Product, Service & Design Innovation

The latest products, services, design approaches and business models that are helping organizations of all sizes deliver on their sustainability ambitions and establish a new business as usual.

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Confessions of a Former Fast Fashion Executive

I have been an executive for large fashion companies most of my career. I held senior management positions in buying and production in Footwear and Accessories for multi-chain retailers. It was not clear to me at the time, but truth be told, I played a part in the explosion of fast fashion and mass consumerism, as we know it today.

Can We 3D Print Our Way to Plastic-Free Oceans?

It’s estimated that nearly 8 million tons of plastic flow into our oceans every year; even more goes into landfills. While there are many great companies focused on recovering this plastic, there is one developing a plan for what to do with those millions of tons after the cleanup is done.

Trending: Students, Startups Continue to Disrupt How Food Is Grown, Made, Packaged, Salvaged

FoodBytes! — the global pitch competition/networking event by Rabobank, a premier global food and agribusiness bank, has announced the 20 food and ag startups that will get a chance to pitch their ideas at the inaugural FoodBytes! London in September.

Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge Seeks Ways to Use Voice to Make a Positive Impact

Amazon has launched a new challenge to reward developers of Alexa skills that have a positive impact on the environment, local communities and the world.

Inaugural Ocean Solutions Accelerator Cultivating Diverse Crop of Innovations

Can market solutions and innovative technologies help the world solve its growing ocean crisis? That’s what the nonprofit Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) hopes, as it recently launched a new startup incubator program in Silicon Valley, the Ocean Solutions Accelerator, with five companies in the initial cohort.

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Latest Youth Solutions Report Showcases 50 Projects to Support SDGs

The second edition of the Youth Solutions Report, which identifies 50 youth-led projects that aim to solve the world’s toughest issues, was released Tuesday in New York during a launch event at the headquarters of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The solutions, which come from 61 countries and operate across all continents and regions, address crucial sustainable development issues such as clean energy, education, digitalization, e-participation, access to healthcare, ecosystem restoration, sustainable agriculture and waste.

McDonald's Joins Starbucks in Quest for Compostable Cup; Ireland Already Found One

The NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge, convened by Closed Loop Partners, announced today that McDonald’s joins Starbucks as a founding member of the group, working to develop a global recyclable and/or compostable cup solution. This announcement follows recent commitments by both companies to drive innovation of their packaging and help reduce plastic waste.

Jellyfish, Eyelids Among Inspiration for 8 Winners of 2018 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

From soil erosion solutions that draw inspiration from natural tide pools and a kingfisher’s eyelid, to technologies that use protection methods developed by plants, the winners of this year’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge present some truly creative solutions inspired by nature.

First Global Competition for Tourism Startups Seeks Future of Travel, Environment, Community

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Globalia have announced the first worldwide competition for tourism startups. The UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition is accepting applications from entrepreneurs across 164 countries whose companies aim to transform tourism, whether their focus is on the future of travel, tourism experience, environmental impact or community development.

Over 90 Startups to Compete in Urban Drinking Water Scarcity Challenge

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 calls for universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030, but the planet’s growing population is a major challenge in the way of achieving it. The UN predicts a 40 percent shortfall in global water supply by 2030. Meanwhile, about 54 percent of the world population currently lives in urban areas and the UN forecasts that percentage will grow to 66 percent by 2050.

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Nature Your Inspiration for a New Product? Wait a Minute …

The rise of natural health products and cosmetics has set off a flurry of research and development to discover the next great breakthrough for skin care or for specialized foods that provide an energy boost when you need it most. From shampoos and natural medicines to herbal teas and healthy spreadable fats, Earth’s biodiversity is providing the inspiration for a growing number of consumer goods. What began as luxury products for high-end shoppers have now gone more mainstream, as ingredient-savvy consumers look to natural alternatives in our chemically saturated stores.

Q&A: How NewGen Surgical Is Redesigning Sustainable Healthcare

The U.S. healthcare sector is the second most intensive commercial user of energy. Hospitals are one of the largest energy users, contributing 8 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the purchase of healthcare goods and services, and produce more than 4.67 million tons of waste each year. Realizing the significance of these impacts, NewGen Surgical was started in 2012 with a vision to make single-use medical devices more sustainable through their redesign and material inputs.

Innovation in Apparel: 2018 Pulse Check

The fashion industry has made strides towards increased sustainability in the clothing we produce, but as outlined by the 2017 Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) report, A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion's Future, the need to advance these goals is paramount. Global apparel production has doubled in the last 15 years, and if growth continues as expected, it will triple by 2050.

Food for Thought: How Brands, Farmers, Entrepreneurs Are Reshaping Food and Ag

Last week, over 2,000 representatives from our global community of sustainability practitioners, brand strategists, product and service innovators, thought leaders and other change-makers converged at SB’18 Vancouver to share their latest insights on a multitude of themes pertinent to all of those committed to improving business around the world. Here, we dig into the supply chains, test kitchens, labels and apps behind good food. What’s on your label? How marketing affects food & farming By Marissa Rosen

New App Offers Transparency from Seed to Sip, Field to Fork

Launched today in the UK, an app called Almond digitizes fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products aims to revolutionize how consumers interact with the food and drink they consume. By scanning the unique hidden codes printed directly onto product packaging, consumers can use the Almond app to learn more about what they’re consuming, including where each ingredient has come from, the journey the product has taken and its carbon footprint.

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Technology at Its Tipping Point: A Design Manifesto for Humanity

Today, we are at a confluence of three global tipping points.

Making Meaningful Connections with Stakeholders Through People-Centered Design Thinking

Throughout the week at SB’18 Vancouver, a host of organizations shared a range of strategies for making meaningful and lasting connections with customers and other stakeholders, while improving their contributions to society.

Startups Shine in SB Innovation Open, 'Shark Tank' for Retailers

Startups that positively impact people, planet and profit often bring the most exciting innovations to the sustainability space. Once again, Sustainable Brands did its part this week at SB’18 Vancouver to highlight the latest emerging companies addressing intractable issues — inspiring audiences and building connections with established brands. Shark Tank: Circular Economy Innovations for Retail First, in a Tuesday afternoon “Shark Tank,” startups pitched their solutions to retailers.

Garnier SkinActive Becomes L'Oréal's Third Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Brand

L’Oréal USA announced today that five products in its Garnier SkinActive line have achieved Cradle to Cradle Certified™ SILVER recognition. The product line, manufactured at L’Oréal USA’s facility in Franklin, New Jersey, earned this certification based on an evaluation of material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness practices. Garnier is the first mass market skincare brand to receive this certification for its products and is also one of the few skincare brands to have multiple products certified in a portfolio.

Steelcase Draws Sustainability Inspiration from an Unlikely Source: The Healthcare Industry

Questions — and asking the right ones — are at the heart of Patricia Wang’s role as design researcher in WorkSpace Futures for Steelcase Inc. These days, the biggest question Wang faces is just as complicated and ambiguous as it is important: How can Steelcase encourage employees to get to a future state that is better both for them and for the planet?

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