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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.

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.

Nudie Jeans Showing Customers That 'Repairing Is Caring' (or Why It's Cool to Not Wash Your Jeans)

Cross-Posted from The Next Economy. Sustainability isn't all about sustainability, as I found out from Nudie Jeans — embedding it into the culture and telling a story is where it’s at.Walking past 29 D'Arblay St in London, a window is decorated with the words “Repairing is caring.” What might surprise you is that this isn’t on the outside of a seamstress’s workshop, but a jeans retailer.Yes, Swedish clothing brand Nudie Jeans is encouraging its customers to repair their denim in a bid to make them last, and subsequently, help them hold off buying new ones for a little bit longer.

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.

Coca-Cola Replenishes 108.5 Billion Liters of Water Back to Communities

Coca-Cola and its bottling partners are on track to meet their 2020 water replenishment goal by balancing an estimated 68 percent of the water used in their finished beverages based on 2013 sales volume.To date, the soft drink company has replenished an estimated 108.5 billion liters of water back to communities and nature through 509 community water projects in more than 100 countries.

Imagine a World Where Generosity Pays …

A world where inclusion is valued more than exclusionA world where trust triumphs over doubtA world where possibilities outnumber limitationsA world where the more you give, the more you gainIn many ways, the world we have created is designed for greed, not for generosity, and we want to change this. Most of us value generosity, but we struggle to let it work for us.Let’s not pretend that generosity is easy, that we are wired for it, or that it is commonplace. It is not. Yet most would agree that “generosity” is needed to thrive, to grow, to prosper and to succeed.Generosity Pays: An idea with currency for our new social world

#SB14sd: C2C Product Innovation Institute Launches Report Showcasing 10 Companies Showing Us the Way Forward

Today, our impact on the world is at a crossroads. Our planet has 7 billion people, and expected to be 9 billion by 2020. At Sustainable Brands, we are familiar with how a healthy and prosperous future can be achieved by working to innovate well-designed products with reusable and safe materials, and made without the need to deplete precious resources or energy. We are happy to share initial reports that illustrate how certain companies have proven responsible leadership. We can give consumers good choices.

#SB14sd: Panera Launches Food Policy Focused on Clean Ingredients, Transparency, Positive Impact

Today, Panera Bread shared a comprehensive set of commitments around its food. The Food Policy, which the company calls a formal articulation of its long-held values, is expressed by a commitment to clean ingredients, transparency and a positive impact (on the food system) rooted in craft.

Servergy Wants Its Customers to 'Save Energy. Work Smarter'

In the weeks leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 4th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we’ve been getting to know our 11 semi-finalists. Today, meet our final semi-finalist, Servergy.When Bill Mapp, the founder and CEO of Servergy, launched his information technology (IT)/hardware innovation and design startup in the depths of the Great Recession in 2009, friends and family thought he was crazy. At the time many people held the belief that the IT and hardware business was dead, but Mapp pushed forward anyway.

WOO's Collaborative Supplier Network Helping to Create 'Worlds of Opportunities'

Mission-driven startup WOO, true to its name, is helping to create “Worlds of Opportunities” for artisans and other skilled laborers living in impoverished communities throughout Vietnam.Launched in 2009, the growing luxury lifestyle brand is the brainchild of philanthropist and entrepreneur Saskia de Knegt, whose vision to blend talent with underutilized local resources has helped establish livelihoods and repurpose waste streams through the production of handcrafted beeswax candles set in recycled wine and vodka bottles.With a background in medicine and business administration, de Knegt first worked in the medical field in Africa and South America before switching to development aid.

Raffle for Good: Reinventing Online Philanthropy

In the weeks leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 4th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will get to know our 11 semi-finalists. Today, meet the winner of our public vote, Raffle for Good.