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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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).

UK's First 'Social Supermarket' Tackling Food Waste and Poverty

The UK’s first “social supermarket” opened in London last week — the first in a project aimed at reducing food waste as well as supporting low-income households. Surplus food from some of Britain’s largest supermarkets (such as Asda, Tesco and M&S) is being resold at highly discounted prices to food-insecure locals at the country’s first Community Shop in Lambeth.

BatteryVampire Wants to Give Second Life to Your AA Batteries

A start-up called BatteryVampire wants to give renewed life to your discarded batteries by taking advantage of a little known fact — when alkaline batteries appear to be dead, there is sometimes still up to half the energy left. BatteryVampire’s technology taps into that remaining energy and makes it available to the device until all that remaining usable energy is depleted.

New Mobile App Encourages Fitness, Rewards You for Reducing Your CO2 Emissions

Looking for something to hold you accountable on your New Year’s resolution to be more active? Changers — a German startup whose mission is to motivate behavior change by making sustainable actions measurable — has launched CO2 Fit, a new mobile app that measures the CO2 generated during various types of travel and rewards more active and lower-emitting options with Recoins, the world's first ‘green’ currency based on CO2 savings.

Tradeshift Waiving Fees for Companies Building Circular Economy Apps

Tradeshift, which digitally connects enterprises with their suppliers via a cloud-based platform, announced on Tuesday that it will waive the 30 percent revenue share it receives, for organizations that use its platform to build apps that help to support the circular economy. Organizations that build apps supporting the circular economy will receive all profit from their app.

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Proving the #BusinessCase: P&G Exceeds 2 Sustainability Goals; One Creates $1.6B in Value

This week, Procter & Gamble published its 16th annual sustainability report, which reveals how the CPG giant made far-reaching — and as it turns out, lucrative — improvements to its global operations years ahead of schedule.

Panera Bread Reports Strides in Achieving Its Standard for Responsibly Raised Livestock, Poultry

Panera Bread today offered details regarding its progress on sourcing only responsibly raised livestock and poultry, following the introduction of its new Food Policy in June.As part of Panera’s commitment to have a positive impact on the food system and provide transparency, the company is sharing progress on further reduction of antibiotic usage and confinement for farm animals in its U.S. supply chain for Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Company bakery-cafes.

Eastman Joins Consortium Dedicated to Sustainable Chemical Procurement

Eastman Chemical Company today announced it will join chemical giants such as BASF, AkzoNobel, Henkel and Clariant as a member of Together for Sustainability (TfS), a European initiative dedicated to the sustainable procurement of chemicals. Eastman and TfS have confirmed acceptance of Eastman’s application to the consortium as the first U.S.-based company to join, with plans to finalize Eastman’s membership in early 2015.

P&G, Terracycle Challenging Canadians to Keep Home Care Waste Out of Landfills

A new initiative from Procter & Gamble’s Febreze air freshener and TerraCycle is challenging Canadians across the nation to recycle everything from used air fresheners to Swiffer packaging for $5,000 in prize money, to be donated to the school or charity of the winner’s choice. It's all part of Terracycle’s new Air and Home Care Brigade, the company's latest collection program that aims to divert from landfills all packaging waste associated with home cleaning, enabling consumers to recycle previously non-recyclable material for the first time.

Drones: Sustainability's New Wingmen?

Drones have already disintermediated the aerospace/defense industry and have crossed the threshold from commercial to consumer, delivering to the average person the world’s most powerful personal computer. The potential for good in industrial agriculture, wildlife conservation and animal poaching, monitoring of factory farms, and prevention and early detection of forest fires is unprecedented.Drones can make granular crop maps for farmers, monitor illegal logging, track sometimes elusive endangered species in their habitats, and even drill down to track the sounds of animals as small as bats.

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Obama Administration Selects 26 Communities to Foster Economic Expansion Through Local Food Projects

On Wednesday, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies came together to announce the 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), a federal initiative providing technical support to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health and regional economic experts will work directly with the communities to develop specifically identified local food projects.

Chipotle Leads with Sustainability to Maintain Brand Sheen

While the fast-food business in the United States remains sluggish and roiled, eco-conscious burrito chain Chipotle has experienced rapid and relatively smooth growth through the recession and, especially, since then: Same-store sales rose by 20 percent last quarter. But lately the chain has demonstrated a few chinks in its tortilla wrap even while it also has stepped up its sustainability efforts.

Keurig Green Mountain Founder Invests $10M in Future of Fair Trade

Bob Stiller — long-time Fair Trade enthusiast and founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (now Keurig Green Mountain, Inc) — and his wife, Christine Stiller, recently awarded a monumental $10 million challenge grant to nonprofit organization and leading Fair Trade certifier Fair Trade USA. This investment will help fund three critical work streams aimed at increasing the reach and impact of Fair Trade certification for farmers and workers worldwide.The grant is particularly unique for Fair Trade USA, as it stipulates that an additional $10 million be raised in order to unlock the funds, for a total goal of $20 million.

LSDC Asserts 'Green' Entrepreneurs, Such as This Year's London Leaders, Key to Future-Proofing City's Economy

A recent report from the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) asserts that socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurs are “critical” to London’s future as a world leader in the economy of the future, as the Commission unveils its picks for this year's crop of the City's most notable mission-driven startups.Green Means Business highlights why London is an ideal location for 'green' entrepreneurs to 'drive innovation, growth, and job creation'; estimating that London's low-carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) sector has the potential to give an annual market value of £69bn by 2025.

Himalayan Stove Project Matching Donations on #GivingTuesday

In an effort to get back to a more meaningful sense of the “holiday spirit” after the over-hyped Black Friday (November 28) and Cyber Monday (December 1) spending binges that follow Thanksgiving, more than 10,000 organizations will give consumers more bang for their donated and charitable bucks on #GivingTuesday on December 2.

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Eco-Friendly Coffee Condiments Canister Saves 4 Billion Packets from Landfill

United Food Group, developer and manufacturer of specialty dry powder mixes and equipment, has developed the first sustainable canister for coffee condiments.Unlike traditional cream and sugar canisters that have plastic tops, metal bottoms and end up in landfills, the Perfect Servings Sustainable Canister consists of a reusable outer shell and uses sustainable replacement cartridges that are 100 percent biodegradable. The outer shell also comes in eight stock colors and can be private labeled with custom artwork creating a unique marketing tool.

Kohler Gets Green Light to Develop Next-Gen, Closed-Loop Flush Toilet System

Kohler Co., developer of kitchen and bath design and technology, has received a two-year grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to design and fabricate five closed-loop flush toilet systems for field testing in developing world locations without adequate sanitation.The grant followed a successful two-year cooperative project between Kohler and Caltech in the development of a photovoltaic toilet as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, hosted by the Gates Foundation.

Henkel Challenging Students Around the World to Propose Next Big Sustainability Solutions

Under the theme of “Create. Learn. Grow.,” the eighth Henkel Innovation Challenge is inviting university students from all over the world to submit their visionary ideas for sustainable products and technologies.Through December 10, students of any discipline from 28 participating countries are invited to form a two-person team and create a sustainable solution for any of Henkel’s three business units: Adhesive Technologies, Beauty Care or Laundry & Home Care. The task is to identify market trends and challenges for 2050 and develop ideas that are aligned to Henkel’s sustainability strategy.

Boeing ecoDemonstrator 787 Tests 25 Eco-friendly Innovations

The Boeing ecoDemonstrator 787 has begun flight testing more than 25 new technologies aimed at improving aviation's environmental performance through every phase of flight.The program accelerates the testing, refinement and use of new technologies and methods that can improve efficiency and reduce noise. Boeing says this new round of testing, using 787 Dreamliner ZA004, will evaluate software and connectivity technologies related to operational efficiency; remote sensors to reduce wiring; aerodynamic and flight control improvements for greater fuel efficiency, and icephobic wing coatings to reduce ice accumulation.Technologies being tested include:

Social Enterprise Using Low-Cost Kiosks to Provide Drinking Water in Rural India

India-based social enterprise Spring Health has announced plans to join the Business Call to Action (BCtA) and provide safe drinking water to two million customers in rural India by 2017 to improve the health outcomes of more than five million people in Eastern India by 2019.Spring Health is the Indian counterpart of US-headquartered Windhorse International, founded by entrepreneur Paul Polak with Indian partner Jacob Mathew and CEO Kishan Nanavati.

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