News Roundup: World Environment Day Preview, Food Scares & More

News Roundup: World Environment Day Preview, Food Scares & More

Are Green Jobs Waning? The latest jobs numbers were published this morning, showing a slowdown in economic growth with just 54,000 new jobs last month. Yesterday, the American Sustainable Business Council announced that it had met with President Obama's economic development team to develop policies to revive the economy in a green way. The ASBC took part in our State of Green Business Forum in San Francisco earlier this year, looking at how green businesses can and should help shape policy.

Walmart Hits a Wall: Also in economic news, Walmart began its annual shareholder meeting, which Bloomberg says will be characterized by shareholder scrutiny in the wake of a two-year sales slump. The company's CSR report, released in April, showed progress on reducing emissions even if it was falling short on its overall goals.

Life After Performance Track: The Stewardship Action Council, which is a sort of not-for-profit rebirth of the EPA's defunct Performance Track program, announced yesterday that it had signed on 23 charter members, including divisions of BMW, Johnson & Johnson, Covanta and Michelin North America.

To Thee I WED: This Sunday, June 5, marks World Environment Day, the rest of the globe's answer to Earth Day in the United States. The theme of this year's event -- the 39th annual World Environment Day -- is "Forests: Nature at your Service," and although it's historically been a bit of a no-show in the States, although there are a few corporate announcements timed to this weekend:

• Carrier Corp. is hewing closely to the theme of this year's WED with a commitment to require up to 30 percent of FSC-certified recycled-content paper in all of its paper purchases.

• For its third annual WED celebration, Anheuser-Busch InBev is focusing on water quality issues, with river-cleaning events in the U.S., water conservation education in Latin America, and a giveaway of water-saving devices to pubs in Europe.

• Merck is using the event as an occasion to sign on to the U.N.'s CEO Water Mandate, a step toward the company measuring, reporting and reducing its water consumption needs.

• Also in water-related news, Procter & Gamble is promoting a coupon book as a way for shopper to contribute to clean water projects around the world.

• Dow is touting its environmental efforts in a WED-themed press release.

The Faces of Foxconn: The Wall Street Journal has an interesting look at "the human cost of an iPad made in China," in the wake of an explosion that killed three workers and injured 15 more in Chengdu, China. Apple, as well as the other IT giants who rely heavily on Chinese manufacturers for their gadgets, has stepped up its green game in recent years, but we'll see how the Hon Hai explosion (also the company that faced a spate of suicides earlier this year) shifts these companies to the human side of the sustainability equation.

Eat It and Weep: There are a number of food-related scares in the news today, including the discovery of a superbug found in U.K. cows and the steady expansion of an e. coli scare in Europe (for which U.S. farmers are not required to test, the Washington Post reports).

Plate Expectations: And the federal government abandoned the food pyramid in favor of the Food Plate (pictured above).

Pulling the Plug: Last but not least, Dr. Jack Kevorkian died at age 83.