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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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Food Forward: The Food Revolution Is Being Televised

A new documentary TV series, “Food Forward,” highlights the range of issues created and affected by our increasingly unsustainable food ecosystem, as well as the “food rebels” helping to transform it. The 13-episode series premieres on PBS on September 4.“Food Forward” highlights farmers, ranchers, chefs, scientists, teachers and fishermen in more than 50 US communities who are part of a rising urban agriculture, building local food systems and contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable economy. Interestingly, many of the methods modeled by these food revisionists emulate more traditional farming, ranching and fishing models.

Grocery Industry Initiative Promoting Food Ingredient Transparency

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has announced it is launching a modernization initiative that will improve the process and increase transparency for making Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) determinations of ingredients added to food.GMA will take the lead in defining a standard that will provide clear guidance on how to conduct transparent ingredient safety assessments. These procedures will be documented in a Publicly Available Standard (PAS) for GRAS determinations. The PAS will be a science-based framework that specifies a rigorous and transparent ingredient safety assessment process. The procedures included in the PAS will also ensure GRAS assessments meet the regulatory requirements of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Where Consumption Meets Sustainability: How 'Generation World' Makes Purchase Decisions

Last month my colleague, Trish Wheaton, made a case for why the Sustainability conversation needs to shift from the typical “eco-babble” — high-minded and preachy — into something more relatable and consumer-driven. She describes “a new global vanguard of consumers with co-existing values and traits [who] care about the planet and ... love to shop” as the new group around which to shape the sustainability narrative.Who are these consumers? I took a deeper dive to define their values, and discover what marketers and sustainability officers can do to better connect with them.Who is “Generation World?”

RPGs Tapping Energy, Smarts of Gamers to Generate Understanding of Global Problems

Gaming, particularly role-playing games (RPGs), is increasingly serious business — US retail revenue from the video game industry was estimated at $887 million as of February 2014, and the global video game industry now exceeds $76 billion with projections of $86 billion plus by 2016.

Kenneth Cole Teams Up with Take Part for 'Look Good, For Good' Campaign

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole, a champion of social change throughout his 30-year career, is introducing a new campaign for Fall 2014 called “Look Good, For Good.” Building upon the company’s heritage of promoting “style with a purpose,” as well as Cole’s personal interest in raising awareness for these causes, the new campaign will support charitable projects through the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, HELP USA, and the Sundance Institute, which represent three company pillars — Collective Health, Civil Liberties and Artistic Activism.

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Yum! Launches 'Pass the Red Cup' Challenge with Christina Aguilera to Aid World Hunger Relief

Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has announced the launch of its annual World Hunger Relief effort, the “Pass The Red Cup” challenge, featuring multi-Grammy Award winner Christina Aguilera. The challenge is designed to drive awareness and inspire donations and the effort spans more than 125 countries, over 40,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants and 1.5 million associates.

World's Top PR Firms Won’t Work With Climate Deniers

WPP, Weber Shandwick, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide and several others in the top 25 global PR firms have told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution.

Participant Media's 'TakePart World' Highlights Sustainability Progress in Developing World

Participant Media, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this week launched a new multi-platform series, TakePart World, which investigates the myths and misconceptions people across the globe have about the developing world. The year-long series spotlights the faces and voices of those driving progress towards a sustainable future for the world’s poorest.

Napa Green Wines: Not Shouting It From the Rooftops

This post is part of a series written by MBA and MPA candidates in Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course, examining the role of marketing in advancing sustainability across all sectors.

Can Chipotle Learn About Food Integrity from McDonald's?

This post is part of a series written by MBA and MPA candidates in Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course, examining the role of marketing in advancing sustainability across all sectors.

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Effective Sustainability Initiatives Garner Accolades from Cannes, IPA

The word sustainability, first used around 1727, is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to hold; sus, up). By that definition, sustainability just got a boost at the recent Cannes Film Festival as superstar musician/activist Bono was awarded the inaugural Cannes LionHeart award for his humanitarian work.Bono used the occasion to call on the global advertising community to become the "creative engine of capitalism" and "the world’s thermostat" to tackle problems such as AIDS.

From Economic Brand Value to Holonomic Brand Value

You may be wondering about the word holonomics. Although the word was first used in 1896 to describe a branch of mathematics, we coined a new definition for the word, which can be thought of as the combination of the words economics and wholeness.My wife Maria and I are the co-authors of the book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter, and this describes a new way of thinking, which teaches business leaders and managers how to respond, adapt and communicate in new, innovative ways. This new way of thinking, which we call holonomic thinking, can of course be applied to branding.

No More Eco-Babble: How to Construct a Meaningful Social-Good Narrative

For the second year in a row, I was in Cannes last month doing a Palais session on marketing sustainability. This year, I was joined by my colleague Chip Walker, director of global planning for Young & Rubicam. Our strategic planning workshop was called “Beyond Eco-Babble: How to Change the Conversation Around Social Good.”Cannes has extremely stringent criteria for its sessions and getting on the program is akin to winning a Lion. In response to my initial proposal, the organizers told me that while they view marketing sustainability as critically important and definitely wanted to include it as a workshop, as a topic it can be too serious, a bit of a mood-kill and not very much fun.

Greenpeace Ramps Up LEGO Campaign with Emotional Video

Greenpeace continued its campaign against LEGO on Tuesday with the release of a dramatic video, called “Everything Is NOT Awesome,” aimed at further illustrating the reasons the toy company should sever its ties with Shell, which Greenpeace contends is putting the delicate Arctic marine environment at risk through its oil drilling.

How to Communicate Effectively with Young Consumers (Or, Lessons from 'Funny or Die')

This post is part of a series written by MBA and MPA candidates in Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course, examining the role of marketing in advancing sustainability across all sectors.When a funny, awkward, irreverent spoof video can increase web traffic to the Affordable Care Act website by 40 percent in less than a day, understanding why can help your brand better communicate with young consumers.

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Walmart Introducing 'Women-Owned' Labels This Fall

A new “women-owned” label on goods will appear in Walmarts nationwide this fall, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.In recent years, many brands have responded to growing customer trends to purchase products they deem ecologically and socially ethical by slapping everything from “certified organic” to “locally sourced” to "GMO-free" onto product packages. But this is the first time a major retailer is using labels to spotlight products by women-owned companies.

Greenpeace to LEGO: 'Shell Is Bad Company'

Greenpeace has launched a campaign urging LEGO to #BlockShell and end its partnership with the oil company, which the NGO contends has been using LEGO’s brand to clean up its image as an Arctic oil driller.

Unwieldy Restoration Hardware Catalogs Stir Social Media, Consumer Backlash

A few weeks ago, Restoration Hardware mailed out its annual catalog. Only, this one weighed 17 pounds. The 13 different 'source books,' as the company calls them, had 3,300 pages and were delivered by UPS. Consumers reacted furiously to what was seen as a wasteful move by the company.People took to social media to lambast the company, vent their frustration and organize. In addition to the perceived environmental impact of the catalog, consumers were upset about the unsolicited mailing to many who had never even shopped at the store before.

Bevy of Brands Abuzz with Bee Campaigns

Bee colony collapse disorder continues to generate concern, debate and action around the world. With bees playing a critical role in our lives and economy, a number of companies are running campaigns for the cause, particularly those whose businesses depend on plenty of healthy bees. Many are contributing to and collaborating with the scientific community and nonprofits to address the issue.

New Research Shows Food Marketing Can Create False Sense of Health

Health-related buzzwords mislead consumers into thinking packaged food products labeled with these words are healthier than they actually are, according to a new research study conducted by scholars at the University of Houston (UH).Some of these words, such as “antioxidant,” “gluten-free” and “whole grain,” create a “false sense of health,” which when combined with a failure to understand the information presented in nutrition facts panels on packaged food, may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States.

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