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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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"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 ...

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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.

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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.

Biochar Pilot Program Aims for Carbon-Negative Coffee

With more than 2 billion cups consumed each day, coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Most consumers of the black liquid hail from industrialized countries — over 90 percent of coffee production occurs in developing countries and out of the bulk of climate change regulations’ reach.

Earthwards: Johnson & Johnson’s Drive Toward a Healthy Future

Sustainability is no longer a fleeting trend. It is becoming a standard practice of companies both large and small, across multiple industries here in the United States and around the world. The health care sector is no different.

Bringing Back the Bike: One Start-Up’s Plan To Forever Change the Commute

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 ...

Data Show Eco-Fashion a Smarter Choice for Conscious Consumers, Brands Alike

According to eMarketer, online apparel and accessories is the fastest growing category of online sales among nine major categories.

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How Are Circular Economic Models Driving Innovation and Social Good?

Calling all innovators and implementers! In March 2013, Sustainable Brands will launch a new “Issues in Focus” editorial package, including daily features, interviews and case studies on the circular economy as a driver of business model innovation and social good.The Issue in FocusYou can't get a soy latte these days without hearing the words collaborative consumption, the circular economy, crade-to-cradle or the sharing economy. But how are these quasi-utopian concepts becoming real? What implications could they have for the future of business and the economy?

New Interface Competition Wants Design for Nature Lovers

Modular carpet company Interface launched a new competition this week inviting architects, designers and students to submit visions for how nature can influence the design of a new or existing space, both within built environments or outside.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Aims To Create $10B of Value by 2015 With New Global Business Alliance

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation today launched the Circular Economy 100 (CE100), a three-year program aimed at bringing together a network of 100 leading companies globally to facilitate development and commitment to new circular economy projects. The CE100 will provide executive education on key themes and emerging trends, share knowledge and new learnings, and identify and develop solutions to common challenges. The objective is that by 2015 participating companies will have triggered circular initiatives that will result in an aggregated economic benefit of $10bn for the businesses involved.

Indigenous Revolutionizes Apparel Industry by Highlighting Social Impacts

Seventeen years ago, Indigenous cofounders Scott Leonard and Matt Reynolds were picking burs out of hand-knit South American sweaters before delivering them to The Nature Company.

Aspirational Consumers Unite Style, Sustainability To Shape Market Trends

Is there such a thing as sustainable consumption? A new study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility finds that a majority of consumers across six international markets are seeking to reconcile their desire for shopping and style with responsibility to the environment and society through their purchases.

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