1. Rock science

De Beers will for the first time sell jewellery with diamonds that have been made in a laboratory, at a fraction of the price of mined gems.

Man-made diamonds, which are preferred because of environmental and ethical concerns, are made from a carbon seed that is placed inside a microwave chamber and then superheated to become a glowing plasma ball. The process makes particles that can crystallise into diamonds in 10 weeks.

2. Woolies’ plastic plan

Woolworths is planning to be SA’s first retailer to contribute zero packaging waste.

The retailer says its aim is to have none of its packaging end up in landfills, which will require the introduction of 100% recyclable materials and a supportive recycling infrastructure.

This includes a plan to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags by 2020. Companies around the world are under pressure to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic.

3. Fancy-pants

A pair of Levi Strauss & Co jeans from 1893 has sold for nearly US$100,000, setting a record for vintage denim.

The pants were sold by an auction house in the US state of Maine to a buyer in Southeast Asia. The buyer had a representative travel to the US to inspect the jeans prior to the purchase.

4. Eyeing healthy profits

PepsiCo has made another move to expand its offering of healthy choices in its snack portfolio.

The soda company has reached a deal to purchase Bare Foods Co, which makes Bare Snacks, a line of fruit and vegetable snacks. Globally, the market for fizzy drinks is declining as consumers cut back on sugar and switch to healthier alternatives.