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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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Brands Embracing Transparency to Feed Consumers Hungry for Responsible Food Choices

While it might not win any Academy Awards, certainly the best title for a movie this year has to be the food industry critique, GMO OMG. On the surface, it is an attack on genetically modified seeds and what they are doing to our health. Underneath, it is an emotional play on a father’s frustration with the clarity of our food system. What is in our food and where does it come from?

Don't Just Sell Green, Sell Great

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. Heading into this year’s Sustainable Brands conference, I was looking forward to driving BMW’s electric prototype that was on display. In hindsight, however, the technical highlight of the show for me was the Tesla Model S. You know, the ones that people were actually driving, with coffee cups in the console and crumbs in the backseat.

Microsoft Achieves Carbon Neutrality, Increases Green Energy Use By 70%

Microsoft says it achieved carbon neutrality after introducing an internal carbon fee for renewable energy and carbon offsets, which led the company to increase the purchase of green energy in the U.S. by 70 percent, from 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2011 to 1.9 billion kWh in 2012.

Failure to Communicate: Dry Sustainability Reports a Missed Opportunity

Does your heart sink at the thought of reading yet another sustainability report?Over the last three years I’ve been documenting the ways companies are communicating sustainability online and using social media in particular. Time and time again, even those companies that demonstrate real panache in their sustainability communications fail to make the best use of the research, data and information that goes into their sustainability report. Often, as a result, a company’s most interesting sustainability work is left buried in these dull but worthy publications that no one really reads.

Defining Sustainability: A Process and Strategy Focus

Currently, sustainability is a lot like beauty — its definition lies in the eyes of the beholder. This author’s preference is for actionable definitions that can be integrated into daily operational processes. The following is an attempt to define sustainability through this lens.

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Consumers Give Microsoft, Disney, BMW, Google Highest Marks for CSR Performance

For the second year in a row, consumers named Sustainable Brands® corporate member Microsoft the company with the best CSR reputation, according to a new study by corporate reputation management consultancy Reputation Institute. This year, the IT company was joined at the top in a four-way tie with fellow SB member The Walt Disney Company, Google and SB ’13 sponsor BMW.

Dr. Bronner's Backing GMO Labeling Legislation with a Label of Its Own

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America and advocate for sustainable agriculture, has created a special agitprop label for its quart-size liquid soaps in support of GMO labeling and the Washington State voter initiative to label GMOs, Yes on I-522 — “The Washington Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.” Last week, natural product stores nationwide and Dr. Bronner’s webstore began stocking products featuring the limited edition soap label, which will be available through November.

M&S, BT, Unilever, Sainsbury's Top FTSE 100 Carbon Ranking

For the second year in a row, retailer Marks & Spencer has topped Carbon Clear’s ranking of the carbon performance of the FTSE 100. This is the third year that Carbon Clear has undertaken the research, examining the extent and depth of FTSE (London stock exchange) 100 companies’ carbon measurement and reporting practices, ranking companies based on a well-developed scoring matrix.

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.

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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:

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.

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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.

New Report Highlights Seven Headlines of Latest Behaviour Change Research

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. New research released last week explores the latest views of leaders in the study of encouraging more conscious and responsible behaviour. The Motivating Millions research, conducted by UK behaviour change consultancy Corporate Culture, was carried out online between March and May of this year. A quick distillation of the research reveals seven themes:

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.

Microsoft, Diageo Among Latest Companies Urging Policymakers to Address Climate Change

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. Business calls for strong climate change action are getting louder. A half-dozen more leading global companies including Microsoft, Owens Corning, Diageo, Thornton Tomasetti, and Acer America Corporation last week joined hundreds of other U.S. businesses in signing the Climate Declaration, which calls on federal policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change, according to CERES.

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