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Avila Develops New Metrics for Sustainable Event Management

NEW METRICS - When Avila Government Services, Inc. (Avila) decided they wanted to improve the sustainability of their meeting/event planning efforts, they turned to the latest event sustainability guidance. However, as many planners have discovered, the roughly 400 pages of long-awaited guidance can be overwhelming and confusing. The three sets of guidelines fall short of providing the necessary metrics for conducting and evaluating the event planning process. They lack specific policies, goals, measurable objectives and scoring systems for sustainable meeting planning. Instead, they require the organization and its planners to develop their own procedures and metrics for the process.

Customer Behavior Change: The Holy Grail of Conscious Brands

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - “If we can’t get the consumer involved, we will always be behind the curve,” Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland said when he launched the retailer’s ‘Plan A’ sustainability stakeholder consultation.The logic is compelling. Changing customer behavior is a natural part of the sustainable business strategies businesses must create to achieve long-term success. And instead of being seen as an extension of CSR strategies they will be seen more as Long-Term Marketing strategies that are creating the company’s preferred future operating environment.

Largest Vertical Farm in the US Becomes Zero Organic Waste Facility

WASTE NOT - Chicago land-based vertical farm FarmedHere, has launched a program to convert all of its organic waste into compost used to feed other urban farms across Chicago.Through a unique soil-free process that utilizes vertical farming technology, FarmedHere grows USDA certified organic greens that the company says are healthier, tastier, and fresher than traditionally farmed produce. Stacked grow beds – up to six high – are used to create vertical growing space. Instead of soil, water from tanks of hormone-free tilapia delivers nutrients to the plants through either an aquaponic or aeroponic system. These systems are combined with controlled water pressure, humidity and atmospheric pressure to create optimal growing conditions.

Opposites Attract: Five Branding Lessons PrintEco Learned from Our Partnership with Domtar

COLLABORATION - Domtar Corporation is one of the largest and most innovative paper companies in the world. Our company, PrintEco, is a two-year-old software startup with a mission to help save paper and ink and protect the environment. So when we announced our partnership with Domtar at SB ’13 in June, a lot of our friends were like, “Congratulations! Wait ... a paper company?” Admittedly, we’re a bit of an odd couple — but working with Domtar has taught us a lot about branding and about sustainable business in general.

IKEA and Kingfisher Pledge Ambitious 'Net Positive' Agendas, But Can They Work?

SUPPLY CHAIN - Today an ever-increasing number of companies and brands are likely to have a corporate social responsibility agenda because customers and other stakeholders demand they hold themselves accountable for their environmental and social performance. Now more companies are pushing the boundaries, or in reality, talking about going further than merely just becoming more “sustainable” or “responsible.” Zero-waste has become a mantra at some of the world’s most iconiccompanies, including Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

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So Crafty: New Belgium Shows How Sustainable Brand Innovation Can Be a Business Driver

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - It makes sense that an alliance of craft breweries continues to speak out for the Clean Water Act — you can’t make great beer without great water. But what is it about the culture of craft breweries that makes them see sustainability as an innovation imperative? We asked one of the pioneers in the field, Jenn Vervier, New Belgium Brewing’s Director of Strategic Planning and Sustainability.

Intrinsic Value Exchange: Using Market Forces to Help Heal the Planet

NEW METRICS - Our economy assigns values to just about everything except for the things that matter most. As far as the current economy is concerned, a tree holds value only if it is cut down, an animal only if it is slaughtered and a person only if they contribute to the GDP. When we are given the price of an item, many values and certain costs are often excluded, which results in the destruction of natural resources, decline in human health and an economy that is less productive than it could be.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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