Sustainable Food

A Clear Mission Can Be Incredibly Powerful: Lessons from Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation


Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Vermont governor Peter Shumlin unveil the Food Fight Fudge Brownie flavor in June, developed to support the state’s legal defense over its law to require labeling of bioengineered ingredients. | Image credit: Food Business News

All businesses value consumer and employee loyalty and the opportunity to shape the playing field in which they operate. Mission-driven businesses such as B Corps Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s are finding that having an authentic purpose that resonates with their customers opens the door to exciting approaches to activism that engage their base in powerful ways. The union of company and employee passions not only boosts loyalty but also can lead to successful advocacy for shared causes. Conventional companies seeking to emulate their successes should follow three key steps:

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Carbon Neutral Wines – it’s more than just Green Marketing

Santa Margherita Pinot GrigioWhen you see a product that says carbon neutral, what does it mean?

I recently enjoyed a bottle of Italy’s number one selling wine in Canada, Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio. Each bottle has a green label that says “Carbon neutral from ground to store. Measured and offset with Carbonzero”. It is produced in Italy, imported into Canada by Lifford Wine, and certified by Carbonzero as carbon neutral. I investigate its Italian supply chain and production, shipping to Canada, and sales and consumption in Canada to learn what it means to be carbon neutral.

Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to balancing carbon released with an equivalent amount of offset. Claiming carbon neutrality generally involves three steps: measure, reduce, offset.

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‘How can KFC be a responsible business when you are fuelling child obesity?’ The chicken business responds

As the UK and Ireland arm of the fast food business releases its very first CSR update, Tom Idle puts KFC’s head of CSR Ian Hagg through his paces.


KFC. It’s a guilty pleasure, largely among young males making a beeline for tasty fried chicken and fries on their way home from the pub on a drunken Friday night. And it’s one of the UK and Ireland’s biggest and best-known fast food chains, with 860 restaurants and growing at a rate of 30 new premises a year.

Run by the Yum! group, which also owns fellow fast food brands Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, the company has up until now been fairly quiet on sustainability issues, preferring to let its parent divulge information and data on its efforts to run a responsible food business.

But now it’s getting vocal.

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Sustainable Agriculture Meets Big Business

Sustainability is infiltrating the consciousness of business. The marketing strategy of many iconic brands is changing and thankfully photo-ops with employees dressed in Earth Day T-shirts as they build a garden don’t quite cut it anymore. Rather, sustainability agendas, CSR reports, corporate sponsorships, green initiatives and memberships in a variety of public-private multi-stakeholder initiatives are becoming the norm.

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What if Sugary and Salty Wasn’t Good for Business. Does Healthy Food Mean Greater Profits?

fat MichelangeloTo me, it was always clear that if you find yourself in places like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Taco Bell, you should look for the low-calorie options. After all, at least in terms of calories, it’s healthier to consume a nice grilled chicken classic sandwich (350 calories) at McDonald’s rather than a Big Mac (550 calories). But while cutting calories in a meal seemed to be good for consumers, it wasn’t really clear if they’re also good for business. Well, at least until now.

Last Thursday, the Hudson Institute, a public policy research organization, published a new study that makes the business case for offering low-calorie foods and beverages in restaurant chains. Titled Lower-Calorie Foods: It’s Just Good Business, this study shows that restaurant chains that serve more lower-calorie foods and beverages have better business performance.

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