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L.A.’s Minimum Wage Hike: A Teaching Moment for Those Trying to Help the Underprivileged

A lightly annotated story from today’s L.A. Times from the frontline of the politically connected trying to claim special exemptions from L.A’s forthcoming minimum wage hike, which highlights not the corruption of the politically connected seeking special favors but the logic that should lead to a universal exemption, i.e., abandoning the prospective minimum wage hike.

It begins with a discussion of […]

Ethical Brand Showdown: Patagonia vs. Columbia

In this week’s “Brand Face-Off,” we compare Columbia versus Patagonia.

People today are not just choosing the best, the fanciest, or the cheapest brand. They’re selecting to support brands that have the right meaning. That’s why we’re taking a deeper dive into two well known sportswear brands: Patagonia vs Columbia.

First, let’s ask the question: if you were to buy a polar […]

Do Values Matter As A Marketing Differentiator?

A company’s core values, or beliefs, have traditionally been used as an internal framework to drive actions through guiding principles.


These core values—sometimes specifically named, other times buried within a paragraph-long, everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink mission statement—provide a lodestar for the training of new employees, for daily interactions with suppliers, as well as for strategic, far-reaching boardroom decisions.

What’s interesting is the discussion of values […]

How Social Impact Storytelling Is Different

 
How is a social impact pitch different from other kinds of startup and company pitches?
1. You have to tell the most compelling version of the story (even especially the emotional / non-business part). After interviewing dozens of thinkers and doers in the social impact space, one thing has become clear. The why that inspires a social innovator’s work often eclipses […]

Disney Debuts Transgender Reality Show

Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Family network will debut its first reality show starring a transgender person, gaining visibility from the widely publicized photos this week of transitioning TV dad Caitlyn Jenner.

“Becoming Us” — airing in Canada on ABC Spark (Monday, 9 p.m.) — is an unscripted look at life for Ben Lehwald, an Evanston, Ill., teen whose father, Charlie, is […]

Karma Marketing: Branding Like A Buddhist

Could the key to sustainable business be changing corporate mindsets from a culture of “more” – more revenue, more profit, more market share – to one of “enough”?

Bangkok-based brand strategist Sirikul Laukaikul argued that’s the case in a presentation about an idea called the “sufficiency economy philosophy” at Sustainable Brands in San Diego, California, this week.

The idea is for businesses […]

Fashion Brands Tackle Community Development

There are reams written about how far your food has traveled. And if you run in sustainability circles, you might have felt some guilt sneaking Chilean pears into your grocery cart this past winter. But have you ever thought about how far your clothing traveled to reach you? Some innovators in the space are trying to bring the locavore movement […]

How Agroforestry Can Increase Coffee Farms’ Resilience To Climate Change

What is at stake in global climate? How is it affecting coffee farmers?

Climate change materializes in extreme climatic events and storms. The harvests of small-scale coffee farmers are already directly affected by prolonged droughts and heavy rains. This happens more and more often, with major impacts on crops. Moreover, damages are increased when the ecosystem is already degraded: erosion, aridification, […]

Redefining “Sustainability” As More Rather than Less

Since its birth in 1987, for many, the term “sustainable development” has become synonymous with “less.”

“Sustainability” seemed to lock us into a static, zero-sum game of painful sacrifices. Facing finite or shrinking ecological limits, we felt forced to: ensure future food security only by inhibiting demands today; increase jobs and revenues only at the expense of wild nature; and restore […]

Nestle To Remove Artificial Flavors, Cut Sodium In Packaged Foods

Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company by revenue, announced this week that it will remove artificial flavors and 10 percent of the sodium from about 250 of its packaged foods sold in America, including Hot Pockets and DiGiornio frozen pizzas, by the end of 2015. The move also affects products under the Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen, Jack’s and […]

Consumers Urged to Challenge Sustainability Claims

Challenge the Label is a new simple yet informative tool that helps businesses who encounter sustainability labels to test the credibility of the claim.

Understanding the claims and promises behind sustainability labels means people can make purchasing choices that affect the issues that matter.

From ‘biodegradable’ to ‘carbon-neutral’, sustainability claims come in all shapes and sizes, but with over 400 ecolabels on […]

Young Investors Favor Socially Responsible Investments

More than 25 percent of investors under the age of 45 have at least one-quarter of their investable assets in socially responsible companies. That’s the key finding of a new report by Spectrem Research, which surveyed 3,000 investors with assets ranging from $100,000 to $25 million.

These young investors are drivers of a rapid rise in total SRI assets, which have […]

The Red Cross Raised Half A Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has […]

How Business Leaders Can Help Save the Planet

During my panel, I was asked some good questions on how business leaders can make a positive difference.

1. What does business sustainability mean for you?

It means being smart, creative and bold so you can pursue initiatives that improve both business results and environmental outcomes. Everyone in this audience can show the world how to do business while protecting nature in […]

Parents Combat Gender Stereotypes with Futuristic Clothing

Designer Tiffe Fermaint and her fiancé Keith Walker hope that their kids’ clothing line will provide a cool alternative to the countless children’s brands that promote harmful gender stereotypes.

Inspired by the birth of their daughter Violet, Fermaint and Walker launched Baby Teith in 2013. Fermaint told The Huffington Post that she searched in vain for clothing that was gender neutral and […]

A Manifesto for Women As Agents of Peace

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), today there are more than seven billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, up from 738 million in 2000. Globally, 3.2 billion people are using the internet, of which two billion live in developing countries. However, ITU figures also indicate that four billion people in the developing world remain offline. Off the nearly one billion people […]

New York Coffee Chain Blends Business And Charity For Success

It’s not unusual for a small business to work with community nonprofit groups, but a New York-based chain of coffee shops is taking that partnership further.

Coffeed operates six cafes in New York, plus a restaurant in Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan and a new location in Seoul, South Korea. The company partners with a different charity at each location.As Inc. […]

Study Finds Minority Retail Workers Get Lower Pay

African-American and Latino retail industry employees earn lower wages than their white colleagues

African-American and Latino retail industry employees earn lower wages than their white colleagues, according to a new study.

The report, released on Tuesday by public policy group Demos and the NAACP, found that retailers pay black and Hispanic full-time salespeople about 75% of what they pay white workers in […]

Meals On Wheels and Subaru Launch Online Volunteer Drive to Serve More Seniors

Every day, local Meals on Wheels programs work hard to protect millions of seniors from the threats of isolation and hunger – an effort made possible by volunteers in communities all across the country. The number of seniors in our country continues to grow rapidly, and it will take many more volunteers to meet the escalating need. That is why […]