Latest Consumer goods articles

Those bourgeois bohemians, and why they are good for business

22 November 2012 -

Parodied, mocked, and dismissed, the bourgeois bohemian is nonetheless a huge cultural force.  ”Bobos’” for short, these are the people who reject conspicuous consumption and mass consumerism in favor of all things local, organic, artisanal, handmade and authentic. As (slightly) exaggerated in the sketch comedy show Portlandia, these are the people who demand not only to know if their chicken was organic, but its breed, its personality, and its favorite color. The bobo’s rejection of mainstream capitalism, however, does not preclude them from spending lavishly on goods that match their ideals. The Williams and Sonoma chicken coop below, for instance, is € 1,000. Businesses big and small, new and existing, are serving the needs of this back-to-the-earth (but not too back) population.

While it’s easy to chuckle at bobos and their small-batch mayonnaise, the fact remains that these consumers are driving real change. Not only do they demand “realness” in products, they are also well-to-do and well-educated enough to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to advertising promises. Witness, for example, the uproarious backlash against Campbell’s instant Go soup, which was so blatantly marketed to food-truck-loving millennials that it inspired a scathing Gawker post and a segment on the Colbert Report.

No longer content to buy the hype, the bobo craves a connection to authentic goods and stories. Luckily for sustainable, fair, or otherwise unique businesses, from the local farm to the giant B corporation, this (relatively) new breed of consumer has opened more opportunities than ever before to translate “realness” into sales and brand awareness.

So how to target the bobo, the urban homesteader, and the DIY hipster? Companies can compete by offering what Mike Doherty of Fast Company calls real experiences, real products, and real access. Honest, transparent, and ‘good’ products must not merely help people in the business of living, but must also give shape and meaning to their lives. Compelling narratives play a large role in crafting this sense of realness.  An interesting back story, however, is nothing if it is not properly framed. Can your company trace back the wool in a sweater to a specific flock of sheep? Then do so. Do your employees pursue interesting second lives outside of their work? Then advertise it. Putting a human (or animal) face on your products will hold special appeal in a sea of cheap, disposable and undifferentiated consumer goods.

Unilever’s Paul Polman: challenging the corporate status quo

8 May 2012 -

(Guardian) By Jo Confino

Discussing the progress of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, Paul Polman calls for governments, business and NGOs to work together to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.

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McDonald’s Unveils Sustainable Practices

8 May 2012 -

(Environmental Leader)
Fast food chain McDonald’s has employed techniques including $500 staff incentives, 30 percent wind power requirements and lightweight tractor-trailers to help green up its operations, according to a report by the company.
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Coca-Cola, Carbon Trust Investigate Personal Carbon Allowances

8 May 2012 -

(Environmental Leader)
A study by Coca-Cola Co. and The Carbon Trust that investigated how people might respond to personal carbon allowances found while easy-to-understand environmental information changed behavior, consumers were still reluctant to give up certain high-carbon choices in their lifestyles. The group this month published a white paper outlining the study and conclusions.

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Sustainable Goods Go Hollywood With ‘Green Product Placement’

20 April 2012 -

(Good. Livestyle) By Amanda Hess

As a set dresser and decorator for film and TV, Beth Bell stocks fictional characters’ lives with real stuff—from the moisturizer lining their medicine cabinets to the vodka behind their neighborhood bars. And product placement companies are always on-hand to promote the world’s biggest brands to Bell, helping her unload “Sweet n’ Low and Little Debbie and crap” into these characters’ lives.

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Nestle Easter Eggs’ 100% Recyclable Packaging Saves 726 Tons of Plastic Waste

12 April 2012 -

(Environmental Leader)

Nestle UK & Ireland has converted to 100 percent recyclable packaging on its Easter egg confectioneries by replacing rigid plastic with cardboard. The move is expected to save an estimated 726 tons of plastic waste going to landfill per year, based on a comparison of the weight of plastic used in 2008 to manufacture Nestlé’s Easter egg boxes, the company said.

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Sustainable dairies: The cream of the crop

12 April 2012 -

(GreenBiz) By Jonathan Bardelline

When you think of products with hefty carbon footprints, milk may not be the first to come to mind. But U.S. dairy industry emissions equal that of the U.S. airline industry.

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Unilever aims to reduce environmental impact through collaborative working

3 April 2012 -

(Edienet)

Unilever has published details of a range of research projects focusing on waste, water and health in a bid to develop technologies and products with a lower environmental impact.

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11 Steps to Mainstream Your Green Products

13 February 2012 -

(Greenbiz) By Nancy Schneider

Politicians aren’t the only ones saying one thing and doing another. Consumers are constantly flip-flopping, especially when it comes to their claims of living sustainably and buying green products. OgilvyEarth, the sustainability division of advertising agency Ogilvy Mather, collaborated on a project aimed at understanding the gap between consumers’ intentions and actions in the US and China markets, the two largest consumer markets in the world. This project, Bridging the Green Gap [PDF] set out to understand why this gap exists and how to close it. Graceann Bennett and Freya Williams, who led the US project, presented the findings at the recent GreenBiz Forum.

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Proctor & Gamble targets huge reduction in manufacturing waste

14 October 2011 -

(Edie.net) By Maxine Perella

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has announced its intention to reduce manufacturing waste to less than 0.5% of total waste to landfill and cut consumer use packaging by 20%, by 2020.

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Mattel Unveils Sustainable Procurement Principles

7 October 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) Mattel Inc. has launched new sustainable sourcing principles to guide the company’s procurement of paper and wood fiber used in its packaging and products.

The toy company says that it’s new principles focus on three steps: Maximizing post-consumer recycled content; avoiding virgin fiber from controversial sources and seeking to increase the percentage of fiber that is certified by a credible third party.

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Boots CSR drive cuts supply chain packaging costs by £1.3m

29 September 2011 -

(EdieNet) The UK’s leading high street pharmaceutical chain Boots has reduced annual packaging costs in its supply chain by £1.3m since implementing a new product sustainability process in 2009.

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How Many Slaves Are Working For You?

25 September 2011 -

(Fast Company) By Ariel Schwartz – September 22, 2011
A new website and mobile app looks at your purchases and determines the amount of forced labor that’s gone into everything you own. The number may surprise you.

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Wal-Mart Announces Multibillion Dollar Women’s Initiative

19 September 2011 -

(Bloomberg) By Ashley Lutz and Matthew Boyle – September 14, 2011
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, today unveiled a multibillion-dollar women’s initiative, three months after winning dismissal of a gender- bias case from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Unilever UK Achieves Zero Landfill Status

13 September 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) September 9, 2011
Consumer products brand Unilever has become a “zero to landfill” manufacturer in its U.K. operations, the company has announced.

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P&G Talks Up Asia Sustainability Efforts

25 August 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) August 24, 2011
P&G promo video highlights environmental sustainability in P&G Asia.

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Degradable plastics firm slams Tesco for dropping biodegradable bags

25 August 2011 -

(EdieNet) August 18, 2011
Degradable plastics specialist Symphony Environmental Technologies has hit back at claims that biodegradable plastic bags are not eco-friendly – and questioned Tesco’s reasons for dropping the carriers.

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Tesco Drops Biodegradable Bags

24 August 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) August 18, 2011
Tesco is eliminating a controversial type of additive which helped it to create biodegradable bags, according to news reports.

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Post-recession consumers will want greener goods, says Amex

23 August 2011 -

(BusinessGreen) By Jessica Shankleman – August 19, 2011
Post-recession shoppers will increasingly demand ethically sourced goods as they search to get better value for money, according to new analysis by American Express (Amex).

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Apple Paying Consumers for PCs

18 August 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) August 10, 2011
Apple has expanded its recycling program with an option that will pay owners of iPhones, iPads, Macs and even PCs a fair market value for their old electronics, AppleInsider reports.

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Unilever seeks local authority partner to boost mixed plastics recycling

12 August 2011 -

(EdieNet) August 8, 2011
Unilever is looking to enter into a partnership arrangement with a local authority by offering financial support for mixed plastics recycling collections.

The company would like to hear from any councils planning to introduce mixed plastics collections – chiefly pots, tubs and trays. Support would be provided for operational or communications activities, and would be issued during the current financial year.

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M&S commits to full supply chain traceability on non-food products

8 August 2011 -

(GreenWise) As part of its plan to become the most sustainable major retailer, Marks and Spencer today committed to tracing where and how every product in its clothing and home range is made.

M&S said it had signed a deal with supply chain traceability specialist Historic Futures that will enable the company to identify “every raw material source, spinner and fabric mill” on every single clothing and home product it sells. The agreement is the latest in a line of commitments made by the retailer under its Plan A sustainability programme and positions M&S as the first major retailer to commit to full traceability for non-food products.

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Nestlé develops smartphone app to help shoppers recycle better

8 August 2011 -

(EdieNet) August 4, 2011 – Nestlé has developed what it claims is the world’s first free smartphone app to encourage consumers to recycle their packaging waste more effectively.

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Office Depot Aims to Save 20,000 Trees With Paper Bag Roll-Out

4 August 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) Office Depot will offer delivery service customers the option to receive supplies in paper bags rather than cardboard boxes, in an effort it hopes will reduce waste by 3.5 million pounds.

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Lego Drops APP Packaging After Greenpeace Campaign

19 July 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) Lego has bowed to pressure from Greenpeace, reportedly agreeing to drop supplier Asia Pulp and Paper, and the toy company says it will only use packaging material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council from now on.

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