As You Sow has advice for companies wanting to safely source nanomaterials in food and packaging

As You Sow is a US not-for-profit agency based in San Francisco that  was founded in 1992. From their About page,

[As You Sow] has grown into two programs that strive to increase corporate accountability. The [1] Environmental Enforcement Program seeks to reduce and remove carcinogenic exposures by pursuing compliance with California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Our Environmental Enforcement Program has reached settlements with hundreds of companies resulting in products being relabeled or reformulated to remove hazardous ingredients. …

In 1997, As You Sow launched the [2] Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSRP) to use shareholder advocacy and the financial markets to catalyze positive change within publicly held companies. We have led or actively participated in shareholder dialogues and resolutions moving companies towards greater environmental sustainability and social equity.

A Feb. 4, 2012 news item on Nanowerk announces one of the organization’s latest initiatives (Sourcing Framework for Food and Food Packaging Products Containing Nanomaterials),

As You Sow, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies, has developed a framework on sourcing nanomaterials for food and food packaging. The Framework highlights what companies should ask their suppliers regarding the safety of nano-enhanced food products and packaging.

From the As You Sow website’s Sourcing Nanomaterials Framework page,

The Framework came about when several investor groups, after reading about a surge of nanomaterials in the food industry, contacted iconic global food companies to find out more about these products. What emerged from the shareholder dialogues was a very different picture. None of the companies contacted are currently using nanomaterials, yet most were not initially aware if they were or not. All of the companies were trying to better understand the potential safety concerns and seem to be taking a precautionary approach to using nanotechnology. It became clear that better communication was needed between companies and their suppliers to avoid the risk of inadvertent exposure.

More than a dozen leading food companies, scientific organizations, and investor groups gave input and reviewed the Framework including: Kraft, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Whole Foods, and Yum! Brands; the Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Project on Emerging Nanotechnology, International Center for Technology Assessment, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Technical University of Denmark; As You Sow, Calvert Investments, and the Investor Environmental Health Network.

The framework contains (from the As You Sow framework page),

  1. An introduction to key terms and issues
  2. The current state of regulations and risks
  3. Recommendations for companies on what to ask suppliers who offer food products and packaging that contain nanomaterials
  4. Best practices from existing scientific, industry, and governmental frameworks

It can be downloaded from here (there’s a box in the upper right corner of the page featuring the front cover image and a link) but you will need to register prior to downloading.

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