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How a Towel Rail Changed a Village

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - I was asked recently about my favourite behaviour change stories in the energy space. I didn’t have to think long: my favourite is the one about the £200-a-year towel rail. Yep, you heard that right: a towel rail.

Conscious Leadership Reminds Us: We Are All the Same

LEADERSHIP - Last year, aspiring artist Jonathan Harris visited Bhutan to learn about why this country is so imbued with happiness. Bhutan is noted for measuring its Gross Happiness Product, rather than what we do in western cultures, which is to measure our Gross National Product. This model cares more about social and spiritual well-being than financial well-being. Jonathan's project, Balloons for Bhutan, documents his effort to capture “a portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom.”

2013 ESPYs Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill, Carbon Neutrality for Fifth Year Running

WASTE NOT - ESPN has announced that its annual awards show, the ESPYs, will be carbon neutral and achieve zero waste-to-landfill for the fifth and sixth consecutive years, respectively.To achieve carbon neutrality, the sports network says it will apply energy conservation strategies to minimize the use of fossil fuels and prevent pollution. After reducing energy consumption wherever possible through special applications, the remaining greenhouse gas emissions will be mitigated through carbon offsets.Some carbon reduction strategies include:· Solar power to be used on red carpet, press center, golf course.· Multi-passenger vehicles instead of individual limos to reduce vehicle miles driven.· Hybrid and flex fuel vehicles used for other transfers.

Paying It Forward: How DMV.org Is Taking Sustainability to the Streets

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - In the afterglow of the Sustainable Brands 2013 conference, many companies found themselves inspired to bring positive change back to their business and local communities. At DMV.org, we recognized a huge opportunity to reach a vast network of people and drive actionable change both through our online services and our local community.As first-time attendees to the conference, the entire team walked away inspired, hopeful and committed to becoming change-makers within our company, community and planet. But what can a company that simplifies DMV information online bring to the sustainability table?As it turns out, quite a bit.What We’re Doing

Obama's Climate Plan Latest in Series of Public-Private Actions to Advance REDD+

LEADERSHIP - President Obama’s National Climate Action Plan, released on June 25th, calls for strong action to protect remaining tropical forests through a commitment to lead international initiatives in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).But Obama is not the first to acknowledge the vital role that forests play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nor is he the only one currently calling for urgent action on tropical forest conservation.

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Dell Announces Social, Environmental Achievements as Part of 'Powering the Possible'

WASTE NOT - Dell has announced key corporate responsibility achievements, such as collecting one billion pounds of electronic waste a year earlier than planned, with the release of its Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) Corporate Responsibility Summary Report.The report outlines Dell’s environmental progress and efforts to support communities globally to achieve its sustainability goals, which are based on its Powering the Possible platform, a commitment to put technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.The strategy focuses on four primary areas: Environment

Branding for Sustainability: A Manifesto!

MARKETING AND COMMS - I wrote recently about branding for sustainability, rather than the branding of sustainability. The main point is that branding is no longer merely about communication techniques that get tacked on to a business. Instead, branding shapes the entire landscape of engagement, experience and affinity between a company or other entity and its customers and other stakeholders or audiences. So it’s time for a manifesto.

Big, Bold, Creative ... and Normal: How Brands Can Shift Sustainability Into the Mainstream

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - Bob Dylan understood the sustainability challenge long ago when he sang, “People seldom do what they believe in / They do what is convenient, then repent” in “Brownsville Girl.”For sustainability to become mainstream, we need to reframe the debate — in terms of both language and relevant benefits. I believe mass-market and well-loved brands are best placed to drive and accomplish this critical shift.So do we just need to leverage brands to make people care about the environment?

Walmart-Backed Alliance Vows to Fix Bangladesh, But Critics Fear Lack of Liability

SUPPLY CHAIN - An alliance of 17 North American brands led by Walmart, Gap and Target has unveiled the details of its independent Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative — a five-year pact that aims to improve conditions at Bangladesh garment factories and establish more viable worker communications.

Unilever's 'Green Express' Train Is Latest Way to Cut Its Supply Chain Footprint

SUPPLY CHAIN - Unilever has launched a new rail service in Italy called Green Express, as part of a wider eco-efficiency programme within its supply chain to support the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.The service delivers Unilever’s Algida brand ice cream from its factory near Naples, 700km to the logistics hub in Parma.The direct connection, linking three lines, means that 3,500 trucks will be taken off the road each year, saving 40 million mega-joules of energy per year.

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New 'I Want to Be Recycled' Campaign Targeting 62% of Americans Who Are Not Avid Recyclers

MARKETING AND COMMS - The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash a day, and on the whole the United States produces over 250 million tons of trash a year. However, only about 35 percent is currently recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To address this national concern, the Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) today launched a public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling with the goal to make recycling a daily social norm.

Stop Speaking Martian: How to Effectively Translate the Language of Sustainability

MARKETING AND COMMS - As the sustainability profession grapples with how it can invite and entice a new internal conversation with a broader, ‘beyond-sustainability-silo’ brand and business audience, we are struggling with many fundamental challenges. Language is one of these. But why so?

Remade in the USA: A Conversation with Designer Shannon South

WASTE NOT - In the world of sustainable fashion, few designers are pulling off the business model with as much style and substance as Shannon South. BBMG’s proprietary community of Aspirational consumers, The Collective, recently partnered with Shannon for the Remake My Leather Challenge, and we sat down with her to discuss what makes Shannon’s line, Remade USA, different from other sustainably designed product lines.How did you get started as a handbag designer?

Volkswagen Wants Brands, Plants to 'Think Blue' for Sustainability Leadership

MARKETING AND COMMS - Volkswagen finished last of the global automakers that occupied five of the top seven spots in Interbrand's recently released Best Global Green Brands 2013 report. That was a pretty good showing, but the German giant seems determined to hoist itself even higher in terms of the effectiveness of its sustainability efforts — and regard for them — around the globe.

Dell Highlights Environmental, Giving and Community Achievements in FY13 Corporate Responsibility Summary Report

PRESS RELEASE - • Reaches ambitious recycling goal one year ahead of schedule • Donates funds, solutions, and expertise to further children’s cancer care and disaster relief efforts • Expands Connected Workplace program now being offered in 37 locations across 26 countries Tweet This: @Dell launches FY13 Corporate Responsibility Summary Report #DellCSR http://dell.to/11CcL5N.

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Sustain Condoms: How a Father-Daughter Duo Plan to Transform a Toxic Industry

SUPPLY CHAIN - Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation, and his daughter Meika are extending the ethos and ethics of the pioneering sustainable care products brand to the world’s first sustainable condom, carrying the slogan, "Do what's natural." Toxin-free, fair trade Sustain condoms are made in India and are set to be in stores by January 2014 — the first product from the father-daughter team behind Hollender Sustainable Brands.

Coca-Cola and WWF Expand Global Partnership, Announce New Environmental Goals

COLLABORATION - Coca-Cola has announced a new set of environmental goals, including returning 100 percent of the water from its manufacturing facilities back to the environment at a level that supports aquatic life by 2020.Coca-Cola says it is extending its nearly decade-long partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to achieve these new conservation and performance targets, promoting the integration of nature’s value into decision-making processes and convening influential partners to help solve shared global environmental challenges.Under the renewed and expanded partnership, Coca-Cola and WWF jointly developed new sustainability goals for the Coca-Cola system — the Company and its nearly 300 bottling partners in more than 200 countries.These goals include:

Paper Company Rejects FSC to Dodge Inquiry About Indonesian Deforestation Practices

SUPPLY CHAIN - Paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) has withdrawn from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and WWF claim is an attempt to dodge an independent inquiry into the paper company’s deforestation practices in Indonesia.Prior to APRIL’s withdrawal, the three environmental organizations lodged a complaint that the company was in violation of FSC’s Policy for Association through its continued large-scale conversion of natural forests in Indonesia to plantations, including the destruction of high conservation value (HCV) forests. The organizations also claim the company has persistent social conflicts in its operations.

New Documentary 'Sparks' Collaboration That Could Benefit People in Need Locally and Globally

MARKETING AND COMMS - At the dawn of the 21st century, America’s spiraling energy consumption hijacks our democracy and gambles our planet’s future. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans live in poverty, while our government stalls behind party lines. Next spring a new documentary, The Spark, will reveal a blueprint for realistic, immediate solutions.

Follow-Up to SB'13: Bob Willard on the Emergence of Capitalism 2.0

NEW METRICS - Bob Willard is an expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies. He serves on the advisory boards of The Natural Step Canada and Forum for the Future US, and his fourth book, The New Sustainability Advantage was published in 2012.

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