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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.

AT&T Commits $18 Million to Youth Mentoring Programs

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson joined President Obama today to commit $18 million to education programs with a youth mentoring component. This funding supports the company’s goal of providing youth across the country one million hours of mentoring by AT&T employees through the end of 2016.“Research shows that the presence of a mentor in a young person’s life significantly improves their potential for success. That’s why thousands of AT&T employees volunteer to mentor students across the country,” Stephenson said. “I am proud to be a part of this initiative with the president.”

Airbnb Rebrand Invites You to Bélo-ng

Airbnb has a fresh coat of paint – including a new website and mobile app, and Bélo - a new logo that invites you to 'belong anywhere.' In addition to the rebranding, the company has tried to redesign its entire user experience – the new website attempts to provide a more intuitive experience with bigger photos, clearer listings and a simpler booking process.Termed as the 'universal symbol of belonging', Bélo is “an iconic mark for our windows, our doors, and our shared values. It’s a symbol that, like us, can belong wherever it happens to be,” says Airbnb. A video released by the company explains that Bélo stands for people, places, love and Airbnb.

Study: Companies Must Shift from Touting Sustainability to Tangibly Impacting Customers' Lives

Only a third of consumers regularly consider sustainability in their purchasing decisions, according to a global study by Accenture and Havas Media RE:PURPOSE, which reveals the reasons for the disconnect between business and consumer expectations of sustainable products and services.

Hackers Help Chipotle, Applegate Re-Engineer the Future of Dining

Food+Tech Connect's recent Hack//Dining hackathon in New York City has yielded some insightful solutions to big problems faced by the dining industry. The call to “re-engineer the future of food” was answered by nearly 200 hackers who spent the weekend trying to use technology to find answers for a more sustainable industry.“The problems in the food industry are complex, and they aren’t going to be solved in a weekend,” said Danielle Gould, founder of Food+Tech Connect. “The point is to get new ideas into circulation, new people working on this, and to do rapid prototyping — to actually make a real product in a weekend.”

GE's Ecomagination Initiative Targets GHG Emissions from Canada’s Oil Sands

General Electric (GE) has announced the launch of an up to $1 million ecomagination open innovation challenge to help accelerate technology development in Canada’s oil sands.The Innovation Challenge will target two of the biggest opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the oil sands: new uses for waste heat and improved efficiency of steam generation.

Dell’s 2014 Products Save Customers $449 Million in Energy Costs

Dell reduced the energy intensity of its product portfolio by 23.2 percent over the last two years, and that of its server portfolio by roughly 50 percent, according to the company’s new sustainability report.Dell asserts customers who purchased products in FY14 can expect to spend $449 million less on electricity to power their products over their lifetime compared to those purchased in 2012.

West Elm's Artisan Partnerships Supporting Thousands in Developing Communities

This post is part of a series written by MBA and MPA candidates in Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course, examining the role of marketing in advancing sustainability across all sectors.

LA Entrepreneur Crowdfunding Sustainable Sandals in Brazil

While the World Cup is drawing attention to Brazil from millions of soccer fans across the world, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur is working with Brazilian manufacturers to develop a new line of sustainable footwear.Called Joya da Terra, the handmade sandals are made of natural and recycled materials and the production process is centered on zero waste, recycling and sustainable manufacturing."Not only do we have our unique handmade sandals (aka 'flip-flops'), but we also have 'our take on the TOMS shoe.' All these styles are unisex," said Cynthia Tello, the company’s founder.

MIT Crowdsourcing Solutions for Host of Issues Related to Climate Change

Some of the most profound recent developments in media, technology, education and science have been the product of crowdsourcing. Think of Wikipedia, Linux, or reCAPTCHA — all are products of harnessing the power of collective human intelligence. While these are notable applications, can crowdsourcing be used to tackle some of the world’s more pressing problems — such as climate change?

SASB Issues Guidelines for Disclosure of Risks for Non-Renewable Resources Sector

When it comes to addressing climate change, many companies may ask, “How much will it cost to change the way of doing business?” The real question, however, is “What is the cost of doing nothing at all?” Last week, a bipartisan group released Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States, a report that addresses this very question, and serves as a call to action for both the private and public sectors. Among its key findings:

Ben & Jerry’s Sourcing New Ingredients, Renaming Flavors to Meet Non-GMO, Fairtrade Standard

In support of Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO-labeling law, Ben & Jerry’s has temporarily renamed its beloved Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor ice cream “Food Fight Fudge Brownie,” and announced that $1 from each sale of the limited-edition flavor from Ben & Jerry’s locations throughout Vermont will support the State’s legal defense fund: Several food and biotech companies have filed suit against challenging the law, which is slated to go into effect in July 2016 — hence, the “Vermont Food Fight Fund.” The company says the “Food Fight” version of the flavor will be available in its company-owned shops but not in grocery store pints.

Superfood Startup Raises $350,000 in Crowdfunding Equity Campaign

Kuli Kuli, maker of the eponymous moringa “superfood” nutrition bars, has raised $350,000 in a crowdfunding equity campaign.The campaign brought in an array of notable investors, including Brad Feld of the Foundry Group, five-time CEO and former venture capitalist Derek Proudian, and Mary Waldner of the recently acquired food company Mary’s Gone Crackers.

The 'CVS Effect' in Action: SAP, Starbucks, Tesla Show How to Lead by Sharing Information

Here are three new examples of the CVS Effect in action that show how brands can change how business operates — for the better (the “CVS Effect” is shorthand for recognizing brands that are doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do). In these cases, the “right thing” is choosing to share information and resources, even when there’s a risk of losing market dominance or taking a financial hit.

Unilever, John Lewis Help Launch £1m Internet of Things Innovation Competition

Unilever, John Lewis and EE, the UK’s largest mobile and Internet provider, have lent their support to a £1m Launchpad competition seeking game-changing innovations in Internet of Things-related technologies brewing in the UK.

Mycelium Launching 12-Week Learning Program For Future Leaders

Philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.”At SB ’13 in San Diego, my colleague Ashley Cooper and I, cofounders of The Mycelium School, offered a keynote talk on the seven skills of future leaders. In March of this year, we concluded a successful pilot program designed around cultivating these future skills. The majority of participants are calling the experience ‘transformative.’

Starbucks Partnering with ASU to Offer Employees Free College Tuition

Starbucks has announced the Starbucks College Achievement Plan — an opportunity for eligible part-time and full-time employees to complete a Bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement through a collaboration with Arizona State University's online degree program.

Live and Learn: The Greatest Mistakes (and Lessons) of Social Entrepreneurship

I liken being a social entrepreneur to being a New York City resident; you don’t really feel like you belong until you can show others around. After celebrating two years of being a social entrepreneur, I am thrilled to share the story of how I turned mistakes into a meaningful enterprise.It began at the supermarket. My then three-year-old son and I were heading down that slippery slope aka the cereal aisle. It hit me that every product that was at eye level for him contained more sugar than nutrition. In fact, some boxes listed over 90 ingredients, most of which I couldn’t pronounce.

Sustainia Highlights Circular Economy, Supply Chain, Analytics Solutions in This Year’s Sustainia100

An ethical smartphone, air-cleaning carpets and carbon-negative plastic are three of 100 game-changing innovations selected by Scandinavian think tank Sustainia as its top sustainability solutions for the year. Sustainia100 is an annual guide to Sustainia’s picks for 100 projects, initiatives and technologies at the forefront of sustainable innovation from around the world that gives investors, business leaders, policy makers and consumers insights into promising solutions within their respective fields. This year, Sustainia’s research team and advisory board screened a pool of 900+ nominated solutions from which the final 100 solutions were selected.

Japanese Company Creates Floating Billboard to Clean Polluted River

Shokobutsu Hana, a natural cosmetics sub-brand from Japanese company Lion, has launched a campaign to build awareness of the “healthy beauty brought by the power of nature” by literally cleaning a polluted river with an 88-foot floating organic billboard.

Europe Unleashing Full-Scale Attack on Food Waste

The issue of food waste has rightfully come front and center in the Western world, with staggering figures such as 40 percent waste in the US alone forcing us to find solutions. The problems that lead to food waste lie throughout the chain from production to distribution and consumption, which means countless opportunities for organizations across all sectors to innovate to tackle it.Europe is leading the way with a rash of new technologies and collaborations working to minimize waste generated in the food cycle, many of them at the retail level.


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