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Tag: environment

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At Issue } essential reading

Can These Crazy High-Tech Tree Structures Get More People Into Green Space?

Emily Badger
Mar 25, 2013

Invisible Cities is a project looking to make technology and nature come together seamlessly in order to draw a new, connected generation into spending more time in the outdoors.

Inside Facebook's Internal Innovation Culture

Reena Jana
Mar 7, 2013

Business news headlines featuring social-networking giant Facebook change almost as often and as dramatically as a teenager updates her Facebook status online.

Gillette Finds Rhyme and Maybe Reason with Reduce-Reuse Message

Adam Gordon
Jun 14, 2012

The shaving brand, Gillette, (Procter & Gamble) has been running a television commercial which shows actor Brandon Quinn in far-flung locations, and claims one ProGlide cartridge blade lasted him 5 weeks on the road. It is impossible to put a reliable number on how long a shaving blade lasts, not least because all the variables are personal: including skin type, hair type, tolerance for drag, etc. But the news is that the huge and successful marketing machine behind the Gillette brand has seen *now* as the moment to come forward with a blade longevity number.

Service connects empty returning taxis with passengers needing a ride

Jun 12, 2012

It’s a fact of life in the taxi business that cabs must often return back to base empty after dropping off a customer — particularly when that drop-off was at an airport. That return drive is essentially a wasted trip, but UK-based TaxiBack aims to change that. Specifically, the startup offers a service which connects passengers with cabs that would otherwise be returning empty and enables them to reserve rides at reduced rates.

BP Aims to Restore Image Two Years Post-Gulf Spill

Mark J. Miller
May 29, 2012

As tourists start returning to the Gulf of Mexico two years after the disaster that marred its name, BP would like to rebuild its image as an oil company that actually gives a hoot about the environment.

Whole Foods Kicks Off New Ranking For Cleaners

Apr 25, 2011

Claiming widespread consumer confusion -- even among its green-elite shoppers -- Whole Foods Markets says it is introducing Eco-Scale Rating System, a tiered standard for household cleaners that will make it easier for customers to understand which products are best for the environment.

Heinz Shakes Bottle by Adopting Coke's Plant-Based Plastic

Feb 24, 2011

Coca-Cola and Heinz announced a landmark partnership today, one that will replace 120 million bottles of Heinz ketchup in the US with Coca-Cola's eco-friendly PlantBottle packaging in 2011, starting with the brand's 20 oz. size in June. Consumers will be able to identify the new Heinz bottles by a so-called talking label that asks, "Guess What My Bottle is Made Of?"

London's New Bike Lanes, Branded with Barclays Blue

Oct 25, 2010

Transport for London is investing a record GBP 111 million this year in initiatives designed to encourage and improve bicycling in London, and a sizable chunk of that money is going toward “cycle superhighways,” or dedicated cycle lanes into central London from the outer portions of the city. Other cities are taking similar steps, of course, given the increasing popularity of bicycling; what's particularly interesting about this initiative, however, is that Barclays is heavily involved in the effort, lending the superhighways not just its brand name but even its corporate colour.

Wal-Mart: Lettuce Think Global, Act Local

Oct 18, 2010

The 800-pound gorilla — or, more precisely, $405-billion behemoth — of global retailing is entering the “locally produced” derby. And locally produced food probably never will be the same. Wal-Mart plans to dramatically increase the locally grown produce it purchases from U.S. farmers over the next five years. And in emerging markets including China and India, the ever-expansive chain plans to sell $1 billion worth of food grown by a million small and medium farmers – and, to boot, train them in using water, pesticides and fertilizer more efficiently.

Lifting the Lid on Stonyfield's New Plant-Based Packaging

Joel Makower
Oct 15, 2010

Today, Stonyfield Farm, the organic yogurt company, is unveiling a new packaging solution: A yogurt cup made from corn. It's not the first revolution in yogurt cups, or the first packaging innovation made from corn. But Stonyfield's journey to today is a case study in sustainability, innovation, persistence, and systems thinking that I think is worth sharing.

SNAFU: The New Normal

Sep 3, 2010

Last week I heard this in a meeting: "We're in the middle of tremendous change. The organization is going through the biggest transition in its history." The line is usually delivered with a mix of desperation, a touch of helplessness and an apologetic tone. The admission comes, with the predictability of a carefully timed script, as I'm trying to assess where companies are in terms of their digital marketing maturity. Just a few years ago there was a lot of brash boasting about how cutting-edge companies were, but it's been a long time since I've heard that confidence. Even former dot-com rock stars are realizing that they have a lot to learn. They know things are messed up and they think it's their fault. Somehow things have gotten fouled up in the execution machinery of their company. They're not smart enough, nimble enough or gutsy enough.

Six Secrets to Creating a Culture of Innovation

Aug 11, 2010

When IBM recently polled 1500 CEOs across 60 countries, they rated creativity as the most important leadership competency. Eighty percent of the CEOs said the business environment is growing so complex that it literally demands new ways of thinking. Less than 50 percent said they believed their organizations were equipped to deal effectively with this rising complexity. But are CEOs and senior leaders really willing to make the transformational moves necessary to foster cultures of real creativity and innovation?

Adversary's Clean Start With Wal-Mart

Jul 26, 2010

For years, Seventh Generation Inc. co-founder Jeffrey Hollender liked to say "hell would freeze over" before his company's environmentally friendly household products would be sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. He feels differently now. Starting next month, Seventh Generation staples, including laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose sprays and disinfectant wipes, will be sold in about 1,500 Wal-Mart stores. By September, other cleaners, diapers and baby wipes will be available on Walmart.com.

Greenpeace Vs. Brands: Social Media Attacks To Continue

Jeremiah Owyang
Jul 20, 2010

Most companies are barely prepared to deal with unhappy customers who use social media to air their gripes. Now they must be ready to respond when organized entities, such as Greenpeace, wage massive campaigns against their brands using social media channels.

As BP 'Fix' Looms, Mistrust Still Growing

Jul 16, 2010

Even as the world watches to see if BP's new cap can continue to contain the oil spill, market researchers are struggling to get a handle on how deeply "gulf despair" is working its way into the consumer psyche. New data from Kantar Retail show that a majority of Americans -- 56% -- feel they have been affected by the spill, many of them in multiple ways.

A New Tool for Understanding Sustainability Drivers

Jul 13, 2010

I like to step back periodically and look at why companies need to go green. Besides the inherent business logic of creating value by getting leaner or innovating to solve customer problems, what are the forces propelling this movement? Understanding this explicitly can help companies think about solutions systematically.

Stop Confusing Your Customers with Cognitive Dissonance

Andrew Winston
Jul 1, 2010

It's inevitable that as organizations navigate the complex world of sustainability, they will experience some internal cognitive dissonance about how they operate. Nobody said it was easy to balance the competing forces of (a) the inertia of how things have always been done, (b) the desire to meet the assumed needs of customers (for, say, welcoming, well-lit rooms), and (c) new pressures and questions about environmental and social performance. But forcing your customers to confront these choices or, worse, making them do the work themselves, is not a good option.

Wal-Mart's Green Strategy Raises Serious Issues

Bob Lurie
Jul 1, 2010

Wal-Mart's move to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from its supply chain in the next five years is impressive. It's also an example of the world's largest retailer exerting a blunt form of regulatory vigilantism.

Can BP Protests Inspire Innovation?

Jul 1, 2010

All of which raises a good question: Will the Gulf of Mexico disaster inspire innovation beyond creative protests and logo spoofs? Virgin founder Richard Branson, promoting Virgin America's new flights to Toronto, says he hopes the spill inspires at least one positive outcome: more focus on cleantech and green energy solutions.

How Branding Can Lead To Healthier Architecture

Aziz Ali
Jun 30, 2010

PSFK sat down with Anna Klingmann for a conversation covering trends in architecture as they pertain to sustainability and health. Her agency, Klingmann, specializes in a niche area where architecture meets branding. Although not all applications of branding will bring about improved communities and healthier living/working spaces, Klingmann’s work clearly demonstrates the importance of branding in nurturing a sense of belonging.

Darryl Willis, Reluctant Star of BP's Latest Commercials, Talks to Ad Age

Edmund Lee
Jun 25, 2010

You've seen him in those commercials for BP. An unassuming man wearing an orange polo and wire-frame glasses approaches the camera as he walks along a generic dock and says, "I'm Darryl Willis. I oversee BP's claims process on the Gulf Coast. BP has got to make things right, and that's why we're here." Mr. Willis has been setting up and overseeing BP's claims offices in the affected Gulf Coast states -- a juxtaposition that some commentors on black-focused blogs said has undertones of racial perfidy. Nonetheless, Mr. Willis, a married father of two children, has become the most visible face of BP. Ad Age spoke to Mr. Willis via phone as he was en route from Florida to New Orleans.

Shell Ads: "We're the Good Guys"

Jun 25, 2010

Shell Oil hopes to distance itself from BP with "aggressive" campaign, dubbed Let's Go, that includes energygalaxy.com and shell.us/letsgo, plus print and TV ads. BP, meanwhile, is pursuing "risky" drilling in Alaska; based spill contingency plans on faulty U.S. data, reports the Wall Street Journal; reinstalled the cap on its damaged containment unit; rejected 900+ crowdsourced ideas from respected members of InnoCentive community; and dismissed rumors it may shed its Latin American assets. BP's new Gulf Spill chief Bob Dudley also held his first press conference in a bid to offset criticism of the company. Bloomberg Businessweek argues that America can't turn its back on BP, as U.S. executive pay czar Ken Feinberg announces he is stepping down from that role to focus on administering BP claims.

Ford Report Records Sustainability Measures

Jun 16, 2010

It's not exactly about cars, but Ford Motor's latest Sustainability Report might matter to people who are rethinking not just the products they use but the companies that make them, perhaps more so now in light of the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Disaster, Privately Managed

David Carr
Jun 14, 2010

In one sense, the public has never been more informed. This is the first spill that has been covered in real time, with streaming high-definition video on desktops and televisions everywhere, network anchors racking up miles flying back and forth, and throbbing info-graphics that track the mess. We can all see the video for ourselves: an angry plume that looks like hell has been breached and is sending a dark, massive emissary to the surface. But to look for clarity amid the murk is a daily riddle. The size of the spill has been a moving target, with estimates recently doubled to 25,000 or 30,000 barrels a day, even after BP stanched some of the flow.

Burt's Bees, Tom's Top Green Brands: Here's Why

Jun 14, 2010

While none of the Top 10 names in the fifth annual ImagePower Green Brands Survey -- led by Burt's Bees, Whole Foods Market, and Tom's of Maine -- are exactly shockers, the extensive survey did turn up plenty of other surprises.

BP's Latest PR Tactic: Buying Gulf Oil Disaster-Related Links on Google

Jun 9, 2010

Search any of these phrases on Google: oil spill, BP, or Deepwater Horizon. Take a look at the sponsored link on top of the page. It doesn't direct you towards, say, an oil disaster recovery group or news about the spill's impact on the Louisiana economy. In each case, the sponsored link goes to BP's Gulf of Mexico response page--essentially, BP's propaganda page about the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Marketing Firms Cleaning Up With ‘Reverse Graffiti’

Jun 4, 2010

Using stencils and high-pressure water sprayers, GreenGraffiti selectively washes down pavement, leaving behind “clean” words and images that gleam through the grime. Street artists have been using the technique, called “reverse graffiti,” for decades, but the firm is among the first to employ it for the purposes of publicity.

Bottled Water Pits Nestlé vs. Greens

May 25, 2010

In this idyllic town on the north slope of Mount Hood, an autopsy on three dead rainbow trout may play a role in Nestlé SA's efforts to reverse a deep slide in its bottled-water business. Bottled water, which for years delivered double-digit growth for Nestlé, is under fire from environmentalists. They decry the energy used to transport it and the use of billions of plastic bottles, and oppose efforts to use new springs, citing concerns about water scarcity.

Rebranding: Not Beyond Credibility

May 24, 2010

Any oil company finding itself in this situation would be in trouble. But there is, of course, a very specific reason why BP, of all companies, is going to suffer more spectacularly than any other from this disaster. BP, as we now all know, now stands for “Beyond Petroleum”. In the most famous repositioning case of the century, Ogilvy and Landor helped BP to change its logo, its name and its positioning to reflect the fact that the company was now actively “exploring new ways to live without oil”.

Businesses Aren't Charities, and We Don't Want Them to Be

Debora Spar
May 21, 2010

Like motherhood and apple pie, corporate social responsibility has achieved iconic status as a feel-good pursuit. Corporations around the world have embraced its charitable philosophy and created divisions devoted to its pursuit. The problem, however, is that corporate social responsibility — by design and definition — can only go so far. Because no matter how widely a firm defines its reach, and how generous its leadership grows, the primary objective of any for-profit firm in a capitalist system will still be as Friedman described it: to maximize the returns of its shareholders. Or at least not to engage in any activity that undermines those returns.

Greening Pepsi, from Fertilizer to Bottles

May 20, 2010

Pepsi recently demonstrated its commitment to reducing its environmental impacts up and down the value chain with two rapid-fire announcements about new initiatives. The old-school approach to greening is to focus on operations within the proverbial "four walls." But Pepsi, like other leaders, is approaching sustainability more holistically, with much greater impact.

Puma Bags Shoes in Effort to Think Green

May 18, 2010

A 2009 study suggested that "green" packaging may outweigh convenience in importance to consumers. Today, it seems eco-friendly packaging is more in vogue than ever, as consumers increasingly show a preference towards companies that are environmentally conscious. Interestingly, the shoe category is one product area in which manufacturers have made strides to show their green side.

BP's Worsening Spill Crisis Undermines CEO's Reforms

Guy Chazan
May 3, 2010

Tony Hayward thought he had finally slain all of BP PLC's demons. Now a new one has reared up, and it's the size of Puerto Rico. BP's chief executive is coming under mounting pressure over the vast spill spreading in the Gulf of Mexico, which was caused when a giant drilling rig there caught fire and sank, with the loss of 11 crew members. The oil, still spewing from the well on the ocean floor, threatens to blacken the Louisana shoreline, and BP's reputation.

Top Green Brands Shine On Earth Day

Apr 23, 2010

Forty years after the first Earth Day, greater pressure is being applied to brands to address environmental problems along with the problems of dirty clothes, financial services, technology, and convenient, quick-serve meals. Yes, more consumers hear the phrases "fuel-efficient," "organic,""energy-efficient," "natural," "green," and "sustainable" more these days, consumers are on to all that. They want brands to walk-the-talk, and "green" has become the cost-of-entry in many categories, making larger and larger contributions to brand engagement and loyalty.

At 40, Earth Day Is Now Big Business

Leslie Kaufman
Apr 22, 2010

So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins “to challenge corporate and government leaders.” Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services, like office products, Greek yogurt and eco-dentistry.

Earth Day Turns 40

Apr 20, 2010

Is it possible it’s been four decades since the notion of green marketing first dawned in America? Indeed it is, and Thursday marks the 40th birthday of Earth Day. The now iconic Keep America Beautiful "Crying Indian" ad (which you can watch after the jump) debuted in 1971 with a close-up on a single tear traversing the cheek of Iron Eyes Cody. It was the first environmental commercial. Marketers have been on the green bandwagon ever since, but has it really made a difference? Ad Age recently took a comprehensive look at the noise, the facts, and the scorecard.

10 Companies With Social Responsibility at the Core

Bob Liodice
Apr 20, 2010

The following 10 companies stand out as prime examples of how social responsibility can be productively coupled with sound strategies to advance goodwill, while building sustainable and impressive businesses. They provide the leadership to demonstrate how marketers can pursue both objectives simultaneously. As such, socially conscious companies have stepped up their efforts with increasing effectiveness and productivity. It is an impressive movement and one that invites society at large to do even more. Let's use these as examples for "how to get it done" so that we can effectively expand our efforts to give back.

Marketers Blame the Consumer in New Save-the-Planet Pitches

Apr 20, 2010

After years of touting their own green accomplishments, marketers have a new message for consumers as this year's Earth Day approaches: "It's not us. It's you." The focus of most green advertising has primarily centered on marketers' own products and process changes to reduce waste and environmental impact. But a growing number of marketers are shifting the focus toward consumer behavior, either in their sustainability PR efforts, their advertising or both.

Puma Reinvents The Shoe Box

Apr 14, 2010

Puma has partnered with The Fuse Project to completely redesign the packaging for their shoes. A team spent 21 months studying different boxes and packaging schemes, searching for the most efficient, sustainable way to get shoes to consumers. They finally came to the solution of foregoing a box altogether, and instead using a special bag and a cardboard sheet.

GreenBox is Marketing Done Right

Apr 6, 2010

GreenBox understands the Purple Cow concept. They developed an innovative pizza box that sells itself. This pizza box is not just reusable and recyclable ... it’s also remarkable. The GreenBox breaks down into four serving plates and into a nifty container for leftovers. Have a look at marketing done right...

Green USP? Greenwashing and Design in the Age of Ethical Consumption

Mar 26, 2010

In the contemporary era of heightened green awareness and ‘ethical consumption’, major companies have quickly realised that consumers are looking for greener brands, writes Lynne Ciochetto. Design has played a key role in reinventing company profiles with new environmental messages, and designers should question these claims.

Saab vs. Hummer: Why One Brand Died and One Survived

Mar 9, 2010

General Motors recently announced that it is killing off the Hummer brand, after a sale to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong company fell through. The company did manage to find a buyer for Saab. This is part of bigger move by GM to drastically focus its brand portfolio, after having gone bust last year and been rescued by the US government. Why did the Hummer brand die, but Saab survived?

Tapping Into a New Generation

Alan Murray
Mar 8, 2010

If any company seems well-positioned to both influence and profit from a generation of environmentally aware youth, it's Walt Disney Co. And Robert Iger, president and chief executive of Disney, insists the company is doing just that. Mr. Iger sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray to talk about the new green strategies the company applies to everything from its theme parks to its movie studios, as well as changes Disney has seen in consumer attitudes. They began the conversation by talking about the company's conservation campaign—Friends for Change—which so far has reached more than a million children, he says.

Green with Ennui

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Mar 2, 2010

Judging from its branding and the griping of its competitors, Apple customers are hip, aware, and enlightened, yet its shareholders recently defeated resolutions to make the company more environmentally responsible and affirmed instead their uncool unconcern about anything other than profits. There isn't just a disconnect here, but an entirely topsy-turvy arrangement.

From Recycling to Fair Trade and Conflict Free Material. Companies such as HP Are Doing a Great Job.

Feb 26, 2010

Despite there are a lot of efforts on recycling, very little of our stuff is recyclable and being recycled. I don’t think we are doing enough, designers and consumers have a dilemma, and we love nicely designed packaging but hate to see the kind of waste we’re producing. Food containers are one good example.

G.M. to Close Hummer After Sale Fails

Nick Bunkley
Feb 25, 2010

General Motors said on Wednesday that it would shut down Hummer, the brand of big sport utility vehicles that became synonymous with the term gas guzzler, after a deal to sell it to a Chinese manufacturer fell apart.

Leaf Blowing: Nissan Aims to Create a Market for Zero-Emission Cars

Laurie Burkitt
Feb 19, 2010

Richard Saul Wurman is an architect and graphic designer known for sparking debate. In 1984 he founded nonprofit TED and began holding annual events to stir up conversations about technology, entertainment and design. More recently, Wurman is appearing in Web videos to create chatter about a new topic: emissions, cars and the hope for a cleaner environment. Nissan Motor tapped Wurman and other thought leaders in December as part of a year-long marketing effort geared to make more people aware about the impact of emissions on the environment. Wurman and other luminaries, including Swedish designer Marcus Eriksson, appear on in videos a Web site called Journey to Zero that many might miss as being a message from Nissan.

Coke Bottle Is Part Plant

Jan 25, 2010

Coca-Cola Co., under fire from environmentalists for using plastic bottles, has introduced a new packaging material made partly from plants. The container has "the same weight, the same feel, the same chemistry, and functions exactly the same way" as a regular plastic bottle, a Coke spokeswoman says. Coke isn't the only beverage concern trying to reduce its carbon footprint. Rival PepsiCo Inc. has introduced a compostable bag made from plants for its SunChips snacks. But Coke is the world's biggest drink maker, and Coke Chairman and Chief Executive Muhtar Kent calls the new container, which uses material derived from sugar cane, "the first generation of the bottle of the future."

Obama: Can the Marketing Master Avert Dem Disaster?

Jan 25, 2010

Republican Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts special election last week makes President Barack Obama an unimpressive zero for three. Since taking office, each time he's tried to help a Democrat secure an election victory -- the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia being the other two instances -- he has come up empty. It's a pretty stunning turnabout for the man named Ad Age's Marketer of the Year in 2008, when his masterful campaign infected a nation with a fever for change and the Democratic party rode his coattails to the kind of majorities in the House and Senate that all but guaranteed approval of key party policies. Now, undoubtedly, Brand Obama is tarnished. Some political analysts and consultants believe he fell victim to a common marketer mistake: being too slow to react to a new environment.

A Business Strategy That Is Evergreen

Jan 13, 2010

The charge of marketing departments has always been to connect to people in an authentic and impactful way. Reaching out to eco-consumers gives brands an opportunity to develop a distinct voice in the environmental landscape. Making that voice a sustainable voice, one that can weather scrutiny, marketing fads and tough economic times, calls for a strategically sound and authentic campaign.

When Going “Green” Isn’t Enough: Is H&M Trashing Perfectly Good Clothing?

Jan 8, 2010

In what (if proven true) is slowly but simmering to become one of the biggest scandals in fashion this year, it’s recently come to light that Swedish clothing chain H & M has a little known practice of discarding and making unwearable unsold merchandise. While many large labels like the Gap have a similar practice for samples used in the design showroom (so they can’t be copied by competitors, or stolen from the studio), this revelation sheds a particularly disturbing light on the launch of their new Garden Collection.

10 Trends For A Green New Year

Jan 5, 2010

Green is the new black. At Clownfish, we believe that it isn't a fad. Sustainability is here to stay. But for those who aren't experts in the field, it can often be complicated to navigate what products and services are actually doing the right things for the environment. How can consumers determine if a product is "green"? Are there ways to uncover whether a company is "greenwashing," or making false claims by using misleading PR tactics? Are your favorite brands throwing buzzwords like "environmentally friendly" around to cause confusion? Here's a list of 10 sustainability trends that consumers will be watching out for.

Are You Better Off Today?

Tom Asacker
Jan 5, 2010

The first ten years of the new century may go down as the decade to forget. Terrorists attacks, devastating natural disasters, scary increases in CO2emissions, Wall Street scandals and two market crashes. The stock market is down 26% since 2000, median household income is also down, and unemployment is up. The price of oil has more than tripled, health care costs have spiraled out of control and there appears to be no end in sight to corporate bankruptcies and the mass exodus of loyal employees.

Form Follows Assumption?

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Dec 3, 2009

McDonald's is going to change its logo in Germany, casting its iconographic golden arches against a green background to invoke its respect for the environment. I can't decide if the idea is irrelevant or insane. Or both. Central to the decision would be the premise that fast-food customers make eating decisions based on corporate environmental policies. If comparisons between hamburgers or fries net out in a tie, McDonald's must believe that it'll win because it's doing good things for the planet.

Brita's Marketing Flows From Grassroots Effort

Nov 16, 2009

Gaining share in a business growing at a double-digit pace is awfully good anytime. Doing it during a recession, as Brita has, is that much more remarkable. At the same time, the Clorox Co. brand believes it's doing well by doing good. Its growth comes from urging people to replace bottled water with filtered water, thus reducing packaging and energy use. That concept, which grew so big it became the centerpiece of Brita's advertising earlier this year, started with a request from the city of San Francisco to develop a filtered water bottle that could replace bottled water. That led the Oakland-based company into a partnership with Nalgene and the "Filter for Good" PR and online program, which urged people to pledge to replace bottled water with filtered water.

Storied Brand Will Return At Renault

Nov 11, 2009

Renault SA is bringing back the legendary Gordini badge that adorned sporty versions of the French car maker's small sedans in the 1960s. The move will aim to rejuvenate the brand's image—and lower the average age of its buyers by appealing to younger motorists—at a time when automobile manufacturers are having to make small cars that are environmentally friendly, but tend to be rather dull. It is also aimed at eating into sales of brands such as BMW AG's Mini, whose image gets a lift from the higher-performance Cooper and Cooper S versions. Similarly, Italy's Fiat SpA has benefited from being able to hitch a ride on the Abarth brand and its association with a legendary Italian racing team.

P&G Touts Green Practices

Oct 20, 2009

“A fundamental reason why P&G has been in business for 172 years is the clarity and constancy of our company’s purpose—to touch and improve consumers’ lives with branded products and services,” said P&G chief executive and executive sponsor of sustainability Bob McDonald, in a statement. “To fulfill this purpose, we must grow responsibly and sustainably and ensure that company employees design strategies and programs that make a meaningful difference both in the environmental footprint of our products and our operations.”

Demystifying Design: An Argument for Simplicity

Oct 13, 2009

What is design? It's art and commerce, fashion and environment. It's industrial and digital, graphic and experiential. What is design? It begins with ideas--ideas based in purpose. It requires a plan or a process. It yields innovation, invention or creation. It is successful if it elicits response--attention, desire, interaction or purchase. Design is as much a process as it is an end product. The process should be simple.

Disney’s Retail Plan Is a Theme Park in Its Stores

Oct 13, 2009

The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steven P. Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall. At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square. Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs.

Burger King Has 20/20 Vision for Store Redesigns

Oct 7, 2009

Burger King is getting a makeover. At the grand opening of its redesigned restaurant at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the fast feeder announced plans to continue rolling out the sleek, futuristic new store designs, dubbed “20/20.” The company plans to revamp all of its nearly 12,000 locations with the new look, including LCD menu screens, corrugated metal and brick walls, as well as an exterior that emphasizes the “Home of the Whopper” tagline, according to the Associated Press. “As we continue to grow and strengthen the brand worldwide, this new restaurant design exemplifies our vision for the brand’s future and reinforces our goal of delivering superior products and positive guest experiences,” BKC chairman and CEO John Chidsey said in a statement.

How to Design for a Post-Consumption Economy

Eric Wilmots
Oct 5, 2009

We are all consumers. As we continue to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts of global growth, it has become clear that our consumption-centric lifestyle has challenged our planet's ability to support us. Recent market meltdowns, regulatory limitations on off-shore manufacturing, and the social and environmental impacts of a consumption-oriented economic model has given rise to a challenge -- does our economy need to be focused solely on spurring consumption in order to survive? The answer is a resounding no.

P&G Puts Billions Behind Sustainability

Sep 25, 2009

Procter & Gamble announced two multi-year commitments aimed at improving the lives of millions of families worldwide. The first, its new "Future Friendly" program, is an educational initiative that will target millions of U.S. households by Earth Day 2010. The multi-brand program is designed to inspire and educate consumers about making sustainable choices that can have a positive impact on the environment. As part of this pledge, the company will provide conservation education to at least 50 million U.S. households during the year.

A New Sustainable Language for Business

Melissa Davis
Sep 15, 2009

Every so often the vocabulary of business adopts new words that filter into the mainstream business psyche. For example, the language of brands and branding is now commonly used and understood across a range of sectors— from universities to social enterprises to small businesses. Over the past year or two, the new vocabulary has brought in “sustainability,” whether it is to talk about the environment or general business operations, about communities or the future. Google the term and you’ll see that “sustainability” has 28 million definitions—only a few million short of the 34 million entries for “branding." Words that become common business parlance can shift in meaning and, in doing so, become open to a multitude of interpretations.

The Jury Is Still Out

Sep 8, 2009

Does where stuff gets made matter to consumers, and thus to brand identity? I keep thinking that it does, and that it will play an ever-increasingly important role in purchase decisions. Reality hasn't quite caught up with my forecast.

'Green' Consumers Out to Save Money

Aug 27, 2009

Green consumers are more concerned about saving money than saving the planet, according to new research from advertising agency the Shelton Group. The study found that while 59 percent of green consumers identify the economy as their top concern in making purchases, a mere 8 percent consider the environment.

The Top Ten Worst Green Brand Names

Aug 11, 2009

We've finally moved beyond the eco____, green____, nature's ____, and over a decade later, we've finally stopped giggling like third graders every time we say "Prius" (which is a Latin word meaning "to precede" but sounds like, um, well, never mind). But with the coming of the Nissan Leaf, announced last week, we were befuddled. Really? Leaves are supposed to be what your sleek new fuel-efficient vehicle kicks up as you zip more responsibly through the streets. Right?

An Environmental Group’s Campaign of Wry Lies Against Bottled Water

Jul 29, 2009

Can an ad campaign turn bottled water into the new tobacco? Taking a cue from antitobacco campaigns, Tappening, a group opposed to bottled water on environmental grounds, has introduced a campaign called “Lying in Advertising,” that positions bottled water companies as spreading corporate untruths.

Wal-Mart to Assign New 'Green' Ratings

Jul 16, 2009

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unveiled an environmental labeling program for the products it carries, in a step that could redefine the design and makeup of consumer goods sold around the globe but also boost costs for suppliers and customers.

Retail Sustainability: High, Low and Inbetween

Jul 16, 2009

In a recent interview with Fast Company, Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard offers his thoughts on running an environmentally conscious business and what is on his mind - the “myth of sustainability”, an ideal he sees as a path rather than a destination.

When Sustainability Means More Than ‘Green’

Adam Werbach
Jul 10, 2009

Protecting the natural environment isn’t the whole story: companies must consider their social, economic, and cultural impact as well. Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 63 are corporations, not countries. Great power creates great expectations: society increasingly holds global businesses accountable as the only institutions strong enough to meet the huge long-term challenges facing our planet. Coming to grips with them is more than a corporate responsibility. It’s essential for corporate survival.

Luxury-Goods Makers Brandish Green Credentials

Jul 2, 2009

The bad economy and a fundamental shift in the market for luxury goods are forcing an industry that reveres names like Chanel and Versace to embrace a different icon: Mother Nature.

Cause Célèbre

Jun 26, 2009

Gen Y has higher expectations of the products that it uses and consumes, demanding that brands not only perform to perfection but help make the world a better place at the same time. The rising popularity of cause-based marketing reflects a fundamental shift in the way that Gen Y is changing consumerism.

They Are Almost Green

Jun 25, 2009

To say that teens are leading the green movement is not only untrue but unrealistic as well. Even though they and their Millennial siblings are known to be the most environmentally educated generation, they're not assertively taking action on their knowledge. When it comes to brand involvement in green issues, however, they have a nuanced view.

Frugality And Social Status Trump Altruism

Jun 25, 2009

Green may be the new black, but not for the reasons you might expect. "Colorblind," a cross-industry, cross-country study of consumers' "green" attitudes and behaviors conducted by Communispace Corporation in partnership with Design Continuum, reveals that there are many reasons people do (and don't) engage in sustainable practices themselves or favor brands that do.

Will Radical Transparency Save the Earth?

Joel Makower
Jun 19, 2009

There's a growing school of thought that unfettered information about the environmental impacts of our world will smoke out the bad guys and help the good guys win. I wish it were that simple.

An Emerging Metric: the GoodGuide Score

Jun 16, 2009

A non-profit website founded and staffed by academics and researchers is scoring consumer products based on health, environmental and social impacts. Based on its purpose and how easy it is to use, GoodGuide could usher in a new metric: social value.

Al Gore Wants to Save Advertising, Too

Caroline McCarthy
Jun 4, 2009

According to former Vice President Al Gore, the importance of sustainability doesn't just apply to the environment. It also is key to the future of advertising. "It really comes out of the environment, but in my opinion the key theme of this century really is sustainability," Gore said. "This theme of environmental sustainability has become a part of our culture, it's a part of our discourse, and I'm very optimistic that it will soon be a part of our policy."

You Can't Afford Not to Go Green in This Economy

Jun 3, 2009

The green movement may be at risk of slowing down, especially within the business community. Many business people hold on to an outdated view of green: the misconception that environmental practices always cost a lot of money. So logically, in this economy they're asking, "Is this really the time for green? Can we really afford it now?"

Forget the 4Ps of Marketing. Let's Talk about the 4Ps of Sustainable Business Strategy

Jun 1, 2009

Whether we are talking about innovation, technology or public policy, we often come up with solutions that creating more problems than they are supposed to solve. Given the enormous complexity and almost un-manageable challenges ahead, what do we need to do? What seems to make sense doesn’t do it anymore.

The Confusion of Good Works

May 26, 2009

Boeing's CEO for commercial airplanes wrote an op-ed piece in this weekend's Wall Street Journal that started with this declaration: "Addressing climate change is a particularly difficult challenge for commercial aviation."

Buying Habits Are The Latest Automotive Import

May 5, 2009

The economy and environment are causing U.S. car buyers to adopt European values: They will buy gas misers and keep them longer.

Made in Japan: The Culture Behind the Brand

Apr 13, 2009

Historically, in a simpler time before the jet age, Japan was geographically isolated, surrounded by treacherous seas and formidable fault lines. Mountains cover three-quarters of Japan. Earthquakes and challenging terrain are constant reminders of nature’s strength and have contributed to the importance Japanese people place on having a dependable, manageable social system. Japanese people value the group over the individual, and the society consequently possesses an enviable system of organization and an ethos that gave rise to innovative brands and services. The branding world has taken notice.

Retail's Ecosystem

Mar 25, 2009

The store, as a medium, represents a complex environment - an ecosystem, if you will, laced with competition, cooperation and evolution. And like many ecosystems, the store is evolving rapidly.

Microsoft Plans to Cut Carbon Footprint 30% by 2012

Mar 13, 2009

It's a big deal when a major corporation pledges to cut its carbon footprint--every detail of energy and transportation use needs to be taken into account--and it's an even bigger deal when a company as large as Microsoft says that it will reduce its carbon footprint by 30% compared to 2007 levels in the next three years. The company hasn't provided details on its 2007 carbon emissions, but it's safe to assume that Microsoft will be making some serious changes.

Toyota Wants to Build Car From Seaweed

Feb 25, 2009

Toyota is looking to a greener future — literally — with dreams of an ultralight, superefficient plug-in hybrid with a bioplastic body made of seaweed that could be in showrooms within 15 years.

Economy Begins To Trump Environment

Feb 23, 2009

One way of looking at Mintel's latest data on green shoppers is that hard-core environmentalists are as committed as ever. The Chicago-based market research company says that 36% of consumers surveyed say they almost always or regularly buy green goods. That's unchanged since last year, and considering what's happened to consumer prices as well as incomes in that year, that's pretty impressive. But what is different is that the percentage shows no growth, when in the prior year, it tripled.

Wake Up Call: Facebook Isn’t A Safe Haven

Feb 9, 2009

Facebook just turned 5 years old. But a week that should have been filled with reflection and good times was instead marred by a series of breaking news reports detailing sex scandals, phishing, and other malicious activity on the world’s largest social network. In his blog post announcing the 5-year milestone, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “Facebook has offered a safe and trusted environment for people to interact online, which has made millions of people comfortable expressing more about themselves.” But is Facebook really as safe as everyone seems to think?

Is This Greenwashing or a New Trend?

Jan 23, 2009

As part of its commitment to the environment, Coca-Cola recently announced that its landmark Times Square billboard is going green along with 29 neighboring billboards. On face value, it is difficult to think of the bright Times Square lights and multi-national Coca-Cola coming together for a meaningful green conservation initiative. Is this a turning point for major consumer marketers or another case of greenwashing?

Ford Scores Marketing Coup With Thrifty Fusion Hybrid

Dec 23, 2008

The Ford Fusion hybrid will be the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan on the market when it arrives this spring, clocking in at 41 miles per gallon, according to data given to Ford Motor by the Environmental Protection Agency. It's a huge marketing gain for Ford as it attempts to green up its image and improve fuel efficiency across the board.

Hertz Launches Global Car Sharing Service

Dec 19, 2008

With the economy a shambles and the U.S. auto industry in ruins, it's a better bet than ever that more and more consumers will be eager to throw off the shackles of car ownership and become transumers instead.

Sony Starts Eco-Friendly Service

Nov 19, 2008

Recognizing that most consumers don't bother to properly dispose of their old TVs, Sony has launched its "Green Glove" service.


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