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Earth Day Roundup: Pepsi, Kraft, Dow Corning

On April 22, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the newswires were chock full of headlines about corporate stewardship toward the environment.

Here is a look at some of the news.

In conjunction with Earth Day, Dow Corning announced that it was buying 28,800 renewable energy certificates (RECs) for 2010 and 2011. The amount was chosen to offset energy used at its corporate headquarters in Midland, Mich.

PepsiCo is starting a multi-year partnership with Waste Management to improve on-the-go recycling of beverage containers. The Dream Machine recycling initiative will put computerized receptacle kiosks in numerous locations, allowing consumers to collect and redeem points for every bottle or can recycled in the kiosks. Retailer Rite Aid has already agreed to place 150 of the kiosks in its stores.

Carrier Corp. has donated $35,000 to the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership, which supports education and research to help corporations incorporate sustainability into their operations, products and services.

Kraft reveals that its internal “Green Teams” and Cadbury “Green Advocates” are making headway in instituting grassroots efforts in various offices worldwide, from energy efficiency education to recycling drives to public promotions.

Auto insurance firm Esurance is sponsoring Earth Day-oriented minor league baseball promotions at the Sacramento River Cats and Long Island Ducks. Fans who carpool will be eligible for “green” prizes, for instance.

Ingersoll-Rand is establishing its new Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, which will draw from a group of leaders “focused on advocating and bringing to market energy-efficient innovation and technologies for commercial buildings and transport, homes and select industrial applications.”

Staples has launched its 2010 Green Guide online catalog that is geared specifically toward business customers. The catalog features more than 1,100 products that have an environmental aspect.

Supermarket H.E. Butt Grocery is celebrating Earth Day by giving away 250,000 reusable shopping bags.

Winn-Dixie, another grocery chain, is introducing a new breed of reusable shopping bags that feature Microban antibacterial protection and are made from 95 percent recycled materials.

Health insurance firm Blue Shield of California has launched a corporate social responsibility Web site. For Earth Day, the insurer is encouraging employees to take a “Green Employee Pledge” to do more for the environment.

In Asia and the South Pacific, bCODE and Venture Corp. are launching a paperless ticketing system for Golden Village Cinemas and Village Cinemas of Australia.

The New York Times’ popular Green Inc. blog is being rebranded as simply Green. NYT said the move will mean a “more ambitious online effort, broadening our lens to include not just the business end of environmental concerns but also politics and policy, environmental science and consumer choices — all of the many areas where people and planet meet.”

Indeed, the New York Times (main edition) reports that Earth Day – at 40 years old – is “now big business.”

Another newspaper, the Las Vegas Sun, opined that the U.S. has come a long way since the origins of Earth Day 40 years ago, a time when the Cuyahoga River in Ohio was so polluted it actually caught fire. Now, the question is whether there is sufficient political will to optimize renewable energy in America.

Finally, a post at TreeHugger poses the question: Is it time to rename Earth Day?

The post states that survival of the Earth is not the burning issue, because no matter how many ecosystems are destroyed, the planet itself will persist. The writer does not offer a solution however, just the following generic ideas: “Water Day? Climate Day? Science Day? Again, this is assuming that these issues actually get their due attention during their eponymous days…”

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