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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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Two Birds Apparel Bring Sustainable Fashion Home to Canada

If you ask Daniel and Tiffany Andrew — the husband-and-wife team behind Canadian men’s fashion brand Two Birds Apparel — what sustainability means to them, they’d say local, ethical supply chains and environmentally friendly materials, which is exactly what their brand encapsulates.Launched in 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, and now headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Two Birds is fairly new to the stage, but is trying to diverge from the status quo by sourcing, manufacturing and distributing all of their clothing domestically.

Closed-Loop, Organic Shrimp Farm Could Create Sea Change for Domestic Shrimp Industry

San Diego company Net Zero Aqualife says it has beat its crowdfunding deadline and now has the funds to begin production of high-quality organic shrimp at low cost. The farm is expected to produce 100 percent organic, non-GMO, self-sustained shrimp, without emitting any waste or pollution, or consuming any water or energy, through a closed-loop system.The company hopes to provide a sustainable method of producing the popular shellfish domestically; currently, the US imports a whopping 91 percent of its shrimp.

These Companies Want to Make Your Smartphone Truly Smart

In this new age of mobile phones, many of us suffer from “Shiny Object” syndrome — where we always want the latest and greatest toy Apple, Samsung or one of the other multitude of manufacturers can think up. Most of the more than 1.8 billion mobile phones sold worldwide in 2013 replaced devices that were less than two years old. Nearly a billion of these devices were smartphones.

Stella Artois, Water.org Want You to 'Buy a Lady a Drink' to Help End Women’s Water-Collecting Journeys

Every day, women in developing countries spend a combined 200 million hours collecting clean water for their families. To raise awareness of this issue as part of the global water crisis and to help provide solutions, Belgian beer maker Stella Artois has launched its first global social impact campaign, “Buy a Lady a Drink.” With the support of Water.org and its co-founders Matt Damon and Gary White, “Buy a Lady a Drink” aims to help put a stop to these water-collecting journeys. The campaign formally launched on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival, of which Stella Artois is an annual sponsor.

BASF, Save the Children Using 'Empathic Design' to Tackle Water and Nutrition Challenges in India, Kenya

Chemical giant BASF has partnered with Save the Children to develop solutions related to improvement of water accessibility and quality in Mumbai, and livelihoods and food security in the Turkana region of Kenya.The two organizations plan to use a co-creation methodology known as “empathic design” for research and development. This technique combines in-depth problem observation with target group interaction to develop better solutions for pressing challenges in India and Kenya.

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2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Offering $100K to Nature-Inspired Solutions to Global Food Challenges

On Tuesday, the Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation announced that the latest Biomimicry Global Design Challenge — an annual competition that invites people around the world to address critical sustainability issues using nature as a guide — is now accepting entries for commercially viable, nature-inspired solutions to this year’s theme: food system challenges. The grand prize, to be awarded in 2016, is $100,000.

Ford Challenges 10 Designers to Transform Its Seat Covers Into Couture for Hong Kong Fashion Week

On Monday, Ford Motor Company and Redress — a sustainable fashion charity organization — announced the winners of The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge, in which 10 emerging designers from around the world transformed sustainable seat fabrics from Ford vehicles into couture garments as part of The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 at Hong Kong Fashion Week.

New MasterCard Rewards with Nike Carbon Offsets, Tracks Footprint Reduction

Sustain:Green has created a new biodegradable MasterCard® rewards card, which provides carbon offsets for everyday purchases — specifically, helping to fund Nike’s Mata no Peito rainforest preservation projects in Brazil.

White Castle's Veggie Sliders Reflect a More Conscious Fast Food Industry in Transition

It is not easy being a fast food restaurant chain these days. New fast-casual restaurants such as Panera Bread and Chipotle offer diners more updated and healthful menu options in a setting much more appealing than the dreary and dingy plastic cafeteria environment typical of fast food chains. And as more consumers want to know where their food comes from and what those companies do with those profits, fast food restaurants as they stand are about as unsustainable as they come.

Chevy Bolt Could Be Affordable, Long-Range EV Option Drivers Have Been Waiting For

Concept cars are always great fodder for gawking at automobile shows, and in turn they do a fine job of generating buzz and stellar photographs. But at this week's North American International Automobile Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, one concept car suggested a game-changer: Sustainability and affordability can work together and finally offer consumers a compelling gasoline-free driving option.

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Valio Debuts First Product Using Tetra Pak’s 100% Plant-Based Carton Package

Finnish dairy producer Valio has become the first company in the world to sell products to consumers in carton packaging made entirely from plant-based materials. Consumers are able to buy these packages at retail shops in Finland beginning this week.

Report Shows World's Poor Benefit from Small-Scale Commercial Aquaculture

A new report from WorldFish shows that resource-poor Bangladeshis can participate in commercial aquaculture, challenging conventional assumptions that this was not possible. The report also highlights that more of the very poor in Bangladesh are profiting from commercial aquaculture than was previously thought.

What Should Uber Do?

Uber seems to be under fire from all directions. The ride-sharing service is being blocked by some cities and entire nations, dealing with accusations of a driver having sexually assaulted a passenger, addressing a story by a reporter who felt threatened when a company executive suggested they try to squash negative coverage, receiving criticisms over surge pricing during the recent incident in Sydney, and being sued for allegedly making false claims about the safety of its service. You’d be right for wondering if Uber might fall even faster than it rose.

8 Groundbreaking Startups Making the Circular Economy Look Easy

On January 20th, one of these companies will be crowned king of entrepreneurship at The Circular Economy Awards. You’ve already met those leading the charge. So, we’re taking a closer look at the eight finalists for the inaugural ‘Circulars,' who are undoubtedly biting their nails as they wait for the announcement of the winners at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Whirlpool Imagines Smart Homes with a Conscience at CES 2015

This week at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Whirlpool is helping attendees imagine the future of a fully connected home ecosystem — from smart products such as the first connected, donation-enabled laundry pair, to a socially networked kitchen environment concept with smarter surfaces.

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Toyota Opens Up 5,680 Patents to Spur Hydrogen Fuel Cell Innovation

Toyota has announced it will invite royalty-free use of approximately 5,680 hydrogen fuel cell related patents held globally, including critical technologies developed for the new Toyota Mirai.The list includes around 1,970 patents related to fuel cell stacks, 290 associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,350 related to fuel cell system software control and 70 patents related to hydrogen production and supply.

Creating Brands of Enduring Value: The 5 Trends Shaping CMO Success in 2015

The new buzzword among CEOs, entrepreneurs and ecologists is the idea of resilience: building the values, systems and behaviors within businesses and brands to cope with uncertainty and constant, disruptive change.From data breaches and hacked emails to information abundance and lightspeed digital evolution, uncertainty abounds.CMOs are at the center of these dynamics, balancing the complexities of brand reputation, consumer trust, instantaneous social media critiques, hyper-customization and, of course, business sales and growth.So, as we look to 2015, how can CMOs leverage these dynamics for competitive advantage and create enduring brands that deliver more value for consumers, employees, shareholders and society?

Latest Weapon in Battle to Reduce Christmas Tree Waste: Goats

It's that time of year again — when thousands of Christmas trees go from being the resplendently ornamented focal point of a festive holiday scene to a sad heap on the sidewalk next to the trash bin, the perfect visual representation of that “day after Christmas” feeling.Luckily more and more cities have launched Christmas tree recycling programs, which usually turn them into mulch for reuse in gardens, but far too many still end up in landfills, which in some areas, creates a fire hazard.

Cause vs. Purpose: What's the Difference?

Statistics and surveys make it clear that people want brands to do good in this world. According to the latest Cone/Echo Global Study, 93 percent of today’s shoppers would buy a product associated with a cause, and 65 percent have already purchased a cause-related product in the past 12 months.Accordingly, marketers and the ad agencies that serve them are viewing "cause" as a massive opportunity to sell us more stuff. After all, many of us, myself included, find ourselves regularly paying just a bit more for brands that support our favorite charities. (Shopper marketers call this behavior "cause-to-close.")

5 Tips on Finding the Right Financing for Your Food Startup

What’s the next food trend poised to sweep the nation? A recent conference showcasing roughly 60 recipients of Whole Foods local producer loans revealed some candidates: Maybe a half-fruit, half-vegetable roll-up that tastes like pure fruit (as a parent, I have to say, that’s genius)? Maybe goji raw biscotti? Definitely something with minimal but high-quality ingredients or exotic origins (from an American perspective).

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