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  • Sustainability labels should focus more on actual company performance

    When we talk about the “eco-label model” we’re really talking about a combination of three things.

    First, standards – a set of requirements, usually taking a consensus-based approach. Second, certifications – providing assurance of conformity against this standard. And, third, the eco-labels themselves – on-pack marks that indicate conformance with the standard.

    This model came into being over…

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  • Sustainable consumption has been high on our agenda in recent months. Most recently, our latest report Signed, Sealed… Delivered? highlights the diminishing returns from sustainability labels and calls for sustainability to be ‘built-in’ rather than ‘bolt-on’ (or, in this case, labelled-on) to consumer brands.

    So with my antennae sensitised for unsustainable consumption, I was stunned to flick through the Financial Times‘ Weekend magazine Christmas Unwrapped and read endless exhortation of excessive consumption…

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  • The True Cost of Traceability

    29 Nov 2011 – LIz Muller

    SustainAbility’s recent paper – Signed, Sealed…Delivered? – provides thoughtful insight and constructive recommendations on ways to make large scale shifts to new models of production, which will result in more sustainable and socially beneficial conditions.

    My work is centered on linking market demands with improved raw material production through complex commodity supply chains and business realities. I believe that we must account for the true cost of a sustainability or ethical system and maximize…

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  • Influencing Consumer Behaviour

    16 Nov 2011 – Simon Lee

    As SustainAbility’s new report, Signed, Sealed… Delivered?, explains, certification marks can help build trust in brands and influence consumer behaviour. But they are not universally successful, for all people, in all circumstances. What alternative approaches can be usefully employed? Business in the Community’s Simon Lee explains the findings from their recent report, Influencing Consumer Behaviour – A Guide for Sustainable Marketing.

    Why aren’t people acting?

    Trust marks undeniably provide a quick, easy method to communicate a company or product’s sustainability credentials to consumers. Yet…

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  • Labelling has an important role to play in conveying information about sustainability to consumers, but it is by no means a panacea for all the ills of unsustainable consumption. Consumer awareness does not simply equate to consumer action; it must be accompanied by incentives, disincentives and, crucially, the phasing out of products and services that have the greatest impact.

    This logic does not only apply to the issue of sustainability. Research consistently points to the need for multi-pronged approaches to changing consumer behaviour in areas such as nutrition, financial services, and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few. All the evidence suggests that point-of-sale information alone is not enough change consumer behaviour.

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  • SustainAbility is thrilled to be on the cusp of launching our latest research report, Signed, Sealed…Delivered? In addition to the global public release online and in print November 16th, we will host in-person launch events in Washington, DC and London on November 16th and 18th, respectively, where our findings will be debated and dissected in workshop format with representatives from certification and labeling initiatives, engaged businesses and other stakeholders.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • SustainAbility’s new research program explores the efficacy of eco-labels and certification schemes.

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