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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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Futerra, BSR Launch Tool to Build Business Case for Living More Sustainable Lifestyles

Although business leaders expect exponential growth in consumer interest and business action on sustainable lifestyles within five years, they are struggling to make the case for action, according to survey results released earlier this year by BSR and global sustainability agency Futerra.

Hilton Worldwide Saves $250 Million from Energy Efficiency in 4 Years

Hilton Worldwide has saved nearly a quarter of a billion dollars from energy efficiency projects over the past 4 years, according to its 2012-2013 corporate responsibility report.Since 2009, the hospitality company reduced energy use by 12.2 percent and carbon output by 12.8 percent. In the U.S., Hilton purchased more than 450 million kilowatt hours of renewable power through December 31, 2012 — enough to meet 94 percent of the annual electricity use in its owned hotels in the United States.

FTC Cracking Down on Misleading, Unsubstantiated Biodegradability Claims

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced enforcement actions against six companies — five of which address biodegradable plastic claims for the first time — as part of the agency’s ongoing crackdown on false and misleading environmental claims.The cases include a complaint against a biofilms company that claims its additive makes its plastic products biodegradable, as well as four complaints and proposed consent orders against companies marketing various plastics with allegedly false and unsupported biodegradability claims. The civil penalty case involves a complaint and consent order against a company that has since violated a 1994 FTC order prohibiting it from making unsupported “green” claims for its paper plates and bags.

'Sesame Street' Characters Now Encouraging Kids to Eat Healthier

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama was joined at the White House by Sesame Street characters Elmo and Rosita to announce a potentially game-changing collaboration in the fight against childhood obesity. Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) formed a two-year agreement with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to help promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption to kids, according to Let’s Move!, Mrs. Obama’s initiative to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic.

Wharton Professor Sees Misinformation on What Fiduciary Duty Really Means for U.S. Companies

It has been a business maxim for years: Shareholder value trumps all when it comes to measuring corporate success. But by overrating shareholder value, management could focus too much on short-term stock price measures, given that outsized executive compensation often is fueled by stock options. And focusing too much on the short term can hurt a business over the long run, says Eric W. Orts, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. There are better measures of corporate success, he points out in an interview with [email protected] about his new book, Business Persons: A Legal Theory of the Firm.An excerpt of the conversation follows.

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This Website Lets You Tell Everyone That All You Want for Christmas Is NO MORE STUFF

If you are like us, your family has already started asking you what you want for Christmas/Hanukkah/insert your mass-consumption holiday of choice here. And while we like getting presents, we really, really, honestly, we promise, do not need that much more stuff. Which is why we’re glad to see SoKind, which Treehugger describes as “a new and improved gift registry aimed firmly at those who value experiences over material goods, handmade crafts over mass-produced gadgets, and gently used and carefully selected pre-loved goods over things they’ll probably use once and never see again.”

The Road Less Travelled: New Paths to Mainstream Consumer Engagement

Mainstream consumers can be a fickle bunch can’t they? They tell us in research that they want to be more green, that they WILL purchase more eco-friendly products in the next year ahead than the one prior. But there’s that eternal gap between reported and actual behaviours; what gets entered in an online survey is often different than what happens in the shop aisle. Finding a way to bridge that gap is one of sustainability and marketing’s ‘holy grails’ we are all seeking an answer to.

Carbon Trust to Design Eco-Labeling Scheme for Mexico

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. The Carbon Trust has been selected to develop an environmental labeling scheme for products and services in Mexico, designed to promote sustainable purchasing and procurement for consumers, companies and the public sector.The objective of the project is to drive the international competitiveness and economic efficiency of Mexican industry through more sustainable production. It will also provide a commonly recognised set of criteria to ensure that environmental claims about products and services are properly substantiated. The project is funded through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Prosperity Fund, as administered through the British Embassy in Mexico City.Cuauhtémoc Ochoa Fernandez, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Development and Environmental Regulation, said:

Actions Speak Louder: How to Communicate More Than Just Words

The success of Chipotle’s recent ‘Scarecrow’ video goes beyond its glossy Cannes-worthy visuals or the 7 million views it has received since its launch last month: The online advertisement is a marketing feat because it taps into the power of storytelling in a way that reflects Chipotle’s ethos and is woven into all of the company’s communications. A look into Chipotle’s broader communications efforts reveals the lesson that for a sustainability message to authentically resonate with audiences, it needs to be part of a strategic communication plan and backed up by real action.

Is Your Corporation Missing Its Compass?

I was sitting with a team of entrepreneurs yesterday. Together, we're launching a new retail concept (look for updates here — we open in January!).The conversation was all about naming. We'd landed on two great names, which one of the team had put through an online poll. The names polled well — but not as well as a rather predictable moniker that had been included at the last minute. As you might imagine, the mundane-name-that-people-loved threw a wrench into the works.

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Investors Ask Fossil Fuel Companies to Assess Plans For Low-Carbon Future

A coalition of 70 global investors managing more than $3 trillion in collective assets on Thursday launched the first-ever coordinated effort to spur 45 of the world’s top oil and gas, coal and electric power companies to assess the financial risks that climate change poses to their business plans.The investors make up the Carbon Asset Risk (CAR) initiative, which is being coordinated by Ceres and the Carbon Tracker initiative, with support from the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change.

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

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.

The Climate Declaration Scores Limited Run on Broadway

The Climate Declaration, which to date has been signed by more than 700 companies and thousands of individuals, is now up in lights in Times Square.The Declaration, part of an ongoing campaign organized by Ceres and BICEP, calls on federal policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change. The campaign caught the attention of CBS, which offered to air a 15-second ad on their Jumbotron in Times Square, showcasing the Climate Declaration and its message that "tackling climate change is one of America's greatest economic opportunities (and it's simply the right thing to do)."

The Big Yearning Question

I believe futureproof brands are built on a foundation of two fundamentals: the brand’s reason for existence and the consumer’s yearning.These concepts may sound a bit esoteric, so allow me to explain.

J&J Launches Tumblr Campaign to Remind Americans to Recycle in the Bathroom

While 7 out of 10 Americans say they always or almost always recycle, apparently a scant 1 in 5 consistently recycles bathroom items, according to a report commissioned by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.To encourage consumers to be more mindful, Johnson & Johnson has launched Care to Recycle™, a recycling campaign that begins with a gentle reminder to recycle more items from the bathroom. It is the first recycling awareness campaign of its kind to be hosted exclusively on Tumblr.

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L'Oréal Announces Ambitious Sustainability Commitment for 2020

Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L'Oréal, today announced “Sharing Beauty with All,” the cosmetics giant’s ambitious new sustainability commitment to transform its footprint while achieving its business ambition by 2020.

Meet Bond, David Bond: Marketing Director for Nature

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. This weekend, the feature-length documentary film Project Wild Thing opens in independent cinemas in the UK.The film explores the increasing disconnection between British children and the natural world around them; kids’ roaming distance from their homes has reportedly decreased 90% in the past 30 years.PROJECT WILD THING - official trailer from Green Lions.

Disney Scores the Only 'A' on Cruise Industry Environmental Report Card

Cruise ships dumped more than a billion gallons of sewage in the ocean last year, much of it raw or poorly treated, according to federal data analyzed by Friends of the Earth, which is calling for stronger rules to protect oceans, coasts, sea life and people.

Unilever, KT, Nestlé Top Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2013

Unilever, KT and Nestlé lead the Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2013 (TVR), which recognizes companies that increasingly demonstrate “clarity of vision and innovation in their pursuit of a sustainable business model.”Sprint, Vodafone, Iberdrola, E.ON, BMW, Ford and Deutsche Telekom rounded out the top 10. Two Tomorrows, the sustainability strategy consultancy that created the rating, says the average for the top 10 this year is 83 percent compared to 55 percent in 2010. While the average score across the companies rated has varied only slightly over recent years, in that time the highest scores have gotten higher. There also is a growing gap between sustainability leaders and laggards, the report says.

Effective Sustainability Strategies - Case Study #1: Pret a Manger

Bar none, the most persistent challenge that the sustainability movement faces is how to prove the business bottom line benefits of sustainability activities. This is particularly acute for small and medium-sized companies, for whom survival is the number one priority. When looking at who engages and communicates sustainability activities, a disproportionate number of them are large corporates with dedicated sustainability/CSR budgets, as covered in our previous post. All too often, sustainability is a ‘tack-on’ to what business normally do anyway, and not the reason for being.

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