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This Website Lets You Tell Everyone That All You Want for Christmas Is NO MORE STUFF

MARKETING AND COMMS - If you are like us, your family has already started asking you what you want for Christmas/Hanukkah/insert your mass-consumption holiday of choice here. And while we like getting presents, we really, really, honestly, we promise, do not need that much more stuff. Which is why we’re glad to see SoKind, which Treehugger describes as “a new and improved gift registry aimed firmly at those who value experiences over material goods, handmade crafts over mass-produced gadgets, and gently used and carefully selected pre-loved goods over things they’ll probably use once and never see again.”

How Aruba Plans to Be Energy Independent by 2020

THE NEXT ECONOMY - 'Energy independence' is a term we hear a lot of politicians throw around, but not too many actually follow through on their plans or promises.Aruba, however, is actually making good on its goal of energy independence. The tiny Caribbean country is not only addressing its energy concerns but is actually on track to become fully energy independent by 2020, thanks to a number of clean-energy investments and initiatives.Sure, it might be easier for a country that measures about 20 x 6 miles to achieve energy independence than it is for, say, the U.S., but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from this country and what it is doing to get its energy situation in order. Let’s take a look at some lessons we can take away from Aruba's example:

This Season's Hottest Trend: Fashion Protecting Forests

COLLABORATION - Fashion and forests don’t likely go hand-in-hand in most people’s minds, but a new partnership announced today is aimed at increasing the sustainability of both.Socially conscious fashion brand Eileen Fisher and Canadian environmental NGO Canopy — with the help of Quiksilver, prAna, Patagonia and lululemon athletica and 14 progressive designers — have announced a joint campaign designed to bolster protection of ancient forest ecosystems and raise awareness about the fashion industry’s role in endangering them.

5 Ways to Create a Culture of Sustainability in Any Company

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - There is no simple way to identify a leading company in sustainability. Given the proliferation of ratings, rankings, blogs and indices, there is no shortage of opinions, and often these are in direct conflict with one another. The methodologies used to calculate performance are often very opaque, or nonexistent. Even highly reputable organizations, based on a good core of data, often produce wildly divergent results from one another. And once the pundits get a hold of any ranking, they usually tear it to pieces, bringing their own criteria, opinions and biases to bear and further muddying the waters. While the debates are often fierce, no one can really agree on what sustainability itself really means.

Interface Joins Initiative Turning Marine Plastic 'from Waste to Wear'

WASTE NOT - Innovative carpet-tile manufacturer and environmental pioneer Interface has announced its participation in 'Healthy Seas, a Journey from Waste to Wear' — a new initiative designed to address the growing environmental problem of marine waste. Interface is the first flooring company to participate in this global program, founded by yarn manufacturer Aquafil, conservation group ECNC Land & Sea Group, and Dutch manufacturer Star Sock, as part of Interface's long-term 'Mission Zero' sustainability goal.

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M&S, Waitrose Among UK Retailers Working ‘Stronger Together’ to Fight Forced Labor

COLLABORATION - Leading organisations and industry bodies within UK food production, retail and horticulture have joined forces to tackle the issue of modern-day slavery, human trafficking, forced labor and other hidden migrant worker exploitation, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Amp: One-Stop Shopping for Sustainability Resources

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Santa Monica-based startup Amp is an open-access directory for professionals and students in the sustainability sector to connect and find resources that support their efforts to drive social and environmental progress.According to co-founder Sarah McKinney, “It’s like Yelp for sustainability resources… a place where people can share, rate and review the links, media, and documents they’re using to inform and amplify their work.”

REI Data Center Retrofit Reduces Cooling Energy Use by 93 Percent

PRESS RELEASE - SEATTLE – Energy use is the largest contributor to REI's climate impact. In recent years, the leading outdoor retailer has taken actions to reduce its greenhouse gas impact. A retrofit of its data center is its latest effort, resulting in a 93 percent reduction in the cooling energy used to operate the facility. REI’s data center houses servers and backup systems for computers, software systems, REI.com and point of sale for its 132 stores in 33 states. The retrofit uses “free cooling” via a rooftop evaporative cooling tower to keep servers at optimal temperatures. The system reduces the need for mechanical cooling nearly year-round, or about 8,672 hours annually.

Walmart Now Produces More Solar Power Than 38 U.S. States

LEADERSHIP - Walmart now has more than 180 renewable energy projects in operation or development around the world and generates 89 megawatts (MW) of solar across 215 locations, according to a report last week by the Solar Energy Industries Association. This is enough to power 22,250 U.S. homes and is more than is produced in 38 U.S. states. Earlier in 2013, Walmart partnered with SolarCity to install solar on another 60 stores in California, part if the company’s goal to have solar power on 75 percent of its stores in the state. The company also is testing other projects, such as micro wind, large-scale wind farms, solar water heating and solar thermal to maximize the renewable energy potential of each location.

GSK and the Gates Foundation Partnering to Develop Heat-Resistant Vaccines

COLLABORATION - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) today announced the launch of a new joint initiative with the goal of making vaccines more resistant to heat, thus reducing the need for refrigeration.Most vaccines must be kept cold and transported under constant refrigeration via a so-called "cold chain," which is a significant challenge in hot, remote and resource-limited regions. GSK and BMGF will invest a combined $1.8 million in early-stage research into vaccine thermostability.

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The Road Less Travelled: New Paths to Mainstream Consumer Engagement

MARKETING AND COMMS - Mainstream consumers can be a fickle bunch can’t they? They tell us in research that they want to be more green, that they WILL purchase more eco-friendly products in the next year ahead than the one prior. But there’s that eternal gap between reported and actual behaviours; what gets entered in an online survey is often different than what happens in the shop aisle. Finding a way to bridge that gap is one of sustainability and marketing’s ‘holy grails’ we are all seeking an answer to.

Carbon Trust to Design Eco-Labeling Scheme for Mexico

COLLABORATION - The Carbon Trust has been selected to develop an environmental labeling scheme for products and services in Mexico, designed to promote sustainable purchasing and procurement for consumers, companies and the public sector.The objective of the project is to drive the international competitiveness and economic efficiency of Mexican industry through more sustainable production. It will also provide a commonly recognised set of criteria to ensure that environmental claims about products and services are properly substantiated. The project is funded through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Prosperity Fund, as administered through the British Embassy in Mexico City.Cuauhtémoc Ochoa Fernandez, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Development and Environmental Regulation, said:

Actions Speak Louder: How to Communicate More Than Just Words

MARKETING AND COMMS - The success of Chipotle’s recent ‘Scarecrow’ video goes beyond its glossy Cannes-worthy visuals or the 7 million views it has received since its launch last month: The online advertisement is a marketing feat because it taps into the power of storytelling in a way that reflects Chipotle’s ethos and is woven into all of the company’s communications. A look into Chipotle’s broader communications efforts reveals the lesson that for a sustainability message to authentically resonate with audiences, it needs to be part of a strategic communication plan and backed up by real action.

DuPont, Huntsman Partnership Dramatically Increases Yield, Reduces Impacts of Cotton Bleaching

COLLABORATION - DuPont Industrial Biosciences, in collaboration with Huntsman Corporation — a global provider of textile dyes and chemicals — recently announced the results of a case study that demonstrates the benefits of its Gentle Power Bleach™, powered by DuPont’s PrimaGreen® EcoWhite enzymatic bleaching technology. The study, conducted between 2006 and 2012, measured significant reductions in water use, energy consumption and chemical use coupled with notable increases in product quality and yield.

The Cat's in the BAGGU: Emily Sugihara Talks Sourcing and Collaboration

SUPPLY CHAIN - Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People this year, Emily Sugihara is the founder of BAGGU, a line of environmentally conscious bags. The eye-catching yet simple designs have caught on with J. Crew, West Elm and others. We caught up with Emily, who co-founded BAGGU with her mother, Joan, to learn more about what’s behind the bag.What is your mission and how does fulfilling it impact the designing, sourcing and manufacturing of BAGGU goods?Our mission is to make bags that fill many needs, are well-designed, are as affordable as possible and are produced in a way that’s mindful of the environment.

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People Perspectives in Sustainable Innovation

NEW METRICS - The environment has been an impetus for innovation in the last couple of years. Assessing products’ ecological impact helps companies to spot new product opportunities with reduced planet footprint and a sound business case.DSM, the global science-based company, active in health, nutrition and materials, wants to create triple value along the dimensions of People, Planet and Profit, underscoring its mission of ‘Bright Science, Brighter Living.’ DSM wants contribute to a sustainable world in which people can flourish, now and for generations to come.

REI Adventures Presents Namibia’s Conservation Guards with Sustainable Tourism Award

PRESS RELEASE - SEATTLE – The global leader in guided active adventure travel, REI Adventures presented the Namibian Conservation Guards with its 2013 Sustainable Tourism Award. Through the award, 500 guards will receive a backpack full of gear, apparel and supplies to support their efforts in protecting the country’s natural resources and wildlife.

Is Your Corporation Missing Its Compass?

MARKETING AND COMMS - I was sitting with a team of entrepreneurs yesterday. Together, we're launching a new retail concept (look for updates here — we open in January!).The conversation was all about naming. We'd landed on two great names, which one of the team had put through an online poll. The names polled well — but not as well as a rather predictable moniker that had been included at the last minute. As you might imagine, the mundane-name-that-people-loved threw a wrench into the works.

Sainsbury's Introduces Its First Water-Neutral Store

WASTE NOT - Sainsbury's has announced that its new store at Weymouth Gateway will be water neutral — 100 percent of its water demand will be met through water-efficient infrastructure and offsetting partnerships in the local community, and the total water used within the local catchment area will not increase as a result of this new store. The grocery retailer says it will also replicate this approach at its new supermarket in Leicester, opening at the end of November.

Best Buy, Dell Win CEA’s First eCycling Leadership Award

WASTE NOT - Best Buy, Dell, HP and Samsung have won the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) inaugural eCycling Leadership Award, which recognizes consumer electronics companies that recycle above and beyond levels mandated by government.In 2011, CEA announced the eCycling Leadership Initiative to increase the amount of recycled consumer electronics to one billion pounds annually by 2016, an effort known as the Billion Pound Challenge. CEA says the industry is on track to meet this goal by recycling 585 million pounds of products in 2012.

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