ICYMI: Apple's ho-hum environmental report, greener Easter goods, and more

ICYMI -- "In Case You Missed It" -- is a regular Friday feature recapping the news of the week.

Happy almost-April-Fools-Day, readers! The arrival of April means that the much-dreaded Earth Day Onslaught is nigh -- we're still trying to come to terms with how we'll come to terms with the flood of announcements next month, but in the meantime, there are plenty of interesting tidbits to sink your teeth into below (including, if you read to the end, horse meat!). Onwards!

Notable commitments and achievements

European Union's big emissions pledge: The E.U. this week announced a goal to cut its emissions by 40 percent over 1990 levels by 2030.

• Just in time for Easter, Hershey's released a road map of its progress toward achieving 100 percent certified cocoa by 2020, suggesting that it will be 10 percent of the way to achieving that goal this year, and halfway by 2016.

• Global shipping giant Maersk continues its sustainability work, with an announcement that it is purchasing the biggest ship in the world, which will reduce emissions per container shipped by 50 percent. The move comes after the company announced in January that it had achieved its 2020 emissions-reductions goals -- seven years early -- and has been testing biofuels for shipping voyages since 2011.

Carbon neutral America's Cup: In preparation for the boating event, taking place in San Francisco later this year, event organizers have created a detailed sustainability plan, including a goal to be a carbon neutral event, through a partnership with Vancouver-based Offsetters.

• Writing the The Guardian, Marc Gunther takes a look at how Disney, Microsoft and Shell are using internal carbon taxes to drive down emissions. (We highlighted Microsoft's efforts at our GreenBiz Forum last month.)

The quest for greener chemicals

If you don't follow chemical policy news, but want to get a close look at the seamy underbelly of U.S. chemical policy, there is no better place to start than the Chicago Tribune's Playing with Fire series on flame retardant chemicals, the health and environmental risks they pose, and the powerful interests working to keep them required by law in all sorts of products.

• The Tribune this week has a follow-up story on flame retardants, revealing that the California state legislature is pushing forward with a new safety rule that would ban flame retardants in furniture and baby products, and which could have nationwide implications.

• Speaking of flame retardants, the EPA announced that it is about to begin testing 20 flame retardants to attempt to understand the potential risks posed by the chemicals

• Speaking of the EPA, the agency is encouraging researchers at universities to develop innovative uses for Toxics Release Inventory data -- the treasure trove of information on chemical releases to the air, soil and water everywhere in the U.S. -- with its new TRI University Challenge. The deadline to propose projects is May 13, 2013.

Next page: The world's top-performing companies, Apple's defective sustainability report, and more