Best Global Green Brands 2014

US Suspends Trade Privileges with Bangladesh, Pressuring Factories, Brands to Comply with Safety Standards

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 27, 2013 05:38 PM

On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced that it would be suspending trade privileges extended to Bangladesh as a result of the country's neglect of worker's rights. 

"I have determined that it is appropriate to suspend Bangladesh's designation… because it is not taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to workers in the country," President Obama wrote in a message to Congress. The decision, regarded widely as a stern warning to the nation, will effectively end special tax breaks on exports to the US that are meant to help developing economies. 

The decision was partially motivated by April's Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed over 1,100 garment factory workers as well as the Tazreen factory fire in late 2012 that killed over 100 workers.Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

After TODAY Interview, Paula Deen Stands to Lose More Support UPDATED

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 26, 2013 04:12 PM

Paula Deen showed up for her rescheduled interview with Matt Lauer on the TODAY Show Wednesday, but her appearance did not help to staunch the hemorrhaging of her cooking empire over accusations that she used racial slurs in the past.  

Breaking down into tears, yet keeping to what seemed to be a well-scripted performance, Deen told Lauer "I would not have fired me," when he asked her if she thought her offense was a fireable one. Deen followed up by thanking the sponsors that have stood behind her through the ordeal, though those numbers continue to dwindle. As of now, the Food Network has terminated her contract, Smithfield Foods has dropped her as their spokeswoman and most recently, Caesars Entertainment, which operates four of Deen's restaurants in their casinos, said it will part ways with Deen and in turn rebrand the four restaurants and Walmart announced it would end its relationship, which supplied the retailer with everything from Deen-branded food to health and wellness items. 

Deen's deals with QVC, Sears and Target remain intact, although all have stated that they are evaluating the situation.(See Update after the jump)Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

As Food Network, Smithfield Foods Cut Ties, Paula Deen Sees Fans Rally

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2013 04:48 PM

The Paula Deen scandal is the stuff media headlines are made of. After public court records revealed that the Food Network star admitted to using the "n-word" and tolerated racist jokes in her workplace, the network announced it will not renew her contract, ending a relationship that began in 1999 and culminated in her own show, Paula's Home Cooking, in 2002 and later Paula's Party and Paula's Best Dishes.

Deen was named in a suit filed by Lisa Jackson, a former employee who worked as a manager at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother and business partner, Bubba Hiers. Jackson claimed she was sexually and racially harassed.

Late last week, Deen—whose reputation is still recovering from running afoul of anti-obesity campaigners—posted a video apology on YouTube, which now has over 3.4 million views, for using “inappropriate, hurtful language” and for failing to show up for a scheduled interview with NBC’s Today Show host Matt Lauer.

"I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are," she said. "Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me. But it's what's in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that. I am here to say I am so sorry. I was wrong, yes.”Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Groupon Plays for Mobile E-Commerce but is Haunted by Past Underperformance

Posted by Dale Buss on June 10, 2013 12:56 PM

Groupon keeps pivoting to a new mobile-based e-commerce business model, but there are a lot of obstacles to morphing into a top competitor in a space that is attracting many other significant brands.

The Chicago-based company, of course, was the pioneer in the business of offering online deals at local merchants, and founder Andrew Mason built Groupon into the giant of that industry and a $20-a-share IPO nearly two years ago. Then Groupon got competition in that space and merchants began grousing that the architecture of the Groupon deals was far better for consumers than for them. Mason was sacked in February and now board members are looking for a permanent CEO.

In the meantime, investors and employees alike have been heartened that Groupon not only has shored up its local-deals business but also is in hard pursuit of a big chunk of the mobile-shopping business, hoping to become the first big e-commerce player to get the majority of its revenue from mobile.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Nike, Netflix, Walmart and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 29, 2013 09:12 AM

In the News

Nike drops Livestrong lines after 2013 holidays.

Netflix sees stock tank as poor reviews of new Arrested Development come in.

Walmart pleads guilty to illegal dumping.

Airbus tackles flaws in superjumbo jet.

Amazon launches men's grooming platform.

Apple hints at producing wearable devices as CEO Tim Cook insists company's innovation streak hasn't run out.

Chevrolet unveils social media effort for L.A. Galaxy sponsorship and says its new Corvette is the most powerful ever.

Comedy Central gets temporary lifting of ban in India.

Coty files for IPO of up to $1 billion.

Dell approaches heated phase of buyout battle.

GoDaddy gets ready for new domains.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uniqlo Rejects Bangladesh Safety Agreement as Worker Unrest Spreads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2013 05:12 PM

Uniqlo, the fourth-largest retail brand in the world, has gone the way of Walmart and refused to sign the Bangladesh safety agreement, opting instead to monitor its factories on its own.

"We want to first focus on what we can do right now, on our own," Yukihiro Nitta, head of Fast Retailing's Corporate Social Responsibility group told the Wall Street Journal. He said the company also will hire a Japanese company to assess the soundness of its suppliers' factories in Bangladesh, noting that ultrasound and x-ray technology can be used to check for cracks in concrete and piping.

Most of the 30 companies who have signed, including Uniqlo’s rival H&M, are European. Meanwhile, American companies including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney, Sears and Target have all held out on the point that the agreement includes a legally-binding clause, one that they argue could hurt US companies more than their international counterparts. For Uniqlo, this isn’t the first time the company, owned by Japan’s Fast Retailing, has come under activist pressure. Earlier this year, the brand bowed to a cause to sign a detox pledge spearheaded by Greenpeace, in which the company agreed to stop releasing hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020.Continue reading...

brands under fire

US Brands Still Holding Out as Bangladesh Government Looks to Place Blame

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 23, 2013 01:54 PM

Almost one month to the day after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1,127 people, American retailers and their international counterparts remain at odds over the plan to improve labor conditions, with legal liability still at the top of US concerns.   

Gap, one of the largest American retailers implicated in industry accidents in Bangladesh has said in recent weeks that it was close to signing the proposed agreement, if only clauses regarding arbitration were removed. “In the United States, there’s maybe a bigger legal risk than there is in Europe,” said Gap CEO Glenn Murphy, according to The New York Times. “If we were to sign onto something that had unlimited legal liability and risk, I think our shareholders should care about that.” Calling the language of the agreement "vague and unclear," Gap, along with Walmart, Target, JCPenney, Sears and other major US retailers have bilked at signing the accord, despite the fact that over 30 global brands had signed on by the proposed May 15 deadline.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Lamar Odom's Clothing Company Irks New York as Brewer Battle Rages On

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 22, 2013 03:53 PM

When you’re a 6-10 pro basketball player, you are used to getting things your way. But Los Angeles Clippers power forward Lamar Odom, husband to Khloe Kardashian, may not win the current battle he’s thrust himself into.

Odom and designer Jonathan Garcia launched a clothing line, Rich Soil, back in 2009 and one of its T-shirts caused so much of a stir that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually sent him a letter to tell him to stop selling it, the Associated Press reports. Cuomo expected Odom and his pal to stop sales within five days.

The problem? The shirt looks an awful lot like a logo for a New York State farming program. The Rich Soil shirt features a very similar Statue of Liberty that sits behind familiar-looking crop rows, encircled in a similar font reading "Rich Soil New York" as opposed to the program's "Pride of New York." Check out a side-by-side here.Continue reading...

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