Behavior Change

The latest developments supporting a shift toward sustainable consumption, as well as specific ways brands are encouraging less wasteful behaviors.

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What Difference Does One Make?

My family eats a mostly vegetarian diet. Some kids at school were making fun of my 9-year-old son, telling him how great meat tastes. Before diving into the challenge of dealing with childhood peers, I asked him if he knew why we’re vegetarian. When it was clear he didn’t (that’s on me), I started to tell him about the environmental impacts of meat as it’s currently produced, health benefits, and animal welfare.

UK Announces Tax on Sugary Beverages; Industry May Sue

In a surprise announcement on March 16, the UK government unveiled a tax on sugary drinks amidst its budgetary plans. Companies have 2 years to reformulate their products, but the director general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said they were “extremely disappointed” by the decision and called it “a piece of political theatre.” Soft drink makers, including Coca-Cola, are reportedly considering suing the government to force the tax to be scrapped.

Criticism Over Coffee Cup Waste Leads to Starbucks Discount, Call to Go Biodegradable

A successful campaign led by chef-turned-activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall drew attention to a big problem: coffee cup waste. Fearnley-Whittingstall claims that in the UK, less than 6 million takeaway hot beverage cups are recycled each year, while 7 million are thrown out each day. As part of his Hugh’s War on Waste initiative (which includes a television show), he took to the streets of London on March 14 in a “coffee cup battle bus.”

Study: More Conscious Living Increases Happiness; Tetra Pak Challenges Consumers to Find Out

New findings from a survey and a social experiment suggest that ‘the key to happiness’ may be as simple as making small lifestyle changes that help protect Earth’s natural resources. 70 percent of the survey respondents and all of the participants in the social experiment reported that ‘making eco-minded choices’ led to significant increases in personal happiness.

Love for 'Ugly Fruit and Veg' Slowly Growing in the U.S., But Food Waste Fight Still Needs Steam

The amount of food we waste globally has become a front-of-mind concern recently and with good reason: In the U.S. alone, an estimated 26 percent of all food produced is wasted. In a country where, in 2013, an estimated 17.5 million households faced food insecurity, this just should not be a problem. One major link in the food waste chain is retailers, which often throw away less than aesthetically pleasing produce, often not even donating it to food banks or other charities.

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6 Chinese Rayon Producers Join Effort to End Use of Ancient Forest Fiber in Fabrics

Today, Canadian environmental NGO Canopy welcomes six large Chinese viscose producers to the growing roster of fashion and textile leaders committed to eliminating the world’s ancient and endangered forests from their fabrics. While to date 60 brands and designers, representing more than 85 billion USD in annual revenues, have signed on to the CanopyStyle campaign — triggering the need for deep shifts within the viscose supply chain — the real change will come from producers, who must provide the industry with alternatives.

How Supermarkets Can Help Fight Obesity, One Receipt at a Time

Obesity is a big problem in numerous countries around the world. Obesity rates are above 20 percent in every US state, and exceed 35 percent in 3 states (Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi). Every state is expected to reach a rate of at least 44 percent by 2030, and in 13 states, the rate is expected to surpass 60 percent. Across the pond, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that 74 percent of men and 64 percent of women in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2030.

Web Series Puts California’s Drought, Oil Wastewater Use, Gas Prices in the Spotlight

“The California you don't see on postcards” is featured in a new web series: Spotlight California. In each episode, comedienne Kiran Deol speaks to community activists and people directly affected by issues such as the state's drought, high gas prices, and the racial disparities of air pollution.

Tyson Foods Dumps More Pollution Into Waterways Each Year Than ExxonMobil

Tyson Foods Inc. was the second biggest polluter of America’s waterways from 2010 to 2014, according to data the company submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Toxic Release Inventory.

Global Companies Played Key Role in Precedent-Setting Great Bear Conservation Agreement

It has taken the combined and herculean efforts of countless individuals, but this week, the vision of the landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreements has finally been realized. Local communities have a vibrant future and 85 percent of the rainforest in the region is now protected or off-limits to logging.

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Mayors Get Creative as Competition for 'Coolest City in California' Heats Up

A competition that began in October, the CoolCalifornia Challenge, is motivating Californians in 22 participating cities to reduce their water and energy consumption. The cities are competing for a share of $150,000 to put towards local sustainability projects and the coveted title of “Coolest City in California,” and Mayors and city officials are joining in the fun by releasing rallying call videos to encourage their constituents to take part.

'Sea the Possibilities' Healthy Eating Challenge Not So Healthy for the Oceans

For Chicken of the Sea, the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans give the right recommendation: People should eat more seafood, and it should replace of other protein foods for two meals per week. In response, the company launched the “Sea the Possibilities Challenge,” a behavior change campaign that encourages consumers to lead “happier, healthier, and more adventurous” lives, in part by increasing their seafood consumption.

Marketers: Stop Selling 'Green,' Start Selling Products That Match Our Values

Sustainable Brands recently referenced a study from Ohio State University that shows that “not only do many consumers not want to put much effort toward finding out whether our purchases were produced ethically (which is not exactly news), they have a way of looking down on those who do.”I can relate: My in-laws feel that way about me! They see organic food, for example, as expensive nonsense for fools/snobs/hippies who believe in that “green stuff.”

Singularity University, Amnesty International Turning to Tech to Tackle Human Rights Challenges

Benefit corporation Singularity University (SU) is in ambitious pursuit of solutions for eleven “global grand challenges” that its experts have identified: environment, security, health, learning, energy, food, prosperity, water, space, disaster resilience, and governance. SU hopes to use technology to address these challenges with the support of its Developing Organization Partners and their expertise.

New USDA Dietary Guidelines Gather Both Criticism and Praise from Brands

Every five years, the USDA releases updates to its dietary guidelines, aimed at helping improve American eating habits. The latest Iteration, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), has left some brands hungry for more, and others perfectly satiated.The guidelines stayed pretty much the same, continuing to recommend Americans limit their intake of saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium, and incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, oils and proteins into their diet. The most heated debates surround the language on added sugar intake, red and processed meat consumption, alcohol moderation, and sustainable food sourcing.

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Super Bowl 50 Fans Asked to Play Their Part to Help Make Big Game Net Positive

Upgrading facilities to be LEED-certified, reducing carbon emissions, using recycled or compostable foodservice products, and diverting waste from landfills are common ways that sporting events are going green. However, especially with large events, much of the impact is contributed by the fans.

Colgate Hoping to Rally Super Bowl Viewers to Save Water with Debut Ad

Colgate toothpastes and toothbrushes will not be the focus of the brand’s first-ever Super Bowl advertisement. Rather, it will be using its airtime to remind viewers to turn off the tap when brushing their teeth.

Trending: While WRAP, Scottish Designers Tout Merits of ‘Durable’ Fashion, MANGO Has a Different Idea

Waste reduction charity WRAP’s new Clothing Durability Report reveals that extending the active life of clothing items by nine months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints of clothing in the UK by 20 to 30 percent each and cut resource costs by £5 billion.

“Bikes vs Cars” Wants to Liberate Cities from Traffic Jams and Urban Sprawl

Could the bicycle be the tool for change that our cities need? A new documentary and a related app are hoping to inspire better design, smarter political decisions, and reduced CO2 emissions in the urban planning process by shining a light on the bicycle and its growing conflict with the car.

Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Join Banks Cutting Out Coal

Ahead of the UN 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo became the latest major banks to pledge to eliminate their support for the coal industry in favor of reducing carbon pollution associated with the industry.Morgan Stanley said that it “recognizes that climate change poses significant risks to the global economy and that reducing carbon emissions is critical to our success in addressing the challenges presented by a changing climate.”

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