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WWF Launches Website To Let People Buy More Ethical Food

There is ... growing momentum around the world with corporates who are doing and want to do the right thing because their customers are increasing demand

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Consumers
A worker removes expired food in a local supermarket in Brussels, Jan. 16, 2017. VOA

Whether buying a fish fillet at a supermarket or ordering steak in a restaurant, consumers will soon be able to use their phones to check instantly whether their food is green and ethical.Launched by environmental group WWF and investment firm BCG Digital Ventures, OpenSC is a website that harnesses blockchain technology to allow users to scan a QR code on a product or menu that reveals the full history and supply chain before they buy.

“For those catching and producing things in a very unsustainable way, it’s quite easy for them to hide behind the complexity of supply chains,” said Paul Hunyor, Asia region head at BCG Digital Ventures in Sydney.

“There is a lack of carrots for those doing good at the production end because it is very hard for them to make the end consumer aware of all the good work they’re doing,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Food Waste, food, delivery, consumer
A worker removes expired food in a local supermarket in Brussels on Jan. 16, 2017.  VOA

Globally, consumers and retailers are demanding more information about what they procure, buy and eat, to ascertain that its production and transportation does not damage the environment, or use illegal and unethical business practices. In response, large consumer goods companies, restaurants and other businesses are looking at ways to attract more customers by offering sustainable products that are guaranteed as free of deforestation or slave labor, for example.

The OpenSC platform, conceived in 2017 when WWF was piloting a tuna fisheries traceability project in the Pacific Ocean, will initially focus on fish and beef. It plans to expand in the next two years to cover other commodities like palm oil and timber. OpenSC allows consumers to cut through the complexity and lack of transparency in supply chains, said Hunyor. The digital tool will cover environmental, social and human rights, and hopes to attract sustainability bodies and schemes, as well as corporations and major commodities producers, said Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia.

Packaged Foods Could Be Harmful, consumer
Food labels promote healthier choices: Study. Pixabay

“There is … growing momentum around the world with corporates who are doing and want to do the right thing because their customers are increasing demand,” he said. Austral Fisheries, which is part of the Maruha Nichiro Group, has committed to implement OpenSC this year across its fleet which catches Patagonian toothfish. Customers and staff of supermarkets and restaurants, as well as wholesalers, can use the tool to access instant information.

Also Read: 63% Indians Now Want to Replace Meat With Plant-Based Food

For fish, that would include where it was caught, if the area is a verified sustainable fishing zone, and conditions along the supply chain. Fish tracked by OpenSC, set up as a social enterprise, will be served at a dinner for world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week. (VOA)

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Limiting Phone Use Can Reverse Sleep Problems In a Week

The researchers found that those who had more than four hours per day of screen time had on average 30 minutes later sleep onset and wake up times

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Phone, Sleep Problems, Week
The lack of sleep does not just cause immediate symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but can also increase the risk of more serious long-term health issues. Pixabay

Limiting evening exposure to blue-light emitting screens on smartphones, tablets and computers can reverse sleep problems and reduce symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and bad mood in teenagers, after just one week, says a study.

The researchers found that those who had more than four hours per day of screen time had on average 30 minutes later sleep onset and wake up times than those who recorded less than one hour per day of screen time, as well as more symptoms of sleep loss.

“Adolescents increasingly spend more time on devices with screens and sleep complaints are frequent in this age group,” said study co-author Dirk Jan Stenvers from Amsterdam UMC hospital in the Netherlands.

Recent studies have indicated that exposure to too much evening blue light emitted from devices can affect the brain’s clock and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in disrupted sleep time and quality.

The lack of sleep does not just cause immediate symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but can also increase the risk of more serious long-term health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Phone, Sleep Problems, Week
Limiting evening exposure to blue-light emitting screens on smartphones, tablets and computers can reverse sleep problems. Flickr

“Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light. Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens,” Stenvers added.

For the study, the researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial among a small group of smartphone users to assess the effects of blocking blue light with glasses and no screen time during the evening on the sleep pattern.

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Both blocking blue light with glasses and screen abstinence resulted in sleep onset and wake up times occurring 20 minutes earlier, and a reduction in reported symptoms of sleep loss in participants, after just one week.

The findings were presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2019 in Lyon, France. (IANS)