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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.

Brand Deep Dives: A Tool to Co-Create Common Convictions

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.

New UNGC Guide Helps Companies Report Their Positions on Climate Policy

The UN Global Compact (UNGC) today released a guide for companies to manage and report on their direct and indirect influences on climate policy. Now for the first time, companies have guidelines to help them engage in climate policy in a transparent and accountable way that is consistent with their sustainability commitments.

Can Aspirationals Help Make Sustainable Consumption Cool?

Last month, BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility released The 2013 Aspirational Consumer Index, a report that confirms the rise of nearly 2.5 billion consumers globally who are uniting style, social status and sustainability values to redefine consumption. According to the report, more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%).

Transforming Desire: What Gets People In and Out of Bed When It Comes to Sustainability

There’s nothing sexy about a Materiality Report. Delicately revealing your intimate water stewardship credentials is unlikely to get any one hot under the collar. And no one at your local is going to leap out of bed for a carbon-reduction conversation.Dream in a Box is a methodology I have been working on for some three years with Peggy Liu of JUCCCE and China Dream fame. It has its own dream: to help people re-imagine a more enduring, future-proofed model of prosperity at scale, a prosperity that aligns itself with a populist aspiration — a new aspirational concept of thriving within our own, our communities and our immediate world’s means.

On November 15, Give Your Garbage Another Life for America Recycles Day

Keep America Beautiful (KAB) is encouraging people to give their garbage another life on America Recycles Day, taking place this year on Friday, Nov. 15.The organization says the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash in a single day, yet we recycle only 35 percent of the country’s waste. America Recycles Day encourages people to recycle more at home, at work and on the go.

86% of Americans Surveyed Expect Food and Beverage Brands to Recycle Packaging

There is an increasing need for public and private sector collaboration to create and implement recycling solutions across the country, as shown by a recent survey conducted by Research Data + Insights on behalf of the Carton Council of North America (CCNA). The survey revealed that consumers overwhelmingly believe that product companies and their brands play a crucial role in recycling: Of 1,000 adults surveyed across the U.S., 86 percent responded that they expect food and beverage brands to actively help increase the recycling of their packages.

Coke's Latest Sustainability Report Highlights Progress on Company's 'Me, We, World' Commitments

Coca Cola improved water efficiency by 21.4 percent since 2004 and supported an estimated replenishment of approximately 52 percent of the water used in finished beverage products through 2012, according to the company’s tenth annual Sustainability Report and third Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Report.Earlier this year, the company was among the first to receive the Carbon Trust Water Standard for achieving its lowest-ever water-use ratio and reducing water usage by nearly 15 percent since 2007.

Patagonia Promises 100% Traceable Down by 2014

It’s been a busy fall for Patagonia — the outdoor apparel company kicked off October with the launch of its “Responsible Economy” campaign, which challenges consumers and businesses to think more consciously about disposability and resource allocation, and ended the month by announcing its plans to offer Fair Trade Certified™ apparel, beginning in Fall 2014.

Investors Tell UK Firms Paying Living Wage Can Increase ‘Longevity and Productivity’

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. Here’s a novel idea: Paying people enough to live off comfortably motivates them to not only work harder, but stick around longer.In a recent letter published by the Financial Times, investors from local authorities, unions and charities, such as the CCLA, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Pensions Trust, said they wish to invest in companies that focus on the longevity and productivity of their business operations. The investors claimed there is “considerable evidence that paying the living wage helps to achieve these objectives.”

Star-Studded Short Conveys True Horror of Keystone XL

The perfect family. The perfect home. One huge mistake.As the battle rages on over the Keystone XL project, teamed up with True Climate Stories in an attempt to convey the truly terrifying implications of the potential pipeline.

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 Knowledge@Wharton about his new book, Business Persons: A Legal Theory of the Firm.An excerpt of the conversation follows.

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.