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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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Why I Invested in a 'Smart Gun' Company

While money and special interests are unlikely to leave US politics, I’m optimistic that Biofire can change the conversation around guns: Why can’t a for-profit company build safer handguns?

Climate Action Through Biomimicry: Innovation for the SDGs

The tagline for this year’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, “Design° for People + Planet,” asks participants to look at what degree of change they will make for a particular SDG, using nature as their mentor.

Collaboration: A Catalyst for Cutting-Edge Change

It takes a village of visionaries and specialists to galvanize innovative ideas and bring them to fruition. In a recent webinar, Shaw examined a case study in organizations coming together to take a “people-centric approach to sustainability.”

Give More, and Better, This Season: The 2019 SB Holiday Gift Guide

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. What better way to celebrate and participate in the season of giving than with gifts that truly keep on giving? Here are just a few of our favorite discoveries this year of products we'd be thrilled to give and receive.

Trending: The Latest and Greatest Ways to Imbibe More Sustainably

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. Or, how to expand your conscious consumerism to include anti-waste cocktails, carbon-negative nightcaps and a hard kombucha that’s easy on the environment.

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Biomimicry Institute Seeks Nature-Inspired Innovations for $100K Ray of Hope Prize®

The Ray of Hope Prize competition gives startups a chance to get their biomimetic innovations to market; entrepreneurs with nature-inspired design solutions for climate mitigation, carbon sequestration or the SDGs have until December 31 to apply.

25 Years On: Lessons Learned from Interface’s Ongoing Sustainability Journey

Why are lessons learned by a flooring company relevant? Many of the challenges we had to solve are the same that companies are struggling with as they pursue sustainability. Our accomplishments are significant because they show it is possible to transform a business and put sustainability at the core.

Sanitary Products, Soft Drinks and Safety Locks: An FMCG Approach to Fighting Period Poverty in Tanzania

'Period poverty' — in which women and girls struggle to access and afford menstrual products — is particularly bad in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s why a new initiative in Tanzania is taking a 21st-century, FMCG approach to a centuries-old problem.

The Biosphere Rules: Sustainability Is a Destination, Not a Journey

Envision a future where every material thing in our world is made out of a handful of materials, carefully selected to be safe, healthy and infinitely recyclable. Everything from coffee cup to countertop could be broken down and used as raw materials for a new shawl or lampshade.

New Retail Platforms Aim to Take Waste Out of Online Clothes Shopping

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. As we enter the season of giving — and the season of returns — two new, next-gen online retailers aim to address the rampant clothing waste inherent in e-commerce; and reward users for donating their used, unwanted clothing.

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The Biosphere’s Guide to Foolproofing Sustainability, Part 6: Function Over Form

Sustainability experts for decades have been exhorting managers to focus more on the function their products deliver and less on the product itself. Biosphere Rule #5, Function Over Form, is focused on fulfilling customers’ functional needs in ways that sustain the value cycle.

Report: We Must Move Beyond Plant-Based Products to Ensure Sustainable Food Future

Cross-Posted from The Next Economy. New analysis from Forum for the Future explores the public commitments of 132 leading food companies and outlines a five-point plan to get businesses on track towards a more sustainable global food system.

Life Cycle Analysis: Revealing the Unexpected Truth About Product Impacts

Cross-Posted from New Metrics. Typically, the stages in a product’s life cycle that have the greatest environmental effects also are the ones that present the best opportunity for sustainable innovation. If sustainability is part of the innovation process, then LCA should be conducted to ensure the avoidance of unintended consequences.

SB Oceans Showcases Solutions Aimed at Restoring Our Aquatic Abundance

AI, a conscientious credit card, social plastic and underwater forests are just a few of the solutions showcased at SB Oceans that can help us restore their abundance.

The Biosphere’s Guide to Foolproofing Sustainability, Part 5: Sustainable Product Platforms

Biosphere Rule #4 is about taking your value cycle, built with parsimonious materials and a power-autonomous energy system, and creating a production platform upon which you can build a whole suite of products — producing profit-amplifying economies of scale and scope.

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The Biosphere’s Guide to Foolproofing Sustainability, Part 4: Power Autonomy

Cross-Posted from Cleantech. Nature has discovered that if you want to sustain your value cycles for billions of years, they need to run on free flows of solar energy. Our products and processes need to do the same.

Chilean Startup Eliminating Packaging Waste, ‘Poverty Tax’ in Latin American Product Market

Cross-Posted from The Next Economy. Algramo’s unique, refillable packaging system allows customers to buy as much or as little of a product as they want, in reusable containers, with no difference in the price per gram — then recycles all packaging at the end of its life.

Foolproofing Sustainability, Part 3: Value Cycling

The model we use to teach MBAs about production is the value chain. But there's a problem: It imagines a linear world in which materials can be constantly pushed through an assembly line with no consequence.

While Climate Policy Catches Up, Here’s Some Groundbreaking Cleantech to Be Excited About

Cross-Posted from Cleantech. The remaining barriers to a climate-resilient future are political, rather than technological. Much of the tech required to transition to a low-carbon economy already exists — here are just a few to look out for.

SB’19 Madrid Offers Tasting Menu of ‘Moonshot Thinking’ for the Future of Humankind

Cross-Posted from The Next Economy. At SB’19 Madrid last week, a diverse array of innovators in various fields demonstrated the notion that asking the right questions and being willing to use imagination to find solutions to the climate crisis and other pressing global issues can turn a Moonshot into reality.

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