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Napa Green Wines: Not Shouting It From the Rooftops

MARKETING AND COMMS - Of the 50 certified wineries, surprisingly, only three have opted to display the Napa Green logo on their labels — despite the time and cost involved in obtaining those certifications — so, I dug a little deeper.

Can Chipotle Learn About Food Integrity from McDonald's?

MARKETING AND COMMS - McDonald’s Canada’s experience is evidence that social media is pushing transparency mainstream, and that for them the risks have been worth the rewards of increased customer trust.

Hackers Help Chipotle, Applegate Re-Engineer the Future of Dining

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Food+Tech Connect's recent Hack//Dining hackathon in New York City has yielded some insightful solutions to big problems faced by the dining industry. The call to “re-engineer the future of food” was answered by nearly 200 hackers who spent the weekend trying to use technology to find answers for a more sustainable industry.“The problems in the food industry are complex, and they aren’t going to be solved in a weekend,” said Danielle Gould, founder of Food+Tech Connect. “The point is to get new ideas into circulation, new people working on this, and to do rapid prototyping — to actually make a real product in a weekend.”

How to Communicate Effectively with Young Consumers (Or, Lessons from 'Funny or Die')

MARKETING AND COMMS - When an irreverent spoof video can increase web traffic to the Affordable Care Act website by 40% in less than a day, understanding why can help your brand better communicate with young consumers.

West Elm's Artisan Partnerships Supporting Thousands in Developing Communities

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - In 2013, West Elm committed to invest $35M in artisan partnerships around the world through 2015. These partnerships create a number of benefits for both West Elm and the artisans they collaborate with.

Greenpeace to LEGO: 'Shell Is Bad Company'

MARKETING AND COMMS - Greenpeace has launched a campaign urging LEGO to #BlockShell and end its partnership with the oil company, which the NGO contends has been using LEGO’s brand to clean up its image as an Arctic oil driller.

Employee Engagement = Happy Talent = Higher Revenue

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - What if 100 percent of your employees were engaged in your business? According to Gallup, that would translate to an increase of anywhere from $450-550B in increased revenue for US companies alone. Those are daunting numbers in the macro. But what matters is how it translates to your business. Even if it were only 1 percent of your revenue, wouldn’t you want to know?

Shell joins EDF’s Methane Detectors Challenge

COLLABORATION - Shell has joined the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) “Methane Detectors Challenge,” a collaborative project between EDF and five other oil and natural gas companies aimed at identifying and bringing to market cutting-edge technologies that could ultimately help reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations.Shell joins Apache Corporation, BG Group, Hess Corporation, Noble Energy and Southwestern Energy as an industry partner in this effort to help catalyze new technologies for enhanced detection of oil and gas emissions.

#SB14sd Preview: Philips on Redesigning for a Circular Economy

THE NEXT ECONOMY - At Sustainable Brands ’14 San Diego next week (June 2-5), the circular economy will be a major topic as we search for ways to decouple economic growth from resource consumption. In 2013, Philips committed to reimagining its products through the lens of a circular economy approach that focuses on customer access over ownership and business models for services and solutions, rather than transactions. The company also became a global partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a global nonprofit dedicated to advancing the concepts of the circular economy.

Turlington to Fashion Industry: 'One Preventable Death Is a Death Too Many'

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - When over 1,100 garment workers died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013, it shined an unflinching light on the untenable conditions that many in the industry have long been forced to endure. Since then, consumers, activists and other stakeholders around the world have demanded that brands take immediate action to ensure that workers are not only safe, but paid fairly while they’re constructing the clothing we wear every day.

Study Reveals Few Fashion Brands Are Walking Their Sustainability Talk

MARKETING AND COMMS - A recent study by brand comparison website Rank a Brand shows discrepancies in sustainability talk and action in the fashion industry. The report finds that while fashion brands are tackling sustainability challenges through communication (63 percent speak of sustainability on their websites, 10 percent more than in 2011; 20 percent publish a sustainability report), many are not backing it with details and data.

Rainforest Alliance Reinstates IKEA's FSC Certification

SUPPLY CHAIN - The Rainforest Alliance (RA) announced this week it has lifted the suspension of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate of Swedwood Karelia LLC, a subsidiary of IKEA, following an independent appeals committee evaluation of the company’s 2013 annual audit.

FSC Suspends IKEA's Certification After Discovering Use of Old-Growth Forests in Russia

SUPPLY CHAIN - While Ikea has been leading the charge in its use of sustainably sourced cotton and promotion of LED lighting, it apparently should pay closer attention to its wood sourcing — the company recently got a slap on the wrist from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which suspended IKEA’s certification after discovering that the Swedish furniture giant’s subsidiary, Swedwood, has been cutting 600-year-old trees in Karelia, Russia, near the border of Finland.

Airbnb Building Brand Value by Creating Authentic Connections with — and Between — Users

MARKETING AND COMMS - Consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels is a great way for companies to establish thought leadership and gain customer trust; Airbnb’s content-marketing initiatives are a best-practice model.

Reimagining Phoenix: A Citywide Campaign to Turn Trash Into Resources

WASTE NOT - Imagine a future where there is no such thing as trash — there are only resources. Where residents of a large metropolitan region routinely reduce, reuse, recycle and reconsider their consumption patterns by imagining the opportunities that come from making wiser choices. Achieving that ambition may be a long way off, but if the City of Phoenix has anything to do with it, that future begins now — with a multi-pronged citywide strategy based on forming unique private-public partnerships and cross-sector collaboration.

New Video Highlights adidas' New Attention to Pattern Efficiency

PRODUCTS AND DESIGN - adidas has announced new advances in how it develops key apparel ranges to reduce waste while maintaining performance and style. Both the Running and adidas by Stella McCartney teams have worked to change the way they make patterns to increase the efficiency of their new product ranges by reducing fabric waste.The company created a short animation, in collaboration with Big Animal Productions, to highlight this conscientious new design and production process:

Food Brands, Farming Groups, NGOs Urge Obama to Enact Federal GMO Labeling Law

MARKETING AND COMMS - A group made up of over 200 organizations including food companies, organic farming and environmental groups have signed a letter urging President Obama to enact labelling laws highlighting products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Embracing Conscious Consumerism Helping Brands Win Loyalty

MARKETING AND COMMS - Numerous marketing campaigns have sprung out of the Black Friday movement that encourage a more conscious approach to consumption — whether through consuming less; producing less waste; supporting local, grassroots or small businesses; or contributing to those in need.

'Women Empowered' Highlights Role of Women in IT Innovation

LEADERSHIP - One organization taking the initiative to improve gender representation in its industry is Cognizant Technology Solutions — whose employee-led Women Empowered initiative attracts and retains female associates through active recruitment, talent development, communication and networking.

Helping PDP Engage Brands to Revalue Plastic

WASTE NOT - The Plastic Disclosure Project sees an influential need for companies to start disclosing their plastic footprint in order to create a benchmark for reduction by increasing recycling and adding value back into plastic use.