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  • I don’t know about you, but the closest I ever got to a Rubik’s Cube, shortly after it was first launched in 1974, was to handle one in a toy store. For me, it seemed insoluble – and many assumed it was, until persistent cubers discovered not just one way to crack the puzzle, but many. And the cube came to mind as I thought recently about the astonishingly complex global security challenge we now face…

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  • A World Without Labels

    29 Jun 2011 – Conor Woodman

    Imagine a company which always paid its workers a fair wage, only sourced materials from sustainable sources, created minimal environmental impact and operated a system of offsets so as to be 100% carbon neutral.

    How would this company convince you as an ethical shopper to buy its products?

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  • Appetite for Change discusses one of the most critical challenges of our time – Food Security. In other words, how do we feed a growing and prospering population without going beyond ecological limits and ensuring that farming communities thrive? This multi-faceted challenge is further complicated by the vagaries of nature, market speculation and agriculture’s interconnected to other inputs like energy.

    The solutions currently being developed tend to focus on the market and consumers. This can be seen by the thousands of different standards and certification being developed – all with good intention but now in an unhealthy competition and creating confusion for consumers…

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  • I write this on the plane back to London from a wonderful (if logistically bumpy – thank you State Department and friends for getting me home!) trip to the States, where we kicked off our Signed, Sealed… Delivered? research by running sessions at Sustainable Brands 2011 in Monterey, California (hosted by KoAnn Skyrzniarz and team at Sustainable Life Media), Starbucks (hosted by Ben Packard and Colleen Chapman of the Starbucks global responsibility team) and Method (hosted by director of sustainability Drummond Lawson – see my colleague Mark Lee’s blog for a recap).

    With the wonderfully diverse set of B2B and B2C (food & beverage, retail, paper, household & personal care, biotech, industrial materials and carpet) and functional perspectives represented (from procurement to brand & marketing), our goal was to explore the following questions…

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  • In just the last few weeks, one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in history has killed 37 people and made more than 2,600 ill, academics concluded that climate change will have more negative consequences for agriculture than expected, and the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization released a guide warning “world farming needs a ‘major shift’ to more sustainable practices as intensive crop production since the 1960s has degraded soils, depleted ground water and caused pest outbreaks.”

    Industry and food system experts interviewed for SustainAbility’s latest report, Appetite for Change, read trends such as these and conclude that the food industry is failing…

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  • Clean As a Whistle

    21 Jun 2011Mark Lee

    San Francisco is a trend-setting kind of place. Politically, technologically, environmentally, gastronomically, oenologically and otherwise, it’s a city that’s had a few moments.

    A relatively recent addition to the Bay Area avant-garde is Method, a line of home care products launched in 2000. The products are colorful, effective and non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about having them under your sink, while Method’s package design comes as close as possible to making soaps sexy – you actually want them on display…

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  • Image: Oceana.org

    Oceana, the NGO which, according to its website, is the largest organization focused soley on ocean conservation, has been running a new ad campaign in Washington, DC since about the first anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon accident (mid-April). I see the posters frequently on my ride to and from work on the DC Metro. The campaign is titled What If It Happened Here?, and depicts a DH-like drilling platform fire and the consequences – oil slicks, deployed booms, oiled birds – adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument…

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  • Luxury brands have long suffered the wrath of environmentalists for their perceived role in fueling excessive, conspicuous consumption, promoting materialism, yielding unnecessary waste, and driving further inequity. However, it seems lately that luxury brands are keen to turn over a new leaf…

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  • For more than two decades companies have valued our ability to serve as their early warning system, to interpret what is happening in the world today and how it may impact their business tomorrow.

    Our “Radar” services range from the general – monthly cross-industry trending digests – to the bespoke – tailored analysis of the most critical emerging issues to your business, and recommendations on how to tackle them.

    This is the third in a series of blogs giving a glimpse of what’s on our radar…

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  • More on the similarities and differences between Creating Shared Value and Sustainability.

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  • Alicia Ayars and Frances Buckingham on the media's brainprint and its role in shaping the world of tomorrow.

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  • The second in a series of blogs about what's on our radar: Germany moves away from nuclear.

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  • I am in Monterey, California this week, at the Sustainable Brands conference, where I gave the opening plenary talk on Wednesday, June 08. This blog post was adapted from those remarks.

    Play on

    The theme of each Sustainable Brands conference sets an important tone. This year was convened under the aegis ‘Play On’, providing attendees the opportunity to learn how to apply the creativity, innovation and sheer fun inherent to games and sport in their work on sustainability issues…

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  • I’m on my way to the Sustainable Brands conference in Monterey this week where my colleague Mark Lee will be delivering the opening keynote. While I’m looking forward to tapping into (and trying to help shape) the latest thinking on a variety of topics in this space, I’m probably like a lot of participants who are dying to see how the current mini-debate over the state of green marketing itself – touched off a few weeks ago by Joel Makower’s great provocation that green marketing is over and it’s time to move on – will play out at the conference. We briefly framed the debate in another post earlier today, which I aim to complement here with a few further thoughts and opinions.

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  • For more than two decades companies have valued our ability to serve as their early warning system, to interpret what is happening in the world today and how it may impact their business tomorrow.

    Our “Radar” services range from the general – monthly cross-industry trending digests – to the bespoke – tailored analysis of the most critical emerging issues to your business, and recommendations on how to tackle them.

    This is the first in a series of blogs giving a glimpse into what’s on our radar. If your company could benefit from an early warning system, to identify key threats and opportunities as you navigate the rapidly evolving sustainability landscape, please contact us.

    On Our Radar: Green Marketing is…Contested

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  • Three Gorges Dam, Photo: Flickr user hughrocks

    The choices government and business leaders make to resolve the tightening choke point between rising energy demand and declining freshwater reserves will form the central strategic focus of the next era of China’s unfolding development.

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