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sports in the spotlight

IOC Makes Sweeping Changes to Strengthen the Olympics Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 8, 2014 12:42 PM

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today passed sweeping—and unexpected—changes to the bidding process for the Games in an effort to make it cheaper and simpler for cities to host the golden franchise, while shoring up the integrity and ethics of the Olympics brand.

Among the changes approved today, two countries may co-host the Olympics and the cap of 28 sports has been abolished for the Summer Games (which could bring baseball, softball, squash and karate to the 2020 Tokyo Games), while the IOC also approved the rewording of its non-discrimination principle to include sexual orientation, in response to Russia's anti-gay actions around the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

In the wake of the Sochi Games, which cost a record $51 billion, the bidding process of the 2022 Winter Olympics proved somewhat disastrous when four of six candidates withdrew due to financial concerns. The blow to the Games' reputation as a profitable and worthwhile investment left behind Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan as contenders.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Can Uber Reverse the Damage Before Driving its Brand Into a Ditch?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2014 02:09 PM

Uber can take pride that it pretty much created the global ride-sharing industry that didn’t exist when it launched only four years ago. Yet the company, valued at anywhere from $17 billion to $25 billion depending who you talk to, has made so many PR missteps that it shouldn’t feel too good about itself. 

Growing faster than its staff can keep up with has generated, it seems, a culture of arrogance—and a ton of bad news.

Among the flood of negative press, TIME and The Daily Beast have recounted the litany of PR disasters, including a driver that ran over and kill a six-year-old, accusations of sexual assault levied against its drivers, wage protests by its own drivers, claims of causing mayhem for rival Lyft by booking and canceling rides, and a driver who (reportedly) verbally attacked a cancer patient who canceled a ride a minute after scheduling it.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

FIFA Faces Skepticism Over World Cup Ethics Report

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 14, 2014 01:22 PM

FIFA generally likes to keep its focus on on-field competitions, but the latest controversy surrounding the soccer world's governing body has gone into injury time—and is likely to hurt a lot of people along the way.

On Thursday, soccer's governing body announced that, after an investigation led by former U.S. attorney Michael Gonzalez, it had found nothing ethically wrong with the bids for the next two World Cups, 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar, a particularly contentious host.

FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert (below) noted in a report on Gonzalez’s findings that, while not everything was handled perfectly in the bids, nothing that occurred could have impaired the vote for the Cups. That said, there are valid concerns that key information is missing about the Russian bid, since numerous computers involved had been destroyed and email accounts are no longer accessible, the AP notes.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

adidas Group Promotes Human Rights Standards for Factory Workers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2014 04:14 PM

The adidas Group is making strides in its goal of becoming a more responsive—and responsible—corporate citizen.

The German sportswear giant has released the results of a third party-conducted workplace ethics evaluation in a new report with a lengthy title: “Third Party Complaint Process for Breaches to the adidas Group Workplace Standards or Violations of International Human Rights Norms."

Outlining a series of first-of-its-kind processes for the company, the document opens with a bold statement: “The adidas Group is committed to operating as a sustainable business which is environmentally sound, respects human rights and ensures fair, safe and healthy working conditions across our global supply chain.” 

Though the company has had worker’s rights policies and complaint filing protocol in place for more than a decade, their grievance mechanisms haven't been successfully utilized, much to the detriment of the brand's cultural reputation. Now it's getting tougher on contact compliance, making contractors toe the line on treatment of workers and maintaining its corporate ethical standards.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Fur Real: 5 Questions with Brandi Halls, LUSH Cosmetics, on #MakeFurHistory

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2014 10:32 AM

Cruelty-free cosmetics brand LUSH is reaching beyond the make-up counter to its very brand ethos with its latest anti-cruelty campaign, which targets the harsh realities of the fur industry. 

Nearly 500 international fashion designers—including Mulberry, Gucci and Fendi—showcase fur in their collections, and many use fur from the 100 million animals who are mistreated and then killed for their pelts annually, worldwide.

Mimi Bekhechi, PETA UK’s associate director, said of the fur industry, “With all the chic, cruelty-free options available on every high street, including ones which are warmer to boot, it is not only cruel but also utterly pointless to steal animals’ skins. Those who cater to every fashion whim with no sense of ethics are a dying breed.”

To bring awareness to the consumers that are most unaware of these facts, LUSH's campaign is cleverly centered around an online shopping hack.Continue reading...

sporting brands

FIFA is Feeling the Heat From Brand Partners Over Qatar World Cup

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 4, 2014 12:19 PM

Brands like to be where the eyeballs are, but FIFA—organizers of the planet's most-watched sporting event, the World Cup—has just lost a major sponsor and is in danger of losing other brand sponsors in the wake of mishandling of recent events and allegations of corruption within the bidding process for World Cup hosting, Business Insider reports.

Emirates, FIFA's official airline partner, has pulled its sponsorship through the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and Sony is considering the same, according to the Guardian. The loss of one and possible two FIFA partners hurts as there are only six sponsors in total at the FIFA Partner level, vs. sponsors specifically tied to the World Cup.Continue reading...


Eco-Chic: Lexus, Kering Encourage Young Designers to Think Sustainably

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 30, 2014 10:33 AM

These days, more and more consumers are demanding excellent design that doesn't compromise on environmental integrity as the greening of consumption continues to evolve.

Now two leaders in the luxury realm—French multinational fashion conglomerate Kering and Toyota-owned automaker Lexus—are embracing their ability to act as sustainability advocates with a global platform.

Kering, whose stable of designer brands includes Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Stella McCartney, has demonstrated its investment in up-and-coming sustainable fashion stewards through a new partnership with the London College of Fashion. 

Together, the organizations have made a five-year commitment to encourage students to focus on using eco-friendly materials and methods. According to Vogue UK, two students each year whose collections embrace and elevate the ethical side of fashion design will receive an award of £31,500 as well as internships at Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Sponsors Pressure FIFA Over Qatar Bid Ahead of World Cup Kickoff

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 9, 2014 11:02 AM

The 2014 World Cup hasn't even gotten underway yet, but major sponsors of the event are already criticizing FIFA for its pick for the 2022 tournament host nation: Qatar. 

The selection of Qatar in December of 2010 immediately raised major concerns for a number of factors, including the punishing heat that the country suffers through during the traditional World Cup months of June and July; the country’s poor human-rights track record; the fact that Qatar doesn’t have much of a history with soccer; and that all of the stadiums for the event needed to be constructed (and will be white elephants after), among other issues that comedian John Oliver can explain for you.

Besides former US President Bill Clinton's total disappointment with the decision to skip the US and head to Qatar, investigators have now revealed that there were likely millions of dollars in bribes exchanged in order for Qatar to win the bid, The Guardian reports. The country has also come under fire for supposedly using "slaves" to help build the needed infrastructure for the event.

On top of everything else, the news of the illegal transactions now has official sponsors including adidas, Sony, Coca-Cola and Visa concerned about their association with the event. "Our expectation remains that all of our partners maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency,” Visa said, according to Associated Press.Continue reading...

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