Marketing and Comms

How brands are evolving in the area of sustainability marketing and communications — and how their stakeholders are asserting their own needs and preferences.

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Is Your Corporation Missing Its Compass?

I was sitting with a team of entrepreneurs yesterday. Together, we're launching a new retail concept (look for updates here — we open in January!).The conversation was all about naming. We'd landed on two great names, which one of the team had put through an online poll. The names polled well — but not as well as a rather predictable moniker that had been included at the last minute. As you might imagine, the mundane-name-that-people-loved threw a wrench into the works.

Investors Ask Fossil Fuel Companies to Assess Plans For Low-Carbon Future

A coalition of 70 global investors managing more than $3 trillion in collective assets on Thursday launched the first-ever coordinated effort to spur 45 of the world’s top oil and gas, coal and electric power companies to assess the financial risks that climate change poses to their business plans.The investors make up the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) initiative, which is being coordinated by Ceres and the Carbon Tracker initiative, with support from the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change.

Developing a Purposeful Brand: A Practitioner’s Toolbox, Part Three

In this series, Christophe Fauconnier & Benoit Beaufils, respectively CEO & founding partner of brand consultancy Innate Motion, present the tools that the company uses to develop purposeful, mission-driven brands with their clients. Benoit & Christophe view their tools as a free “thoughtware” suite, and propose that readers borrow and reapply.

The Climate Declaration Scores Limited Run on Broadway

The Climate Declaration, which to date has been signed by more than 700 companies and thousands of individuals, is now up in lights in Times Square.The Declaration, part of an ongoing campaign organized by Ceres and BICEP, calls on federal policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change. The campaign caught the attention of CBS, which offered to air a 15-second ad on their Jumbotron in Times Square, showcasing the Climate Declaration and its message that "tackling climate change is one of America's greatest economic opportunities (and it's simply the right thing to do)."

The Big Yearning Question

I believe futureproof brands are built on a foundation of two fundamentals: the brand’s reason for existence and the consumer’s yearning.These concepts may sound a bit esoteric, so allow me to explain.

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J&J Launches Tumblr Campaign to Remind Americans to Recycle in the Bathroom

While 7 out of 10 Americans say they always or almost always recycle, apparently a scant 1 in 5 consistently recycles bathroom items, according to a report commissioned by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.To encourage consumers to be more mindful, Johnson & Johnson has launched Care to Recycle™, a recycling campaign that begins with a gentle reminder to recycle more items from the bathroom. It is the first recycling awareness campaign of its kind to be hosted exclusively on Tumblr.

L'Oréal Announces Ambitious Sustainability Commitment for 2020

Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L'Oréal, today announced “Sharing Beauty with All,” the cosmetics giant’s ambitious new sustainability commitment to transform its footprint while achieving its business ambition by 2020.

Disney Scores the Only 'A' on Cruise Industry Environmental Report Card

Cruise ships dumped more than a billion gallons of sewage in the ocean last year, much of it raw or poorly treated, according to federal data analyzed by Friends of the Earth, which is calling for stronger rules to protect oceans, coasts, sea life and people.

Unilever, KT, Nestlé Top Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2013

Unilever, KT and Nestlé lead the Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2013 (TVR), which recognizes companies that increasingly demonstrate “clarity of vision and innovation in their pursuit of a sustainable business model.”Sprint, Vodafone, Iberdrola, E.ON, BMW, Ford and Deutsche Telekom rounded out the top 10. Two Tomorrows, the sustainability strategy consultancy that created the rating, says the average for the top 10 this year is 83 percent compared to 55 percent in 2010. While the average score across the companies rated has varied only slightly over recent years, in that time the highest scores have gotten higher. There also is a growing gap between sustainability leaders and laggards, the report says.

Effective Sustainability Strategies - Case Study #1: Pret a Manger

Bar none, the most persistent challenge that the sustainability movement faces is how to prove the business bottom line benefits of sustainability activities. This is particularly acute for small and medium-sized companies, for whom survival is the number one priority. When looking at who engages and communicates sustainability activities, a disproportionate number of them are large corporates with dedicated sustainability/CSR budgets, as covered in our previous post. All too often, sustainability is a ‘tack-on’ to what business normally do anyway, and not the reason for being.

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Dell Pledges 80% Reduction in Product Portfolio Energy Intensity by 2020

Earlier this week, Dell announced a commitment to reduce the energy intensity of its product portfolio by 80 percent, as part of a comprehensive long-term corporate responsibility framework to achieve by 2020.The information technology company’s 2020 Legacy of Good plan is divided into three areas — the Environment, People and Communities. Dell says the plan complements its overarching purpose to “provide technology that enables people everywhere to grow, thrive and reach their full potential.”The Environment

How to Design Eco-Labels to Influence Consumers

How can consumers choose sustainable products? Eco-labels or sustainability ratings can be an important guide. These systems compare products or services in terms of their social and environmental performance, identifying those that are best in class.But not all rating systems are equally effective at influencing consumers. When the European Union revised its energy efficiency ratings for appliances recently, researchers Stefanie Hille (née Heinzle), a doctoral student, and Rolf Wüstenhagen, a professor at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, identified what kind of ratings were most likely to lead consumers to make energy-efficient choices.

Disney, Yahoo!, Google Top List of 100 Companies 'Most Loved' by Consumers

Global opinion research consultancy APCO Insight last week revealed its list of the 100 Most Loved Companies, based on findings generated by its Emotional LinkingSM model, which measures consumers’ emotional attachment to brands. The Walt Disney Company was ranked #1, but the list was largely dominated by tech companies — Yahoo!, Google and Sony rounded out the top four.

Diageo, GSK and Anglo American Top 2013 FTSE 350 Climate Change Report

Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Anglo American were recently ranked highest among the companies reporting on indirect emissions and supply chain impacts on the CDP's FTSE 350 Climate Change Report.Launched this week, the report provides an annual update on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) data and climate change strategies at the UK's biggest public companies. While those topping the list make up a wide range of industries, the financial sector is prominent among the leading eight firms.Rounding up the top 8 were BT, Barclays, British Sky Broadcasting, HSBC and British Land, which all received a disclosure score of more than 90.

Investors Call For Food Companies That Oppose Labeling to Stay Out of Washington State GMO Battle

Companies that donated funds to oppose ballot initiatives to require the labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are facing new pressure from shareholders to stay out of future elections.

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Brands Embracing Transparency to Feed Consumers Hungry for Responsible Food Choices

While it might not win any Academy Awards, certainly the best title for a movie this year has to be the food industry critique, GMO OMG. On the surface, it is an attack on genetically modified seeds and what they are doing to our health. Underneath, it is an emotional play on a father’s frustration with the clarity of our food system. What is in our food and where does it come from?

Microsoft Achieves Carbon Neutrality, Increases Green Energy Use By 70%

Microsoft says it achieved carbon neutrality after introducing an internal carbon fee for renewable energy and carbon offsets, which led the company to increase the purchase of green energy in the U.S. by 70 percent, from 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2011 to 1.9 billion kWh in 2012.

Failure to Communicate: Dry Sustainability Reports a Missed Opportunity

Does your heart sink at the thought of reading yet another sustainability report?Over the last three years I’ve been documenting the ways companies are communicating sustainability online and using social media in particular. Time and time again, even those companies that demonstrate real panache in their sustainability communications fail to make the best use of the research, data and information that goes into their sustainability report. Often, as a result, a company’s most interesting sustainability work is left buried in these dull but worthy publications that no one really reads.

Defining Sustainability: A Process and Strategy Focus

Currently, sustainability is a lot like beauty — its definition lies in the eyes of the beholder. This author’s preference is for actionable definitions that can be integrated into daily operational processes. The following is an attempt to define sustainability through this lens.

Consumers Give Microsoft, Disney, BMW, Google Highest Marks for CSR Performance

For the second year in a row, consumers named Sustainable Brands® corporate member Microsoft the company with the best CSR reputation, according to a new study by corporate reputation management consultancy Reputation Institute. This year, the IT company was joined at the top in a four-way tie with fellow SB member The Walt Disney Company, Google and SB ’13 sponsor BMW.

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