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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New Turbine Technology Makes Zero-Emissions Fossil Fuel Power Plants a Reality

A low-carbon future is our best bet at mitigating climate change, but eliminating the use of fossil fuels is unlikely to happen overnight. According to the International Energy Agency, the burning of fossil fuels is likely to continue through 2040. Finding ways to reduce impacts in the interim is, therefore, essential. North Carolina startup NET Power has found a way to power the transition to a CO2-free future without parting ways with fossil fuels with its pioneering turbine technology.

Trending: New Plant-Based Solutions for Non-Recyclable Health, Home Products

While there’s plenty of discussion surrounding single-use plastics — namely straws, water bottles, food packaging, coffee stirrers, etc. — the topic of disposable needle counters doesn’t typically enter into the conversation. But with hospitals across the US generating more than 12,000 tons of waste per day — 30 percent of which come from operating rooms — reducing the use of non-renewable plastics in healthcare is imperative.

Trending: Harnessing Big Data, IoT for Enhanced Supply Chain, ESG Performance

Big data and IoT are back in the news, as real-time cargo tracking and monitoring service Arviem scores a Green Supply Chain 2017 Award for advancing supply chain transparency and UNEP calls for greater collaboration between Africa’s public and private sector to develop solutions for pressing social and environmental problems.

USGBC Adopts Resilient Design Standard to Adapt Buildings, Neighborhoods to Changing Climate

While the LEED rating system has faced criticism for its narrow scope, hefty price tag and preference for context-ignorant cleantech, a new resilient construction standard developed by global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting and Eaton Corporation could prove to be a critical tool in helping city planners, architects, developers, governments and businesses design buildings, neighborhoods and buildings better equipped

How Organic Underwear Can Help Save the World

In an era where brands are becoming increasingly socially conscious to keep up with societal trends, Marc Skid is no exception. The recently launched online underwear retailer is using the finest, sustainably grown materials to provide its customers both a high-quality product and an opportunity to donate to feed, cure and save the world.

Perfect Sustainable Product Design Needs to Start with a Circle

Electronic waste is the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, and according to a United Nations report, it’s projected that 50 million tons of e-waste will be accumulated by 2018.

Toilet Board Coalition Rallies Global Businesses Around Sanitation Economy

According to the World Health Organization (WTO) 1 in 3 people don’t have access to a clean and safe toilet. The Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), along with LIXIL Group Corporation (LIXIL) - a manufacturer of building materials, Firmenich and Kimberly-Clark are working together to transform sanitation systems into a smart, sustainable and revenue-generating economy.

Unilever Enters Natural Beauty Space with Launch of ApotheCARE Essentials

After recently receiving straight A’s on CDP’s A-List for its approach to climate change, water and deforestation, consumer goods giant Unilever is making moves to expand its portfolio of natural care hair and skincare offerings. The new line of products will target the growing number of consumers seeking more natural, responsible personal care products.

World Bank Group Names 20 African Startups to Participate in Digital Acceleration Program

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, 20 promising African digital startups will participate in the XL Africa residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program last April. Running from November 6 – 17 in Cape Town, South Africa, selected entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

The Nature Conservancy, Techstars Team Up to Launch Sustainability Accelerator

The Nature Conservancy has embarked on a first-of-its-kind partnership with entrepreneurial network Techstars to launch the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, which aims to identify entrepreneurs with commercially viable technologies to address pressing environmental and social issues.

Makersite Offers Faster Analysis of Product Sustainability, Costs, Supply Chain Stewardship

Today at SB’17 Copenhagen, Makersite co-founder Christoph Wilfert will take attendees through the new features and expanded functionality of the all-in-one open data platform for eco-design, product costing and stewardship. Product teams use it to analyse and collaborate on how things are made and to improve the impacts of making them.

Looking for a Circular Packaging Solution? Meet RePack

Maybe you remember visiting a post office to pick up one of your online purchases and seeing the hundreds, even thousands, of packages going to other shoppers — to be used once and thrown away. Sure, online purchases need to be individually labelled and protected for transport, so some form of packaging is necessary. But shouldn’t we as environmentally conscious purchasers have a say in how our goods are packaged? And shouldn't sustainably minded brands be able to offer their customers a choice in this matter? Because surely shoppers and brands would choose a returnable, recyclable package for transporting online purchases — especially if it made economic sense. This is where RePack comes in.

Hey, Logistics Sector – Let’s Talk About the Space Between Your Wheels

The genius physicist Albert Einstein once said, “If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” This philosophy acts as a backbone of Pauline Dawes’ idea to truly revolutionise the trucking industry. It is very simple: By using the empty space between the wheels on trailers, the sector can cut down on the amount of journeys being made, saving money, fuel and carbon in the process. It was while working as a director in the logistics sector, and doing an MBA at Manchester Business School, that Dawes was struck by the idea for SOMI Trailers.

Trending: Spiders, Butterfly Wings Inspire New Solutions for Urban Ag, Renewables

Innovators continue to look to nature to create new solutions to tackle everything from water scarcity and depletion to climate change.

Gold Standard Unveils New Label, Carbon Credit Shop to Help Companies, Consumers Deliver SDGs

Gold Standard, an organization established by WWF and other NGOs to catalyze action on climate change, is making it easier for anyone to support sustainable development projects around the world while offsetting their carbon footprint with the opening of an online ‘shop’ for carbon credits. For the first time, members of the public, small businesses and organizations can offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits online through Gold Standard. The carbon credits offered come from a range of projects in Cambodia, China, Sudan, Ethiopia, Laos, Panama and Rwanda, with plans to add additional projects within the coming months.

Designing a Sustainable Coffee Pod: Club Coffee’s PurPod100

It’s Waste Reduction Week in Canada, and to celebrate, I spoke to some superstar companies reducing waste through product design that are featured in the National Zero Waste Council’s Design Portfolio. Previously, I interviewed the inventor of the world’s first reusable beeswax food wraps. In this second article of the three-part series, I spoke to Claudio Gemmiti, Club Coffee’s SVP of Innovation and Strategic Growth.

Coded Yarns Poised to Weave Transparency, Traceability into Textile Supply Chain

Traceability is an ongoing concern for the textile industry. Technologies such as barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags have been put in place to enhance supply chain transparency, but they often fail to provide complete traceability. Researchers at the University of Borås in Sweden have developed a novel coded yarn-based tracking system that promises to overcome existing limitations and deliver improved traceability.

Ford Refocusing Strategy to Drive Disruption in Auto Industry

Ford has announced a new strategy to investors that will see the auto giant leverage its unique product strengths, trusted brand and global scale to refocus and thrive in an evolving and disruptive period for the auto industry. The shift will include greater focus on accelerating the introduction of smart vehicles and services. The investor presentation follows a four-month-deep dive into Ford’s strategy and business operations led by Jim Hackett, Ford’s new President and CEO, and the company’s senior leadership team.

7th Innovation Prize for Africa Seeks Solutions for Africa's Biggest Challenges

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has announced the seventh edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), with this year’s theme focusing on “investing in inclusive innovation ecosystems.” The IPA seeks to celebrate outstanding breakthroughs that deliver practical, sustainable and commercially viable solutions to African challenges.

#BusinessCase: Report Reveals 11:1 ROI for Remanufacturing-Focused Business Models

Earthshine, a consultancy and think tank focused on business and economic transformation, and remanufacturing company Norsk Ombruk have released a new business case white paper demonstrating how remanufacturing within a circular economy can deliver a wide range of benefits for society, environment and economy.

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