brands with a cause

Marriott, Avon Help Shine UN Global Spotlight on Women

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 4, 2013 11:10 AM

Women's issues are top of mind, with International Women's Day on March 8th and the the 57th Session the main focus of the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women now underway in New York, with about 700 related events taking place March 4-15.

Kicking off CSW, UN Women executive director Michelle Bachelet today formally convened the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (follow on Twitter at #CSW57). The recent gang-rape and murder of a student in Delhi and the One Billion Rising campaign drew global attention, Bachelet notes: "2012 demonstrated that this [violence] is a terrible reality for many women every day. I'm an optimistic woman and I believe it's clear that we can't continue in the 21st century with this terrible violation of women's human rights."

More than 6,000 UN officials, NGO workers and women's rights activists are expected in New York to debate and create action around the issues, lobbying behind the efforts to counter the work of rightwing groups and countries such as Iran, Russia and the Holy See who are already calling for “removal of key lines of this year's draft document that relate to reproductive health and rights, and those that suggest governments take responsibility for tackling gender violence,” notes the Guardian.Continue reading...

sustainability

Greenpeace Challenges Fashion Industry to Become Environmental Leaders

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 7, 2013 06:46 PM

As many high-end brands show off their latest designs at New York Fashion Week, Greenpeace has a big message for the fashion world at large: It's time to clean up your act.

The latest from Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign is its “Fashion Duel,” with Italian actress Valeria Golino leading the charge for the industry to make environmental stewardship a priority in their operations.

The "duel" sets out to rate 15 Italian and French high-end luxury brands on three areas of the global supply chain — leather, pulp and paper and toxic water pollution — and highlights their differences in policy on toxic water pollution and deforestation.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Brands Hear Objections, But Keep to Their Game Plans

Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2013 02:35 PM

The deluge of early looks at Super Bowl ads, both entire spots and teasers, has helped brands generate lots of buzz online and elsewhere long before Sunday. And in terms of creating brand presence before the Big Game that didn't used to occur, it's hard to argue with that strategy.

But the tidal wave of sneak peeks and January reveals also has allowed early germination of inevitable controversies. Whether the publicity created by those whirlwinds has been good or bad for the brands and their overall Super Bowl branding efforts probably falls under the usual maxim of PR: "as long as you spell my name right."

GoDaddy.com has always bared everything in its Super Bowl ads, so there's no surprise in the controversy over one of its two ads released this week. It's an up-close and personal look at a brief make-out session between supermodel Bar Refaeli and actor Jesse Heiman — something about small business scoring.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Aptly Titled: Time and Again, Change.org Proves a Potent Force in Nudging Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 31, 2013 03:36 PM

Nicer bras for masectomy survivors. Healthier ingredients in soft drinks. Halting gender stereotypes in toys.

All are among the causes and quests that have gained momentum — and in many cases, acquired success — through Change.org, which has quickly become a major force to be reckoned with among brands. While activist organizations such as Greenpeace lobby companies and others around a particular set of issues, Change.org is an open platform to agitate for action.

PepsiCo, for instance, recently announced the removal of brominated vegetable oil, which is used as a flame retardant, from its Gatorade drink after 16-year old Sarah Kavanagh’s Change.org petition garnered more than 200,000 digital signatures. (The company is continuing to use it in Mountain Dew.)

"When I went to Change.org to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant, especially from a drink they associate with being healthy," Kavanagh said on The Dr. Oz Show. "With Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we'd ever win.”Continue reading...

brand sustainability

Victoria's Secret Bans Toxic Chemicals, Joining Environmental Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 22, 2013 06:31 PM

Limited Brands, owner of Victoria’s Secret and La Senza, has committed to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its global supply chain in response to Greenpeace's Detox campaign. An investigation in 2012 by the environmental advocacy organization revealed a hormone-disrupting phthalate in underwear sold in Victoria’s Secret stores in the United States.

Phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are man-made chemicals that contain non-stick and water-repellent properties. The chemicals can affect the liver, disrupt hormones and alter growth.

"With Limited Brands being the 14th company to Detox since Greenpeace launched its campaign, the fashion industry is finally waking up to its responsibilities in the cycle of toxic water pollution," John Deans, Greenpeace USA Toxics Campaigner, told brandchannel. "Now it's time for brands like Calvin Klein, G Star Raw and The Gap to take their place alongside these Detox leaders."Continue reading...

sustainability

Unilever Scrubs Up Sustainability Commitment with Plastic Microbean Ban

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2013 01:36 PM

“Plastics” may have been the career advice for The Graduate, but since the Sixties the mantra might be, "Plastic? Oh no! Banned" because the ever-expanding number of companies using them in products have come under fire for their impact on the environment.

The latest form of plastic to come under attack isn't about packaging, but the use of tiny pieces of plastic within products: the microbead, the tiny pellet found in personal care items produced by consumer packaged goods companies.

One CPG giant, Unilever, has now capitulated to environmental activists and agreed to stop using microbeads in its personal-care items, such as facial scrubs and toothpaste, following a social media protest involving Europe's Plastic Soup Foundation and its supporters.Continue reading...

sustainability

Uniqlo Signs Greenpeace Detox Pledge

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 9, 2013 12:09 PM

Greenpeace has added Uniqlo to its list of global fashion brands and retailers signing its Detox pledge, making "a public commitment to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire global supply chain and products by 2020."

The commitment covers all Fast Retailing-owned brands — Uniqlo, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse TamTam, GU and Theory — which together operate more than 2,000 stores. "Uniqlo recognises clean water as a critical global issue, and is proud to join Greenpeace in its campaign to eliminate hazardous chemical use," stated Yukihiro Nitta, Fast Retailing's executive in charge of social responsibility. The company also vowed to disclose discharge data from at least 80% of its global suppliers (including all their facilities) by the end of this year.  

As the environmental group blogged, the Uniqlo deal "comes just a month after Zara, Mango, Esprit and Levi's announced similar individual commitments, responding to waves of pressure from activists and consumers around the world. Competitors in the fashion world including GAP, G-Star Raw and Calvin Klein are looking increasingly out of touch now that 12 of the world's top high street fashion brands have committed to Detox." Other Detox signatories include Adidas, C&A, H&M, Nike, Puma and M&S.

chew on this

Fresh Food for Thought as Major GMO Foe Changes Thinking

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 03:06 PM

Public apologies by high-profile experts are rare, making this week's anti-GMO reversal — call it a GMea Culpa — by British environmentalist, author and Oxford University visiting research associate Mark Lynas particularly stunning.

Lynas spurred the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, continuing to argue as recently as 2008 that corporate greed was threatening Mother Earth and her inhabitants; but at this week's Oxford Farming Conference, he recanted his position in a very public way.

“I want to start with some apologies," he stated. "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.”

“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it?"Continue reading...

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