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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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Steelcase Draws Sustainability Inspiration from an Unlikely Source: The Healthcare Industry

Questions — and asking the right ones — are at the heart of Patricia Wang’s role as design researcher in WorkSpace Futures for Steelcase Inc. These days, the biggest question Wang faces is just as complicated and ambiguous as it is important: How can Steelcase encourage employees to get to a future state that is better both for them and for the planet?

Q&A: Continuous Improvement the Engine of Innovation at Shaw

Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and a leading floorcovering provider, has also become a leader in sustainability — in August, Shaw announced that 85 percent of its products are now Cradle to Cradle Certified™; and earlier this month, it achieved carbon neutrality in its commercial carpet manufacturing operations. We spoke with Troy Virgo, Director of Sustainability and Product Stewardship, to learn more about what drives the company’s efforts.

This Intelligent Database Could Be a One-Stop Shop for Sustainable Product Designers

Makersite is an all-in-one, open-source data platform for product design, costing and stewardship that product teams can use to analyze and collaborate on how things are made and improve the impacts of making them. The platform includes dozens of apps tailored to various business, compliance, health and environmental evaluations that developers and designers can use to quickly explore the effects of different product configurations, such as climate change, eutrophication, carcinogenicity, RoHS and REACH compliance and production costs. We caught up with CEO and co-founder Christoph Wilfert to find out more about this one-stop shop for sustainable product design.

Trending: Textile Startups’ T-Shirts, Purses Clean the Air, Fight Food Waste

While many aspects of the textile industry have notoriously harmful effects on people and the planet, we’re seeing a variety of solutions emerge that could shape the future of fashion. Two of the latest examples are Kloters’ RepAir t-shirts and Malai’s vegan leather-style accessories.

Detroit Ento: Building a People-Powered, Purpose-Forward Food Future

As we get ready to judge our semi-finalists for the 2018 Sustainable Brands Innovation Open, we wanted to check in with last year’s competitors to learn about the impacts they continue to have on the business world. Here, we catch up with our 2017 winner, Detroit Ento.

Philip Morris International Continues Shift Toward Smoke-Free Future

On Tuesday, Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) published its Sustainability Report 2017, outlining the concrete steps being taken to fundamentally transform its business, by putting smoke-free products at the core of its sustainability efforts to address wider societal challenges, drive operational excellence, manage its social impact and reduce its environmental footprint. PMI says it is committed to replace cigarettes as soon as possible with better alternatives to smoking for the millions of men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke.

11 Startups Redesigning Business: Meet the 2018 SBIO Semi-Finalists

After one of our most high-traffic voting periods to date, it’s time to meet the eleven semi-finalists in the 7th annual Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) — our competition for startups that positively impact people, planet and profit, co-sponsored by Makersite and RISN Incubator.

Trending: Tires Find New Life in Stunning Furniture, Durable Shoe Soles

Some 290 million tires are discarded each year in the U.S. alone, and they can be a challenge to recycle.

Olam, Bees Deliver Sustainable Ag Solutions for Sourcing, Natural Pesticides

Reimagining global agriculture will require numerous efforts of various size and focus, such as those in the news this week from a global agribusiness firm trying to meet targets across complex supply chains, a startup developing ways for bees to deliver natural pesticides, and teens looking to utilize unused space for agriculture or al

Trending: Clean Meat Poised to Make the Cut

“Clean meat” — products produced from culturing animal cells rather than raising and slaughtering animals — is facing its first major regulatory battle. The U.S.

Execs Agree: Emerging Technologies Key to Business, Environmental Success

Business strategy, technological innovation and corporate sustainability are increasingly linked in the minds of executives.

First Things First: 4 Ways to Unearth Ideas for Sustainable Innovation

Most Sustainable Brands readers will know that 22nd April is Earth Day, but did you also know that the 21st is World Creativity and Innovation Day? I’ve always been amazed at how little the sustainability community focuses on idea generation and creativity.

Trending: More Startups Revolutionizing the Food Industry

Everyone’s gotta eat – and it makes for a big industry. Globally, food and agriculture is a $7.8 trillion industry. Its also growing (pun intended): global investments in the food and agriculture sector have grown three-fold since 2004 and, according to McKinsey, on average have demonstrated higher returns to shareholders than other sectors. In the US, agriculture, food and related industries generated 5.5% of the country’s GDP at $992 billion, $137 billion of that coming directly from US farms.

3M Awards NDSU Engineering Students Top Prize in Disruptive Design Challenge

A team of students from North Dakota State University took the top prize last week at 3M’s Disruptive Design Challenge in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Fast Co's World-Changing Ideas Winners Build Empathy, EVs; Repurpose Guns, Flowers

For the second year, Fast Company is celebrating businesses, policies, and nonprofits that are poised help shift society to a more sustainable and more equitable future with its World Changing Ideas Awards. From melted down guns to nitrogen-producing microbes, there’s quite a bit of variety among 2018’s twelve winners.

Trending: New Sustainable Fashion Collections, Connections, CEO Agenda

Apparel collections that are less harmful to the environment are on the horizon from G-Star RAW and H&M. Meanwhile, a small Boston-based footwear company is making it easier for customers to connect with their craftsmen, and the non-profit Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) recommended sustainability priorities for senior managers in the fashion world in its first ‘CEO Agenda’ report.

Problem-Solvers Invited to Ideate, Prototype Blockchain Solutions for Social Good

Does cryptography hold the key to solving global social and environmental challenges? It certainly holds promise for some. Blockchain has become a hot topic recently, thanks to its variety of potential applications across supply chains, marketing, and more.

Trending: Startups Want to Redesign the Way We Eat Veg

With the global population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050 and the realities of climate change quickly unfolding, the pressure is on to find new solutions that allow us to meet growing demand while reducing environmental impacts. Food companies and government have an important role in initiating change, but startups are quickly emerging as the champions of tomorrow’s food system.

AB InBev Brews Up New Sustainability Goals, Innovation Accelerator to Tackle Global Challenges

Having achieved all of its previous sustainability goals over the past decade, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is hitting refresh on its sustainability goals, announcing a new set of 2025 targets for smart agriculture, water stewardship, circular packaging and climate action.

Trending: Climate-Smart Street Furniture, Infrastructure Helping Future-Fit Cities of Tomorrow

To usher cities towards a carbon-neutral future, local governments around the globe are hedging their bets on diesel and petrol vehicles bans. But eliminating fossil fueled mobility isn’t the only way to reduce emissions. Smart street furniture and innovative urban infrastructure are fast emerging as viable — and impactful — solutions to the CO2 problem.

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