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Supply Chain

SUPPLY CHAIN - Creating efficient, healthy, resilient and transparent supply chains is central to any corporate sustainability journey. This channel tackles the myriad issues that can arise in any supply chain, and treats them as either risks or opportunities, depending on the ways they are being managed.

Starbucks Pledges to Not Cut Workers’ Benefits Under Obamacare

MARKETING AND COMMS - Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz told Reuters this week the company will not cut hours or benefits for employees — referred to as "partners" — in response to Obamacare.While many other large companies in the food service sector have said they will need to shift costs onto their workers in anticipation of upcoming changes under the health law, Starbucks says it will not follow suit.“Other companies have announced that they won’t provide coverage for spouses; others are lobbying for the cut-off to be at 40 hours,” Shultz said. “But Starbucks will continue maintaining benefits for partners and won’t use the new law as an excuse to cut benefits or lower benefits for its workers.”

CEH Files Suit Citing Cancer-Causing Chemical in Nearly 100 Hair Care, Personal Care Products

MARKETING AND COMMS - On Tuesday, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) revealed independent testing finding a cancer-causing chemical in 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products sold by major national retailers. The chemical, cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a chemically modified form of coconut oil used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products, was listed by California as a known carcinogen last year. Products tested with high levels of cocamide DEA include shampoos made by Colgate Palmolive, Colomer, Paul Mitchell and many others. In addition, products marketed for children and a product falsely labeled as organic were found with the chemical, in violation of California law.

BlueAvocado’s New Collection of Upcycled Accessories Provides Jobs for Female War Survivors

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - When we launched our business in Texas nearly five years ago, our vision was to empower millions of people to reduce their carbon footprint, invest in the dreams and journeys of female entrepreneurs, and create an impact that inspires action. We came together in 2008 as sisters and friend and started our mission-based business, BlueAvocado.Today, we are thrilled to have a variety of eco-collections for food-on-the-go, travel and beauty that can be found at The Container Store, Whole Foods, Target, JC Penney and numerous online retailers.However, a key part of our original vision was to have a made-in-the-USA line, which at the time of our launch (and the height of the recession) was simply too great a challenge.

NativeEnergy School Wind Projects Chip Away Corporate Carbon Footprints

PRESS RELEASE - 80,000 tonnes of carbon credits add clean energy to the grid August 29, 2013 – Burlington, VT – NativeEnergy, a Vermont-based carbon offset project developer and supplier, announced a seventh community wind energy project in the country’s heartland. Corporate Sustainability leaders are seizing the opportunity to meet environmental goals by purchasing Help Build™ carbon offsets from the Middletown, Indiana school wind project.

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Could 'Brown' Be Your Brand's New 'Green'?

MARKETING AND COMMS - With the announcement of the first synthetic burger grown in a petri dish, would it be more or less shocking to say “human waste is the currency of the future”? “Carbon footprints” and “data footprints” are carving the way for “microbial footprints.” Consumers are paying to get dirty … germ-dirty, that is. “Going viral" is taking on a whole new meaning in marketing. Online communities are flourishing around “intestine communities.” Brand ecosystems now have as much to do with biology as technology."Rotten" Is the New "Improved"

Don't Get Greenwashed: How to Make Sure Your Eco-Friendly Products Are the Real Deal

MARKETING AND COMMS - From electric cars to reusable shopping bags, it's undeniable that "going green" is one of the fastest growing trends out there today. This is great news for the eco-friendly consumer, as companies are scrambling to offer greener versions of their products to meet demand. Unfortunately, many companies have also noticed that it's much cheaper to claim to have environmental standards than it is to actually live by them. When a company misleads its customers about the environmental impact of its products or practices, it's called greenwashing.

The True Cost of 'Cheap'

NEW METRICS - All businesses stay alive by being price competitive. After all, if there are no customers to pay for your product, you can’t make sales and without sales there are no revenues. In an ideal world, a business sets its pricing based on the costs it incurs to produce but other businesses compete by offering different pricing (some do choose strategies based on servicing or other value-added activities).

Latest Net Impact Guide Finds Sustainability a Must for Students Shopping MBA Programs

LEADERSHIP - Net Impact, a nonprofit inspiring a new generation of students to work for a sustainable future, has released its 2013 edition of Business as UNusual: The Student Guide to Graduate Programs. Key findings suggest that social and environmental issues have become a mainstream necessity in MBA programs, driven in part by overwhelming student demand.

Four World-Changing Examples of NGO-Brand Partnerships

COLLABORATION - Do you feel that once you’ve met one environmentalist, you’ve met them all … and that each of them comes with a banner in their backpack? If so, and if that’s stopping you from collaborating with them, you’re likely missing out on an opportunity that could help your company gain an important competitive edge. Partnering with environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) can, at the very least, buffer your brand against the perception of “greenwashing” or potentially even spark the development of breakthrough products and systems that revolutionize your business or even your sector.

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Report: More Than Half of Diners Willing to Pay More For Meals in Sustainable Restaurants

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - More than half (56 percent) of diners would pay more for a meal if they knew the restaurant was investing in reducing its environmental impact and taking its social responsibility seriously, according to new research from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). Some 43 percent of diners would pay up to 10 percent more for a meal in a sustainable restaurant.The Discerning Diner: How consumers’ attitudes to eating out have become more sophisticated is based on the findings of consumer research by the SRA, which was supported by Unilever.

Six Ways to Make Brand Sustainability Resonate with Consumers

MARKETING AND COMMS - Climate change. Resource scarcity. Pollution. Human rights. These are some of the most pressing issues facing business today. They are also some of the most difficult for consumers to relate to, let alone orient their lives around.According to a recent report from The World Economic Forum and Accenture, sustainability is in desperate need of a makeover. Despite millions of dollars spent marketing the concept over the past decade, only 28% of people know what terms such as “sustainable,” “responsible,” “eco friendly” and “green” really mean, and just 44% say they trust green claims coming from big brands.

Why Green Product Brands Fail

MARKETING AND COMMS - The Guardian recently published an excellent article on "Why Green Brands Are Failing to Capture Public Attention:"The answer is that environmental/social consciousness is only one part of what are much broader and more complex cultural shifts. Picking out this trend in isolation and trying to build brands around it using traditional marketing paradigms has a very low likelihood of success.

Coca-Cola Joins with Sainsbury’s For 'Don't Waste. Create' Campaign

MARKETING AND COMMS - Coca-Cola Enterprises has partnered with Sainsbury's to launch a new sustainability program that aims to increase the reuse and recycling of plastic bottles during the summer.The beverage company says its Don't Waste. Create campaign is designed to encourage consumers to use their waste packaging at home in a fun and useful way, while also promising to recycle.

Three Freshly Sprouted Startups on the NYC Local Food Scene

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - While the most hospitable territory for food startups is certainly California, New York is host to its own burgeoning food movement. We spoke with three startups, in different stages of warming up to the New York food scene, that combine their expertise in the digital space with a passion for food. Striving to make local and nutritious food more accessible, they are sparking consumer demand for local food in ways not seen in a century.Collectively, Good Eggs, Farmigo and Urbavour aim to disrupt certain themes in American food production and consumption. In place of the current system, these startups propose:

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Federal Government Rates Tesla Model S Safest Car of All Time

MARKETING AND COMMS - The Tesla Model S has received a five-star safety rating in every subcategory from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), making it part of the one percent of all vehicles tested by the federal government to achieve a perfect score.While NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, safety levels better than five stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars.Tesla says the Model S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants. While the Model S is a sedan, it also exceeded the safety score of all SUVs and minivans, which takes into account the probability of injury from front, side, rear and rollover accidents.

Big Data: The Ultimate Sustainability Job Aid at U.S. Postal Service

NEW METRICS - Advancement in big data and analytical technologies has opened up many new opportunities to support sustainability advancement in large, complex organizations. The high volume of performance data from facilities, buildings, supply chains, operations and logistics subsystems can be gathered to trace the impact of sustainability initiatives at a very granular level. This information can be rolled up into a series of “green dashboards” allowing managers and employees to track costs savings and monitor performance enhancements across the organization.

Sustainability Innovations Could Generate $156 Billion for UK Firms

NEW METRICS - UK businesses could secure £100 billion pounds (nearly $156 billion USD) in annual productivity gains generated by innovations designed to address environmental and social challenges, according to a new report by Accenture, Business in the Community and Marks & Spencer.Fortune Favors the Brave argues that companies must go beyond conventional corporate and social responsibility programs and place sustainability at the heart of business strategies and operations to unlock the full commercial potential and sustainability benefits.

Walmart, Gap Detail Bangladeshi Worker Safety Coalition Plan

MARKETING AND COMMS - Walmart, Gap and several other US retailers met this week in Chicago to implement their independent Bangladesh factory safety plan, which was developed after multiple factory accidents, most notably the Rana Plaza collapse in April that killed more than 1,100 workers and injured hundreds.The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety includes 20 North American apparel companies and retailers, industry associations, and non-governmental organizations, such as Macy’s and Target, as well as new signatories Costco, Intradeco Apparel and Jordache Enterprises. The organization has pledged to have safety standards in place by September 10, and claims to have already dispersed $45 million to hire safety inspection staff in Bangladesh.

Advancing Sustainability: From Revolution to Evolution

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - Sustainability, like brands, must not be a fight against or a vision outside society, but part of it. It is time to drop the proselytism, quit the “sacrifice for a better world” argument and above all stop trying to change people’s behaviours. In order to fully go mainstream, sustainability shouldn’t attempt to influence behaviour and, instead, make ‘the greener option’ desirable for everyone. Moreover, historically, experiments of standardization have often resulted from totalitarian regimes to dull aesthetics.

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