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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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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.

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.

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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.

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.")

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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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