Booz Allen Shows the Possibilities of Blockchain to Solve Opioid Epidemic

In the business world, blockchain is certainly the latest business craze. In fact, a recent study by PwC found 84 percent of surveyed executives said they have at least some involvement with blockchain technology. And although most sustainability practitioners see the possibilities of blockchain specifically around supply chain and transparency, the opportunity goes far beyond this. Now, one company is harnessing blockchain to solve a growing social issue.

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This October, Booz Allen partnered with blockchain technology company ConsenSys to host a hackathon to find solutions around the rising opioid epidemic. The event, called HACKtheEPIDEMIC, brought together 75 individuals to help people who struggle with Opioid Use Disorder. Booz Allen and ConsenSys focused the hackathon around three key areas where blockchain could provide solutions: “addressing the postal supply chain of illicit drugs,” “coordinating data sharing between pharmacies, healthcare providers and other stakeholders” and “helping individuals on the road to recovery.” Three top solutions were identified out of the event, including “Pharma-sign,” which uses blockchain technology to reduce prescription forgery. The top teams were then invited back to further develop their ideas with the goal of determining if the concepts can become “minimum viable products.”

Many companies are excited about the potential of blockchain to innovate existing business operations and models. Executives surveyed by Deloitte cited greater speed over existing systems and new business models and revenue sources as the top two advantages of blockchain. Yet, as this latest partnership between Booz Allen and ConsenSys shows, we may be just scratching the surface of the possibilities of blockchain, especially when it comes to solving some of the world’s most critical social issues.

Ben & Jerry’s Launches Activist Ice Cream Flavor

Over the past year, we’ve seen many brands take activist actions in support of issues close to the company or stakeholders. Whether that’s the Penzey’s Spices CEO note after the 2016 presidential election or Patagonia’s lawsuit against the president, many brands are no longer afraid to wade into contentious topics – including politics. And the latest exmample? Ben & Jerry’s* has launched a new ice cream flavor – just eight days before the United States midterm elections – aimed at celebrating activists who “lick injustice.”

Four Need-to-Know Insights from 3BL Forum

This week, business executives, nonprofit leaders, government officials and issue advocates met in National Harbor, Maryland for the annual 3BL Forum (formerly Commit!Forum). The theme of the conference was again “Brands Taking Stands;” yet this year, companies unpacked if, when and how they take stands so others in the audience could learn from leaders in the field. CEO Shana Deane kicked off this year’s conference by commending the nerve and grit of brands willing to speak up for divisive issues, and how taking a stand has reached new levels. 

Barbie Aims to Break Stereotypes with Dream Gap Project

From Always’ “Like a Girl” to Brawny’s “Strength Has No Gender,” combatting gender bias has become a popular cause for brands. Indeed, campaigns like these have elevated the conversation around gender and even transformed perceptions. Now a nearly six-decade-old brand is putting its marketing force behind the cause to inspire girls and change the mindsets of parents.

Finding Purpose in Packaging and Design

In August, Nabisco’s famed Barnum Animal crackers got a refresh – after 116 years, the company freed the animals from their cages and opted to show them roaming free instead. Animal rights groups who oppose the confinement of animals for entertainment saw the redesign as a big win. This is just the most recent example of how social impact and consumer advocacy can shape packaging and design. 

Announcing PN STANCE: If, When and How to Stand Up for Divisive Social Issues

Nike’s bold move to make Colin Kaepernick the face of “Just Do It.” Levi’s announcement that “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence.” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO stating its new gun control policy “Isn't going to make everyone happy.” Over the last year, we have seen many companies take risks around divisive issues - with varying degrees of success or failure. Today, most companies are struggling with if, when and how to use their voice, scale and reach to engage on issues.

Virgin Atlantic Goes Circular with Innovative Airplane Fuel

In a 2016 report, UPS* and GreenBiz found awareness of circular economy was not only on the rise, but a majority of companies (86%) believed circular economy principles would be important to their organization in the next two years. And the data has proved to be accurate: we’ve seen many examples of companies implementing circular economy principles, from Vodafone’s New Every Year/Red Hot buy-back program to Reformation clothing’s new partnership with thredUp to produce new markets for secondhand clothing. The newest example creates a first-of-its kind engine fuel that not only recaptures industrial waste, but also opens new possibilities for the future of sustainable fuels.

National Voter Registration Day: Companies Encourage the Vote

As we edge closer to the U.S. midterm elections, many are turning their thoughts to how to encourage more Americans to exercise their right to vote. This Tuesday marked the seventh annual National Voter Registration Day to raise awareness for the upcoming vote and encourage Americans to register before local deadlines. With the support of individuals, nonprofits and companies, #NationalVoterRegistrationDay became the number one trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday. Here’s a snapshot of how companies are “rocking the vote” this year:

Companies Step Up Support in Wake of Hurricane Florence

Warnings of Hurricane Florence’s strength were widespread last week as companies boarded buildings and individuals evacuated to safer ground. Although the storm was reduced to a Category One by the time it made landfall, Florence left a path of destruction in its wake in the form of catastrophic rain, storm surges and flooding that is still impeding return to some communities a week later. As reports of devastation came in, companies jumped to action. Here’s a roundup of companies that took a distinctive approach to relief:

Thinking Outside the Can: How PepsiCo is Helping Entrepreneurs While Spurring Innovation

From JetBlue’s “BlueBud” initiative to help small food companies to Patagonia’s funding of entrepreneurial ideas with its “$20 Million & Change” program, investing in small businesses and startups has been a trending initiative for many big businesses in recent years. Now one of the largest global brands is joining the fray, creating a win-win scenario for all parties involved.

Nike’s New Campaign: Social Justice Campaign or Smart Marketing?

The Nike swoosh is the most iconic logo of all time. Nike is a brand recognized and revered across the globe in a way that can only compare to McDonald’s arches, Coca-Cola’s script and Apple’s, well, apple. Now, Nike has catapulted into the national and global conversation on a remarkable scale – and not for its newest shoe launch. Yet, Nike’s new playbook is not exactly novel. Over the past two years, we’ve seen brands take oftentimes divisive stances on issues like refugees and immigration, racial equality, gun control - even going so far as to sue the President. Still, Nike may be arguably the largest and most omnipresent brand high jumping into the current social justice and political discourse.

Rice Krispies Treats Embraces Inclusivity for Back to School

With innovations to well-loved card games, stores and sports, brands of all kinds are pushing to make the world a more inclusive place for all individuals regardless of disabilities. Back-to-school can oftentimes be a period of adjustment, especially for the 62,000 visually impaired students in school currently. Now, one brand is seeking to make the classroom a more inclusive experience, helping visually impaired students feel the love when heading to school.

Land O’Lakes Harnesses Star Power to Showcase Female Farmers for Women’s Equality Day

There are over three million farmers in the U.S. and 30 percent of them are women. However, female farmers don’t always get the credit they deserve. This year, to celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26, one agricultural cooperative is breaking into the music industry and shining a spotlight on the oftentimes overlooked women who make the dairy industry successful.

Counter Culture Coffee Brings its Transparency Report to Life with Limited-Release Coffee

With text-heavy and data filled pages, it’s no surprise that only 17 percent of consumers actually read companies’ CSR reports. However, many companies are finding innovative ways to make their reports stand out. As a way of grabbing the attention of coffee-loving consumers and encouraging other brands to become more conscious and engaged in their supply chains, Counter Culture Coffee brought its report to life by launching a limited-edition coffee.

WWF Exposes Ivory Trade Loopholes Using Fictitious Online Store

From limited edition logo swaps to Tinder profiles made for endangered monkeys, many organizations have interjected their wildlife conservation messages into the everyday lives of consumers in an effort to bring the topic to the forefront. Recently, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) pulled off its own stunt to raise awareness about the ivory trade in Singapore and the loopholes that make it possible.