Supply Chain

How The Market Created Lobster Mac And Cheese

The Canadian lobster industry has experienced price volatility in recent years due to an unexpectedly high volume of lobster. In Canada, environmental regulation was so successful at protecting the stock of lobster that the supply well exceeded historical landings. This unanticipated influx of product to the market along with lack-lustre demand dragged prices so low that the […]

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Patagonia’s CSR: How Is It Working Out?

  Patagonia, known for its jackets made entirely from pop bottles and their “Don’t Buy This Jacket” Cyber Monday advertising campaign, has been a leader in corporate social responsibility initiatives. We had previously profiled Patagonia’s supply chain transparency, but let’s take a look now to see how these CSR initiatives are working out. Patagonia’s Mission For those

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Turning Refrigerants from Consumables into Trackable and Tradable Assets

A major shift in thinking about the nature and value of refrigerants in businesses could be possible, if instead of seeing them as consumables, refrigerants were seen as assets, capable of being trackable, and tradable, just as other commodities are. The launch of a new system designed for tracking every single pound of refrigerant in

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Using Crowdfunding to tell Fair Trade and Supply Chain Stories

How can Fair Trade companies tell their story in a way that’s transparent, honest, and informative? If this crowdfunded campaign is successful, it might be as easy as giving people a single, consumer-friendly point of entry for all Fair Trade organizations and companies, either on the web or via an app. “Many consumers want to

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Patagonia Offers Supply Chain Transparency with Footprint Chronicles

Outdoor gear manufacturer and retailer Patagonia has been one of the frontrunners when it comes to being transparent about their sustainable business practices, from their sources for materials to the labor practices behind the making of their products, so it may come as no surprise that their most recent effort is focusing on the “Responsible

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The Freight Train for Planned Obsolescence Jumps to High-Speed Tracks – Part 2

Part II: Whether it was smart or not, by the late 1950s, planned obsolescence had become a practice many people understood, even if it might sometimes be contrary to the idea of long-lasting product quality. By the late 1950s, planned obsolescence had become a practice many people understood, even if it might sometimes seem contrary

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The Greatest Invention: Planned Obsolescence – Part 1

His thinking, while simple in concept, was absolutely radical, especially during the hard times of the Great Depression. If at the beginning of a factory year, General Motors were to introduce new products that might be perceived as upgrades for car-driving consumers, and if these upgrades represented something consumers might feel were essential as they climbed the economic ladder – something they needed to buy – then Sloan and his design engineers would have bet on the winning racehorse.

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Women in Focus Week, Day 2! Meet the Top Women Sustainable CEOs: Eileen Fisher

This week, the Important Media Network has committed to highlighting some of the women that are making the world a better place. At Inspired Economist, we thought we’d take part by profiling a great sustainable woman CEO every day this week. See yesterday’s post on Kim Jordan, CEO of New Belgium Brewing, then check in each day

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Conflict Minerals: Where Dodd-Frank, The Enough Project and Global Witness Went Wrong

It seemed easy and straightforward enough. Fighting in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between a variety of warring factions has resulted in the death, rape and displacement of many in the region. Based on most accounts upwards of 5.4 million people died during the official war period of 1998-2003 and some 2.7

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RISI Seminar Tackles Tough Paper Industry Questions

Earlier this month in my post “A Cynical Eye on Sprint’s ECO-mittment,” I got razzed a bit by a commenter about my ties to the printing and publishing industry. Do I have a bias towards paper and away from e-media? (I do, but not because I’m involved in the industry. It’s because I think e-media

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Motorola Getting Proactive in the Conflict Mineral Debate

I’ve written a number of articles regarding the complexities of “conflict minerals” and the trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (you can find a few here and here). And campaigns undertaken by a number of advocacy groups have really put the issue on the map. So much so that a controversial rider was

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Zimbabwe Diamonds and the Kimberley Process: Round Something

For many years now, developing countries bestowed great amounts of natural resources were thought to be on a path to development based on the wealth of these resources, which are prized throughout the West.  Such resources have included oil, minerals, metals and of course diamonds.  However, almost exclusively, this potentially game-changing situation has lead to

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Responsibilities of the Alcohol Industry

There has been increasing discussion recently as to the role of corporate social responsibility throughout the alcohol industry. Of course CSR policies can and should be applied to companies throughout the private sector although my guess is that most people’s first thoughts don’t shoot to the beer, wine and spirits industry. Whether policies in that

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Can Apple Become as Innovative in Supply Chain Regulation as They Have in Product Development?

Everyone’s familiar with the news that Steve Jobs has recently stepped away from Apple again (possibly for good this time) due to health concerns. Whether this is permanent or not, the future is not far off when Apple will have to continue without Jobs. I have little doubt in mind that they will not find

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Wal-Mart Gets Healthier and Prices Stay the Same

(Note: Unbeknownst to me, my colleague Lane Jost and I both produced articles on Wal-Mart this morning.  I have decided to publish mine as well because I believe the two compliment each other well and hey, like Coke and Pepsi, there is room for similar products in the market place) Wal-Mart confuses me. It seems

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Fair Trade USA Tackles Fashion and Cotton Industry

While doing laundry, we read our clothing labels – “wash in cold water”and “tumble dry low”. But do we pay attention to the “made in…” labels such as Made in India or Made in Peru? What does that actually mean? And where is the transparency? Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA) hopes to shed light

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Starbucks and the World of Fair Trade

Fair trade continually interests me. It’s a great example of a development “policy” that at first glance, seems perfect. Companies (generally in foodstuffs like coffee or cocoa, but clothing and related items as well), basically agree to set the prices of the goods they purchase at a higher than market price in order to provide

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No Easy Answers in Monitoring the Social Impacts of a Global Supply Chain

ANN ARBOR, MI — We now enter breakout session two and I am pivoting from social media’s impact on CSR to managing the social aspects of the supply chain. The roster: Bama Athreya, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Forum Eric Olson, Senior Vice President, Business for Social Responsibility Monique Oxender, Global Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability,

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Systems Thinking for a Green Supply Chain

In the guest post below, Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company, discusses how companies can “green” their supply chain through a” systems thinking” approach. by Julie Urlaub In today’s global business environment, it is extremely rare for a company to own an entire product or service value chain.  Business operations now rely

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