The definition of "natural" in terms of product labels continues to be a point of contention for consumers and business leaders, as no legal or regulatory definition for the term exists. Lawsuits over the term "natural" are spreading to the personal and home care product categories, with consumers questioning what is "natural" and whether certain dish soap and laundry detergent products qualify.
Science, technology, engineering and math education is key to preparing the next generation of scientific leaders, yet fewer than 50% of fourth-, eighth- and 12th-grade students are proficient in math and science, writes American Cleaning Institute President and CEO Melissa Hockstad, citing a National Science Board study. ACI, she writes, is combating the issue through its STEM initiative, an educational outreach program that already has inspired more than 6,000 kids with its "science of soap" activity.
More biobased chemicals are coming to market in response to consumer demands, brand sustainability efforts and improved products. Changes are being driven by companies such as Unilever, which has pledged to make 100% of its plastic packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Cleaning product manufacturers understand the potential effects of volatile organic compound emissions and are managing them in their products -- a fact that should have been put into context in research recently published in the journal Science, according to the American Cleaning Institute. "Laundry and dishwashing products in particular have a minimal impact on VOC emissions overall through the selection of ingredients that biodegrade during wastewater treatment," the organization said.
Dow Chemical is focusing on inclusion by taking steps such as the recent appointment of Karen Carter as chief inclusion officer. Carter notes that in addition to race, gender and sexual orientation, Dow's inclusion efforts include seeking diversity in age, ability and other factors in candidates' backgrounds.
Increased competition contributed to a 25.9% decline in multi-outlet US sales of coconut oil, with a 16.1% drop in the natural channel, according to SPINS data. Negative press surrounding a 2017 American Heart Association advisory that warned against coconut oil consumption may also have affected sales.
Rising temperatures cause canola seedpods to prematurely develop, resulting in a 15% to 20% loss in oilseed yields, according to biologist Lars Ostergaard, co-author of a study. The researchers found that a gene called Indehiscent responded independently to heat, a reaction they say could be turned off with further study.
Ethane is the fastest-growing petroleum-based material in the US in terms of consumption, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. New projects due to come online in the near future, such as Royal Dutch Shell's cracker plant in Beaver County, Pa., will increase demand even further, the EIA predicts.
The Trump administration's proposal for expediting the federal permitting process would create a single federal environmental review for projects, with the lead role given to the agency with primary jurisdiction. In addition, the proposal would give the main agency 21 months to make a decision, after which federal agencies would be given just three months to make determinations on permitting.
Kraton recovered from a year-ago loss to post a fourth-quarter profit of $69.6 million on quarterly revenues of $466 million, which were up 12% year-over-year. Full-year profit for the company was $97.5 million, and 2017 revenues were up 12% compared with the year before.
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