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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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Inditex Re-Affirms Its Commitment to Sustainability, Health & Safety

Spanish multinational clothing company Inditex says that in 2012 it conducted nearly 1.5 million tests on its clothing worldwide to ensure health and safety standards, as well as carrying out more than 3,500 audits on suppliers under its Code of Conduct.Inditex chairman Pablo Isla made the announcements this week at the company’s Annual General Meeting at its headquarters in Arteixo, La Coruña, Spain.

"With Great Power ...": How to Give Consumers Formal Responsibility for Addressing Sustainability

The Internet and by extension social media have made it possible for consumers to obtain information easily and to voice their opinions about products, companies, and people. Consumers also have the power to speak directly to product and service providers in a way that was previously unheard of. It was Voltaire that said, “With great power comes great responsibility” — with that power what is the consumer’s great responsibility?

Unilever, Molson Coors, Co-operative Top Sustainability Champion Awards

The Co-operative Group, Unilever and Molson Coors are among the winners of the 2degrees 2013 Sustainability Champions Awards, which each year recognizes success in the execution of sustainability initiatives.

Branding for Sustainability: A Manifesto!

I wrote recently about branding for sustainability, rather than the branding of sustainability. The main point is that branding is no longer merely about communication techniques that get tacked on to a business. Instead, branding shapes the entire landscape of engagement, experience and affinity between a company or other entity and its customers and other stakeholders or audiences. So it’s time for a manifesto.

New 'I Want to Be Recycled' Campaign Targeting 62% of Americans Who Are Not Avid Recyclers

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash a day, and on the whole the United States produces over 250 million tons of trash a year. However, only about 35 percent is currently recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To address this national concern, the Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) today launched a public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling with the goal to make recycling a daily social norm.

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Stop Speaking Martian: How to Effectively Translate the Language of Sustainability

As the sustainability profession grapples with how it can invite and entice a new internal conversation with a broader, ‘beyond-sustainability-silo’ brand and business audience, we are struggling with many fundamental challenges. Language is one of these. But why so?

Volkswagen Wants Brands, Plants to 'Think Blue' for Sustainability Leadership

Volkswagen finished last of the global automakers that occupied five of the top seven spots in Interbrand's recently released Best Global Green Brands 2013 report. That was a pretty good showing, but the German giant seems determined to hoist itself even higher in terms of the effectiveness of its sustainability efforts — and regard for them — around the globe.

New Documentary 'Sparks' Collaboration That Could Benefit People in Need Locally and Globally

At the dawn of the 21st century, America’s spiraling energy consumption hijacks our democracy and gambles our planet’s future. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans live in poverty, while our government stalls behind party lines. Next spring a new documentary, The Spark, will reveal a blueprint for realistic, immediate solutions.

Retailers, Manufacturers Launching Consumer Water Efficiency Label for Bathroom Products

A group of leading DIY retailers, builders’ merchants and manufacturers in the UK – including Argos, B&Q, Chandlers’ Building Supplies, Homebase, Travis Perkins, Saint Gobain, Wolseley UK and Southern Water — are joining forces to launch a voluntary labelling scheme to help consumers identify the water efficiency of bathroom fittings such as taps, showers, toilets and baths, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The Top 8 Things We Learned from Marks & Spencer's 2013 Plan A Report

Year after year, Marks & Spencer sets a high standard for environmental sustainability in the UK retail world. Its large scale and high level of social consciousness give it the unique position to promote change throughout the industry. As a part of its Plan A initiative, launched in January 2007, M&S makes a varied range of responsibility efforts, from beach-cleaning and cancer fundraising to recycling programs and organic produce.Let’s take a look at the year's most important changes and surprises, as revealed in the company's recently released 2013 Plan A Report:

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Playing the Big Game: Are We Branding for Sustainability?

When it comes to sustainable brands, we can play the big game or the small game. What I call “Branding of Sustainability” is the small game. It simply means applying old-school brand action, such as advertising and other marketing communications, even leading-edge techniques, to brands that are already sustainable. But “Branding for Sustainability” is the big game. It is about applying new-school brand thinking to the entire world of the brand, starting with discovering and defining brand-specific paths to sustainability itself. Much like its close relative, design thinking, brand thinking starts at the cradle and brings stakeholders and end users to the table, making everyone an insider to a degree, not merely guests at the party at the end.

Listen Up: How One Brand Learned That Greenwashing Is Never an 'Ethical Choice'

Behaviour change starts with listening. Here in New Zealand, a major global brand may have started listening for the first time in recent weeks: Dole have both made a U-turn and reached out to critics in an apparent desire to understand where they went wrong in this market and how they might set things right.

Three Tips for Successful Rebranding

In the early 2000s, revered British clothing brand Burberry was experiencing some hiccups. For decades, the Burberry name had been synonymous with English culture, but as the 20th century moved into the 21st, the company began to overextend itself. Expanding beyond trench coats and umbrellas, Burberry's name and trademark beige tartan plaid were soon plastered on every item of clothing that could support them. Without a clear vision, the name suffered: Even with the rich history behind the line, customers began viewing the clothing in a different light, and before long, Burberry was more closely associated with England’s gangster culture than with tea and crumpets.

Mars Named Best Private Company in 2013 Responsible Business Awards

Mars, Incorporated has been named “Best Private Company” by the 2013 Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards. Ethical Corporation is a UK-based global business publication focused on global ethical business and exploring how large companies are responding to the sustainable business agenda.The Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards pay tribute to companies’ commitment to responsible business practices and recognizes global leaders in corporate sustainability, according to the announcement.Other categories included “Best Employee Engagement,” “Best Supplier Engagement” and “Best Sustainability Report,” which were won by Western Union, Natura and The Co-Operative, respectively.

WindMade Introduces Product Label and Calls on Consumers to 'Show You Care'

The WindMade organization has launched the first global consumer label for products made with wind energy, according to a recent announcement.The WindMade Product Label can be applied to all products using a minimum share of 75 percent of renewable energy in their total electricity consumption, with wind power representing the largest share. The announcement says a cradle-to-gate approach was adopted, which means the label will cover the entire power consumption for all product components, from the extraction of the raw materials all the way to the product leaving the factory gate.

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Nickelodeon Refuses to Ban Junk-Food Ads

Children's entertainment network Nickelodeon says it will not give in to public pressure to ban advertisements for junk food despite childhood obesity concerns.The Viacom-owned network has no plans to follow in Walt Disney Co.’s footsteps, which last year said it would ban advertisements for “noncompliant” foods from its child-focused cable channels by 2015."As an entertainment company, Nickelodeon's primary mission is to make the highest quality entertainment content in the world for kids," the company wrote in response to four Democratic US senators' call for the network to change its ways, according to the New York Times. "That is our expertise. We believe strongly that we must leave the science of nutrition to the experts."

Browbeating Is Bad and Charming Isn’t Enough: Sustainability Stories Should Be All About Stakeholders

These days, many conversations about the status of sustainability in business and society seem to fall into two categories. These can be summarized as 1. It’s mainstreaming, and 2. It’s not mainstreaming, or it’s not mainstreaming enough, or as quickly or as deeply as we would like.

Forget the 'S' Word: How to Make a Sustainable Lifestyle Sexy and Aspirational

This is a call for lots less chatter, twitter and yammer about the earth’s limits and in place of those, a world of new, real and lively conversations around ‘persuasive’ limits.Let me give an example of why: According to the latest data, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere have reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history. The problem, however, is that that very sentence is capable of making otherwise contented people run screaming for the nearest copy of Hello magazine.

Rhode Island Whole Foods' Produce Display Urges Consumers to Help Preserve Pivotal Pollinators

On Friday, a Whole Foods Market in University Heights, Rhode Island found an effective way to illustrate the pivotal role that bees play in our food system by removing all produce items that are dependent on bees and other pollinators, according to the company's website.The store's produce team pulled 237 of 453 products — 52 percent of the department's normal product mix, including:

Toyota, Ford and Tech Companies Top List of ‘Best Global Green Brands’

For the second year running, Toyota has topped Interbrand’s list of “Best Global Green Brands,” followed by Ford and Honda. Rounding out the rest of the top ten are Panasonic, Nissan, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen, Danone, Nokia and Dell. Overall, the technology sector clearly dominated.

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