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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New NRDC Report Finds Progress on Promises Made at Rio+20, But Calls for More Accountability

There has been significant progress on many of the key globally negotiated and voluntary commitments made at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in June 2012, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Stakeholder Forum.“Fulfilling the Rio+20 Promises: Reviewing Progress Since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development” is a first-of-its-kind assessment by civil society organizations on progress toward some of the key commitments made at Rio+20.

The North Face Receives EPA Green Power Leadership Award

The North Face recently became one of eight organizations awarded a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of power from a utility green-pricing program or a renewable energy certificate (REC) supplier.The outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear company says it installed a one-Megawatt solar system at its distribution center in Visalia, Calif. and worked closely with its parent company VF Outdoor, Inc., and sister brands Lucy and Jansport, to install a 950-kW system at their new headquarters in Alameda, Calif.

Patagonia Launches 'Responsible Economy' Campaign

Leaders from outdoor apparel company Patagonia have announced a new campaign, The Responsible Economy, which calls on consumers and businesses alike to rethink disposability for more effective resource allocation.

The Story of Stuff Project's Latest Clip Focuses on 'Solutions'

Today marks the release of “The Story of Solutions” – the latest clip from The Story of Stuff Project and Free Range Studios. In the eight-minute clip, “Story of Stuff” storyteller Annie Leonard describes a set of solutions to the issues set forth in the company’s mega-popular series of videos, including “The Story of Broke,” “The Story of Cap & Trade,” “The Story of Electronics” and “The Story of Bottled Water,” among others.

Report Finds Critical Gaps Between Manufacturer and Consumer Priorities

Ninety percent of manufacturers agree that the environment is becoming more important, but 40 percent of consumers think manufacturers are not doing enough in terms of environmentally friendly manufacturing procedures or products, according to a study by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).The Product Mindset examines manufacturer and consumer perceptions about how products are made, sold, bought and consumed. This year’s report claims misalignment is occurring between the two stakeholder groups in what is expected or desired and what is being delivered.Some of the noteworthy gaps include:

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McDonald's Announces Commitment to Promote Balanced Food and Beverage Choices

McDonald's announced it is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association, to increase customers' access to fruit and vegetables and help families and children to make informed choices in keeping with balanced lifestyles. President Bill Clinton, founder of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation; Don Thompson, President and CEO of McDonald's; and Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, announced the groundbreaking Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment on Thursday at the 2013 CGI Annual Meeting in New York City.

BPI Launches New Catalog of Compostable Products

Composters, consumers and foodservice companies now have unprecedented detail — and confidence — in BPI Certified Compostable Products thanks to the industry’s first item-level online database of products.Funded by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), the new Compostable Products Catalog features more than 3,300 different compostable product SKUs (shelf keeping units), including food serviceware (cups, cutlery, plates and trays), resins and coatings, compostable bags and films.The catalog is believed to be the world’s first web-based catalog to offer searchable product-level information on compostable products, according to BPI.

IPCC Confirms Climate Change Caused By Human Action

Leading scientists around the world are now 95 percent confident that human influence is the dominant cause of global warming, according to the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released Friday.Statistically speaking, this means that that the debate is over — climate change is occurring due to human action. As a result of past, present and expected future emissions of carbon dioxide, the effects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if carbon dioxideemissions stop, IPPC says.

Apathetic Consumer Discovers 'Hidden Consequences' of Irresponsible Products in Rainforest Alliance's Latest Video

As the Rainforest Alliance’s third annual Follow the Frog Week comes to a close, we take a look at this year’s campaign video, "Hidden Consequences."

Jones Lang LaSalle Illustrates Commitment to Responsible Business in Latest Sustainability Report

Jones Lang LaSalle last week released its 2012 Sustainability Report, “Moving toward a more sustainable enterprise,” which details the company’s services, operations and client-focused strategies to achieve long-term sustainable solutions across five sustainability categories: energy and resources; client service excellence; green buildings; community and supply chain; and workplace, well-being and diversity.

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E&S Topics Comprised 40% of Shareholder Proposals Filed in 2013

Nearly 40 percent of all shareholder proposals filed in 2013 came from the environmental and social (E&S) category, representing the largest category overall, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young.Taking flight: Environmental sustainability proposals gain more attention identifies the specific requests investors are making in environmental sustainability proposals, company practices referenced by shareholder proponents in their supporting statements and examples of company actions that have led to withdrawals.The top five E&S proposal topic areas were:

Starbucks Jumps on the Sustainably Sourced Wagon with New Origins Campaign

Continuing a positive trend of transparency in the food industry, Starbucks' latest campaign focuses on the quality and sourcing of its coffee beans, as sustainability and health concerns continue to motivate consumers to ask, "Where does this come from?"Launched on Sunday during the Emmys, the new documentary-inspired TV ad shows the heritage of the cafe chain's Arabica coffee beans. "The bean matters, because you cannot roast in quality, you cannot roast in complexity," the voiceover says as black-and-white footage of coffee plantations and the roasting process runs.

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

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. Read part one in the toolbox: people immersions.

Report: Greater Corporate Sustainability Reporting Needed in Africa

Corporate reporting on sustainability issues in Africa remains patchy and should be expanded in scope, according to the Africa Sustainability Barometer, which gauges the state of corporate sustainability reporting (CSR) on the continent.A new joint initiative of the United Nations Global Compact (GC) and the Financial Times, the barometer covers more than 1,000 international companies with operations in the region, as well as local and regional companies.

M&S the First of Few Companies That Come to UK Consumers’ Minds as Being Environmentally Responsible

New research released this week by the Carbon Trust reveals that, while consumers see business as the key to economic recovery, they do not yet see it as key to fixing our environmental problems, with over two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents unable to name a company taking the issue of environmental sustainability seriously.Respondents who could name companies they thought were walking the sustainability talk were quick to mention retailer Marks & Spencer (the most popular answer), followed in order by the Co-operative Group, Tesco, BP and Sainsbury’s.

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UN Global Compact Launches Stock Index

The UN Global Compact (GC) yesterday launched a new stock index of companies committed to the GC's ten principles, which shows a total investment return of 26.4 percent during the past year.The Global Compact 100 was released in partnership with research firm Sustainalytics and is comprised of a representative group of GC companies selected based on their adherence to the Global Compact’s ten principles, as well as evidence of executive leadership commitment and consistent base-line profitability.The GC 100 tracked the stock market performance of these companies during the past three years, comparing the results against a broad market benchmark, the FTSE All World.The data for total returns is as follows:

Certification Showing It’s Worth the Investment

Around the world, governments, companies and consumers are thirsty for ways to support responsible business practice and to trust that the products they endorse are making a measurable difference for people and the planet. With so many options now at their disposal, one of the big questions is: Which tools provide the highest return on investment, the biggest sustainability bang for one’s buck?

M&S Establishing Link to Workers Throughout Its South Asian Supply Chain

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has signed a one-year deal to work with social enterprise technology provider Good World Solutions to facilitate direct communications with workers in its clothing supply chain via mobile technology.M&S will use Labor Link, technology that returns anonymous, quantitative survey results to M&S direct from supply chain workers. Workers listen to questions on their mobile phones in Hindi, Sinhalese, or another local language, and respond using their touch-tone keypad.

Ed Begley, Jr Chronicles Building of LEED Platinum Family Home in New Series, "On Begley Street"

On Sunday, evōx, (pronounced e-vokes), the new online marketplace and entertainment network geared toward sustainable lifestyles, hosted the premiere of “On Begley Street” at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, CA.Produced by Make it Happen Productions, the show features one of the most prominent eco-celebs, Ed Begley Jr., and his family as they build a LEED Platinum home, with the specific goal of building the ‘most sustainable house in North America.’

Sustainia Announces Its Top 10 Sustainability Innovations for 2013

Intelligent streetlights that turn off when streets are empty; an electric city bus with a 250 km range; and a piece of paper that reduces food waste. International innovation platform Sustainia has launched its list of the top 10 best sustainability innovations for 2013, featuring projects and technologies from Europe, Israel, Zambia, USA, China and the Philippines.The selected projects will compete for the Sustainia Award, presented by the Sustainia 100, a committee headed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s panel on climate change (IPCC).

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