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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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Sustainable Materials at Scale: 100% Recycled Denali Fleece Prevents Waste on Multiple Fronts

Here at The North Face, we believe in making great outdoor gear in a sustainable and responsible way. That’s why we’ve set out to change the way outdoor apparel is made. We’ve set a bold goal to have 100 percent of our polyester (or 80 percent of all of the fabric we use for apparel) come from recycled content — from thousands of plastic bottles — by 2016. Repurposing plastic waste helps reduce carbon emissions and avoids using more open space for landfills.

Global Forum Attendees Design 'Flourishing' Solutions to Real-World Challenges

On Thursday, the first full day of Flourish & Prosper: The Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit in Cleveland, Ohio, the morning’s plenaries and CEO panels explored how business can move beyond how social and environmental responsibility are thought of today, to a new mindset of "full-spectrum flourishing" where “companies prosper, people excel, and nature thrives.”

From Spend Shifters to Strategic Buyers: How Soon Will Climate Become a Reason to Purchase?

One of the highlights of Sustainable Brands ‘13 London was Chip Walker’s talk about The Shifting Landscape of Consumer Values and Implications for Your Brand’s Future. The power in Walker’s delivery was, in common with all the best talks, that he provided insight into questions that everyone in his audience has. Specifically, he shed new light on how consumers think about brands.

Healthy Disruption Needed to Advance Clothing Recycling

I am sitting in the airport at Minneapolis, Minnesota, having just left the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Retailer Sustainability Conference, and my mind is awash in the list of challenges and risks that were reinforced over the past few days. The U.S. retail economy plays an enormous role in our daily lives — it employs 25 percent of the U.S. workforce, represents more than 66 percent of the country’s GDP and undoubtedly plays a critical role in our environmental stewardship.While the central theme of the RILA conference was sustainability, much was devoted to addressing recent advancements in technologies, the sharing economy, resource responsibility and transparency.

When Money Packs a Positive Punch

Impact investing is the all the rage in billionaire circles. Now as most of us aren’t billionaires, you might ask: ‘why do we care?’ Quite simply because this phenomenon is changing the face of both philanthropy and finance and has the potential to radically impact our communities, the causes we care about and the world at large.

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Craft Brewers Dramatically Reducing Carbon Emissions by Sharing Kegs

By sharing a pool of kegs rather than owning their own, over 200 leading craft brewers have helped reduce their collective carbon footprint by over 3 million kg of CO2e in 2013. These findings, based on a study by John Heckman, Ph.D with PE International and commissioned by MicroStar Logistics, will be used as a benchmark to help the craft beer industry further minimize its carbon footprint each year.

How Comfortable Are You with Your Customers Having All the Power?

Wolff Olins and Flamingo’s Game Changers series is an annual exploration of what’s driving change in the world of brands. The latest Game Changers report, The New Mainstream, looks at the evolving ways people are consuming products and interacting with brands. The research addresses the sense of uneasiness from companies about ‘giving up control to consumers’ in the age of social media. Some business leaders are embracing it, finding new ways to connect with their customers on an individual level — but most are nervous at the thought of potentially losing control of their brand.

Apple's New HQ Could Be 'Greenest Building on the Planet,' CEO Says

Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed last week that his company’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California would be the “greenest building on the planet.”Speaking at Climate Week NYC, when asked about Apple’s efforts to reduce its impact throughout its supply chain, CEO Tim Cook reportedly said: “We’re building a new headquarters that will, I think, be the greenest building on the planet. It’ll be a center for innovation, and it’s something clearly our employees want and we want. Apple at its roots has a very core value of leaving the world a better place than we found it.”

Unilever, Coke, M&S, BT Launch Digital Platform to Engage Millennials on Our Power to Create Change, 'Collectively'

A coalition of the world’s biggest companies has launched a global digital platform to drive conversation and momentum around sustainability — and to help reach the ever-elusive goal of making sustainable lifestyles the new normal.The idea for Collectively, launched today, emerged from conversations at last year’s World Economic Forum between Unilever, BT Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Marks & Spencer and Carlsberg, around how to engage more effectively with millennials to inspire and accelerate more sustainable ways of living.

Home-Brew Innovators Prove Simple, Plant-Based Remedies Could Revolutionize Skincare

For most people with skin problems, the solution is to try every possible remedy and product out there until they find one that works. But when the alternatives don’t work, some enterprising patients decide to make their own.Anita Redd took matters into her own hands when conventional remedies were no match for her infant son’s eczema — a painful condition causing inflamed and itchy skin. From birth, Kevin suffered from flaky and blistered patches on his body. When doctors recommended putting him on creams and steroids with potential side effects such as stunted growth, infections and hypertension, Redd decided to look elsewhere for alternatives.

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Avery Dennison RBIS Opens Innovation Center in Los Angeles

Avery Dennison RBIS, a global provider of apparel branding, labeling, packaging, embellishments and RFID solutions, celebrated the opening of its Los Angeles-based Customer Design and Innovation Center (CDIC), a 15,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in the city’s Arts District.The LA center will offer a collaborative experience for apparel brands with access to deep consumer insights and the latest trend information from Avery Dennison RBIS. The CDIC will also equip the apparel industry with custom embellishment and analysis tools for intelligent, creative and sustainable designs that help communicate the power of their brand.

Startup Setting Out to Make Fashion Industry Transparent, 'Just'

The deadly collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh in April 2013 was a tragic, overdue wake-up call to the fashion industry — not only to take action to ensure the safety of workers throughout their value chains, but also to illustrate the critical need for transparency as far as their operations reach throughout the world.

2014 Tomorrow's Value Rating Calls for Paradigm Shift in How We Do Business

​The Tomorrow’s ValueTM Rating (TVR), published by DNV GL, assesses the sustainability performance of the world’s largest companies, evaluating how well companies understand their risks and opportunities, and how prepared they are to create future business value.For the second year running, Unilever tops the rating, with Intel, Nestlé and Swiss building materials producer Holcim in a three-way tie for second place.

Barclays Pledges £1bn to Rapidly Growing Green Bonds Sector

On Monday, Barclays reaffirmed its commitment to the Green Bonds sector by announcing it will invest a minimum of £1bn (US$1.64) by November 2015 to form part of its liquid asset buffer — one of the largest such investments by a bank."Every so often, market innovation and social imperatives come together to create something exciting that has the potential to make a real difference,” said Tushar Morzaria, Group Finance Director at Barclays. “The Green Bond sector is a fast-growing and powerful example of this synthesis."

What Does Your Brand Stand For?

As a marketer, your goal is to win fans and keep them. You do that by making a difference. And by showing what moves you. What you stand for. But what is the best way to get to the core of your brand?

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Unilever, ad:tech London Offering $50K to Tech Startups That Might Be 'The Next Big Thing'

Unilever has partnered with the ad:tech London initiative and the trade show’s Future Media and Technology Summit. With this new partnership, a range of marketing and media tech startup hopefuls will pitch their ideas to brand, agency and venture capital judges to win the prestigious honor of being named "The Next Big Thing."

European Startup Has Developed Biomimetic Solution for Safe, Antimicrobial Plastics

Parx Plastics, a Dutch-Italian bio-innovator in antibacterial plastic technology, is launching its first ready-to-use Saniconcentrates™ for manufacturers in Europe and the US to safely create self-sanitizing products with an antibacterial property of up to 99 percent within 24 hours*.

One Year In, Plum & Campbell Say Trust, Learning Each Other's Strengths Are Secrets to Successful Marriage

What happens when a publicly traded, 147-year-old global food and beverage institution buys a scrappy, organic baby food startup dedicated to alleviating hunger for children in the US?On the one-year anniversary of Plum Organics’ both becoming a B Corp and being acquired by what CEO & co-founder Neil Grimmer calls “an American icon,” we caught up with Grimmer and Dave Stangis, VP of Public Affairs & Corporate Responsibility at Campbell Soup Company, last week at SOCAP to find out if the mission-driven startup and the multinational corporation are still in the honeymoon phase.

Cura Setting Out to Create Local and Global Impact 'Through Simply Enjoying Coffee'

Cura Coffee Co, a San Diego-based startup, sells a direct-trade, premium organic coffee that directly connects coffee lovers with the farmers who produce it.

General Mills Acquiring Annie's for $820M, Riding Wave of Demand for Authentic, Values-Driven Products

General Mills announced Monday that it will acquire Annie’s, Inc, a leading U.S. producer of branded organic and natural food products with net sales of $204 million in its latest fiscal year (completed March 2014).

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