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Apparel industry leaders team up, for green’s sake


Have you ever really looked at your clothes and wondered how they were made? And then go a step further… and wonder how the creation of your favorite article of clothing affected the environment?  Isn’t it strange that there aren’t any regulations on how clothes are made?  Especially since most of the apparel industry is produced globally…

Well, that’s about to change.

They call themselves the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and include

…leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, manufacturers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic experts, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…

from companies like:

Adidas, Arvind Mills, C&A, Duke University, Environmental Defense Fund, Esprit, Esquel, Gap Inc., H&M, HanesBrands, Intradeco, JC Penney, Lenzing, Levi Strauss & Co., Li & Fung, Marks & Spencer, Mountain Equipment Co-op, New Balance, Nike, Nordstrom, Otto Group, Outdoor Industry Association, Patagonia, Pentland Brands, REI, TAL Apparel, Target, Timberland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Verité, VF Corp, and Walmart.

The new Coalition formally debuted today, and announced that their goal is

…to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability built on an industry-wide index for businesses to use to measure and evaluate apparel and footwear product sustainability performance.

The NYTimes article explains this in layman terms:

The coalition’s tool is meant to be a database of scores assigned to all the players in the life cycle of a garment — cotton growers, synthetic fabric makers, dye suppliers, textile mill owners, as well as packagers, shippers, retailers and consumers — based on a variety of social and environmental measures like water and land use, energy efficiency, waste production, chemical use, greenhouse gases and labor practices.

Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland explains how this relates to the consumer,

“…This will ultimately put the power in the hands of the consumers, because the apparel industry is saying out loud, ‘We’re going to find a way to disclose to you what’s behind this purchase decision — beyond color, size and fit.’ ”

From a supply chain with no regulation, to allowing the consumer to have all of this information disclosed…is pretty awesome.

Similarly to learning how my favorite  restaurant in NYC was graded, I’m a tad nervous to learn the truth about the clothing supply chain… only because I know that what we’ll learn won’t be pretty.

Filed under: Business, Green, World, , , , , , , , , ,

Is Rolls-Royce going to steal Tesla’s thunder?


On March 1, of this year, Rolls Royce is planning to debut their electric prototype at the Geneva Motor Show.

If you’ve been keeping up with the electric vehicle (EV) news, you know that currently there is only one high-end EV on the market – the Tesla Roadster.

A bit about Tesla, in their own words:

TESLA MOTORS was founded in 2003 by a group of intrepid Silicon Valley engineers who set out to prove that electric vehicles could be awesome.

THE TESLA ROADSTER hit the streets in early 2008 as a car with no equal. Two years later, over 1,500 Roadsters drive emissions-free in more than 30 countries.

I guess this was inevitable…there has been virtually no competition in the high-end EV market, until now.

Rolls-Royce said the prototype, dubbed the 102EX and based on its top-end “Phantom” model, will be put through various tests throughout 2011.

Stay tuned…

Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos is scheduled to hold a press briefing in Singapore later on Monday.

Something tells me that if Rolls-Royce does in fact put an EV on the market…it’s going to be in a league of its own, the “higher high-end”.  A regular, bad-for-the-environment Phantom costs around $380K, while the Roadster costs a mere $100K.

I say “mere” in jest, as both are a tad out of my league.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the Nissan Leaf (check out my previous posting – http://bit.ly/fsrMp0).

If you’d like to join the discussion on luxury EVs, Rolls-Royce has started a blog – www.electricluxury.com.

Filed under: Automobiles, Business, Green, World, , , , , , , , ,

Jimmy Fallon, putting QR codes on the (USA) map


I first started reading about QR codes in early 2008.  Turns out they were invented by a Japanese company named Denso Wave in 1994. So even though I thought I was in the loop, I apparently had arrived late to the party by about 14 years..

So what are QR codes?  Well QR stands for “Quick Response”, as the intended use was to decode information quickly.  How is this relevant to you?  In order to scan the code, you need to download a (free) QR reader app to your phone.  Immediately after you scan the code, you are linked to whatever is embedded in the code.

Around the same time I first read about QR codes, Polo Ralph Lauren launched their mobile initiative, and introduced us to QR codes by putting them in their print advertising.  While it was a great initiative, I think America wasn’t ready for that type of technology.

I was in Japan in January, and literally saw QR codes EVERYWHERE – from descriptions on plaques of holy shrines, to bus passes, to random advertising on the streets.  Japan is overflowing with QR codes.  America, not so much. But on February 16th, Jimmy Fallon brought QR codes front and center.

Fallon had Tyler, The Creator and Hodgy Beats of Odd Future on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday. Before the performance, Fallon held up an LP-size QR code that, when viewed with the proper app, led viewers to oddfuture.com, which features a video of Tyler The Creator’s “Yonkers.”

I hope that Jimmy Fallon’s awesome initiative brings America up-to-speed on QR codes and other new technology.

As a test, I have created my own QR code (see below).  Go ahead people, download the app, join the movement.

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Tech, World, , , , , , , , , ,

Morgan Spurlock, redefining product placement at TED2011


Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size Me fame, will be talking about branding at this year’s TED Conference in Long Beach, CA.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with TED (stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design):

The annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

In an interesting move, one that exemplifies branding in a whole new way, Spurlock has decided to sell the naming rights to his talk.

“If you are the highest bidder, then during my talk I will make reference to your company, reflect positively on your placement and share the process of how you got involved.”

When I checked his eBay listing the other day, the bid stood at around $525.  Surprisingly, the highest bid is now $2,550.

I admire the clever, out-of-the box thinking, but think that just name dropping is not enough.  People remember things better when the read rather than hear…Spurlock should also wear a t-shirt with the winning bidders’ logo/name.  Just a thought.

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Tech, , , , , , ,

Groupon to make its TV debut at Super Bowl XLV


For a company that thrives online and via social media platforms… Groupon is stepping up their game.

…Chief Operating Officer Rob Solomon explained why the company is eager to have a presence in the most-watched sporting event of the year. “Groupon has served as a bridge between the online and offline worlds,” he said. “After two years in business earning 50 million subscribers to date, we feel it’s time to use TV to reach an even broader audience.”

Though I’m not much of sports-fan…I do know that the Super Bowl is THIS Sunday.  Um..talk about last-minute ad placement!?

…according to people familiar with the situation. One company that had purchased time during the game decided to pull out in the past couple of weeks, so Fox then re-sold the time to Groupon.

While they are the pioneers of group-buying, Groupon’s largest rival Living Social is gaining ground.

If you recall, in November 2010, Groupon shockingly rejected Google’s $6B offer for purchase.  Since they haven’t gone public yet…they don’t owe us any explanations, but it’s safe to assume that the ~$3M price-tag for 30 seconds of airtime + production-time, is probably pocket-change.

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Sports, , , , , , , ,

Hollywood actors, doing their part to make more money – Part II


Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks Hollywood endorsements on Twitter isn’t cool…

The U.K.’s consumer watchdog agency is clamping down on endorsements by bloggers and social networkers, who will now be required to state any relationship they have with a product.

The move brings U.K. Twitter regulations in line with those in the U.S., where the Federal Trade Commission requires that Twitter endorsements include the words “ad” or “spon” (for “sponsored”) to flag their status.

We’ll just have to wait and see if an American watchdog agency decides to follow suit…

Filed under: Business, Marketing, , , , , , , , ,

Hollywood actors, doing their part to make more money


You can’t blame them, can you?  Because at the end of the day, everyone wants to find new ways to make money.

What am I talking about?

Ad.ly. It’s an advertising agency that utilizes Twitter & famous people to advertise products to the masses.

Since its launch in September 2009, it has crafted more than 20,000 endorsements for more than 150 brands, including Sony (SNE), Best Buy (BBY), and Old Navy.

So how many of these celebs are in on this?

…more than 5,000 other personalities ranging from A-list to D-list.

How much do you think they’re being paid?  Friendly reminder, each “tweet” is limited to 140 characters.

The celebs earn a flat fee per tweet that ranges “from $1,000 to mid-five figures,” says Gullov-Singh [Ad.ly’s CEO]. With more than 5.6 million followers, reality TV superstar Kim Kardashian collects “in the ball park” of $10,000 per tweet, he adds, “but her price keeps going up.

Not sure if you caught that..$10K per 140 characters.

I think this is a brilliant example of social media gone awry.

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Tech, , , , , , , , , ,

Banning plastic bags, everybody’s doin it


It’s only January 11th, and already 4 different locations have enacted the plastic bag ban.

Italy started off the year, banning plastic bags as of January 1st.

The government of Italy has become the first in the European Union to outlaw the use of plastic bags by all retailers, signaling a large shift in a country which uses over 20 billion bags per year (400 per person) – an amount equal to 25 percent of the total produced and used in the entire EU.

On January 5th, the great city of Brownsville (15th largest city in Texas), joined the bandwagon, and today, both Kaua’i and Maui, HI, can proudly say that they’re part of the club.

After doing a little research, it turns out that a lot of other places ban plastic bags too.

2002 – Dhaka, Bangladesh enacted the ban.

2003 – rural Alaska & South Africa joined

2005 – Eritrea & the Republic of Somalialand

2006 – Rwanda, Tanzania, & Zanzibar

2007 – Kenya & Uganda, and San Francisco, CA

2008 – China

2009 – Buenos Aires, Argentina & American Samoa

2010 – Mexico City, Mexico

Click here and here for additional locations I may have missed.

It’s interesting that the list above includes countries like Eritrea (3rd world), and China, which is the 2nd strongest GDP and has a population which accounts for 19.5% of the word’s entire population.

Something tells me that if this smorgasbord of a list can do it, so can the rest of the world.

Filed under: Business, Green, World, , , , , , , , , , ,

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