sustainability

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...

sustainability

IKEA Future-Proofs its Brand, From Meatless Meatballs to Wind Turbines

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 1, 2014 02:27 PM

Swedish retailer IKEA sold 97.4 million meatballs last year, a mash-up of beef and pork which accounted for a hefty portion of 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. While amounting to only about 2% of the company’s overall carbon footprint, it’s still too much for the global brand that’s made a name for itself as delivering good design and function at affordable prices.

“We didn’t want to have 5% of our range 'green' and ignore the rest,” commented Steve Howard, IKEA’s chief sustainability officer, to Fast Company. “If we think of the challenge—society is using 1 ½ planets’ worth of resources every year, and on track for more—business as usual isn’t an option. Sustainability has to be in every product in every customer’s home. It shouldn’t be a luxury for the few.”

So IKEA is putting its money and corporate citizenship on the line, from reconstituted chicken and vegetarian meatballs to solar panels, assembling a bold and proactive sustainability program to ‘future-proof’ its brand.Continue reading...

media meltdown

In Return to Print, Newsweek Captures Global Attention with Bitcoin Claims

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 7, 2014 12:01 PM

Back on the newsstand after a near two-year hiatus during which it went digital-only, Newsweek made quite the splash this week with its Bitcoin cover story, which claimed a massive scoop: that the now IBT-owned media title had uncovered the true identity of the founder of the controversial digital currency.

Unfortunately, Newsweek’s big scoop may be a complete bust. The man who was fingered, Satoshi Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese-American father of six who owns a single-family home in Southern California, claims he never even heard of Bitcoin unitl Newsweek contacted his son three weeks ago, the Associated Press reports. Newsweek stands by its story, which also says Nakamoto is worth about $400 million.

Since Bitcoin was first launched in 2009, fans, critics and curious consumers have been trying to uncover the true identity of supposed found Satoshi Nakamoto is, but to no avail. The man Newsweek has named, who was born Satoshi Nakamoto but later changed his name to Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, now has reporters—and police—at his doorstep.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Primark Commits to Toxin-Free Products Following Greenpeace Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 10, 2014 04:46 PM

Following in the steps of luxury brand Burberry, British retail giant Primark is the latest major brand to bow to Greenpeace's demands to go toxin-free, agreeing to eliminate hazardous chemicals in its products and across its production eco-system by 2020.

The High Street discount retailer is the 20th company to commit to detoxing its garments as a result of Greenpeace's global Detox campaign, and most recently, its "Little Monsters" report that found levels of toxins in childrens' product from global retail brands including Adidas, Gap, and American Apparel. Other brands, including Levi's, Zara, Mango and H&M have already commited to Greenpeace's five-step detox program. 

“Primark’s commitment shows that it refuses to be left behind as toxic-free clothing becomes a fashion trend in the industry,” said Ilze Smit, Detox Campaigner at Greenpeace International in a press release. “From budget retailers like Primark, to luxury houses like Burberry, brands are helping put an end to this toxic nightmare. Laggards like adidas and Disney need to act now to stop these hazardous little monsters once and for all.”Continue reading...

health matters

CVS Snuffs Out Tobacco Sales in Bold Step to Solidify its Health Care Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2014 01:51 PM

If the idea of a pharmacy is to help people get better, CVS no longer could go along with the fact that it sold decidedly unhealthy tobacco products. So America's second-largest pharmacy chain by size has announced that it will become the first nationwide drugstore to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products.

The action of going cold turkey will cost CVS an estimated $2 billion in annual revenue (out of a total of $123 billion) when it goes into effect in October, but it also is a significant move in the direction of authenticity and consistency for a brand that—like most drugstore chains—has been intensely repositioning itself as a broad-based health products and services provider, not just a pill dispensary.

“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said CVS CEO Larry J. Merlo to the New York Times. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uber Is In a Heap of Trouble as Car Services Get Competitive

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2014 04:47 PM

Private transportation service Uber is happy to self promote, but there is likely a whole side of its business that it wishes no one knew about: its legal problems.

The international app-driven car and delivery service has attracted a lot of attention for its one-off marketing stunts that have so far included kitten, Christmas tree and ice cream truck deliveries. But lately, the brand has been in headlines for less admirable practices.

Across the US, from New York and Boston to Chicago, Uber is facing claims (and some actual lawsuits) for "illegal practices including misleading marketing and unfair competition," according to the Reuters. Most recently the company apologized to rival car company Gett after some of Uber's New York employees ordered, and then cancelled, more than 100 cars in a scam that debilitated the service. Uber turned the PR disaster into a recruitment fair, trying to convince some of the Gett drivers to swap companies.Continue reading...

end of an era

The Devil Waves Bye-Bye: Condé Nast Kills Internships as 'Unpaid' Debate Goes Global

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 24, 2013 11:07 AM

Interns take heart—the era of your unpaid servitude may be over, but so may be your job prospects. 

Following multiple lawsuits and a global debate on the ethics of unpaid labor in the name of "experience," Condé Nast, the publisher of such leading glossies including Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, announced that it is abolishing its internship program starting next year. Over the summer, two former interns, one with W magazine and the other with The New Yorker, filed lawsuits claiming they were paid below minimum wage. 

It's yet to be seen whether other companies will follow suit, but there's no doubt that others will be looking to dodge the bad headlines and nightmarish PR spin that Conde and others, like Hearst, have had to endure in the last few years.Continue reading...

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