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Intel CEO Challenges Entire Electronics Industry to Become 'Conflict-Free'

SUPPLY CHAIN - In his pre-show keynote at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich outlined a range of the company’s new products, initiatives and strategic relationships aimed at accelerating innovation across a range of mobile and wearable devices, and challenged the entire electronics industry to join Intel in becoming “conflict-free.”

25% of Small UK Businesses Prioritizing Sustainability in 2014

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - One in four small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK consider sustainability one of their highest concerns for the coming year, according to a new survey by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking (LBCB).While sustainability is becoming an integral part of the business landscape, it has traditionally been much more difficult for smaller firms, who may lack the resources to make changes to company administration practices, LBCB says.Encouragingly, the survey found that three out of ten SMEs plan to invest more in sustainable business practices over the next five years, although another 42 percent said that spending on sustainability is likely to remain flat.

New Campaign Encouraging Brits to 'Smart Swap' Healthier Food Criticized for Shortsightedness

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - Last week, Public Health England unveiled its latest Change4Life campaign, which this year focuses on getting people throughout England and Wales to “Smart Swap” fatty or sugary foods for healthier alternatives.The campaign recognizes that it’s unrealistic to expect people to immediately switch from chocolate to fruit, for example, so it is hoping to incentivize making smarter food choices by offering participants money-saving vouchers for healthier foods and drinks and in-store offers from partner retailers such as Asda, Co-operative Food, Lidl and Aldi.

Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions to Broaden Possibilities for Internet of Things and Services

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Bosch has expanded its offering beyond the design of home appliances to form a new company, Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH, for the Internet of things and services: The company will supply compact electronic products and software expertise designed to make devices and objects intelligent and web-enabled across a broad range of applications. It will initially focus on sensor-based applications for intelligently networked homes, or “smart homes,” as well as for activities in the fields of traffic, transportation and logistics.

Not Magic, Science: Startup Creating Plastic Out of Thin Air

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - We’re hearing more and more often about inventive new ways companies are turning waste into valuable resources — from turning everything from CO2 and methane gases to human and food waste into fuels, and plastic into bacteria-battling “

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Disruptive Conservation: A New Thread to Connect Multi-Sector Values

SUPPLY CHAIN - A Minnesota watershed project is using an ecocommerce framework, a fundamentally different approach to bringing shared value to natural resource management.

Listen to Your Critics: They Could Be Your Biggest Allies

SUPPLY CHAIN - It was every retailer’s worst nightmare: Days after the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in one of the worst industrial disasters in recorded history, activists began plastering the Internet with pictures of clothing labels uncovered amongst the rubble of concrete and human remains. Amongst these, some of the world’s most recognized brands, including Mango, H&M and Walmart.

Consumers, Activists Declare Victory as General Mills Commits to Non-GMO Cheerios

MARKETING AND COMMS - GMO Inside, a campaign of national non-profit organization Green America, celebrated a victory yesterday after target General Mills announced that its original Cheerios cereal would now be produced without the use of GMOs.

Divine Obsolescence, Sustainability & the Silent 'S' in Business Transformation

LEADERSHIP - Mention to a sustainability person that their career trajectory should be hurtling them towards some form of divine obsolescence and the reactions are, suffice to say, mixed.The idea of them passing through some blissful reinvention to rise phoenix-like, only stronger and wiser, in some new primary function at the heart of the business doesn’t always ring everyone’s career bell.The fact that they should wish to render their current position and the status they derive from it obsolete — a planned professional obsolescence — seems confusing to some, demeaning to others and otherwise simply, quietly terrifying to those who have been on the 'S' mission for so long.

IBM's Plastic 'Ninja Polymers' Could Be MRSA Bacteria's First Worthy Opponents

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - A team of research scientists at IBM and Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have drawn upon years of expertise in semiconductor technology and material discovery to crack the code for safely destroying the antibiotic-resistant and sometimes-deadly superbug MRSA.IBM says the researchers have made a nanomedicine breakthrough by converting common plastic materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into non-toxic and biocompatible materials designed to specifically target and attack fungal infections.

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Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept Provides Sunny Glimpse of Future for Clean Vehicles

COLLABORATION - Ford Motor Company announced today the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best features of a plug-in hybrid without relying on the electric grid for fuel. The concept car will be exhibited at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas next week.Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts as a magnifying glass, directing rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.

Sustainability as an Emergent Property: What Can We Learn from the Super-Organisms?

COLLABORATION - In the ongoing drive to create and communicate about sustainability in the emerging economy, it can be useful to conceive of sustainability not as a quantifiable end goal, but as an emergent property. An emergent property arises when individual components or actions, combined together, collectively generate a higher-level aggregate experience. Think democracy. Or plague. Or community. One does not "do" sustainability anymore than one "does" community. One co-creates community through all of the little deeds — hosting the potluck, planning the carpool, sharing the tool shed. Like community, sustainability — or any emergent property — arises out of the contributions made and conditions created in service of a shared reality.

Natura Asks: Why Do You Need What You Don't Need?

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - In December 2011, Patagonia called on US consumers to make more considered purchases with its famous “Don’t buy this jacket” ad and this year encouraged customers to value what they already have with its “Worn Wear” campaign. Along the same lines, Brazilian cosmetics company Natura launched in May 2013 a new flagship brand called SOU (meaning “I am”), reconciling low environmental impacts and low costs with high sensorial impacts and inviting users to a new kind of consumption.

Top 10 Ways Brands Used Their Power to Create a More Sustainable World in 2013

SUPPLY CHAIN - 2013 was a banner year for companies using their muscle to drive transformative change, both internally and globally. Without further ado, here is just a taste of some of the progress we found most inspiring.

Stopping Global Deforestation: How to Turn Around a Giant (Part 2 of 2)

SUPPLY CHAIN - This is the fourth in a series of excerpts from Engaging Outraged Stakeholders: A How-To Guide for Uniting the Left, Right, Capitalists and Activists (Affinity Press, 2013), the new book from Future 500. Earlier this month, we posted the beginning of Chapter Two: The Power of Engagement, and learned six reasons to engage your activist stakeholders.

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Brands, Palm Oil and the Ugly Face of Beauty

SUPPLY CHAIN - After the recent piece regarding palm oil and the depredations its industrial cultivation rains on the heads of one of our most wonderful simian cousins, if there is anyone in the beauty industry or from one of its agencies that read it and didn’t end up feeling anything other than a creeping, yawing shame climb up their neck I would be staggered.Sadly, whether they give enough of a flying arse to do or say anything about it has more to do with income, career, the unassailable truth of an utterly disinterested management structure and the luxury of distance.

GirlTrek Receives $50,000 Mary Anderson Legacy Grant from The REI Foundation

PRESS RELEASE - The REI Foundation awarded its annual $50,000 Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to GirlTrek, a national nonprofit and health organization inspiring and supporting African-American women and girls to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives – through walking. The Mary Anderson Legacy Grant was introduced in 2009 in celebration of the 100th birthday of REI’s co-founder. Mary Anderson, now 104, helped establish REI as a co-op in 1938 in Seattle with her husband, Lloyd, and 21 fellow mountaineering colleagues. The annual grant supports organizations that reflect her passion as an educator and as a trailblazer in participating in outdoor activities and sharing those experiences with others.

10 Sustainable Business Stories Too Important to Miss

LEADERSHIP - Somehow it’s already year-end, a time to look back and try to make sense of what’s happened. Creating any “top” list of stories from 12 months is nearly impossible. But as I’ve done for the last 4 years, I’ll attempt to summarize some of the latest stories about the big environmental and social pressures on business, and how some innovative companies are dealing with them.

McDonald's Pulls Employee McResource Site After Scrutiny Over Misguided Lifestyle Advice

MARKETING AND COMMS - As you may remember, McDonald's announced in September a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, to increase customers' access to fruit and vegetables and promote these healthier options to help families and children to make informed dining choices. In keeping with this commitment, the fast-food giant attempted to do the same for its employees earlier this month by pointing out the difference between items such as a burger and fries and “healthier options,” apparently missing the irony of the situation.

Cheese Brine Helping De-Ice Milwaukee Roads, Make Them 'Smell Like Wisconsin'

WASTE NOT - Turns out there’s a use for the often-stinky liquid used to brine cheese — de-icing roads. Milwaukee is using cheese brine, usually a waste by-product of the cheese-making process, to de-ice the city’s dangerously slick roads this winter, according to the New York Times. The city says the brine is a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to rock salt, which can end up polluting waterways.

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