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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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Liberty & Justice for All: How Africa Is Challenging Fast Fashion's 'Race to the Bottom'

Chid Liberty was born in Liberia, his father the nation’s ambassador to Germany — where Chid grew up before his family was exiled and moved to Silicon Valley. After 28 years abroad, Chid returned to Liberia in 2009 inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Liberian Women’s Peace Movement and founded Liberty & Justice with social entrepreneur Adam Butlein.

O2E Technologies: Turning the World's Waste Into Food and Fuel

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. Each week leading up to our SB London conference, where the winner of the SB London Innovation Open (SBIOL) will be announced on November 18, we will get to know each of our four finalists. This week, meet the SBIOL public vote winner, O2E Technologies.

Business Model Innovation

Choosing the right path to sustainable customer delight is no trivial task. After all, you have to arrive at a business model that delivers on customer expectations and is radical enough to make a dent in pressing sustainability challenges of the day. This channel discusses note-worthy principles, methodologies, processes and tools used in business model innovation around the globe.

Sustainable Brands Innovation Open London Finalists Announced

Sustainable Brands has been running a startup competition for the past 6 years but this is the first time we have run it overseas. Over the past few months we have been searching for the best and brightest new ventures disruptively innovating for a sustainable future.

Sustainable Startups Finding More Than Cash on Crowdfunding Platforms

When the principals behind Peppermint Energy decided to tap into crowdfunding in 2012 to boost their start-up solar enterprise, they found money, but they also discovered another type of equity.“What became obvious to us is that the type of people who support crowd-funding initiatives can be very helpful to vet out what is, what is not and what should be,” said Chris Maxwell, president of Peppermint. “We used our Kickstarter campaign to get market feedback, to get a bunch of people to tell us whether we are on the right track.”

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SHFT and BBMG Join Forces to Create Branded Content Offering

BBMG and SHFT are joining forces to announce a new branded content offering for organizations aiming to reach and engage Aspirational consumers, a fast-growing consumer segment that cares about looking good, feeling good and doing good.Combining BBMG’s consumer insights and brand-building expertise with SHFT’s creative and production capacity and the SHFT.com lifestyle platform, the partnership offers a powerful new approach to developing and delivering original branded content designed to disrupt and delight. The new initiative launches with an impressive roster of clients, including Sprint and Recyclebank.

Target Takes Important Step Toward Sustainable Product Standard

Target today announced an important step toward increasing product transparency, which the company says it hopes will lead to more sustainable and innovative products.

F-Cubed: Poised to Save the World from Pathogens

Chicago start-up F-Cubed, LLC (F3) is helping to stem the recurrence of infectious diseases across the food, health and environmental testing sectors with its disruptive invention — a portable diagnostic device that can analyze raw samples for pathogens in less than an hour.What does that mean?As an example of environmental testing, F3’s innovative analyzer can help swimmers avoid unforeseen illnesses by testing the bacteria levels within bodies of water.

2.5 Billion Aspirational Consumers Mark Shift in Sustainable Consumption

A new global consumer study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility confirms the rise of nearly 2.5 billion consumers globally who are uniting style, social status and sustainability values to redefine consumption. According to the report, The 2013 Aspirational Consumer Index, more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%). The study draws from telephone and in-person surveys of 21,492 consumers across 21 international markets conducted in April 2013.

Mosaic Enabling Public to Invest in Renewable Energy on U.S. Military Base, Starting at $25

Mosaic, America's first online marketplace to offer solar investments to the public, presents the first major U.S. military solar project to be funded by the public. This is a historic opportunity for Americans to invest in the nation's energy independence and troop preparedness. Launched Friday, investors large and small in the state of California can now put their dollars to work investing in solar panels on military housing.

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Nest Wants to Be the Hub of the Connected Home

A company that makes a “smart” thermostat wants developers to hack together your connected home. Nest, “The Learning Thermostat,” last week announced a new developer program and Web API that will connect Nest with other items in your home such as lighting, home appliances and home automation.

Bombas Socks' One-for-One Model Helping to Warm Feet — and Hearts

New York-based startup Bombas Socks is poised to revolutionize the sock industry while spreading its message of pushing yourself to “Bee Better.”Two years ago, after learning that socks are the more requested clothing item at homeless shelters, founders David Heath and Randy Goldberg decided to create a company based on the TOMS shoes plan: One for One.Not only did Heath and Goldberg plan that for every pair of socks sold, they would donate one to a person in need, they knew that they needed to create the perfect sock. With all the new designs in the apparel industry in the past couple of decades, socks have pretty much stayed the same; they are more or less an afterthought. Heath and Goldberg worked to create a sock to “look better, feel better and perform better.”

Rubies in the Rubble: Fighting a Culture of Waste One Chutney at a Time

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. In 2010, Jenny Dawson was a couple of years out of university working at a hedge fund company in London. One day, she found herself at a wholesale market where she saw pallets of edible fruit and vegetables going to the waste bin. The food had been grown in neighboring countries in Europe and as far away as Kenya.To Dawson it was sheer madness and an environmental and social travesty that so much good food requiring great resources to grow and transport to London would ultimately end up in the garbage. “Seeing pallets of perfectly good fruit coming in from Kenya destined for the garbage evoked a reaction in me. There must be something we could do. We can’t be this wasteful,” says Dawson.

Peering Into the Future: The Sharing Economy Gets a New Megaphone Thanks to Peers

Cross-Posted from Collaboration. On July 15, the sharing economy shifted with the launch of Peers: The movement became more centralized and acquired a more powerful voice. An advocacy group that strives to involve sharing economy users in conversations between business and regulators, Peers is a collaboration between leaders in the industry such as Airbnb, Zipcar, Meetup and TaskRabbit with an internal team experienced in entrepreneurship and organizing for social causes.

Flint and Tinder on a Mission to Revive the American Cut-and-Sew Industry

Cross-Posted from Supply Chain. It seems that starting a successful business can happen at any time and to anyone. All it took for Jake Bronstein was a look at where all his underwear was manufactured. Once he realized that 99% of all men’s underwear sold in the U.S. was produced in developing nations, he organized a Kickstarter campaign in April 2012 with a mission to change that, build a better product, and help revive the American cut-and-sew industry (a mission shared by like-minded clothing manufacturers SustainU and Manufacture NY).

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California Start-Up Creates Self-Filtering Water Bottle

A Southern California-based start-up called Evo Eau says it has created a reusable water bottle that filters up to 99 percent of contaminants from municipally supplied tap water.The bottle is engineered for everyday use and does more than many of its mainstream competitors in terms of filtering out contaminants and harmful carcinogens such as Chromium 6 in tap water, Evo Eau claims.The start-up says that many filtering water bottles only conform to NSF42 standards, which only asks for filters to remove 50 percent of chlorine from water. Many do not even conform to these standards and bottled water companies are held to even fewer.

SBIO Winner Fenugreen Poised to Change the World - Could Your Startup Do the Same?

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. It’s been only a few months since Fenugreen won the Innovation Open at the Sustainable Brands ’13 conference, but you wouldn’t know it based on their momentum and accomplishments since. Since winning SBIO, the company’s brilliantly simple product, FreshPaper, has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, Bloomberg, CNN, Dr. Oz and on Oprah’s Wow List.

Entropic Overhead: Measuring the Circular Economy

Cross-Posted from New Metrics. Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.— Charles BabbageDo you break the timer when your boiled egg is cooked?Our economy does; it is like a broken hourglass. We collect together valuable materials, apply energy and labour, put them into products that have yet more added design and brand value and spew them out into the world before starting again (mostly), from scratch.This of course would all be fine if scarcity was not a problem: If the materials, energy and inputs we rely upon for industrial production were either eternally abundant or safe to distribute and use. However in our current industrial models this is simply not the case.

WikiPearl Promises an Edible Packaging Revolution

Cross-Posted from Chemistry, Materials & Packaging. Consumer demand for foods convenient and fast has led to a surge in packaging waste across the globe. The use and disposal of plastic in particular has spiked, and despite increased corporate and municipal recycling programs, far too much plastic still ends up in landfills. This grab-and-go mentality for both junk and healthful foods alike will hardly be sustainable in the long run as more food companies and their brands churn out more products and packaging gimmicks in the name of “innovation.” Not one company so far, though, has found an innovative way to deal with the accumulation of Tetra-Paks, cartons and myriad types of plastic. Could edible packaging help solve this problem?

Dirtball's 'Green Jean' Needs Your Help to Tackle Plastic Bottle Waste

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. 66 billion bottles of water are consumed (and ultimately tossed) each year in the United States alone. In order to make a dent in this staggering number, eco-friendly clothing company Dirtball is using Kickstarter to launch a new product, The Green Jean.

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