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AT&T and the Nature Conservancy Team Up to Help Oregon Customers ‘Skip the Bag’

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - AT&T has partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to encourage AT&T customers to skip the bag when purchasing items from its retail stores in Oregon by donating 10 cents to the Nature Conservancy for each check out bag its customers choose to forego.AT&T says its “Skip the Bag” campaign, which runs from now through January 31, 2014, is part of an effort to empower customers with sustainable choices, increase efficiency and minimize impact on the environment. The program is designed to support The Nature Conservancy's efforts to protect and restore the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Does Your Sustainability Pitch Make Enough Sense to Your CFO?

NEW METRICS - Many experts have observed in recent months that innovating for sustainability seems to be attracting mainstream attention, particularly at Fortune 500 companies and among forward-looking social entrepreneurs. The growth of the Sustainable Brands community certainly supports that claim, with an audience of over 2,800 boasting more than $4 trillion in combined annual revenue represented at SB’13 earlier this summer. At the same time, however, in the majority of cases sustainability is still not part of firms' core strategies. And we can’t expect to be on the right long-term trajectory if all we do is encourage employees to switch to double-sided printing.

New Era: Can Profit-Seeking Approaches Protect Natural Capital?

COLLABORATION - Mark Tercek of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has written a new book with Jonathan Adams, Nature's Fortune: How Business & Society Thrive by Investing in Nature. A video interview of him at an Aspen Institute forum last month at Hunter College, “The Case for a Profit Motive in Conserving the Environment,” with New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin showed that his theme and approach have a lot going for them.

Consumer Collaboration Investment: The Communispace Client Index vs. the S&P 500

COLLABORATION - Introducing the Communispace Client Index — an index designed to track the stock market performance of our top 25 clients (i.e., those clients investing the most in consumer collaboration) against the S&P 500. Our nerd-o-licious intent was to see if our clients — companies who are engaged in an ongoing collaborative relationship with their consumers — are doing any better than the rest of the companies out there.The Index by no means shows causality between our work and the share performance of any given company. However, it does say some pretty interesting things:

How Sustainable Is Your Supply Chain?

SUPPLY CHAIN - Beginning this month, Sustainable Brands will launch a new Issues in Focus editorial channel examining sustainable supply chain management.The SB editorial team — with the help of guest editors Dave Meyer of EORM, Tara Norton of BSR and Sam Hummel of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council — are seeking articles, interviews and case studies for publication throughout the year.

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Investment Group Ranks Sweden ‘Most Sustainable Country in the World’

MARKETING AND COMMS - Swiss investment group RobecoSAM has ranked Sweden the most sustainable country in the world in its recent ranking of 59 countries, which gauges a wide range of environmental and social governance issues like carbon emissions, social cohesion and civil liberties.RobecoSAM says it designed the report to offer investors a deeper insight of issues that may affect a country's credit rating but are not typically considered by traditional sovereign ratings, like climate change.

RecycleForce Keeps Electronic Waste Out of Landfills and Ex-Felons Out of Prison

WASTE NOT - Since 2006, Indianapolis-based RecycleForce has paid over $10 million in wages and employed 650 ex-felons to recycle over 20 million pounds of electronic waste. The non-profit social enterprise has a dual mission: to help people coming out of prison successfully transition back into civil society, and to keep as much electronic waste as possible out of Indiana’s landfills. RecycleForce deconstructs electronic waste and other recyclables provided by residents and corporate partners, separates the reusable materials, and disposes of the waste safely and cleanly.

Total Energy Resource Productivity: Math Not Myth

NEW METRICS - Open the news in the US and you hear two conflicting messages: “We are on our way to becoming energy independent using fossil fuel” and “The biggest challenge we face is getting off fossil fuel.” The inconvenient truth is that we don’t know how to quantify our dependence on fossil fuel nor do we have a metric for Energy Productivity and Environmental Performance.

The Ultimate Interview Question: Social Responsibility in the Hiring Process

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - The hiring process can be a grueling one — weeding through all those prospects can be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. It can be frustrating, and it also presents a lot of opportunity for self-doubt.

Google Reduces Carbon Footprint By 9%

MARKETING AND COMMS - Google has announced it emitted 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, a 9 percent decrease from the year before, according to the company’s latest carbon footprint data.The search giant says it used new reporting guidance from the Carbon Disclosure Project to buy carbon offsets to reduce its 2012 footprint to zero. Google also claims it has been carbon neutral for six years running.

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Sustainability Ideas Must Be 'Made to Stick'

MARKETING AND COMMS - Calls to shake up the sustainability community seem to be becoming increasingly frequent — the latest that I’ve read coming from the State of the World 2013 Report. With a warning that sustainability is in need of a “dramatic reboot,” it suggests a failure to deliver on the wealth of opportunities being promised.

Arizona State University Announces New Executive Master's for Sustainability Leadership

PRESS RELEASE - Nation’s leader in sustainability education to provide program on organizational leadership skills through the lens of sustainabilityTEMPE, Ariz., August 15, 2013 – Recognizing a gap in sustainability leadership education and development, Arizona State University, the nation’s leader in sustainability education, is launching a new executive master’s program focusing on organizational leadership. This new program will equip professionals with the skills to effectively integrate sustainability throughout all facets of their organizations.

From Invisible to Impact: Value in the Personal Data Economy

NEW METRICS - There’s been a lot of talk about the power of Big Data in our modern digital economy. But tech experts will be the first to tell you “Big Data” is a marketing term, not a magic bullet. While it’s important to know how to best aggregate and make sense of the massive amounts of information available about your customers, there’s a more critical point you need to address right away about the nature of people’s data:It’s going to disappear.

Back to the Start with Back to the Roots

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - In their last semester at UC Berkeley, Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora were inspired by a class lecture about the possibilities of growing mushrooms using entirely recycled coffee grounds. The perfect representation of turning waste into wages, after various experimentations the pair founded Back to the Roots in 2009. We caught up with Nikhil to learn more about the company’s business model and its newest offering, a tabletop aquaponic farm.

The Rise of the Scratch Card Brand

MARKETING AND COMMS - We're living in The Age of Scratch Card Brands — social networks have closed the gap between brands and the businesses that deliver them to the extent that businesses now sit immediately beneath their brands. Social networks have rendered the factory and boardroom walls in glass — a rude employee or a river foaming with effluent can be captured on a phone camera instantly, be on YouTube in seconds and viewed by millions shortly after. Potential health and safety violations tolerated by out-of-sight factory workers are no longer out of mind to the consumer activist buying the brand promise four thousand miles away.

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Obsession Over 'Natural' Aside, Burt's Bees a Rightful Leader in the Personal Care Industry

MARKETING AND COMMS - Burt’s Bees is an incredible American success story. Roxanne Quimby’s venture into beeswax candles took her from New England craft fairs to lip balm and personal care products sold in thousands of drugstores across the United States, before she eventually sold her company to Clorox for $913 million in 2007. That acquisition has been one within a recent trend of large food and consumer packaged goods companies buying smaller ones for more “natural” or healthful products: Colgate-Palmolive owns Tom’s of Maine; Coca-Cola snapped up Honest Tea; Kraft has long owned Boca Burgers.

Democratic Approach to Business Governance Key to Long-Term Innovation

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - The Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED) has published a paper that explores the roots of representative structures and argues that a democratic approach to business governance is crucial to long term innovation.Sustained Innovation through Shared Capitalism and Democratic Governance evaluates the role of research, innovation, organizational structures and associated issues in addressing the long-term focus required for development—both material and human.

Diageo Reducing Material Use to Achieve Zero Waste by 2015

WASTE NOT - Global beverage company Diageo says it is working towards zero waste to landfill targets at all of its sites by 2015, but is looking to make its waste management activities a higher priority via a five-pronged approach.The company's latest sustainability and responsibility report says it has reduced waste to landfill by 53.4 percent this year, contributing to an overall reduction of 77.9 percent against a 2007 baseline. This means that 81,099 tons of manufacturing waste is now being reused or recycled.

Webinar: Making the Business Case for Sustainability

PRESS RELEASE - KNOXVILLE, Tenn., August 13, 2013 – Shelton Group, the nation’s leading marketing communications firm entirely focused in the sustainability and energy efficiency sectors, announced today that its next webinar will focus on sustainability as both an offensive and defensive business strategy. “Our Eco Pulse™ 2013 survey found that 48 percent of Americans say a company’s environmental reputation is important to their purchase decisions,” said Suzanne Shelton, CEO and founder of Shelton Group. “To that end, telling your company’s corporate sustainability story has both risks and benefits, and without understanding those fully, you might not be able to make the right decisions about allocating your resources.”

Weyerhaeuser Certifies Nearly 20 Million Acres to Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard

MARKETING AND COMMS - The Weyerhaeuser Company has acquired Longview Timber’s approximately 645,000 acres of forestland in Washington state and Oregon, meaning it now owns or manages nearly 20.5 million acres of forestland in the U.S. and Canada, making the company one of the world’s largest private sustainable forestry operations.Weyerhaeuser says it is dedicated to industry leadership in forest stewardship and sustainability and will continue to live up to its principles as it brings the Longview Timber operations into its portfolio. All of Weyerhaeuser’s North American forests are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standard, which ensures that its forest management practices meet a broad spectrum of social, economic and environmental requirements.

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