Sustainable Brands Issue in Focus
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Waste Not: Today's Most Innovative Approaches to Achieving Net Positivity

An aquaponic system, such as this new home kit by Back to the Roots, is an example of a zero-waste system for raising fish and plants. | Image credit: Back to the Roots

Calling all innovators and implementers! Beginning in February 2013, Sustainable Brands will be publishing a new “Issues in Focus” editorial package, including daily features, interviews and case studies on how businesses are “Striving for Net Positivity.”

The Issue in Focus

In nature, we do not critique abundance; rather, we celebrate it. Every by-product of every organism is used for the next process of life. Nothing is wasted — “waste” equals food.

More and more emphasis is being placed on reducing humans’ collective environmental impact to zero. However, this idea goes against the human desire to produce and create and shames larger organizations for their impact on the planet. But by rethinking our processes and being more strategic with design and materials, we too can achieve net positivity.

Who is leading the charge in developing products with this circular economy and use of materials in mind? What innovations are taking place? Are merely the visionary leaders engaging in this practice or has it crossed into mainstream product manufacturing and lifecycle management? How do we demonstrate value of such a system and what is the economic benefit?

Guest editors Lewis Perkins of the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute and Jenni Baker of Goodwill Industries are seeking content to consider for publication in this issue. This is the opportunity to share your examples of real developments in recycling and waste stream management, highlighting creative, visionary and innovative solutions for eliminating or reutilizing waste streams in your operations.

Content guidelines

Our readers are business leaders seeking information about how others are profitably innovating for sustainability. They seek insights and ideas that might be applied across market sectors about how to drive top-line growth and shift toward sustainability across their value chains. We will evaluate submissions based on currency and relevance of the example or idea presented, balance of perspective, strength of content, and delivered principles, based on specific experience that might apply to a variety of markets or product sectors.

Written (and/or audio and/or video) perspectives — 600-1000 words. Focus areas include:

  • Resource recovery
  • Take-back programs
  • Cradle-to-Cradle design
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Circular economy
  • Technical nutrient space
  • eWaste
  • Urban mining
  • Reverse logistics
  • Waste-to-materials streams (especially agricultural)
  • Re-engineered materials (carbon fiber, polymers)
  • Material conservation
  • Extended Producer Responsibility Initiatives

Entrepreneurs, innovators, Corporate Sustainability Officers, educators, NGOs — anyone helping to eliminate waste from their operations

Share a one-paragraph to one-page overview of your ideas, initiatives, implementations and takeaways from your company, industry, students, staff, etc, focused on ways in which they are striving for net positivity.


Contributions providing specific insights will be given highest priority, such as:

  • Development: Programs that are currently in development or have been implemented.  
  • Vision: highlight new design innovations for end of life use/reuse
  • Metrics: Providing metrics that can guide the reader and give insight into the impact of the program
  • Financial Impact: while much of this implementation is in early phases, do examples of financial benefit or savings exist?
  • Partnerships: identify where public and private sector, or cross-industry partnerships, have allowed for more rapid adoption of the program
  • Communication: How are you communicating your solutions to various stakeholders, including customers, community members, investors, etc?

Preference will be given to pieces that provide perspectives with enterprise-wide and ideally market-wide implications and applications.

Send submissions to:

Lewis Perkins, guest editor
Jenni Baker, guest editor
Jennifer Elks
, managing editor


Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]

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