Best Global Green Brands 2014

brand challenges

Darden CEO Steps Down as New Red Lobster Owner Outlines Comeback

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2014 03:50 PM

Darden Restaurants is waving a white flag in front of activist investors such as Starboard Value, but it doesn’t appear to be big enough. The investment groups that are down on Darden still want to dismember it.

Darden CEO Clarence Otis said yesterday that he will step down at the end of the year, and the company invited opposing investors to fill as many as three of the company’s 12 board seats by saying it will nominate only nine directors at the next annual meeting. Previously, Darden jettisoned its Red Lobster chain, a deal that was finalized earlier this week, and has accelerated its ongoing overhaul of Olive Garden restaurants.

Nope, still not enough. “Significant change is required in the Darden boardroom,” said James A. Mitarotonda, CEO of another activist group, Barington Capital. Starboard called Darden’s moves “a token change.”Continue reading...

brands under fire

LEGO Protests Go Global as Greenpeace Targets Shell Partnership

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 29, 2014 02:19 PM

As part of an ongoing effort by Greenpeace, more than 50 children protested today outside Shell’s London headquarters, building three massive LEGO Arctic animals while Greenpeace volunteers and parents looked on. The peaceful protest, which has spread to the US, is in response to LEGO's partnership with Shell on branded block sets that have been sold at gas stations in 33 countries—one of the largest promotional lines that LEGO has ever produced.

Since 2012, Shell's Arctic program has been under fire by environmental NGOs and regulators as its two drilling vessels, Noble Discoverer and Kulluk, both failed to meet pollution limits set by the US Clean Air Act. Nearly 700,000 people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling on the toy maker to end its deal with the oil brand. 

“Children are leading this playful protest because global warming, and what’s happening in the Arctic, is an enormous threat facing all children,” said Elena Polisano, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, in a press release. “LEGO is adored by kids, and it has a responsibility to look out for them. It’s unethical for LEGO to partner with any company that’s threatening kids’ future. LEGO’s endorsement of Shell is incredibly damaging because it helps Shell hide its role in the threat to the Arctic.”Continue reading...

bc q&a

Corporate Citizenship Lessons: 5 Questions with Interbrand's Carolyn Ray

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 29, 2014 12:58 PM

Research increasingly shows that billions of dollars in brand value are tied to Corporate Citizenship. To that end, Interbrand, the world's leading brand consultancy (and brandchannel's parent company) is expanding its Corporate Citizenship practice to Canada, where national brands are increasingly coming under the scope of environmental and socially-conscious consumers.  

At a launch breakfast hosted in collaboration with Deloitte last week, Carolyn Ray, Managing Director of Interbrand Canada, addressed the growing need in the Canadian marketplace for brands to have a transparent Corporate Citizenship strategy. 

“It's evident to us, from our Best Canadian Brands [report], global brand valuation reports and the discussions we've been having, that brands are either not getting recognition for the good things they are doing, or don't have a corporate citizenship strategy in place to accelerate their brand and business performance. We want to help close that gap,” Ray said.  

“We believe there is an opportunity for Canadian companies to look to Corporate Citizenship to accelerate business and brand performance, particularly in an era of rising stakeholder expectations and increasing transparency."

brandchannel caught up with Ray to talk trends, implementation and the importance of Corporate Citizenship to increasing brand value.Continue reading...

auto motive

In Ford, Ram Quarrel Over Towing Capacity, Size—and Price—Matters

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2014 11:13 AM

Rivals are getting testier in the most profitable segment of the US auto industry as recent sales increases level off and new technology threatens to upset the old order. So they’re arguing over size—and size matters when it comes to pickup trucks.

Ford and Ram are in the midst of a quarrel over whose really big pickup, the Ram 3500 or the Ford F-450, can claim “best-in-class” towing for its segment. Ford claims the F-450 4x4 Crew Cab can haul 31,200 pounds, about 1,200 pounds more than Ram claims for its behemoth. But they disagree about whether this is an apples-to-apples comparison because the Ford F-450 may be in a larger class than its competitors.

GM and Toyota are sitting out this tiff, but they’ve also promoted towing capacity—Toyota most notably a couple of years ago by having a heavy-duty Tundra pickup tow the US Space Shuttle Endeavor down a highway in California. GM, on the other hand, has it's own issues: the brand's most popular pickups—the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra—are also the most recalled vehicles this year.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Red Lobster, Ford, Wendy's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2014 09:12 AM


Darden CEO steps down as new Red Lobster owner takes brand upmarket.

Ford raises prices for new F-150 pickup with aluminum body as Ram battle intensifies.

Los Angeles Clippers are cleared for sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

McDonald’s Japan head apologizes for meat scandal as McDonald’s US deemed “joint employer” in NLRB ruling.

Wendy’s tests customizable burgers.


BMW unveils cheaper, suitcase-sized EV charger.

Cadillac brings wireless smartphone charging to some 2015 models.

Dirt Devil and Hoover owner fires up marketing.

GM remains mired in dealership-closure issues in Canada, hurting sales.

Jimmy Dean looks #beyondbreakfast.Continue reading...


Amazon Goes Custom with 3D Printing Shop

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 28, 2014 03:02 PM

Amazon is cementing its title as the king of e-commerce with its latest gambit: a customizable 3D printing store.

Capitalizing on the "maker movement," Amazon's latest online shop offers customizable jewelry, tech accessories, toys and even bobbleheads—all of which can be customized by size, color, material and design aspects—as well as products from partners like Mixee, Scupteo and 3DLT

“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail—that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience,” said Amazon Marketplace Sales director Petra Schindler-Carter, according to TechCrunch

The success of 3D printers on Amazon Supply, a wholesale site for businesses, led to Amazon’s 3D print offering and once again puts the brand at the forefront of the e-commerce industry.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Reporting for Duty: 5 Questions with GRI CEO Michael Meehan on Sustainability

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 28, 2014 02:13 PM

A leading organization promoting sustainability reporting, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is working hard to create a sustainable global economy that combines long term profitability with ethical behavior, social justice and environmental care. 

Newly appointed CEO and longtime sustainability advocate Michael Meehan comes in at a crucial time as reporting becomes a means to an end and corporate transparency is crucial to brand survival. GRI's reporting framework aims to help companies measure, understand and share information, with GRI guidelines currently in use by more than 4,000 organizations across 60 countries.

Even with nearly two decades of experience in the field, Meehan faces a host of new challenges as compliance and transparency come to the forefront of brands' sustainable stories.

“Sustainability reporting and the transparency it promotes remains a work in progress, and always will be," Allen White, co-founder and former CEO of GRI, wrote in an open letter to Meehan. "New sustainability issues continuously emerge in a dynamic, rapidly changing world… Now, privacy, livable wages, 'dark pools' in financial markets and other emergent issues merit the same level of attention as carbon emissions, occupational health and safety, board diversity and other issues regarded as mainstream. The 'mainstream' does not stand still; it continues to widen.” 

brandchannel spoke with Meehan about corporate transparency, the ROI of reporting, and how social media could propel brands to act more quickly.Continue reading...

see you in court

Bose Tries to Tune Out Beats with Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 28, 2014 12:13 PM

With European approvals now accounted for, Apple is likely to acquire Beats for $3 billion sometime in the current quarter, but the company may be taking on a lot more than just buzz-worthy headgear. Bose is suing Beats, stating that the maker of the hip headphones infringes on its noise-cancelling technology. 

Bose says that 50 years worth of research, development and engineering on the subject have been infringed upon by Beats and it would like “an injunction against continued infringement, a full account of sales of infringing devices, damages including court costs, determination that the infringement is willful and upwards adjustment of damages accordingly, and ‘other relief’ to be determined by the court,” according to TechCrunch.Continue reading...

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