move on and grow with the company.” He sees the scheme as benefiting both the company and the employee.

In recent years, David has enjoyed being part of the “stable, strong, well-educated” technical team.

“We feed off one another so I really enjoy it still. I’m not the only one, there are many others who have been here for 20 plus years and still love it too.”

Daryl Austin

10 years and still loving the challenges

South Island Regional Sales Manager Daryl Austin says The Griffin’s Food Company keeps him busy and challenged every day.

He’s been in his current role for four years, and during that time hasn’t had two days alike. Daryl says there’s a variety of work to be done each week and he enjoys adapting to shifts in the market.

“I think that’s why I’ve stayed. It’s always changing. We have such a strong and broad portfolio, it’s not the same old-same old every day and the rewards at the end of it are great as well.”

Daryl joined the Griffin’s Food company when Nice & Natural was acquired in 2007, working first as a territory manager in Christchurch. The capacity to move around in different roles is also part of what has kept things fresh over his decade with the company.

Challenging and engaging work can often come at a price, impacting on time spent with family. For Daryl, that simply wasn’t an option. He says the company’s flexibility means that he can sometimes work from home and be there for his family.

“You’ve got to have time for your family – they motivate and encourage me. I wouldn’t have stayed so long with a company that didn’t support that”.


Our Impact

We have had many big breakthroughs recently. Major companies across all industries are changing -- proof of the power of consumer pressure. We are witnessing how our economic power is truly changing the world for good and towards a simpler, more sustainable way of living. We are winning and we are opening doors for more businesses to go green.

Thanks to the pressure of nearly 40,000 action takers Godiva has issued a public policy on responsible cocoa! Within this policy, Godiva commits to taking steps to scale child labor monitoring and remediation systems to 100%, commits to working with suppliers so that cocoa farmers earn a living income, and to no deforestation, among other commitments.

The policy and commitments are a positive step in the right direction. But, Godiva is still behind many other major chocolate companies in…

Amazon announced a commitment to power 100% of its infrastructure with renewable energy by 2025, which is 5 years earlier than the company's initial target of 2030. Amazon's corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers will all be powered by renewable energy.

This announcement would not have been possible without pressure from tens of thousands of consumers who joined Green America and our allies in calling on Amazon to ramp up renewable energy, as well as pressure from hundreds of Amazon's own employees, some of whom were retaliated against…

In March 2020, the US EPA issued a controversial memo stating that it would suspend enforcement actions for violations of environmental regulations when the agency assessed that the Caronavirus was to blame. Failure to enforce regulations provided polluters with permission to pollute at a time when air pollution was linked to increased risks for people contracting the Caronavirus.

Green America joined environmental, environmental justice, and health allies in protesting this memo, and our members sent over 10,000 messages to Congress, asking elected officials to intervene.

Our Skip the Slip campaign has urged CVS to switch to non-toxic, recyclable receipt paper, which it’s now implemented in all 10,000 stores.

We’ve also urged CVS to boost access and participation for its digital program. CVS has increased promotion of its digital option which it reports has saved 49 million yards of receipt paper – that’s more than enough to circle the globe!

Sign our letter thanking CVS for taking these…

Following massive public pressure, JPMorgan Chase Bank, the largest funder of fossil fuels in the world by a wide margin, announced on October 6, 2020 that it will begin aligning its financing with the Paris climate agreement. This is an important start.

In the years after the Paris agreement, the bank escalated its funding of the fossil fuel sector, resulting in $268 billion in funding that has exacerbated the climate crisis. The new announcement is a welcome change in position while concerns remain about the pace, scope, and processes to achieve the transformation needed to avert…

In response to over 100,000 consumers demanding progress from Walmart on refrigerants, Walmart announced that it will be transitioning to low-impact refrigerants for cooling and electrified equipment for heating in its stores, clubs, and data and distribution centers by 2040.

This is an important first step and acknowledgement from Walmart that it needs to address refrigerants, but the timeline is too slow given the enormous impact refrigerants have on climate change, and Walmart is not addressing refrigerant leaks occurring in their thousands of store world wide.

Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed a petition by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) to end state and local jurisdiction over net metering programs. Ending these programs would have made rooftop solar no longer viable since homeowners would receive far less money for solar power they sell to the grid. The petition received bipartisan criticism across the country.

More than 450 organizations - including Green America and 8,500 of our members, 57,000 individuals and 37 states -- submitted comments opposing the NERA petition that could have upended net…

For years, Green America and our allies have been fighting for regulations on methane leaks and pollution from oil and gas. In 2016, under the Obama administration, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) created regulations against wasting methane gas from wells and to require upgraded equipment to prevent leaks from oil and gas operators.

Under the Trump Administration, BLM rolled back these regulations to appease the oil and gas industries.

On July 16, 2020, a federal judge ruled that BLM falsely rolled back the regulations, stating BLM's action was “wholly inadequate” and…

T-Mobile continues to lead the telecom industry in adopting renewable energy. The company announced that its recent partnership with Otter Creek Wind Farm has achieved commercial operation and is expected to generate more than 504,100 MWh of clean energy every year. This placed T-Mobile at 95 percent clean energy.

At the same time, the company has recently finalized its merger with Sprint. T-Mobile has committed to update its target date for 100 percent clean energy to account for its newly expanded footprint. Previously, Sprint lagged on renewables before late 2019, when it…

Carter’s, the largest U.S. retailer of baby clothes, is taking an important first step towards limiting toxic chemicals in its supply chain, and it is doing so as a result of pressure from Green America and its members!

Carter’s actions include releasing an Restriced Substances List (RSL), disclosing information about energy usage and waste reduction, and providing greater transparency about efforts to protect human rights within its supply chain.

Nearly 15,000 consumers have joined Green America in …

In the face of mounting public pressure, Amazon announced new plans to use more clean energy to power its computing subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS), which it says will keep the company on track to meet its goal of reaching 100% renewable energy use by 2030. The retailing giant announced plans for four new renewable energy projects to power its data centers – an announcement that came only after intense activism on the part of Green America, the nation’s leading green…

On February 25, 2020, JPMorgan Chase, the world’s largest bank funder of fossil fuels by a 29% margin, announced new restrictions on its financing of coal and Arctic oil and gas as well as new investment in clean energy and other environmentally sustainable projects. The announcement followed mobilizations around the world…

Starbucks has announced that they will be offering more plant-based milks, including almond, coconut, soy, and oat milks, as alternatives to conventional dairy products.

An environmental audit found that dairy was the main source of emissions in the company's supply chain, which prompted this change and the company's goal to…

Sprint announced its first major commitment to clean energy with a virtual power purchasing agreement with Duke Renewables for a 182 MW wind farm. The deal will result in Sprint using 30% renewable energy.

In Green America's Clean Energy Calling Report Sprint was in last place amongst the four major telecoms -- AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint -- for its commitments to renewable energy targets and renewable energy purchases. Both were near zero.

Sprint's announcement with Duke Renewables marks…

AT&T announced new contracts for solar and wind energy that will bring its total clean energy purchases to over 1.5 Gigawatts. Last year the company announced 820 MW of clean energy, so the new announcement nearly doubles AT&T's commitments.

AT&T estimates that with these new clean energy purchases are the equivalent of providing electricity for more than 560,000 homes or taking 690,000 cars off the road for 1 year.

The new purchases mean that AT&T will be using over 50% renewables to meet its energy needs, and makes AT&T once of the largest corporate…

After years of pressure by Green Americans, Amazon.com announced it will get to 80% renewables by 2024 and 100% by 2030.

Our demands have always been: Commit to 100% renewable energy by 2020 and end the construction of any new data centers that rely on fossil fuel or nuclear power.

Amazon was using 0% renewable energy back in 2014 when we started our Amazon: Build a Cleaner and Fairer Cloud campaign. Since then, Amazon has contracted for wind and solar farms worldwide providing over 50% of its energy use.

But 50% is not good enough when other tech giants are…

Amazon is funding a 23.2MW wind farm in Cork, Ireland, and a 45MW solar farm in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, USA.

The two sites, with an expected annual generation of 68,000 megawatt hours (MWh) and 100,000 MWh respectively, will be used to serve Amazon Web Services data centers when the farms come online next year - via Power Purchase Agreements.

The two sites are the company’s 65th and 66th renewable energy projects, including 51 solar rooftops. Together, by 2020, the 66 sites have the capacity to generate 1,342MW of power, and deliver more than 3…

We have some good news on the animal welfare front. In response to consumer and investor pressure, Darden companies, which owns Olive Garden and many other restaurant chains, agreed to take several important steps forward to ensure better treatment of animals in its supply chain.

Darden has agreed to take the following steps to improve animal welfare:

  • purchase chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics by 2023,
  • source pork products from suppliers that do not use gestation crates to confine pregnant sows by 2025, and
  • continue…

Thanks to our Skip the Slip campaign to address the toxicity, resource use, and waste of paper receipts, the first-ever bill to tackle paper receipts was introduced in California on January 8, 2019.

This new bill in the California Assembly would make the state the first in the U.S. to mandate that retailers must offer digital receipts as the default to customers starting January 1, 2022. Customers will still be able to request a paper receipt in lieu of a digital receipt. Reflecting the focus of Green America’s “Skip the Slip” campaign, the bill, introduced by Assemblymember Phil…

Verizon’s commitment to 50% clean energy by 2025 means a reduction of 2.8 million tons of carbon dioxide, or the …

Green America’s work to promote socially responsible investing strategies, including portfolio screening on social, environmental, and corporate governance issues community investing and banking and shareholder action has helped drive the increase in SRI assets. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (US SIF) reports that assets under professional management in the US have grown from $8.72 trillion in 2016 to $12 trillion in 2018.

  • Sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) assets have expanded to $…

After years of public campaigning, Samsung has finally begun to take steps to address some of labor issues in its supply chain – ones that Green Americans and our international allies have spent years demanding action on. On July 24th, 2018, Samsung signed a binding arbitration framework that will ensure victims of chemicals exposure are properly taken care of and would follow through with recommendations put together by a third-party mediation committee.

Many allied organizations, along with Green Americans around the country, joined together to voice concerns over Scott Pruitt's leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency. In July 2018, Scott Pruitt resigned from the EPA.

AT&T announced an additional purchase of 300 MW of energy from two wind farms, both in Texas. This follows up on its February 2018 agreement to purchase 520 MW from two wind farms in Oklahoma and Texas. Once these changes are implemented, this will take AT&T's use of renewable energy to roughly 30%. Using a total of 820 MW of renewable energy is equivalent to removing 530,000 cars off the road each year.

Green America's "Hang Up On Fossil Fuels" campaign has been calling on AT&T and Verizon to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2025. AT&T has not made a commitment…

The international clothing companies Mango and Topshop have signed the renewed Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement to improve workplace safety for garment workers in Bangladesh. The original accord was created after the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh in April 2013. The tragedy left 1,134 garment workers dead and over 2,000 workers injured.

Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, Clean Clothes Campaign, Maquila Solidarity Network and United Students Against Sweatshops have been urging Abercrombie & Fitch, Topshop, and Mango to…

University of Maryland has begun using 10% recycled content on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper for its magazines. This progress is thanks to all the Green Americans who took action with Green America’s One Million Trees campaign, which urges colleges and universities across the country to begin using recycled paper for their alumni magazines.

If all higher education institutions used readily available recycled paper options, we could save up to one million trees, 90 million pounds of carbon dioxide…

AT&T announced that it will purchase 520 MW of power from two wind farms in Oklahoma and Texas. This takes AT&T's use of renewable energy from less than 2% to 20%! It's the equivalent of taking 350,595 passenger vehicles off the road or providing electricity for a quarter-million homes a year…

"Amazon unveiled what the company says is the largest rooftop solar panel energy system in New Jersey on the 30-acre roof of its Carteret warehouse.

The 22,000-solar-panel system will power the online retailer's facility. The company said it is one of the largest rooftop solar panel systems in the country and generates enough electricity to power 600 homes."

Green America has been mobilizing people to push Amazon to switch the gigantic amounts of energy it uses from fossil fuels to renewables.

Recently, Mars Inc. relaunched its natural pet food line Nutro, announcing that its dry food would now be made without GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The new product line aims to have “recipes that are simple, purposeful and trustworthy, made with real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients as close to their native form as possible.” For the last year GMO Inside and…

The US Senate votes against a Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure that would have eliminated Bureau of Land Management’s regulations to limit methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public lands.

Green America's individual and business members spoke out strongly in favor of preserving the rule. We also mobilized businesses and individuals to support the original rulemaking in 2016.

Green Americans, GMO Insiders, and many of our allies took action against True Value and Walmart to get bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides out of stores.

Smuckers removes GMOs and high fructose corn syrup from Uncrustables, its very popular peanut butter and jelly product for kids.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign has mobilized tens of thousands of consumers to ask Smuckers to remove GMOs from its products.

Chobani, maker of America’s #1 selling Greek Yogurt brand, and Green America, the nation’s leading green economy organization, announced today that they have partnered together in an effort to improve cattle feed in the U.S., including options for non-genetically modified and organic grains.

Bumble Bee tuna is now non-GMO project verified. The company has transitioned away from genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) in its solid white albacore canned tuna, a flagship product.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign has called on its supporters to encourage Bumble Bee to drop GMOs for several years.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign is excited to announce that Similac, Gerber Good Start, and Enfamil have all released non-GMO offerings of their infant formula.

GMO Inside mobilized tens of thousands of consumers nationwide to call on all the major formula manufacturers to offer non-GMO formula.

GMO Inside is excited to announce that Similac, Gerber Good Start, and Enfamil have all released non-GMO offerings of their infant formula.

GMO Inside mobilized tens of thousands of consumers nationwide to call on all the major formula manufacturers to offer non-GMO formula.

GMO Inside is excited to announce that Similac, Gerber Good Start, and Enfamil have all released non-GMO offerings of their infant formula.

GMO Inside mobilized tens of thousands of consumers nationwide to call on all the major formula manufacturers to offer non-GMO formula.

Just in time for International Hummus Day, GMO Inside is happy to report that Sabra Hummus is going non-GMO.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign mobilized tens of thousands of consumers to urge Sabra to join its competitors in dropping GMOs.

Our Better Paper Project has assisted over 200 publications to switch to recycled paper, saving trees and water and reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

More and more companies are listening to consumers, and labeling foods made with genetically modified and genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs). In just the last few days ConAgra, Kellogg’s, Mars, and General Mills joined Campbell's in pledging to label their products that contain GMOs.

More and more companies are listening to consumers, and labeling foods made with genetically modified and genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs). In just the last few days ConAgra, Kellogg’s, Mars, and General Mills joined Campbell's in pledging to label their products that contain GMOs.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign continues to encourage Mars to drop GMOs from its candies and pet foods. Tens of thousands of consumers have joined our call to action.

More and more companies are listening to consumers, and labeling foods made with genetically modified and genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs). In just the last few days ConAgra, Kellogg’s, Mars, and General Mills joined Campbell's in pledging to label their products that contain GMOs.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign successfully mobilized tens of thousands of people to urge General Mills to drop GMOs from Cheerios and label GMOs. We continue to encourage General Mills to drop GMOs from all its products, starting with Honey Nut Cheerios.

Green America joined with allies nationwide to oppose the Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas Export Terminal that was proposed for coastal Oregon. Green America opposed Jordan Cove because the facility would likely become the largest greenhouse gas emitting project in Oregon within the next decade. The project would have released an estimated 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and equivalents. Oregon has set aggressive goals for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and Jordan Cove would have undermined them.

Jordan Cove would have increased fracking, causing an increase in the…

More and more companies are listening to consumers, and labeling foods made with genetically modified and genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs). In just the last few days ConAgra, Kellogg’s, Mars, and General Mills joined Campbell's in pledging to label their products that contain GMOs.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) authored an amendment to the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 that would finally close this slave-labor loophole. The loophole allowed US companies to import products/materials made with slave labor if those products/materials could not be made in the US. The US Senate voted 75-20 to pass the bill, including the Wyden-Brown amendment.

Green America and its members joined with allies in the labor rights and human rights communities to encourage the Senate to close this egregious loophole.

Campbell's will offer organic/non-GMO Goldfish crackers and soups for kids and will voluntarily label products with GMOs. Additionally, Campbell's supports mandatory federal labeling on products containing GMOs.

Green America worked collaboratively with Campbell's to help facilitate the company's removal of GMOs and addition of organic ingredients to key products.

Approximately $6 trillion in assets, 60,000 individuals, and 800 institutions have pledged to divest from fossil fuels.

This divestment movement, which started in 2011, is strong and growing substantially.

Statistics from GoFossilFree.org. Graph by Green America.

Amazon Web Services announces construction of a solar farm in Virginia and a wind farm in North Carolina.

This is the latest victory in Green America's campaign, launched in 2014, to urge Amazon to adopt 100% clean energy for its servers by 2020.

The Children’s Place pays more than $2 million to the victims of Rana Plaza building collapse—the deadliest disaster in the history of the global garment industry.

Green America joined with labor allies worldwide to put pressure on Children's Place and other major brands to compensate workers and families impacted by the Rana Plaza disaster.

In a huge first step for the company, Hellmann’s just announced it is releasing non-GMO mayonnaise dressing made with olive oil.

Green America's GMO Inside Campaign mobilized tens of thousands of consumers to urge Hellman's to go non-GMO.

National Geographic builds on its commitment to use recycled paper (May 2015)

In a major step forward for the use of recycled paper in the magazine industry, the National Geographic Society (NGS) has begun incorporating recycled fiber in all the pages of National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Kids, and National Geographic Little Kids…

Hershey announced that as part of achieving “simpler ingredients” it will be switching to non-GMO sugar, removing artificial flavors (vanillin), and sourcing milk from cows not treated with the growth hormone rBST in its iconic Milk Chocolate Bar and Kisses by the end of 2015.

Green America's GMO Inside campaign mobilized tens of thousands of consumers to urge Hershey to go non-GMO.

Hershey announced yesterday it will be going 100% certified by 2020. Hershey will utilize three different certification systems -- Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and Utz. All three prohibit child labor, which is endemic in the cocoa sector in West Africa, where Hershey sources most of its cocoa.

Green America joined with allies in the child labor and social justice movement in a ten-year campaign to urge Hershey to certify its cocoa as child labor free. The campaign included protests, letter writing, and petitions, and involved hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Apple removes two of the most toxic chemicals from its tier 2 assembly (August 2014)

Green America’s End Smartphone Sweatshops campaign, in partnership with China Labor Watch (CLW), called on Apple to remove toxic chemicals including benzene and n-hexane from its supplier factories in China. Only five months into the campaign, Apple announced in August that it would “explicitly prohibit the use of benzene and n-hexane” at…

EPA releases the Clean Power Plan, new rules that set targets for states to reduce their climate emissions from power plants. The Clean Power Plan is a key component of the United States meeting its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement. The fossil fuel industry and several states are fighting the Clean Power Plan, and the Trump Administration is threatening to undo the regulations. Green America’s Green Business members provided extensive comments supporting the Clean Power Plan.

Consumers across the country took action with the GMO Inside Campaign to push General Mills to make Cheerios non-GMO.

General Mills' announcement of non-GMO Cheerios was huge news, since this was one of the first major consumer brands to go non-GMO based on public pressure, and paved the way for a growing number of non-GMO products.

Regions, US Bank, Fifth Third, and Wells Fargo agreed to phase out short term loans with interest rates up to 365%. These “deposit advance loans” commonly as “payday loans” trapped people in ongoing cycles of debt. Green America and our allies mobilized to halt these abusive loans.

Chevy/GM begin production of the Volt. (December 2010)

Green America's individual members sent tens of thousands of emails and asked Chevy dealers nationwide to offer an electric vehicle.

Whole Foods agrees to sell Fair Trade products alongside their own whole trade products. (September 2009)

Dynegy canceled coal-fired power plants.

Ford agrees to introduce more hybrid and plug-in cars and stops promoting ethanol as a clean fuel source.


The 14 Best Seed Companies to Plant in Your Organic Garden

Now that the holidays and their aftermath are history, it’s time to concentrate on the gardening season ahead. Seed catalogs are going out in the mail, so it’s the perfect time to research sustainable seed companies, get catalogs filling your mailbox, and place your orders!

Being a grower for decades, I have my favorites, and now owning a nursery and running a seed exchange, I’ve expanded the list to add several more ethical and sustainable companies. These are small organizations that sell organic, heirloom, and open pollinated seeds, and have taken the Safe Seed Pledge, which states they do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds.

Here are some tips before you begin searching for seed companies:

  • Seed companies have many suppliers. Read How We Choose Our Seeds by Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden Seeds to learn about the process of trialing varieties and contracting with farmers to grow out the ones that eventually make it to the seed catalog.
  • Many companies grow out some or most of the seeds they sell, and contract out the rest. For some, the seed business is part of a larger farming operation.
  • Feel free to ask a seed company about their practices. You might be able to find the information on their website or in the catalog. If not, call or email them. They should be very upfront with details.
  • Buy locally or regionally. Look at the list of companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge, and purchase seeds from those near you.
  • GMO seeds are not available to the general public, but you don’t want to support companies affiliated with or owned by Monsanto, such as Seminis. Monsanto now also owns the names of some varieties, which you will also want to avoid.
  • Familiarize yourself with plant patents, which take seed and plant ownership out of the hands of home gardeners. Seed descriptions will say if a patent applies.
  • Look for OSSI seeds. Open Source Seed Initiative partners with small farms to grow and label seeds that are not allowed to ever be modified.
  • Due to increased demand, most seed companies now have some organic offerings. Buying organic seeds assures better conditions for workers, the environment, and the soil, and it is better suited to organic growing.
  • However, there is more diversity in the larger selection of conventional seeds. I could not find any test results as far as pesticide residue in plants grown from conventional seeds, but my seed saving colleagues and I figure it is probably little to none. Nothing to worry about.

These are the seed companies I think are the best. I have successfully grown something from each of them. I also look for excellent customer service, good prices and shipping costs, viable seeds, and how they deal with crop failures (yes, it happens!).

I’m including their locations, so you can choose the companies in your region:

1. Renee’s Garden Seeds (Felton, CA)

I am a retailer for Renee’s Garden. I have grown her seeds since the early 90s, because of their excellent viability and the hardiness of the plants grown from them. The packaging is beautiful, too. Out of all the seed companies I could have chosen for resale, it was not hard to opt for Renee’s. There is no paper catalog. Website ordering only.

2. Johnny’s Selected Seeds (Winslow, ME)

I have been buying from Johnny’s since the mid 80s. Although they carry hybrids and patented seeds, they also have a wide selection of open pollinated, heirloom, and organic varieties. Worker owned.

3. Fedco Seeds (Clinton, ME)

The prices are low, because Fedco is a cooperative. Seeds are adapted to cold regions, and they carry OSSI varieties.

4. High Mowing Organic Seeds (Wolcott, VT)

100% organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, the only seed company with that verification. They were instrumental in bringing about OSSI varieties.

5. Sow True Seed (Asheville, NC)

Sow True Seed carries heirloom and open pollinated seeds, supporting local farmers. Workshops on seed saving.

6. BBB Seed (Boulder, CO)

BBB Seed carries all heirloom and open pollinated seeds.

7. Native Seeds/SEARCH (Tucson, AZ)

Preserving the ancient varieties of the indigenous people of the region, and providing education about seed saving. Shop online or in their retail store.

8. Seed Savers Exchange (Decorah, IA)

Since 1975, SSE has been saving seeds and teaching others to do the same. There are over 20,000 varieties in their seed bank.

9. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Mineral, VA)

Seeds adapted for the southeast, in packets or bulk. They carry OSSI varieties.

10. Sustainable Seed Company (Chico, CA)

USDA Certified Organic rare and heirloom seed. Sustainably powered!

11. Adaptive Seeds (Sweet Home, OR)

All seeds from Adaptive Seeds are locally grown in the Pacific Northwest. They sell OSSI varieties, but do not carry hybrids or patented seeds.

12. Wild Garden Seed (Philomath, OR)

USDA Certified Organic seed breeders, and developers of OSSI.

13. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company (Mansfield, MO)

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company carries rare, heirloom seeds from the 19th century, many Asian and European varieties.

14. Farm Direct Organic Seed (Avondale, CO)

USDA Certified Organic seeds grown on their market farm on the high plains of Colorado.

While compiling this list, I got inspired for the upcoming garden season – and my Fedco catalog just arrived!

Peruse these websites to learn about these companies’ different certifications, growing practices, and outreach. Their catalogs are an education in themselves, and great to keep on hand as a reference.

When you buy from a small, sustainable seed company, you support local families and many small farmers around the world while growing your organic garden. You help preserve diversity, a healthy environment, and good worker conditions. Vote for these things with your seed dollars!


Budweiser to Conduct Experiments on the International Space Station Next Month

It&rsquos the brand&rsquos first step towards fulfilling its pledge from earlier this year to be the first beer on Mars.

Back in March, Anheuser-Busch made an interesting pledge for a beer brand. At this year’s South by Southwest festival, the brewing giant announced its 𠇋ud on Mars” initiative, promising to take the necessary steps to make Budweiser the first beer on the red planet. Granted, if any beer brand has the resources to make this kind of science fiction a reality, it’s The King of Beers. And the commitment was more than just talk: The initiative is a partnership with CASIS, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS). Still, what does it actually mean to strive to be the first beer on Mars? With the reality of travel to Mars still a far-flung idea, Bud’s current pledge doesn’t feel much different than if Adolphus Busch had promised to make Bud the first beer on the moon back in the 19th century.

Well, today, Budweiser announced what those first steps towards getting its beer to Mars will be. Next month, two experiments are scheduled to be conducted on the ISS to help better understand how barley reacts to a microgravity environment, looking at 20 Budweiser barley seedlings in total. The first experiment will focus on how exposure to a microgravity environment affects the seeds in general, while the second experiment will specifically focus on barley germination to see if the seeds grow at the same rate in space as they do on Earth.

𠇋udweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

Both experiments will be included as part of a SpaceX cargo supply mission set to launch on December 4 from Cape Canaveral. Once that payload reaches the ISS, the experiments will remain aboard the ISS for 30 days before being returned to Earth for analysis by Budweiser’s innovation team. Along with CASIS, for this project Budweiser will also be working with Space Tango, 𠇊 company that operates a commercial facility on the ISS National Lab.”



Comments:

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  2. Dobi

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  3. Pepillo

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  4. Tim

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