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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AdAge Releasing New Report on Navigating FTC Green Guides

Advertising Age is releasing a report today entitled “How to Make Credible Green Marketing Claims: What Marketers Need to Know about the Updated FTC Green Guides.” Co-authored by Jacquelyn Ottman of J. Ottman Consulting and David Mallen from the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, the report comes just in time for the one-year anniversary of the most recent update of the Guides.The FTC published the first edition of the Green Guides in 1992, to help advertisers avoid deceptive or misleading environmental marketing claims. These Guides are now the go-to standards for green marketing claims and have counterparts in Canada, UK and Australia.

Chipotle Launches Assault on Big Food with Short Film, and There's More to Come

Chipotle keeps sticking its neck out for "sustainable," locally produced food — now with an animated short-film attack on "Big Food" and with the promise of more expansive and aggressive efforts to come."The Scarecrow" is a 3-1/2-minute film that Chipotle Mexican Grill released online last week that depicts what the brand calls "a dystopian fantasy world" in which "all food production is controlled by fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Scarecrows have been displaced from their traditional role of protecting food, and are now servants to the crows and their evil plans to dominate the food system."

Sustainable Restaurant Association Inaugurates Accreditation Program for Food Destinations

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has launched its first sustainability accreditation for food destinations, developed with retail landlord Hammerson.The first initiative of its kind, SRA says the new rating will be rolled out to a variety of destinations, including shopping centers, airports, stadiums and stations.Hammerson’s WestQuay shopping center in Southampton, UK was the first location to achieve the new Sustainable Restaurant Association Food Destination rating, which now allows its 17 million annual shoppers to select from a range of restaurants that source ingredients more responsibly and manage food, water, energy and waste more efficiently.

10% of World's Largest Companies Produce 73% of GHG

Fifty of the world’s 500 largest companies are responsible for nearly three quarters of the group’s 3.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013.Most of the top 50 carbon-polluting companies operate in the energy, materials and utilities sectors, the report says. The carbon dioxide emitted by these companies has risen by 1.65 percent to 2.54 billion metric tons over the past four years — equivalent to adding more than 8.5 million pickup trucks to the streets.

Nestlé, Volkswagen, SAP, Air France Named Industry Leaders in 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the world’s largest providers of financial market indices, and RobecoSAM, an investment specialist focused on sustainability investing, today announced the results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review. Launched in 1999, the DJSI were the first global indices to track the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.

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NASCAR Green Recognizes Achievements of Seven Motorsports Facilities

Seven motorsports facilities operated by the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) received the NASCAR Green track operator award during the recent 2013 NASCAR Green Summit.The award recognizes motorsports facilities for ongoing contributions to developing effective and sustainable green policies and practices. Now in its fifth consecutive year, the 2013 NASCAR Green Summit examined the substantive initiatives that have helped NASCAR make notable strides toward reducing the impacts of its sporting events nationwide.These facilities were recognized for their individual efforts:Auto Club Speedway of Southern California

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

In this series, Benoit Beaufils, founding partner of brand consultancy Innate Motion, along with several of his partners, presents the tools that the company uses to develop purposeful, mission-driven brands with their clients. Benoit views their tools as a free “thoughtware” suite, and proposes that readers borrow and reapply.Tool #1. People immersions.Jack* rushes into the meeting room, and goes straight for a seat. “How was it?” the others ask. “Unbelievable. Unbelievable.” He pauses, and tells the story:

Three Hidden Killers of Sustainability Programs

In the past decade, corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs have come a long way, with companies putting real money and staff into the efforts. Increasingly, companies have appointed top executives to be held accountable in these areas, and just about every big firm issues some kind of sustainability or CSR report.But despite the continued focus, progress remains slower than hoped. Why? After all, studies continue to show that CEOs rank sustainability as one of the most critical business drivers that will affect their company’s success — and financial performance — in the years to come.

G20 Takes Landmark Step in Fight Against Super Greenhouse Gases

The 20 biggest world economies have agreed to use the resources of the Montreal Protocol to initiate a global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a significant group of super greenhouse gases (GHGs).According to The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), HFCs are primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning and are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. However, climate-friendly alternatives are already widely available.

UN Report Shows Significant Gap Between Corporate Sustainability Intentions and Actions

There is a major gap between what companies say and do about sustainability, with 65 percent developing policies at the CEO level and only 35 percent taking action, according to a recent survey by the United Nations Global Compact.The Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013 includes survey responses from 1,712 companies from 113 countries, and reviews the actions taken by companies to integrate responsible practices outlined in the Global Compact Management Model into their strategies, operations and culture. The survey paints a picture of how companies are addressing sustainability issues including human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

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Investors, Human Rights Advocates Set Expectations for Transparency Around Conflict Minerals

As companies prepare their first required reports on conflict mineral use to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC, key investors and human rights groups have released a paper that sets expectations for the contents of the inaugural reports required by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Consumers Now Expect Companies to Step Up During Disaster Relief Efforts

As communities around the world continue to recover from natural disasters on epic scales, citizens will and are looking to companies — not just governments or aid organizations — to provide critical relief assistance. According to the 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker, 87% of global consumers believe companies must play a role in natural disaster response — in part because the majority (69%) thinks corporations are better able to effectively respond.

Report: Product Sustainability Investments Will Accelerate as Business Benefits Revealed

Corporate spending on product sustainability initiatives will likely accelerate as sustainable product pioneers such as H&M, Nokia and PUMA share evidence of the business benefits they have achieved, according to a new report from independent analyst firm Verdantix. The study draws on data from a survey of 250 heads of sustainability in 13 countries, as well as interviews with product sustainability experts at PE International, PRé Consultants, Pure Strategies and Quantis.

Starbucks Pledges to Not Cut Workers’ Benefits Under Obamacare

Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz told Reuters this week the company will not cut hours or benefits for employees — referred to as "partners" — in response to Obamacare.While many other large companies in the food service sector have said they will need to shift costs onto their workers in anticipation of upcoming changes under the health law, Starbucks says it will not follow suit.“Other companies have announced that they won’t provide coverage for spouses; others are lobbying for the cut-off to be at 40 hours,” Shultz said. “But Starbucks will continue maintaining benefits for partners and won’t use the new law as an excuse to cut benefits or lower benefits for its workers.”

CEH Files Suit Citing Cancer-Causing Chemical in Nearly 100 Hair Care, Personal Care Products

On Tuesday, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) revealed independent testing finding a cancer-causing chemical in 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products sold by major national retailers. The chemical, cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a chemically modified form of coconut oil used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products, was listed by California as a known carcinogen last year. Products tested with high levels of cocamide DEA include shampoos made by Colgate Palmolive, Colomer, Paul Mitchell and many others. In addition, products marketed for children and a product falsely labeled as organic were found with the chemical, in violation of California law.

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Could 'Brown' Be Your Brand's New 'Green'?

With the announcement of the first synthetic burger grown in a petri dish, would it be more or less shocking to say “human waste is the currency of the future”? “Carbon footprints” and “data footprints” are carving the way for “microbial footprints.” Consumers are paying to get dirty … germ-dirty, that is. “Going viral" is taking on a whole new meaning in marketing. Online communities are flourishing around “intestine communities.” Brand ecosystems now have as much to do with biology as technology."Rotten" Is the New "Improved"

Don't Get Greenwashed: How to Make Sure Your Eco-Friendly Products Are the Real Deal

From electric cars to reusable shopping bags, it's undeniable that "going green" is one of the fastest growing trends out there today. This is great news for the eco-friendly consumer, as companies are scrambling to offer greener versions of their products to meet demand. Unfortunately, many companies have also noticed that it's much cheaper to claim to have environmental standards than it is to actually live by them. When a company misleads its customers about the environmental impact of its products or practices, it's called greenwashing.

Six Ways to Make Brand Sustainability Resonate with Consumers

Climate change. Resource scarcity. Pollution. Human rights. These are some of the most pressing issues facing business today. They are also some of the most difficult for consumers to relate to, let alone orient their lives around.According to a recent report from The World Economic Forum and Accenture, sustainability is in desperate need of a makeover. Despite millions of dollars spent marketing the concept over the past decade, only 28% of people know what terms such as “sustainable,” “responsible,” “eco friendly” and “green” really mean, and just 44% say they trust green claims coming from big brands.

Why Green Product Brands Fail

The Guardian recently published an excellent article on "Why Green Brands Are Failing to Capture Public Attention:"The answer is that environmental/social consciousness is only one part of what are much broader and more complex cultural shifts. Picking out this trend in isolation and trying to build brands around it using traditional marketing paradigms has a very low likelihood of success.

Coca-Cola Joins with Sainsbury’s For 'Don't Waste. Create' Campaign

Coca-Cola Enterprises has partnered with Sainsbury's to launch a new sustainability program that aims to increase the reuse and recycling of plastic bottles during the summer.The beverage company says its Don't Waste. Create campaign is designed to encourage consumers to use their waste packaging at home in a fun and useful way, while also promising to recycle.

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