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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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Learning How to Share Again [Video]

As toddlers, most of us had to learn how to share against our more basic instincts.

Consumers Believe Brands Can Have Positive Impact but Are Failing to Do So

For all the talk about how important brands are in people's lives, the evidence points firmly in the other direction.

More Life Now! A Manifesto for Rejuvenative Technology

At a time when authoritative studies highlight our lack of progress on existing environmental goals and the scale of the threats we may face, we need to turn away from incrementalism, from rationing our unsustainability, towards new models of technological and economic innovation.

GM, BMW Complete Successful Testing on DC Fast Charge Stations

After several days of joint testing, General Motors and BMW AG engineers say they are confident that DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations from several suppliers will consistently allow an electric vehicle to take on an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes.This industry-coordinated early confirmation of DC Fast Charge hardware and software will accelerate efforts to roll out SAE Combo DC Fast Charge infrastructure in the coming months, the announcement says. Some of the suppliers participating in the testing were ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES.

SB '13, Day 3: Startups, Multinationals Alike Showcase Game-Changing Innovations

On Wednesday, day three of the SB’13 conference, the morning plenary presentations explored some of the more fascinating ways innovation is manifesting itself through entrepreneurs and large businesses alike. Moderator Annie Longsworth, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, reminded the audience that innovation is tough — you need to be willing to fail if you want to succeed, and asserted that “We are at our greatest need, collectively. If there ever was a time for innovation, it is now.”

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Ecopia Working to Reduce Plastic Waste, Increase Quality of Life for Small Farms in Developing Countries

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. In the final week leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 5th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will feature daily articles introducing our semi-finalists. Today, meet Ecopia.Minnesota-based start-up Ecopia offers environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional plastic and paper products, while also driving social value within the communities that create its goods.

Engagement and Innovation: Lessons from CLIF Bar's Latest Eco-Challenge

To commemorate Earth Day 2013, Clif Bar’s offices in Emeryville, California, went paperless for one week.

FreshPaper: Saving the World from Spoiled Food

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. In the final week leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals presented by Target on June 5th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will feature daily articles introducing our semi-finalists. Today, meet Fenugreen.Some of the best ideas are the simplest ones.Boston-based social enterprise Fenugreen is using its simple product, FreshPaper, to tackle a complex problem — global food waste.

LaborVoices Using Worker Feedback To Paint More Accurate Pictures of Supplier Practices

Cross-Posted from Supply Chain. In the final week leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 5th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will feature daily articles introducing our semi-finalists. Today, meet LaborVoices.As an AAAS Science Policy Fellow for the U.S State Department’s Office of International Labor and Corporate Social Responsibility office, Dr. Kohl Gill was inspired to found LaborVoices while on a trade and labor delegation to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Blue Box Cleaning Up Equipment, Bottom Lines for the Industrial Sector

Cross-Posted from Chemistry, Materials & Packaging. In the final week leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals presented by Target on June 5th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will feature daily articles introducing our semi-finalists. Today, meet Blue Box.Blue Box is positioning itself as an innovative method of cleaning industrial equipment with very little chemicals, at very low cost.

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BMW i Poised to Redefine Sustainable Mobility

The BMW brand arguably defines automobile performance, engineering and technology.

Efficiency Exchange Leading 'Charge' To Improve Supply Chain Sustainability from the Ground Up

Cross-Posted from Supply Chain. In the final week leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 5th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will feature daily articles introducing our semi-finalists. Today, meet Efficiency Exchange.

New Research Finds UK Consumers Earning and Saving £4.6 Billion Through the Sharing Economy

New research commissioned by The People Who Share shows that 65% of adults in the UK are already part of the sharing economy, and a further 28% would consider taking part, if they don’t already. Conducted by Opinium, The State of the Sharing Economy polled 2,005 adults in the UK to demonstrate the growing consumer appetite for the sharing economy, just in time for Global Sharing Day 2013 on Sunday, June 2nd.

Run Up to SB '13: Nick Miller on Startups in the Sharing Economy

Nick Miller is the CEO of Parking Panda — a service that enables parking space owners (both individuals and commercial lots) to capitalize on underutilized parking spaces by renting them to a community of drivers. On the flip side, drivers can save time and money by reserving a spot in advance and paying online.

Report Finds Peers, Consumer Reviews Now as Trusted as Certifications for Sustainability Claims

Cross-Posted from Marketing and Comms. A recent study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility claims social sources such as consumer reviews, blogs and message boards as well as friends, family and co-workers now rival traditional sources such as certifications and media reports as consumers’ most trusted sources for determining whether a product is socially and environmentally responsible.

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How Might We Re:Imagine Consumption? Conditions for Success and a Call for Collaboration

Cross-Posted from Behavior Change. Consumption (noun); the action of using a resource. We know consumption is a primary driver of the inherent unsustainability of modern living. For those yet to be convinced that our way of life is not sustainable (adjective — able to be maintained at a certain level), reflect on the fact that last Friday, May 10th, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere peaked at 400 ppm. Also reflect on the fact that the desire for a $1 T-shirt has driven the most appalling standards in many apparel supply chains and the recent deaths of over 1000 garment workers in Bangladesh.

Run Up to SB '13: Neal Gorenflo on the Cultural Shift Around Innovation and the Sharing Economy

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder of the non-profit Shareable, whose mission is to empower everyone to share for a more joyous, resilient and equitable world. Shareable is best known for its online magazine covering the sharing economy.At Sustainable Brands ’13 (June 3-6), Gorenflo will be moderating and participating in panel discussions focused on entrepreneurial trends and the importance of connecting innovation with purpose. I asked him a few questions about how sharing fits into the picture.

Fields Not Factories: Sustainability-Driven Innovation at Seventh Generation

What does it take to grow and profit in the immensely competitive household and personal products industry dominated by giants Unilever and Procter & Gamble? And how can sustainability be the lever that provides revenue growth and product differentiation?

5 Ways to Make Transparency a Brand Advantage

Cross-Posted from Supply Chain. Pink slime. Pan-European traces of horsemeat. Escolar masquerading as white tuna. Some 30 states considering GMO-labeling legislation.The challenges and opportunities surrounding transparency affect consumers in ways that are deeply personal (if not downright intestinal) and raise the stakes for brands.

Creating Good Work: Ron Schultz on How Social Entrepreneurs Are Building a Healthy Economy

Creating change on any scale is challenging enough, but doing so for the good of society is even harder. Facing difficult odds and large-scale social problems, social entrepreneurs are driven to produce measurable impact, opening up new pathways that unlock society’s full potential to effect positive change.

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