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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.

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.

UPS Debuts Winglets on 767 Aircraft To Save Fuel and Reduce Emissions

UPS has unveiled a new look for its flagship Boeing 767 fleet by adding winglets as a part of its efforts to save fuel and reduce emissions.

Consumers Rank Ingredient Transparency Among Most Important Issues for Brands

Cross-Posted from Marketing and Comms. Horsemeat found in five percent of beef tested in the European Union. One in three fish commonly mislabeled in the United States. Up to 30 states now considering GMO labeling laws. Ingredient transparency is trending for brands looking to restore consumer trust. But how much do consumers care about what they put in, on and around their bodies?

Study: Grocery Delivery Services Can Reduce CO2 Emissions Up to 75%

Grocery delivery services such as those provided by Safeway, FreshDirect, Amazon and Google can slash carbon dioxide emissions by 20 to 75 percent compared to individual household trips to the market, according to researchers at the University of Washington.

Startup Crowdfunding to Sell Superfood Bars in US to Aid West African Farmers

Oakland-based social enterprise Kuli Kuli is launching an Indiegogo campaign to leverage its “superfood” nutrition bar to help alleviate poverty in West Africa.Kuli Kuli Bars are gluten-free, raw and made with just a few simple all-natural ingredients, the company says. The bars also are low in calories but contain high amounts of fiber, protein and vitamins. The bars are made from moringa oleifera, a tree that has been widely documented for its vast nutritional properties and ability to grow in poor soil with little water.

Groundbreaking Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs

The multitude of social and environmental challenges we face — both locally and globally — presents countless opportunities for new approaches and business models to rise to the fore. All over the world, mission-driven entrepreneurs are bringing fresh, disruptive innovations to market in response to some of these challenges. Here are some of our favorites, each of which represents a different game-changing idea that has the potential to dramatically shift the market, and the world, in which they operate.

Mosaic Crowdsourcing $100 Million in New Solar Projects

Mosaic, an online marketplace that connects investors to solar energy projects, is tackling more and more ambitious projects. Recently, it started the Golden State Series, a string of solar investments that will total $100 million. The first project, seeking a investment $153,000 in a solar charity in San Diego, sold out in just six hours.

SBIO Wants Your Help Choosing the Best New Talent Solving the World’s Biggest Problems

The Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) is celebrating its 5th birthday with a new crop of highly innovative, socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs. SBIO presented by Target, would like your help in choosing the runner-up and winner of the People’s Choice Award on June 5th via a live online public vote.Since its inception, SBIO has aimed to identify startups with the most potential to make scalable and sustainable impacts. Past SBIO alumni have continued to flourish, including 2012 finalist Mosaic and 2011’s winner, One World Futbol.

SBIO Semi-Finalist PrintEco Wants to Help You Save Time and Paper

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. Each 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 at SB '13, we will feature an article on one of our SBIO semi-finalists. This week, meet the SBIO Public Vote Semi-finalist winner, PrintEco.

GoodCompany Ventures Seeking Social Enterprises for $500,000 Acceleration Grant

Now entering its fifth year, the GoodCompany Ventures (GCV) social enterprise accelerator is an initiative aimed at finding innovative solutions to address unmet social needs through for-profit enterprises that can scale for global impact.

B Lab's 'Best for the World' List Highlights Companies Making Positive Impacts

Sungevity and Trillium Asset Management are among the 67 businesses recently recognized by B Lab’s annual “Best for the World” list, which honors companies across 20 countries and 25 industries for redefining success in business.Each company on the list is a certified B Corporation focused on solving social and environmental problems and met several standards for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. The firms also each earned an overall score in the top 10 percent of all certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment a company's impact on its workers, community and the environment.

Nestlé Ramps Up Sustainable Design Efforts Throughout Brand Portfolio

As consumers become increasingly demanding of more social and environmental sustainability efforts from their favorite brands, Nestlé is one multinational that is responding in kind. The challenges for the world’s largest food company, however, are as complicated as the company’s long and tangled supply chain.

Global Forest Watch 2.0 Fights Deforestation With Google Technology

A new initiative unveiled this week at the United Nations Forum on Forests will use Google technology to provide real-time information to help governments, companies and communities prevent deforestation.

Project 100 Brings Classy Car-Sharing to Downtown Las Vegas

In an effort to reduce area residents’ need for vehicle ownership within a very car-dependent city, Las Vegas is getting a high-class car-sharing service.

Virgin Atlantic To Rate In-Flight Meals on Sustainability

UK airline giant Virgin Atlantic has partnered with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a non-profit that helps UK restaurants improve environmental footprints, to have its entire global catering operation assessed for sustainability.

Global Fresh Foods Technology Enables International Salmon Shipment by Sea

Global Fresh Foods, which specializes in extending the shelf life of fresh food, recently announced it has begun using its technology to ship fresh salmon from Chile by sea to the west coast of the U.S. without using ice, environmentally harmful polystyrene foam packaging or expensive carbon emissions-heavy air freight.

Australian Social Enterprise Partners with WaterAid To Wipe Away Disease in Africa

To prepare for this year's Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) competition, we're catching up with some of our favorite entrepreneurial ventures from competitions past ... The next time you visit the loo, consider yourself lucky. While many might think little about answering nature’s call, some 2.5 billion people — or roughly 40 percent of the global population — do not have access to a toilet. In areas lacking adequate facilities, human waste can contaminate drinking water, which when combined with malnutrition, often causes gastrointestinal infections such as diarrhea.