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GoGreenNation News: Meet the 13 brands elevating everyday tasks, from washing dishes to banking
GoGreenNation News: Meet the 13 brands elevating everyday tasks, from washing dishes to banking

Washing the dishes, cooking a meal, catching a flight, doing some banking, at a glance, the tasks and routines of our everyday life can appear as a collection of mundane and uninspiring experiences. However, there are brands working to avoid that appearance, and make these routines more meaningful in a variety of ways. Our Place turns a single kitchen pan into a stylish statement against unnecessary waste and carbon neutrality. Blueland uses dish soap and body wash to address plastic waste, and a more efficient supply chain, while Pinterest finds unexpected and inclusive ways to add more joy and utility to the daily scroll. Here are the brands elevating our everyday: Alaska Airlines Since its founding, Alaska Airlines has been defined by its West Coast roots—and routes. In its nascent days, it provided bush planes for isolated communities in its namesake state, and still crisscrosses California and the Pacific Northwest, where wildfires and water scarcity are big issues. “Growing up in those places instilled in us an ethos of real consciousness around place,” says Diana Birkett Rakow, the company’s SVP of public affairs and sustainability. That awareness has inspired a sustainability focus; its five-point plan to reach net-zero by 2040 includes a switch to sustainable aviation fuel, proposed electric-propulsion jets by the end of decade, and carbon offsets. With the clock ticking on other goals, like getting from 1% to 10% sustainable fuel by 2030, the airline is bolstering its efforts with both internal and external support. From the CEO down, 10% of every employee’s bonus opportunity is based on the airline’s performance in meeting its goals. Alaska has also found partners for its efforts initiatives, which include replacing plastic water bottles with Boxed Water cartons in flight, investing in manufacturer ZeroAvia to develop a hydroelectric power train, and even starting a venture fund to identify promising environmental startups. “We can’t change the system on our own,” Birkett Rakow says. “But we can bring partners together and take actions that help create a positive flywheel.” —Talib Visram Avocado Green Brands The bulk of discourse around mattresses in recent years has been whether it came from a store or a box, but Avocado has made its name as one of the first Climate Neutral-certified brands, offsetting more than the sum of its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and advocating for legislation that will help fight the climate crisis through its partnership with CERES and the American Sustainable Business Network. The brand in 2021 produced an eight-part podcast called A Little Green, that follows one of its execs, Christina Thompson, as she explores her impact on the environment, and how we can challenge the status quo and become climate leaders in our own communities. Sleep on that. Cloud Paper The bamboo-based toilet paper and paper towel brand is taking aim at global deforestation one wipe at a time. Backed by an impressive list of backers, including Marc Benioff, Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Oseary, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, NFL star Russell Wilson, and Ciara, the brand celebrated Earth Day 2021 with a fake campaign for a brand called Flush that told you which old growth forest you were wiping with. Dawn The P&G-owned brand has worked to design products to help people use less water and energy, but also be more accessible. Its Powerwash Dish Spray was designed to work on contact, without running the tap to create suds, helping households save up to 120 gallons of water per week, while the brand’s EZ-Squeeze bottle—one of Dawn’s most researched and tested products ever—is designed to dispense dishwashing liquid accurately with only one hand. Dawn also this year committed ​​to help protect and care for a million birds and marine mammals by 2030 through its partnerships with International Bird Rescue and the Marine Mammal Center. Greenwood When Greenwood launched in 2020, it drew attention for being the first digital bank with all Black founders—Ryan Glover, civil rights icon and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and rapper Killer Mike. Since then, the bank has focused on addressing racial inequities in the financial system. Greenwood acquired the Gathering Spot, which operates Black-focused networking and work space clubs in three cities. Glover says it has made Greenwood the country’s largest combined fintech and community platform for Black and minority consumers, reaching one million people. Greenwood is also building a content arm with digital shows, podcasts, and even name, image, and likeness deals. Indeed More than a job board, Indeed has made itself into a complete platform to better serve both job seekers and employers. Over the past year, the brand has launched Interview Days: Restaurant Jobs with OpenTable, a U.S. hiring initiative aimed to accelerate the recovery of the food and beverage industry by providing free hiring tools to help businesses and restaurateurs source, screen and host interviews. The Indeed Hiring Platform launched in 2022, and allows employers to manage and accelerate the hiring process—from posting through interview—directly on Indeed, with no additional software, all aiming to enable faster, more efficient access to a diverse pool of job seekers looking for the perfect fit. Kahoot Learning should be fun, and education platform Kahoot does just that with 40 million monthly participants, with a combination of content partners like Disney, NASA, and the World Health Organization. Last December, over 3,500 students participated in the European Interschool Kahoot, learning about the refugee and migrant experience and fostering inclusivity. And in April, Indiana-based teacher Stephen Auslander hosted the Kahoot! Cup, with more than 3,200 students from over 50 countries playing with the overall message, “We’re more alike than we’re different.” Lifewtr The brand wrapped its bottles in culture for its 2021 Life Unseen campaign, which worked with actor, writer and producer Issa Rae, who invited 20 diverse filmmakers, musicians, artists, and fashion designers to showcase their work on Lifwtr’s bottle labels. As part of the campaign, the brand also published an interactive tool that reveals the representation gaps that exist across the creative industry for women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and people with disabilities. Mastercard The act of paying for something can be incredibly simple, but Mastercard has worked to expand that this past year with its new Touch Card for blind and partially sighted people, setting a new global standard for payment card design that enables people to tell, with a touch, which card they are holding. That inclusive product design builds on its work with True Name (to ensure the name on a person’s Mastercard reflects their true identity) which was also expanded globally to 30 European markets. Our Place While traditional kitchenware brands and stores feature hundreds of products, Our Place focuses on fewer, well-made products to minimize waste. Its Always Pan, for example, is designed to replace eight pieces of cookware. The immigrant- and female-founded brand reached full carbon neutrality this year. Pinterest In an effort to become a more inclusive platform, Pinterest spent the past year expanding its search capabilities in the beauty space for users with textured hair, and reining in ad content that could be harmful to users’ body image. Last August, Pinterest’s visual search team added a search mechanism to filter hair inspiration images based on pattern—including curly and coiled—and protective styles, like twists and braids. Similar to the skin tone search feature that the company released in 2018, this new AI-powered search tool can pinpoint and recognize hair patterns and surface the appropriate Pins. In the little more than a year since the feature launched, Pinterest has seen a significant increase in texture-specific search requests, including  “naturally wavy hair cuts with layers” and “protective hairstyles braids.” Pinterest also expanded its body neutrality initiative, amending its ad policy in July 2021 to ban all mentions of body mass index and weight loss, building on an earlier ban on ads for diet products, or featuring before-and-after imagery. One year later, the company self-reported a 20% decrease in “weight loss” searches and a trend away from activity related to diets. —Rachel Kim Raczka Plantega Bodegas are a way of life in New York City, and Plantega is a brand bringing plant-based food options to a much broader audience through the city’s network of shops. In 2021, it launched in 14 locations across four NYC boroughs, from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to Jamaica, Queens, with a goal to bridge the gap between plant-based food manufacturers and independent corner stores, while helping spark a shift toward more sustainable eating. Vital Farms This is a brand that prides itself on the cruelty-free treatment of its hens to the sustainability of its supply chain, but also manages to turn those ideals into fun, compelling content. Its traceability initiative allows you to see a 360-degree video of the farm and the hens that laid your eggs, and in 2021, they took it a step further. Vital Farms built a custom, hen-friendly camera into a pasture where hens that lay the company’s eggs wander, to get a firsthand look at their daily life. The camera features a pressure-sensor platform that, when pecked or stepped on by a hen, sets off the shutter, producing black-and-white images of the hens’ surroundings, including vast pastures, their flock, and the family farmers who care for them. The photos were then featured in a national billboard campaign, as well as online and in a limited-edition coffee-table book. This article is part of Fast Company’s 2022 Brands That Matter awards. Explore the full list of brands whose success has come from embodying their purpose in a way that resonates with their customers.

GoGreenNation News: Tough times for plant-based meat
GoGreenNation News: Tough times for plant-based meat

Companies that make faux burgers and other meat substitutes are laying off employees and staring down weak sales, amid what Beyond Meat describes as "ongoing softness in the plant-based meat category."Why it matters: The biggest fast-food chains and meat producers have raced to cash in on fake meat, sensing consumer appetite for sustainable and animal-friendly alternatives. But high prices and flattening demand have dogged the industry. Driving the news: Beyond Meat announced a 19% workforce reduction this month amid steepening revenue declines.McDonald's shelved plans to introduce a McPlant burger nationally.Brazil's JBS is closing Planterra Foods, its U.S. plant-based meat business, and Canada's Maple Leaf Foods has whittled its plant-based meat division.Impossible Foods laid off 6% of employees, though it positions the move as part of a reorganization and says sales are growing.“It’s worth asking: Are we nearing the end of a decade-long fad?” asks The Takeout.State of play: Despite the drumbeat of bad news, Beyond Meat officially introduced "Beyond Steak" on Monday — a splashy new product available at more than 5,000 Kroger and Walmart stores.It's "designed to deliver the juicy, tender, and delicious bite of sliced steak tips," a Beyond Meat spokesperson tells Axios."Early feedback on taste and texture has been very positive, so we’re confident this is a product consumers are going to be very impressed with," the spokesperson said.A separate product — Beyond Carne Asada Steak — was rolled out last month for a limited time at Taco Bell locations in Dayton, Ohio.Meanwhile, arch-rival Impossible Foods is gearing up to introduce a plant-based steak of its own — and not just any cut.“I’ve tasted our filet mignon prototypes, and they’re pretty damn good,” Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown said at MIT Technology Review’s ClimateTech conference this month.The big picture: Amid a recent 10.5% annual sales drop in refrigerated meat alternatives, the product's purveyors are looking to the long term — which includes seeking price parity with "real" meat, which tends to be less expensive."We believe that broader nutritional and environmental benefits of plant-based protein will continue to make plant-based meat a compelling option for consumers," Beyond Meat tells Axios.Nestlé is still bullish on plant-based products, with Steve Presley, the CEO of its North American business telling Food Dive that it's "still a really strong consumer trend, but I think it got a bit frenzied."Kellogg's plans to sell or spin-off its plant-based division, which houses MorningStar Farms, citing "significant opportunity to capitalize on strong long-term category prospects by investing further in North America penetration and future international expansion."What they're saying: "Vegetarians were doing just fine without fake meat before Beyond and Impossible came along, and hardly have reason to add expensive alt-proteins into their diet," Marnie Shure writes in The Takeout. "Vegetarians and vegans were never the intended customer for Beyond: These products exist to cater to flexitarians ... and those folks aren’t going to spend more on a habit they haven’t yet cultivated."Yes, but: There are still bullish growth predictions for plant-based meats, and Impossible Foods — a private company that doesn't have to report its numbers — tells Axios it's seeing "hyper-growth, with over 60% year-over-year sales growth in retail alone.""We’re not experiencing anything like what Beyond Meat has reported – quite the contrary," an Impossible Foods spokesperson tells Axios. "It's not accurate or reflective of our business to assume that because the overall category is flat to down, or because we recently re-organized our business, we're contributing to the category's decline," the spokesperson said. "In fact, we're responsible for the vast majority of the category's growth and have been for some time."Taste test: Beyond Meat sent private chefs to cook Beyond Steak for journalists like me in advance of the product announcement.Vox employees found it delicious, but "opinions var[ied] on texture and how close it comes to tasting like steak from a real cow." Fast Company's reporter and her husband were very impressed with both taste and texture.Personally? I found it a bit too chewy, but my partner liked it well enough — and his daughter gave it a rave.Go deeper: McDonald’s bringing back McRib for a “farewell tour"

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