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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.

Whole Foods Partners With Gotham Greens To Build First Commercial Rooftop Greenhouse

Whole Foods and Gotham Greens have come together to construct the country’s first commercial-scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space in Brooklyn.

Richard Branson and Tim Berners-Lee to Judge UK Google Innovation Challenge

Google has announced an initiative to support non-profits in the United Kingdom that use technology in innovative ways to solve global problems.

Barking Up the Right Tree: How Highland Craftsmen Is Helping the Local Environment, Economy

Forestry has always been critical to the livelihood of residents in the western North Carolina Mountains, but the economically distressed area has suffered since the furniture industry mostly vacated the region. Thanks to the efforts of Marty and Chris McCurry, co-founders of Highland Craftsmen, things are changing.

Oregon Startup Pedals To Cut GHG Emissions in Portland

Portland-based startup-up B-Line says its small team of electrical-tricycle couriers has replaced 20,000 commercial truck and van deliveries since its inception in 2009.

Resource Revolution White Paper Examines Risks and Rewards of Circular Economy

Cross-Posted from Waste Not. This article first appeared on on March 20, 2013.Environmental Data Interactive Exchange (Edie), an online sustainability resource based in the UK, has published an exclusive white paper highlighting the opportunities and challenges of circular economy realization, for both businesses and the waste management industry.The report, published in association with sponsor FCC Environment and sister title Local Authority Waste & Recycling magazine, investigates the implications of closed-loop thinking as businesses start to take back waste-derived materials and energy into their supply chains.

Stanford Selects Cradle to Cradle’s William McDonough as First Living Archive

Stanford University has chosen William McDonough as its first living archive, which will include digital and hard copy artifacts from his life to give current and future generations an insight into the sustainability design leader’s mind.

Changing Consumers to Users Key To Success of Circular Economy

In January, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation released a new animation, focusing on the role of new business models in the transition to a regenerative circular economy."The Circular Economy: From Consumer to User" (below) is a follow-up to 2011’s "Re-Thinking Progress: The Circular Economy," a short film that offered an introduction to the circular concept and stimulated discussion around what our future economy may look like. The new video looks in more detail at one aspect of this — what if we didn’t buy the goods we use but instead favoured access and performance over ownership?

Nike, TechStars Name Nike+ Accelerator Program Winners

Nike and TechStars have announced the winners of its first Nike+ Accelerator program. Select startups are awarded the opportunity to enter a three-month program at a Nike space in Portland, Oregon to build products aimed at helping people to lead more active lives using the Nike+ and NikeFuel platforms.

Ben & Jerry’s and Ashoka Vet European Social Entrepreneurs with Join Our Core Competition

Ben & Jerry’s and Ashoka last week launched their second Join Our Core competition to find the most innovative young social entrepreneurs in Europe.

"The Interests of the Commons": Eric Lowitt on the Collaboration Economy

In this recent interview, guest editor Adam Werbach talks with Eric Lowitt, author of the forthcoming book, The Collaboration Economy (Wiley, April 2013). As Lowitt explains, the collaboration economy describes a situation in which “the interest of the commons now affects the common interest.”To illustrate the concepts explored in the book, an excerpt from a chapter of The Collaboration Economy appears below the video.

Holistic, Brand-Led EPR Initiatives Key for Achieving Benefits of Circular Economy

With three billion new middle-class consumers projected to enter the global marketplace in the coming decades[1], it is now widely acknowledged that the global economy of tomorrow will face material scarcity and supply chain insecurity at an unprecedented scale — an inevitable consequence of an industrial era based on a make/use/dispose model. These new realities have galvanized an international community of academia, NGOs, governments and corporate interests to promote new principles to guide future economic decision-making.

GM Plans To Cut Vehicle Weight Up to 15% by 2017

General Motors hopes to save as much as 12 billion gallons of fuel over the life of the vehicles it builds between 2011 and 2017 through reducing vehicle weight by up to 15 percent and other fuel efficiency upgrades, the company’s CEO Dan Akerson said at last week’s HIS CERAWeek energy conference.

The "Follower-Ship Challenge": Pavan Sukhdev on the Circular Economy

In this recent interview, guest editor Adam Werbach and Pavan Sukhdev — leader of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project and author of Corporation 2020 — discuss the shift in thinking, habits and values necessary for the widespread adoption and success of the circular economy, and the "follower-ship challenge" presented by early adopters.

One World Futbol: Saving Soccer in the Developing World

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 Circular Economy: Reinventing Business Models for Broad Economic Change

Let’s start with where we are today. The state of the "economy," like the bible or the U.S. constitution, is granted semi-magical powers by most businesses, as if it were carved out of granite, solid and unmoving, never in flux. Yet we all know that the economy — which we'll define here as the system of production and consumption of goods and services within a given region — is ruled by no one, experiences massive upheavals as industries rise and fall, and serves to enrich some people and impoverish others. The economy requires the functioning of natural systems, from the hydrologic cycle to photosynthesis, to function.

The Circular Economy: Driver of Business Model Innovation and Social Good

In this Issue in Focus, guest editor Adam Werbach and the SB editorial team explore the broad range of radical economic and business-model innovations emerging, through which both startups and some of the top global brands are rethinking the future of business and creating new economic, environmental and social benefits.Discussion question:What do you think are the biggest challenges to overcome in the shift toward a circular economy?Join the conversation!

Manufacture New York: A New Sustainable Model for U.S. Fashion Production

Sometimes an industry simply can’t move forward without changing the conversation and embracing more sustainable business models.

Ecofiltro: Quenching Thirst in Guatemala One Family at a Time

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 ...In most of the developed world, few of us give much thought to where our drinking water comes from. When thirsty, we need only to walk to the nearest faucet for an endless supply of fresh, potable water. Studies show the average American household wastes 100,000 to 200,000 gallons of water every year, while 780 million people in developing countries lack access to reliable drinking water — about one in nine people on the planet.

Assembling for Disassembly: Alcoa, Honda Back Automotive Manufacturing Research at OSU

Aluminum company Alcoa is lending its support to a longstanding research partnership between Honda and Ohio State University that could innovate auto manufacturing.

Greyhound Installs Telematics to Increase Fuel Efficiency in 1,775 Buses

Greyhound has begun integrating telematics program DriveCam across its entire fleet to optimize safety performance and increase fuel efficiency.