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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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Stop Talking About Sustainability, Start Sharing What Works

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. What makes a company like GSK give away information about thousands of potential malaria-treating drugs? Why did Nike spend 6 million USD developing their Enironmental Design Apparel Tool (minimising the impact of their products in the design process) and subsequent MAKING design app only to give them away for others to use?

How to Assess Credibility in a Sea of Ecolabels

More and more products on supermarket shelves bear sustainability claims, promising everything from biodegradable household cleaners to bird-friendly coffee. But with over 400 ecolabels on the market (according to the Ecolabel Index) it can be difficult for any company, consumer or government to know which to trust, given the array of promises and limited evidence of benefits.

Key Global Stakeholders Express Support for REDD+ Protocol in California's Climate Policy

As the California Air Resources Board prepares to consider moving forward on international initiatives to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+) within the state's climate policy, a large consortium of key stakeholders — from multinational corporations to global NGOs and indigenous community leaders — have rallied in support of REDD+.

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?

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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.

Big, Bold, Creative ... and Normal: How Brands Can Shift Sustainability Into the Mainstream

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. Bob Dylan understood the sustainability challenge long ago when he sang, “People seldom do what they believe in / They do what is convenient, then repent” in “Brownsville Girl.”For sustainability to become mainstream, we need to reframe the debate — in terms of both language and relevant benefits. I believe mass-market and well-loved brands are best placed to drive and accomplish this critical shift.So do we just need to leverage brands to make people care about the environment?

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.

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?

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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.

Coca-Cola and WWF Expand Global Partnership, Announce New Environmental Goals

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. Coca-Cola has announced a new set of environmental goals, including returning 100 percent of the water from its manufacturing facilities back to the environment at a level that supports aquatic life by 2020.Coca-Cola says it is extending its nearly decade-long partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to achieve these new conservation and performance targets, promoting the integration of nature’s value into decision-making processes and convening influential partners to help solve shared global environmental challenges.Under the renewed and expanded partnership, Coca-Cola and WWF jointly developed new sustainability goals for the Coca-Cola system — the Company and its nearly 300 bottling partners in more than 200 countries.These goals include:

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.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council Initiative Promotes Careers in Sustainable Tourism

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has announced a partnership with the Global Travel & Tourism Partnership (GTTP) to launch an industry philanthropic initiative aimed at promoting sustainable tourism development and educating secondary school students on career opportunities in travel and tourism in more than 5,600 schools across 11 countries.As part of the agreement, GSTC will endorse GTTP curricular materials and GSTC members will have an opportunity to mentor GTTP students about sustainability practices in the travel and tourism industry. GTTP will endorse the mission of the GSTC and reference its Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria in GTTP curricular materials.

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).

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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:

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.

The Power of Peer Influence on Consumer Habits

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. When it comes to motivating behavior change, there’s nothing more powerful than the recommendations of your peers. This applies to everything from musical tastes of teenagers to brand selections among consumers to farmers in India.This power of peer influence is brought home by a study, funded by Microsoft, to determine the most effective ways for transmitting life-saving information about innovative agricultural techniques to farmers in developing communities.

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