brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2013 05:47 PM
The death toll at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh has surpassed 900 as another factory fire has claimed an additional eight lives in the industrial district of Mirpur.
Fortunately, the fire in the 11-story building that manufactured mainly sweaters was closed for the night and workers had left the premises, according to Reuters. According to reports, the factory's managing director, a member of the board of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association was meeting with friends in the building when the blaze broke out. The fire was fueled by massive piles of acrylic products used to make cardigans, jumpers and pajamas for customers including Britain's Primark and Spain’s Inditex Group. The eight victims died of suffocation in stairwells trying to escape from the smoldering acrylic that produced immense amounts of smoke and poison gas. Among the victims were also two local government officials.
For what it's worth, the horrific state of factories in Bangladesh, magnified by global news coverage and relentless social media attention is finally starting to have an effect on those involved.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 9, 2013 09:47 AM
Coca-Cola broadened its pledges to provide more calorie information to consumers and to stop advertising to children around the world, but the media was quick to scour the fine print of the company's promises as the beverage leader tries to win over consumers.
CEO Muhtar Kent announced on Wednesday, the brand's 127th anniversary, that the company was taking a four-pronged approach to battling obesity, an issue that it has acknowledged lately in many ways but at the same time has attempted to deflect blame from its iconic sugary sodas.
As part of an initiative it's calling Coming Together, Coca-Cola wants to communicate that it's part of the solution, not the problem. The beverage giant and its local partners will label all packages with calorie details on the front, expand the availability of low- and no-calorie beverages in every market, support more physical activity programs, and stop advertising to children under 12.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 12, 2013 04:34 PM
AT&T has landed at top spot on CR Magazine's 14th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, beating out other top Russell 1000 large-capitalization companies on merits including human rights and corporate governance.
Rounding out the top 10 on the new list: Mattel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eaton Corp, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck & Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Coca-Cola.
The ranking crunches 298 data points of disclosure and performance measures across seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance and philanthropy.
Notably, 26 companies on the 2013 list were not on the 2012 list, while 11 companies have appeared on the list every year since 2007. For those that were bestowed the honor, many were quick to highlight the significance of employee participation to the success of the company's initiatives.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 11, 2013 12:57 PM
The United States is currently the world's largest market for genetically modified organisms (GMO)—foods including soy milk, soup and breakfast cereals (made with soybeans), corn and other biotech crops manipulated to make them more resistant to insects and pesticides.
The debate over GMO labeling for organisms genetically engineered by introducing changes into their DNA structure continues to grab the attention of consumers and brands, exacerbated by the November 2012 defeat of Prop 37, a mandatory labeling initiative introduced on the California ballot. Large corporations including PepsiCo and Monsanto spent millions of dollars against Prop 37 and it was defeated.
Now Whole Foods Market is picking up the gauntlet and committing to full GMO transparency. Whole Foods—which made the announcement at the Natural Products Expo West—has committed to labelling all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores that contain genetically modified organisms by 2018.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 11, 2013 12:08 PM
American consumers may have a hitch in their gait and feel worn down, but they're still arguably the most reliable engine powering the global economy these days. The latest example comes from Rolls-Royce: U.S. luxury customers returned to their previous status as the world's largest market for one of the ultimate brands in automobiles last year, overtaking China as sales growth cooled there.
Overall, the luxury brand reported great news for 2012: It was a record year for Rolls-Royce Motor Car vehicles, with worldwide sales rising to 3,575 units. It was its third straight year of global growth, with the only negative that sales rose only by one percent, a growth rate much slower than the previous two years.
But considering that Rolls-Royce — like other auto-luxury brands — was battling a cooling of the market in China, a challenging European market and continued pressure on upscale buyers in the United States, the 2012 performance was satisfying enough to Rolls-Royce brass. "We had an outstanding year in spite of the challenges we faced, and Rolls-Royce now leads the ultra luxury market by some considerable margin," CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said, according to Reuters.
"We are the pinnacle of all luxury brands in the world," he told CNBC. "We are interested in constant growth over the years to come, but sustainable growth." Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2012 12:59 PM
The urban Chinese consumer has greater confidence that green products are better for the environment than their North American counterparts, according to the a new study from DuPont — its China Green Living Survey: Consumer Awareness and Adoption of Biobased Products.
Seventy percent were either very or somewhat confident that green products are better for the environment, while of North American consumers, 65% of Canadians and 60% of Americans held similar beliefs.
The findings have exponential potential for greening-up in the world’s largest consumer market with growing demands for China to meet its sustainability targets. “Greater adoption of biobased products in China could help the country reduce its energy intensity and carbon emissions and advance a new era of green manufacturing,” stated Jeremy Xu, VP, Global Sales and Applications, DuPont Industrial Biosciences.
A majority of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase apparel, personal care, hygiene and household products made from biobased ingredients that offer environmental benefits. More than three quarters of respondents would definitely or likely buy such products in a range of categories including: Detergents 82%, Personal hygiene 81%, Clothing 78%, Personal Care Products 77%.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 28, 2012 04:04 PM
So far, the brand brain trusts for Kia and Hyundai have been keeping their own counsel about how they might react further to the equity damage done by their gas mileage misstatements that surfaced earlier this month. But early returns suggest they might not want to wait too long.
The sibling Korean-owned brands are suffering declines in "purchase intent" as measured by Edmunds.com, with most Hyundai and Kia models taking hits in that specific indicator for the few weeks ending November 18, a couple of weeks after the brands disclosed that they had mistakenly inflated gas-mileage ratings for several of their most fuel-efficient vehicles, admitted it to the EPA, and began reimbursing owners financially for the violation.
The errors reportedly arose from procedural errors, as Canada's Globe and Mail noted: "The joint testing operations in South Korea led to incorrect fuel consumption ratings. Hyundai and Kia have revised upward their average combined fleet fuel consumption ratings by 0.3 litres/100 km for the 2013 model year. 'I sincerely apologize to all affected Hyundai and Kia customers, and I regret these errors occurred,' said Dr. W. C. Yang, Hyundai/Kia’s chief technology officer."
As part of the response, Hyundai US created a website explaining the adjusted fuel economy reimbursements, as did Kia. Kia also released a nostalgic TV commercial, above, evoking its 60 years in the US and "how far we've come since that first bicycle." But it may need to do more to reassure car buyers.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 16, 2012 02:12 PM
It's understandable that the record-breaking sum that BP will be paying out — $4.5 billion in fines and other payments — as a result of the Department of Justice settlement over the 2012 Deepwater Horizon accident, oil spill and response raised eyebrows. While two employees are being charged wth manslaughter, the company also pled guilty to 14 criminal charges in connection with the cataclysmic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, and admitted to criminal conduct and deliberately misreporting the impact of the spill.
It's a record-breaking sum, but as a reader noted on our story, it's "a drop in the barrel" for the oil and gas giant. Even the fact that the DOJ investigation is ongoing, and BP will be subject to additional including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources and fines under the Clean Water Act, with potential fines of up to $21 billion, the brand is more than prepared to absorb the financial hit.
The bigger question is how much, if at all, things have changed in the corporate culture that led to the accident, and led to harsh criticism over its handling of the accident. As Tom Zara, Interbrand's global Corporate Citizenship practice leader, comments, the DOJ penalty is directed at the "ethical bone structure" that led to the disaster, and the loss of 11 lives. "Notoriety of criminality isn’t the death knell of a brand, but corruption of culture will kill the brand."
The Justice Department press release detailing BP's guilty plea doesn't mince words on that front:Continue reading...