ICYMI: BICEP's climate challenge, floating LEED, bad news beers & more

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

Greetings, readers! We are now in the thick of Earth Month and we're piling up all kinds of interesting and amusing tidbits for a roundup of "news" for Earth Day. If you've come across any great -- or off-the-wall -- promotions tied to Earth Day, or Earth Week, or Earth Fortnight -- let us know in the comments below, or by email.

And with that, let's see what the week's catch looks like:

News and Notable Reports

• EPA nominee on the warm seat: Gina McCarthy faced the Senate on Thursday for her confirmation hearing to take the reins of the EPA. Though the Wall Street Journal and NBC both note the relatively light treatment McCarthy received, the hearing gave senators a chance to air their respective grievances: "the hearing was a chance for Republican senators to complain about the economic impact of EPA regulations, especially on coal producers. It was also a chance for Democratic senators to argue that the costs of air pollution and climate change were the bigger dangers," NBC's Tom Curry writes.

However, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in his opening statement -- following his Republican colleague's opener that invoked the "war on coal" -- that: "This is not a debate about Gina McCarthy. Senator Barrasso made it very clear what this debate is about. It is a debate about global warming, and whether or not we are going to listen to the leading scientists of this country."

Businesses raise a climate challenge: Even as Washington continued its snail's-pace movement on environmental issues, a group of 33 major U.S. corporations on Wednesday issued a climate challenge to President Obama. Nike, eBay, IKEA, Jones Lang LaSalle, The North Face, and many other firms released a Climate Declaration that aims to send a clear message to Washington: "Act on climate change. We are, and it's good for our businesses." The Declaration was coordinated by BICEP and Ceres, and Ceres president Mindy Lubber published an op-ed on Tuesday highlighting the huge costs we're already incurring from climate change, through crop losses, fires and floods, and huge taxpayer risks from weather disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

Are you a sustainability purist? Verdantix this week released a new report showing the benefits to companies that closely tie their sustainability efforts to their marketing and branding initiatives. After surveying 80 firms' communications strategies, Verdantix identifies five strategies that define the strategies of most companies:

  • For Purists, sustainability is "synonymous" with the brand;
  • for Explorers, sustainability is tightly entwined;
  • for advocates, sustainability communications are regularly issued, but remain in a silo;
  • for Reactionists, sustainability communications happen only in a crisis;
  • and for Nothingists, there is no discussion of sustainability at all.

Next page: The ongoing greening of cities, good and bad news for beer, and more