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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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Investment Group Ranks Sweden ‘Most Sustainable Country in the World’

Swiss investment group RobecoSAM has ranked Sweden the most sustainable country in the world in its recent ranking of 59 countries, which gauges a wide range of environmental and social governance issues like carbon emissions, social cohesion and civil liberties.RobecoSAM says it designed the report to offer investors a deeper insight of issues that may affect a country's credit rating but are not typically considered by traditional sovereign ratings, like climate change.

Google Reduces Carbon Footprint By 9%

Google has announced it emitted 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, a 9 percent decrease from the year before, according to the company’s latest carbon footprint data.The search giant says it used new reporting guidance from the Carbon Disclosure Project to buy carbon offsets to reduce its 2012 footprint to zero. Google also claims it has been carbon neutral for six years running.

Sustainability Ideas Must Be 'Made to Stick'

Calls to shake up the sustainability community seem to be becoming increasingly frequent — the latest that I’ve read coming from the State of the World 2013 Report. With a warning that sustainability is in need of a “dramatic reboot,” it suggests a failure to deliver on the wealth of opportunities being promised.

The Rise of the Scratch Card Brand

We're living in The Age of Scratch Card Brands — social networks have closed the gap between brands and the businesses that deliver them to the extent that businesses now sit immediately beneath their brands. Social networks have rendered the factory and boardroom walls in glass — a rude employee or a river foaming with effluent can be captured on a phone camera instantly, be on YouTube in seconds and viewed by millions shortly after. Potential health and safety violations tolerated by out-of-sight factory workers are no longer out of mind to the consumer activist buying the brand promise four thousand miles away.

Obsession Over 'Natural' Aside, Burt's Bees a Rightful Leader in the Personal Care Industry

Burt’s Bees is an incredible American success story. Roxanne Quimby’s venture into beeswax candles took her from New England craft fairs to lip balm and personal care products sold in thousands of drugstores across the United States, before she eventually sold her company to Clorox for $913 million in 2007. That acquisition has been one within a recent trend of large food and consumer packaged goods companies buying smaller ones for more “natural” or healthful products: Colgate-Palmolive owns Tom’s of Maine; Coca-Cola snapped up Honest Tea; Kraft has long owned Boca Burgers.

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Weyerhaeuser Certifies Nearly 20 Million Acres to Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard

The Weyerhaeuser Company has acquired Longview Timber’s approximately 645,000 acres of forestland in Washington state and Oregon, meaning it now owns or manages nearly 20.5 million acres of forestland in the U.S. and Canada, making the company one of the world’s largest private sustainable forestry operations.Weyerhaeuser says it is dedicated to industry leadership in forest stewardship and sustainability and will continue to live up to its principles as it brings the Longview Timber operations into its portfolio. All of Weyerhaeuser’s North American forests are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standard, which ensures that its forest management practices meet a broad spectrum of social, economic and environmental requirements.

Investors Achieve Strong Results on Climate, Supply Chains, Water Issues During 2013 Proxy Season

Investors achieved notable victories during this year’s shareholder proxy season, with a near-record 110 shareholder resolutions filed with 94 U.S. companies on corporate sustainability challenges such as climate change, supply chain issues and water-related risks, according to Ceres.

One World Futbol, Sseko Designs Win 2013 Innovation Awards

Social Venture Network (SVN) has announced that One World Futbol, Sseko Designs, Fenugreen, Sustainable Health Enterprises and MASS Design Group have won its 2013 Innovation Awards, which recognizes companies that have a significant impact in reducing waste, promoting health and supporting education and employment in the developing world.

Report Highlights Cleaning Industry’s Progress in Curbing Energy, Emissions, Water and Waste

The American Cleaning Institute’s (ACI) just-released 2013 Sustainability Report shows overall decreases by member companies in four environmental data categories: energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use and solid waste generation.

Study: Setting Sustainability Goals Can Improve Financial and Environmental Performance

Companies that set tangible sustainability goals do a better job of improving both their financial and environmental performance, according to a new white paper by CH2M HILL, a global consulting, design, construction and operations firm.Sustainability Goals That Make an Impact focuses on the link between sustainability goal-setting, environmental and financial performance, and stakeholder recognition, making the case for setting more tangible goals.

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Mondelez, Kellogg Among Food Brands Backing Campaign to Push 'Facts Up Front' Labeling

The ongoing battle over the increasing girth of American consumers is heating up — again.Marketers have joined forces on a $50 million campaign plugging front-of-pack labeling called Facts Up Front, dually motivated by bettering their image among consumers and getting federal regulators off their backs. The Facts Up Front initiative actually began in 2011, displaying stats such as calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar content, but it was promoted lightly and had little effect on consumer sentiment.

Aimco Launches First Interactive Corporate Citizenship Report

Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) has released its first interactive corporate citizenship report, which enable visitors to build their own online report or download a complete version.Aimco is a real estate investment trust headquartered in Denver, Colorado that owns and operates a geographically diversified portfolio of apartment communities. The report offers information about the company’s 2012 accomplishments in the areas of redevelopment, energy conservation, team building, customer service, financial performance and community outreach.

Roatán Completes First Sustainable Tourism Diagnostic and Action Plan

The Honduran island of Roatán has become the first tourism destination to complete a comprehensive 360-degree assessment and action plan for destination-level sustainability, according to a recent announcement by Sustainable Travel International (STI).The Rapid Sustainable Destination Diagnostic was conducted by the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative in close collaboration with STI, Honduras’ Ministry of Tourism, and Roatán’s local Geotourism Council. The diagnostic process evaluated Roatán’s performance on five key pillars of sustainability, which include sustainable tourism planning and governance, economic linkages, preservation of cultural heritage, social and community issues, and environmental protection.

Seventh Generation Reduces Virgin Plastic Use By 16% While Increasing Sales

Seventh Generation, a leading brand of non-toxic bio-based and renewable consumer products, has achieved a 16 percent reduction in virgin plastic use and a 13 percent decrease in normalized greenhouse gas emissions — all despite a 9 percent increase in sales, according to its 2012 Corporate Consciousness Report.This year's report is organized around an employee-led realignment of the company's mission into four corporate aspirations: Nurturing Nature, Enhancing Health, Transforming Commerce and Building Communities.

New Leaf Paper Joins 17 Firms Registering as Benefit Corps in Delaware

New Leaf Paper and Plum Organics were among the 17 companies on Thursday that were the first to register as Delaware benefit corporations after the legislation legalizing it was signed on July 17.Some of the other registering companies included leading fair trade food business Alter Eco, popular home goods brand Method Products and online personal delivery farmers' market Farmigo.

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Monadnock Paper Mills Wins EPA 2013 Environmental Merit Award

Family-owned paper company Monadnock Paper Mills has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a recipient of a 2013 Environmental Merit Award for its significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving.Awarded annually by the EPA since 1970, the Environmental Merit Awards recognize individuals and organizations whose work has protected or improved the environment in distinct ways. A winner in the Business, Industry, Trade or Professional category for the State of New Hampshire, Monadnock has been highlighted for the following achievements:

Marriott Pledges to Create Sustainable Development, Jobs as It Grows in Emerging Markets

Marriott International recently released its 2013 Sustainability Report update, which claims the company reduced global water usage by 12 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 16.5 percent in 2012.The international hotel chain also says it is looking to move beyond its current global footprint of more than 3,800 hotels in over 70 countries and focus on providing sustainable economic activity and local employment. In coming years, more than half of its new hotels will be located in emerging markets, where tourism is a major driver of new jobs and economic development.

FTC to Mattress Companies: Don't Pad Your Green Claims

If you or your clients make environmental marketing claims, don’t sleep on three actions the FTC just announced against companies that sell mattresses. What's more, the pleadings in one case offer insights into a course of conduct advertisers should avoid in the use of seals and certifications.

Intel, Microsoft and Kohl’s Top EPA’s Green Power Rankings

Intel recently topped the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power list of partner organizations utilizing renewable energy. The technology and telecom company uses renewables such as biogas, biomass, small-hydro, solar and wind to generate more than 3.1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean energy each year.Microsoft came in second, producing just under 2 billion kWh, and Kohl's a close third, generating over 1.5 billion kWh.

PepsiCo No Longer Labeling Naked Juices as ‘All Natural’

PepsiCo has announced that it will no longer label its Naked juices as being ‘‘all natural,’’ after paying $9 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the drinks contain artificial ingredients.The company said in an email statement that it uses an ‘‘added boost of vitamins’’ in some of the drinks. However, a lawsuit filed against the company said the vitamins are actually synthetic ingredients, which includes a fiber made by Archer Daniels Midland. While PepsiCo did not confirm or deny that these synthetic fibers are included in the juices, the company is dropping the use of the word ‘‘natural’’ until more solid regulatory guidance emerges.

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