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Sustainable Startups Finding More Than Cash on Crowdfunding Platforms

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - When the principals behind Peppermint Energy decided to tap into crowdfunding in 2012 to boost their start-up solar enterprise, they found money, but they also discovered another type of equity.“What became obvious to us is that the type of people who support crowd-funding initiatives can be very helpful to vet out what is, what is not and what should be,” said Chris Maxwell, president of Peppermint. “We used our Kickstarter campaign to get market feedback, to get a bunch of people to tell us whether we are on the right track.”

Brands Embracing Transparency to Feed Consumers Hungry for Responsible Food Choices

MARKETING AND COMMS - While it might not win any Academy Awards, certainly the best title for a movie this year has to be the food industry critique, GMO OMG. On the surface, it is an attack on genetically modified seeds and what they are doing to our health. Underneath, it is an emotional play on a father’s frustration with the clarity of our food system. What is in our food and where does it come from?

SHFT and BBMG Join Forces to Create Branded Content Offering

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - BBMG and SHFT are joining forces to announce a new branded content offering for organizations aiming to reach and engage Aspirational consumers, a fast-growing consumer segment that cares about looking good, feeling good and doing good.Combining BBMG’s consumer insights and brand-building expertise with SHFT’s creative and production capacity and the SHFT.com lifestyle platform, the partnership offers a powerful new approach to developing and delivering original branded content designed to disrupt and delight. The new initiative launches with an impressive roster of clients, including Sprint and Recyclebank.

Don't Just Sell Green, Sell Great

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - Heading into this year’s Sustainable Brands conference, I was looking forward to driving BMW’s electric prototype that was on display. In hindsight, however, the technical highlight of the show for me was the Tesla Model S. You know, the ones that people were actually driving, with coffee cups in the console and crumbs in the backseat.

Women Directors Now Make Up 19% of UK Boards

LEADERSHIP - The number of women directors who now sit on the boards of the United Kingdom’s largest companies, the FTSE-100, has risen from 12.5 percent to 19 percent since 2011, according to a recent report by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.Former British Trade Minister Lord Davies founded Women on Boards in 2011 to track progress towards the UK’s goal of having 25 percent of board positions being held by women by 2015. According to the recent numbers, FTSE-100 companies must appoint 66 more female directors in the next two years to meet the target.The report also shows that the number of all-male boards on the FTSE-100 index has fallen to 6 companies, down from 21 companies in 2010.

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Indigenous Taps Crowdfunding to Finance Fair Trade and Supply Chain Transparency Tool

SUPPLY CHAIN - Fair trade and organic fashion company INDIGENOUS has launched an Indiegogo campaign to crowdsource funds to increase access to The Fair Trace Tool and fund social impact research with artisans and farmers to bring the story of fair trade and supply chain transparency to the consumer at the point of purchase.

Microsoft Achieves Carbon Neutrality, Increases Green Energy Use By 70%

MARKETING AND COMMS - Microsoft says it achieved carbon neutrality after introducing an internal carbon fee for renewable energy and carbon offsets, which led the company to increase the purchase of green energy in the U.S. by 70 percent, from 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2011 to 1.9 billion kWh in 2012.

Target Takes Important Step Toward Sustainable Product Standard

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Target today announced an important step toward increasing product transparency, which the company says it hopes will lead to more sustainable and innovative products.

Why You Can’t Fight Fear with Facts

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - The field of environmental sustainability is fraught with emotional issues: climate change, water shortages, population growth, food purity, animal extinction … the list goes on and on.These complex issues are intricately entwined with national economics, social mores, political and religious beliefs and fear.Clients are always asking us to develop “education” campaigns to change attitudes or behaviors, thinking (logically) that if people only understood the facts, they’d change their behavior.

Fashion Industry 2043: Risk Mitigation and Long-Term Competitive Strategy Through Scenario Work

SUPPLY CHAIN - The fashion industry has gone through dramatic changes in the last 20-30 years. Indeed it finds itself in the present at a crossroad: Resource scarcity is triggering shifts in business models and supply chains; waste is the new resource; customers are the sales channel of the future; and legislation is becoming ever more stringent.Yet few businesses venture to think about how their industry may look in five, 15, or 30 years’ time. Radical changes are bound to happen in our world, and its consumer and sourcing markets, over the course of the next few decades, and we will encounter serious challenges of running businesses if we continue as we have in the last few.

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Sustainability in the Indirect/Goods Not for Resale Supply Chain

SUPPLY CHAIN - Indirect procurement is an area we hope to highlight in this Issue in Focus series on sustainable supply chains. While sourcing raw materials, components and goods-for-resale (GFR) has gotten the lion’s share of sustainable supply chain attention in the corporate world to date, an increasing number of companies are focusing on opportunities to advance their enterprise’s financial, social and environmental sustainability through the purchases they make for their own operations. One driver for this new sustainability focus is the economic aspect of sustainability.

Capitals & Commons: A Dialogue with David Bollier, Part One

NEW METRICS - David Bollier is among the foremost global thinkers and advocates for the commons. #NewMetrics channel co-curator Bill Baue recently had the following discussion with Bollier about the potential intersections between the commons movement and emerging concepts and practices in the corporate sustainability movement.

Failure to Communicate: Dry Sustainability Reports a Missed Opportunity

MARKETING AND COMMS - Does your heart sink at the thought of reading yet another sustainability report?Over the last three years I’ve been documenting the ways companies are communicating sustainability online and using social media in particular. Time and time again, even those companies that demonstrate real panache in their sustainability communications fail to make the best use of the research, data and information that goes into their sustainability report. Often, as a result, a company’s most interesting sustainability work is left buried in these dull but worthy publications that no one really reads.

F-Cubed: Poised to Save the World from Pathogens

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Chicago start-up F-Cubed, LLC (F3) is helping to stem the recurrence of infectious diseases across the food, health and environmental testing sectors with its disruptive invention — a portable diagnostic device that can analyze raw samples for pathogens in less than an hour.What does that mean?As an example of environmental testing, F3’s innovative analyzer can help swimmers avoid unforeseen illnesses by testing the bacteria levels within bodies of water.

HP Pledges to Reduce GHG by 20% in Supply Chain by 2020

SUPPLY CHAIN - HP recently announced that it has set a goal of driving a 20 percent decrease in its first-tier manufacturing and product transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 2020, compared to 2010, a first for the information technology industry.Developed in consultation with the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Climate Savers Program, HP says the GHG emissions-reduction goal will be pursued through a variety of HP-led activities, including:· Business incentives for suppliers to set and achieve tangible GHG emissions-reduction goals.· By 2020, direct prevention of 2 million metric tons of GHG emissions across HP’s multitier supply chain, cumulatively, through specific supplier environmental improvement projects, including:

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Defining Sustainability: A Process and Strategy Focus

MARKETING AND COMMS - Currently, sustainability is a lot like beauty — its definition lies in the eyes of the beholder. This author’s preference is for actionable definitions that can be integrated into daily operational processes. The following is an attempt to define sustainability through this lens.

Canepa Becomes First Textile Manufacturer to Sign Greenpeace's Detox Agreement

SUPPLY CHAIN - Italian textile manufacturer Canepa recently announced it has accepted the challenge set by Greenpeace during fashion week last February to create clean and sustainable fashion. The company voluntarily signed up to abide by the guidelines set forth in the Detox Solution Commitment, which aims to abolish the toxic chemicals currently used in the fashion industry by 2020. The challenge has already been accepted by a host of major retail, sportswear and luxury brands — including H&M, Mango, Patagonia and adidas — but this is the first public commitment made by a textile manufacturer.

Consumers Give Microsoft, Disney, BMW, Google Highest Marks for CSR Performance

MARKETING AND COMMS - For the second year in a row, consumers named Sustainable Brands® corporate member Microsoft the company with the best CSR reputation, according to a new study by corporate reputation management consultancy Reputation Institute. This year, the IT company was joined at the top in a four-way tie with fellow SB member The Walt Disney Company, Google and SB ’13 sponsor BMW.

2.5 Billion Aspirational Consumers Mark Shift in Sustainable Consumption

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - A new global consumer study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility confirms the rise of nearly 2.5 billion consumers globally who are uniting style, social status and sustainability values to redefine consumption. According to the report, The 2013 Aspirational Consumer Index, more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%). The study draws from telephone and in-person surveys of 21,492 consumers across 21 international markets conducted in April 2013.

Climate Change journal focuses special issue on Indigenous peoples as they cope with consequences of climate change

PRESS RELEASE - Climate Change journal focuses special issue on Indigenous peoples as they cope with consequences of climate change BURLINGTON, VT – NativeEnergy, Inc. – Climate change. Two words with deeply varying meaning depending on who you are. Depending on where you live. Depending on the degree to which dramatic changes in weather affect your life. These two words bring with them complex and overwhelming challenges to Indigenous peoples. For some, it means the physical moving of entire communities, the loss of sacred religious sites, the disruption of plants and animals critical for subsistence. Climate change. Two words that mean an end to a people’s way of life.

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