These are heady times for those working at the intersections of business, branding and sustainability. In recent years, we've seen an unprecedented confluence of behavioral sciences, business acumen, branding strategy and green technologies, giving rise to entirely new disciplines, roles, practices and industries. This is evidenced in the growth of Sustainable Brands itself, as an internationally vibrant hub dedicated to skillful integration of our deepest-held values, commitments and ethos in a competitive and demanding business environment.
In a world of viral digital media, external stakeholders can dramatically influence corporate reputations and shareholder value. In his informative new book, Corporate Diplomacy, author Witold Henisz — Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School — outlines the competitive need for a strategic integration of stakeholder-facing functions, to create value for society as well as shareholders.
Cultures around the world each seem to possess unique, deeply ingrained beliefs and traditions for cutting down on waste. For just two examples, Yankee ingenuity helped America put down its early roots, and the Dutch custom of sharing unlocked community bikes at train stations inspired bike-sharing programs in NYC, Paris and other world capitals.
RepRisk has released its Most Controversial Companies of 2013 report. Throughout the year, RepRisk detected news on thousands of companies across the globe in relation to their environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks. The report analyzes documented negative incidents, criticism and controversies related to the 10 firms that received the highest RepRisk Index (RRI) in 2013.
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of consumers consistently recycle in the home, but despite a genuine concern for the environment, only about half do so in rooms beyond the kitchen. According to the 2014 Cone Communications Recycling in the Home Survey, in partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies as part of its Care to Recycle program, there are several key barriers to expanding recycling in the home, including the lack of room-specific recycling bins and clear product labeling.
In earlier articles, I asked whether consumers will back up brands that makes decisions “because it’s the right thing to do” over pure profit motives.My bet is that these decisions will be rewarded by consumers as it become more normal for companies to make bold pro-health and pro-environmental choices. Here are five recent examples that point positively in that direction.
We all know that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an essential piece of the puzzle for any successful organization, no matter its size. We also know that many companies go to great lengths to do meaningful charitable work that actually makes a difference. But are these efforts really impacting the public’s perception of those brands?
The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), members of which include Walmart, McDonalds, WWF and the Rainforest Alliance, recently announced that its Draft principles and criteria for global sustainable beef (production, processing and retail) are open for public comment and review through May 16, 2014.
Latin America has become a large producer of sustainable foods but has yet to become a significant consumer, according to recent research from Organic Monitor. The study finds that while Brazil is now a global source of sustainable coffee, soybeans, sugar, juices and herbs; Argentina and Chile are well-established southern hemisphere sources of organic fruits and vegetables; and Colombia and Peru are important exporters of natural ingredients, regional consumption of sustainable foods remains negligible.
To coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, America’s favorite “green” holiday, SC Johnson (SCJ) today kicked off its 30 Green Days Challenge, designed to inspire families across the US to take simple steps each day with the goal of developing habits for more sustainable living.
New research released Thursday reveals Americans are willing to sacrifice variety and dollars in order to eat more consciously. Although family satisfaction reigns supreme (97 percent), health and nutrition (93 percent) and sustainability (77 percent) are now also important factors when deciding which foods to buy, according to the 2014 Cone Communications Food Issues Trend Tracker.A number of health and sustainability issues are top of mind for the food shoppers surveyed, including food safety (93 percent) and nutritional value (92 percent). But at least two-thirds of Americans say they prioritize a variety of other issues weigh into their food-shopping decisions, including:
A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that only 32 percent of American millennials (also known as "Generation Y," those born after 1980) see themselves as environmentalists. This is in stark contrast to 42 percent of Americans born between 1965 and 1980 and 44 percent of those born after 1945.
Palm oil certainly is a hot topic right now: NGOs including Greenpeace and WWF have continued to raise awareness of the destructive nature of the palm oil industry and the devastating effects it has had on wildlife and their rainforest habitats, mostly across Indonesia — not to mention the effect that deforestation has on climate change.
Last year, investors filed a record-breaking 417 social and environmental shareholder resolutions — up from 365 in 2012 — with the majority addressing political spending and climate change, according to a report released today by As You Sow, the Sustainable Investments Institute (Si2) and Proxy Impact. Sustainability reporting, diversity and human rights also figure prominently in the rich mix of resolutions.
I have a keen appreciation for the challenges of convincing people to choose clean power over traditional fossil fuel energy. Clean energy has typically been seen as the choice of “liberals” (tree huggers) versus “conservatives” (drill, baby, drill!). Those days are over, just as gone as leaded gasoline — although you might not know it based on some of the dumb rhetoric still spewing from the ideological smokestacks in Congress. It turns out that time, technology and storytelling have shifted the tides in favor of the adoption of clean power by conservatives and liberals alike.
A study by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), published earlier this month in the journal Food Policy, found that while European consumers have a reasonable understanding of sustainability as respecting the environment and fair treatment of present and future generations, their understanding does not extend the role of sustainability with respect to the food supply chain or of various ecolabels used on food and beverages. This finding explains another of the study’s conclusions — that consumer understanding of sustainability does not yet translate into driving food choice.
A couple of years ago, as I waited for my morning coffee to brew and my toast to, er, toast, I was reading the label of my peanut butter jar and had my entire organic, fair trade world thrown for a loop when I saw that my peanut butter contained palm oil.Products we buy every day contain palm oil, which is driving tropical deforestation. See our infographic (above) and get the whole story here.
Between brands who use misleading ecological or social claims in their campaigns and those who decide not to communicate at all, there is a balance to find. How can companies communicate their social responsibility commitments in a relevant and effective way? What are the trends for 2014 and the years to come? 30 French experts answered.
Half-a-dozen investors have filed shareholder resolutions with ten fossil fuel companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, seeking an explanation of their strategies for competing as the world moves toward a low-carbon global economy.The resolutions focus on potential carbon asset risk, or the possibility that these companies’ present and future fossil fuel-related assets will lose value as various market factors — such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, fuel economy, fuel switching, carbon pollution standards, efforts to curb air pollution and climate policy — increasingly threaten demand for fossil fuels and related infrastructure.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), with the help of dozens of prominent retailers, designers and NGOs from the UK clothing industry, on Tuesday launched a new campaign aimed at reducing encouraging Brits to find new appreciation for their unwanted clothes.