Stories About Retail

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Brands: Why Should It Be Up to Walmart to Tell Us If You Are Sustainable?
Brands: Why Should It Be Up to Walmart to Tell Us If You Are Sustainable?

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Walmart recently launched its Sustainability Leaders online shop. While I commend the company’s efforts over the past six years to elevate sustainability as an important attribute of products and their manufacturers, I feel that this launch is a bit misplaced. I am sure that it will be successful in terms of awareness and conversions, and I hope that the intent is genuine, but should Walmart even be the creator of the index? How about an independent organization such as the B Lab? How about the brands themselves?

WRAP: Extending Product Life by One Day Will Prevent 250,000 Tons of Food Waste
WRAP: Extending Product Life by One Day Will Prevent 250,000 Tons of Food Waste

WASTE NOT - In a report published this week, Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that an increase on product life of just one day across a range of foods could prevent roughly 250,000 tons of food waste each year — in households and in the supply chain — by giving consumers longer to eat the food that they buy.The “life” of a product is the time period over which food remains safe to eat, or over which the quality does not deteriorate to unacceptable levels, usually designated on-pack by companies through “Sell by” or “Best before” dates.

soleRebels: Rising to the Top of the Footwear Industry Through Decent Work
soleRebels: Rising to the Top of the Footwear Industry Through Decent Work

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - “It was pretty basic. We self-financed. Five workers plus myself working inside a workshop situated on my grandmother’s plot of land inside our village of Zenabwork,” recalls Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, now CEO and managing director of soleRebels, one of the first global footwear brands to emerge from a developing country.“Right from the start of 2004, we aimed to create, grow and control a world class footwear brand that would bring even more jobs and prosperity for the workers by leveraging the artisan skills of our community.”

Walmart.com Launches New Shop to Help Shoppers Find and Support Sustainability Leaders
Walmart.com Launches New Shop to Help Shoppers Find and Support Sustainability Leaders

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - On Tuesday, Sustainable Brands joined a couple hundred Walmart team members and industry influencers at Walmart’s eCommerce headquarters in San Bruno, CA to learn about an important milestone on the journey shared by those attending. What drew these players together was a shared interest in helping shift the world toward a sustainable economy — and an awareness of the key role Walmart has, and is playing, in spurring this shift along.

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New Biomass Plant Will Supply 60-70% of Power at P&G's Bounty, Charmin Manufacturing Facility
New Biomass Plant Will Supply 60-70% of Power at P&G's Bounty, Charmin Manufacturing Facility

CLEANTECH - Procter & Gamble and Constellation — a leading retail supplier of power, natural gas and energy products and services — announced Thursday the development of an up to 50-megawatt biomass plant that will help run one of P&G’s largest U.S. facilities. The plant will significantly increase P&G’s use of renewable energy, helping move the company closer to its 2020 goal of obtaining 30 percent of its total energy from renewable sources.

Coffee Ground Yarn, Rice Husks and More in M&S' First Sustainable Footwear Collection
Coffee Ground Yarn, Rice Husks and More in M&S' First Sustainable Footwear Collection

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched its first sustainable footwear collection, called Footglove Earth — the latest component of the company's ongoing Plan A initiative to become the world's most sustainable retailer by 2020.

As Stocks of MSC-Certified Fish Rise, Some UK Retailers Falling Behind
As Stocks of MSC-Certified Fish Rise, Some UK Retailers Falling Behind

SUPPLY CHAIN - The availability of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish is better than ever with a million tons of MSC certified cod caught last year, but there is a growing gap between supermarkets that offer their customers ecolabelled sustainable seafood choices and protecting ocean environments, according to new figures released by MSC.Since 2010, Sainsbury’s has led the pack in terms of numbers of products stocked, with 163 MSC-certified seafood products for the last financial year, MSC says. The retailer’s product numbers are almost twice its closest competitor, Waitrose, which is in second place with 79 certified seafood products and more than three times the number of products stocked by M&S.

IKEA Sales of Sustainable Products Exceed $1 Billion in 2014
IKEA Sales of Sustainable Products Exceed $1 Billion in 2014

LEADERSHIP - IKEA sold more than €1 billion ($1.13 billion) of sustainable products in 2014, a 58 percent increase over the previous year, according to the company’s new sustainability report.These products enable people to save or generate energy, reduce water use, cut waste and live healthier lives, the company says.

Asda's 'Wonky Veg' Campaign Aims to Show Ugly Produce Is 'Beautiful on the Inside'
Asda's 'Wonky Veg' Campaign Aims to Show Ugly Produce Is 'Beautiful on the Inside'

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - UK supermarket giant Asda is trialing a new range of vegetable products it’s calling “Wonky Veg,” in a bid to reduce food waste.The retailer created its new range of misshapen fruit and vegetables — sold at reduced prices — after working alongside TV chef Jamie Oliver on initiatives to reduce food waste. The project is to be trialed in five stores across the UK beginning January 26.

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Safeway, 99 Cents Only Fined for Improper Hazardous Waste Disposal
Safeway, 99 Cents Only Fined for Improper Hazardous Waste Disposal

WASTE NOT - Safeway has agreed to pay nearly $10 million to settle allegations that its grocery stores improperly disposed of hazardous waste and customers' medical information in California. In a separate settlement, Los Angeles-based 99 Cents Only Stores will pay more than $2 million to settle retail hazardous waste disposal violations in California.

Sainsbury's Inching Toward 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
Sainsbury's Inching Toward 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

LEADERSHIP - UK grocery giant Sainsbury’s has announced that 95 percent of the palm oil used in its own-brand products is now certified as sustainably sourced. The supermarket revealed this statistic late last month, on the day it also became the first UK retailer to launch a dishwashing liquid made with palm oil certified as sustainable by mass balance analysis.

Sustainable Supply Chains: Can Retailers Be the Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats?
Sustainable Supply Chains: Can Retailers Be the Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats?

SUPPLY CHAIN - A whopping 97 percent of environmental impacts in the retail sector come from the product itself — from raw materials, transportation and product manufacturing. With impacts so heavily weighted in the supply chain, retailers are increasingly and creatively wading upstream to partner with their suppliers on their greatest impacts. The key to success lies in selecting the appropriate supplier engagement method and then using that approach as a vehicle to deeper collaboration. But can successful retailer approaches truly motivate meaningful supply chain improvements?The benefits of engagement

IKEA, Mars, Novelis, Unilever Among 233 Companies Expressing Support for EPA's Clean Power Plan
IKEA, Mars, Novelis, Unilever Among 233 Companies Expressing Support for EPA's Clean Power Plan

COLLABORATION - Marking the end of the comment period on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, 223 companies have announced their support for EPA’s proposed carbon standard for electric power plants, including IKEA, Mars Inc., VF Corporation, Novelis, Levi Strauss, Unilever and Nestlé.

The North Face Introduces Locally Grown, Designed, Sewn 'Backyard Hoodie'
The North Face Introduces Locally Grown, Designed, Sewn 'Backyard Hoodie'

SUPPLY CHAIN - Outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear maker The North Face today unveiled the Backyard Hoodie, the newest addition to its portfolio of environmentally conscious products. In collaboration with Fibershed (which supports the creation of local textile cultures that enhance ecological balance), Sally Fox at Foxfibre®, and the Sustainable Cotton Project, The North Face designed The Backyard Hoodie with the goal of sourcing and manufacturing a product within 150 miles of its headquarters in Alameda, California.

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CVS Health Commits More Than $1 Million to Support Tobacco-Cessation Programs
CVS Health Commits More Than $1 Million to Support Tobacco-Cessation Programs

COLLABORATION - CVS Health has committed to invest more than $1 million in grants to support tobacco-cessation and -prevention programs nationwide. The grants will be distributed to healthcare and community partners working to promote tobacco-free communities, programs that help people kick the habit and help those who don’t smoke to never start.

GRSB Approves Global Principles, Criteria for Sustainable Beef
GRSB Approves Global Principles, Criteria for Sustainable Beef

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) has announced that its membership has overwhelmingly approved global Principles and Criteria for defining sustainable beef and sustainable beef production practices.More than 96 percent of the GRSB General Assembly members voted in favor of the definition, principles and criteria. Every one of the five constituencies — producer, commerce and processing, retail, civil society and regional and national roundtables — voted to approve the definition.

CVS Health, Direct Relief Donate $1 Million in Flu Shot Vouchers to Uninsured Patients
CVS Health, Direct Relief Donate $1 Million in Flu Shot Vouchers to Uninsured Patients

COLLABORATION - CVS Health and Direct Relief have partnered to provide $1 million in flu shot vouchers to community health clinic patients in underserved communities lacking health insurance.Nearly 100 participating clinics will identify uninsured individuals from their existing patient populations and provide them with a flu shot voucher redeemable at any CVS/pharmacy® or MinuteClinic® location.Direct Relief's network of more than 1,200 community health centers and clinics nationwide enables CVS Health's generous contribution to reach people in need.

Whole Foods Leads with Sustainability in 'Values Matter' TV Campaign
Whole Foods Leads with Sustainability in 'Values Matter' TV Campaign

MARKETING AND COMMS - Sustainability bona fides are at the heart of the first national TV and print advertising campaign by Whole Foods Market, which ushers in the slogan “Values matter.” The Austin-based healthful-foods pioneer hopes that the commercials can restore some of the brand’s differentiating luster now that sales growth has slowed and it has more worthy competitors than ever.

Healthy Disruption Needed to Advance Clothing Recycling
Healthy Disruption Needed to Advance Clothing Recycling

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - I am sitting in the airport at Minneapolis, Minnesota, having just left the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Retailer Sustainability Conference, and my mind is awash in the list of challenges and risks that were reinforced over the past few days. The U.S. retail economy plays an enormous role in our daily lives — it employs 25 percent of the U.S. workforce, represents more than 66 percent of the country’s GDP and undoubtedly plays a critical role in our environmental stewardship.While the central theme of the RILA conference was sustainability, much was devoted to addressing recent advancements in technologies, the sharing economy, resource responsibility and transparency.

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The #CVSEffect in Action: 'Walk the Talk' Edition with Intel, Verizon, Ford and Google
The #CVSEffect in Action: 'Walk the Talk' Edition with Intel, Verizon, Ford and Google

THE NEXT ECONOMY - Seven months ago, this series kicked off with CVS’ surprise announcement that it would no longer carry tobacco products in its retail stores. Fast forward, the company announced Sept. 3 that it had met its goal a month ahead of schedule and had a new name to match its bold, new vision of a tobacco-free America — CVS Health.

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