From electric cars to reusable shopping bags, it's undeniable that "going green" is one of the fastest growing trends out there today. This is great news for the eco-friendly consumer, as companies are scrambling to offer greener versions of their products to meet demand. Unfortunately, many companies have also noticed that it's much cheaper to claim to have environmental standards than it is to actually live by them. When a company misleads its customers about the environmental impact of its products or practices, it's called greenwashing.
Climate change. Resource scarcity. Pollution. Human rights. These are some of the most pressing issues facing business today. They are also some of the most difficult for consumers to relate to, let alone orient their lives around.According to a recent report from The World Economic Forum and Accenture, sustainability is in desperate need of a makeover. Despite millions of dollars spent marketing the concept over the past decade, only 28% of people know what terms such as “sustainable,” “responsible,” “eco friendly” and “green” really mean, and just 44% say they trust green claims coming from big brands.
The Guardian recently published an excellent article on "Why Green Brands Are Failing to Capture Public Attention:"The answer is that environmental/social consciousness is only one part of what are much broader and more complex cultural shifts. Picking out this trend in isolation and trying to build brands around it using traditional marketing paradigms has a very low likelihood of success.
Coca-Cola Enterprises has partnered with Sainsbury's to launch a new sustainability program that aims to increase the reuse and recycling of plastic bottles during the summer.The beverage company says its Don't Waste. Create campaign is designed to encourage consumers to use their waste packaging at home in a fun and useful way, while also promising to recycle.
The Tesla Model S has received a five-star safety rating in every subcategory from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), making it part of the one percent of all vehicles tested by the federal government to achieve a perfect score.While NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, safety levels better than five stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars.Tesla says the Model S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants. While the Model S is a sedan, it also exceeded the safety score of all SUVs and minivans, which takes into account the probability of injury from front, side, rear and rollover accidents.
Walmart, Gap and several other US retailers met this week in Chicago to implement their independent Bangladesh factory safety plan, which was developed after multiple factory accidents, most notably the Rana Plaza collapse in April that killed more than 1,100 workers and injured hundreds.The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety includes 20 North American apparel companies and retailers, industry associations, and non-governmental organizations, such as Macy’s and Target, as well as new signatories Costco, Intradeco Apparel and Jordache Enterprises. The organization has pledged to have safety standards in place by September 10, and claims to have already dispersed $45 million to hire safety inspection staff in Bangladesh.
Cross-Posted from Behavior Change.
Sustainability, like brands, must not be a fight against or a vision outside society, but part of it. It is time to drop the proselytism, quit the “sacrifice for a better world” argument and above all stop trying to change people’s behaviours. In order to fully go mainstream, sustainability shouldn’t attempt to influence behaviour and, instead, make ‘the greener option’ desirable for everyone. Moreover, historically, experiments of standardization have often resulted from totalitarian regimes to dull aesthetics.
San Luis Obispo's County Business Improvement District (SLO CBID) has commenced the country's first Stewardship Travel program to promote appreciation for place and culture, adventure, enjoyment and learning, while also providing clear opportunities to participate in regional conservation and preservation.SLO CBID says the project has been five years in development, and provides curious, active, and caring travelers with a well-defined road map for fun and meaningful vacations in 10 destinations along Highway 1 of the Central California Coast including Ragged Point/San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, unincorporated Morro Bay, Los Osos/Baywood Park, Avila Beach & Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo.
Cross-Posted from Behavior Change.
AT&T has partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to encourage AT&T customers to skip the bag when purchasing items from its retail stores in Oregon by donating 10 cents to the Nature Conservancy for each check out bag its customers choose to forego.AT&T says its “Skip the Bag” campaign, which runs from now through January 31, 2014, is part of an effort to empower customers with sustainable choices, increase efficiency and minimize impact on the environment. The program is designed to support The Nature Conservancy's efforts to protect and restore the lands and waters on which all life depends.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Cross-Posted from Behavior Change.
The Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED) has published a paper that explores the roots of representative structures and argues that a democratic approach to business governance is crucial to long term innovation.Sustained Innovation through Shared Capitalism and Democratic Governance evaluates the role of research, innovation, organizational structures and associated issues in addressing the long-term focus required for development—both material and human.
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 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.
Cross-Posted from Behavior Change.
Fifty percent of global consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, according to a new study from Nielsen.The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility polled more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries. The percentage of consumers willing to pay more increased among both males and females and across all age groups, with respondents under age 30 most likely to say they would spend more for goods and services from companies that give back. Among consumers ages 40-44, 50 percent agree they would pay more, up from 38 percent two years ago.
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.
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.