Circular Economy

Tights are a product that truly represents throwaway fashion, as on average, a pair of tights don’t last beyond a single wear.

UK-based hosiery brand Hēdoïne has launched the world’s first biodegradable tights collections, which they also claim are ladder-resistant, in a quest to tackle throwaway fashion and make hosiery more sustainable.
Its mission is to address the fact that billions of tights end up in landfill every year, and to reduce this it is focusing on longevity, recycling and biodegradability.

The new biodegradable tights aren’t only made from more sustainable components, they also utilise Hēdoïne’s unique knitting technology that makes the tights last longer, which leads to less consumption. fully biodegradable yarn does not yet exist, so it has used a yarn that saves 85 percent of otherwise non-biodegradable materials from landfill. The remaining 15 percent follows the standard waste management process.

Green Companies

Design and Innovation must combine with customer experience to solve sustainability

At a time when we face tumultuous changes on many fronts, we urgently need design to help us manage them. Design is not a panacea, but if it is applied intelligently, it is a powerful tool with which we can address these issues. The biggest shift of all is in the design of products.

Let’s take wet wipes as an example and attempt to find a solution. Wet wipes are currently produced using polyester or by a blending polyester with viscose or cotton fibres. Wet wipes applications include baby wipes, personal hygiene, cleaning, industrial wipes and medical applications. Wipes are today part of almost every household. However, in its current form, a used wet wipe after disposal persists in the environment for hundreds of years, as some of its constituents are non-biodegradable polyester. So, what should be done to solve this? There are no easy answers. Instead, questions abound! If you ban wet wipes, what will consumers replace it with? Should one then find an alternative to the polyester used in these wipes? Can they instead be made of biodegradable materials? But then, which biodegradable materials? What will be the quality and efficacy of the final product if the core material is replaced? Also, even if a product is biodegradable, should the manufacturing process also be relooked at to reduce harmful chemicals and processing?

Plastic based products are just one example of the challenges that can arise when trying to repurpose hard-to-handle materials in the circular economy. A new wave of advanced manufacturing technologies are now hitting the market, most notably the explosion in 3D printing polymers and other additive manufacturing materials. Even toxic materials are permissible in the circular economy, so long as the material is kept in the production cycle throughout its useful life.

While product design and innovation can help create better products, we need also product journeys with the customer in mind. A well designed product or a new material is only useful when the customer takes to it. Hence sustainable products and services are just the beginning. The true challenge lies in enabling sustainable consumption and disposal. Electric vehicles and solar panels are old technologies. They are yet to see mass adoption by individual consumers. Customer experiences that help address adoption challenges need to be created.

Financial Markets

Are you about to make a real estate investment? How will climate change affect your home?

Maps and other data are now available to help buyers analyze the risks of fires, floods and other disasters when searching for a new house. ClimateCheck empowers property buyers, owners, and brokers by exposing and quantifying the risks related to the climate crisis through it’s proprietary risk assessment and report. These ratings are based on an area’s future risk, and how much that risk will change over time. These have been created by using dozens of internationally accepted, global climate models for the continued release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Real estate brokerage Redfin — is now publishing climate-risk information for every location listed on its website. Redfin users who want to understand the climate risks for fire, heat, drought and storms over a 30-year period to any area in which they’re searching for a home can now see a ClimateCheck rating from 0-100 associated with the county, city, neighborhood and zip code of the home they’re considering. Currently, this data is available everywhere in the US, for over 94 million homes.

Climate risk is real and will significantly impact business as well as personal investment decisions. While businesses have been aware of these risks for some time, personal decision making is now getting impacted too!

Green Companies

A Green Company won’t emerge by accident, it needs to be designed

Some of the changes we see today in technology and work have been enabled by the disruption caused by the pandemic, others are simply an acceleration of the existing pre pandemic trends.

Virtually every industry has been experiencing rapid, massive, and sometimes devastating change over the last few years. Think of how much things have changed in just the last five years. Think of all the new services that you use, the new technologies in place, and all the innovation that’s right around the corner. Moreover, it’s amazing that we are able to view all these rapid changes before our eyes.

At the same time, technology has a way of making radical change feel matter-of-factly incremental. The arrival of the digital world has enhanced our capabilities in ways that are profound. A large part of the world’s population is now connected on the mobile phone. We easily have conversations across the globe and create, consume and share photos, music, videos and ideas and innovations. We are also steadily moving away from a one way cycle of buying and hoarding to different types of user models. For instance, with Uber we rent a car for a short while, we listen to apple Itunes rather than hoarding a stash of CDs or records and in many homes we increasingly order food rather than cook. However, these dramatic changes have been adopted wholeheartedly and almost naturally. The pandemic has also accelerated some of these changes.

With operations teams working overtime on hybrid working, IT is struggling to cope with emerging technology needs and marketing departments are wondering how to advertise since viewership is deeply fragmented. Sustainability and social responsibility departments on the other hand need to quickly turn and re-evaluate new strategies given the scale and magnitude of climate change targets and impacts.

The big question we need to be asking is, “What will the new world look like and can we together create a better tomorrow?” We create what we think. And this is perhaps as good a time as any to learn from the past and create a better tomorrow by designing it in a better way. Corporate structures have been driven by the need to hire specialists for each department, but now we need to think differently. The only way that we can seek to address all the accelerating digital and sustainability trends is to start thinking in systems. The same needs to be applied to how companies function too.

For instance, people talk of creating ethical AI to solve problems through automation. How you think and act gets reflected in what you create. Ethical AI is more about ethics than technology.

The inherent model behind corporations is one of liability limitation and externalization of cost. The winners of tomorrow will be companies that create value while being socially responsible.

Innovation

India needs EV revolution to reach NetZero! Two wheelers can lead the way

Reaching a trajectory consistent with the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario will require putting 230 million EVs on the world’s roads by 2030.

For EVs to unleash their full potential to combat climate change, the 2020s will need to be the decade of mass adoption of electric light-duty vehicles. In addition, specific policy support and model expansion for the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle segments will be crucial to mitigate emissions and make progress toward climate goals.

To date, more than 20 countries have announced the full phase-out of internal combustion engine (ICE) car sales over the next 1030 years, including emerging economies such as Cabo Verde, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. Moreover, more than 120 countries (accounting for around 85% of the global road vehicle fleet, excluding two/three-wheelers) have announced economy-wide net-zero emissions pledges that aim to reach net zero in the coming few decades. Via @IEA

In India the electric two-wheeler segment has seen a significant growth in 2020-21 with, a 65 per cent increase in electric two-wheeler registrations.  In India, 16 states now have either a notified or a draft public EV policy aligned with the electrification target of the nation. To achieve the objectives stated in these policies, many states are also offering fiscal incentives to the buyer in addition to a central government incentive scheme called FAME.

The two-wheeler segment presents increased consumer willingness to shift to electric than any other segment due to the easy charging options that come with smaller battery packs. Most electric-wheelers sold in India can be charged by 15 ampere electrical sockets available in every Indian residence.

Financial Markets

Technology acceleration and climate targets are contributing to a massive skill gap

As stock prices and real estate markets undercount climate-change risks, country commitments to net zero are already devaluing assets and impacting financial markets

As more and more countries commit to NetZero financial markets are expected to be impacted in significant ways. For instance, the shift to low carbon intensity implies that assets of high intensity companies will now be valued lower. This means that financial institutions that have invested in these assets will become vulnerable. Similarly, financial institutions that have invested in real estate or infrastructure in areas vulnerable to natural disasters may find it difficult to get a return on their investments.

Climate change is a very long horizon risk. The worst impacts are far in the future and yet they affect behaviour and asset prices today. There is a growing body of evidence showing that stocks, bonds, climate futures, equity options and real estate, incorporate information about climate risk.

According to a paper called, The economics of climate change – information about climate risk is likely to affect not only discount rates but also future cash flows. For example, consider the possible introduction of a carbon tax. Such a tax would plausibly lower the expected cash flows of emission-intensive firms. At the same time, if the timing and magnitude of the tax are unknown, uncertainty could increase discount rates for firms vulnerable to the impact of the tax, with both effects potentially leading to lower asset prices for emission-intensive firms.

However, your investments, even those presumably in the capable hands of professionals, dangerously undervalue climate-change risks. That’s the belief held by “an overwhelming margin” of 861 finance academics, investment advisers, portfolio managers, regulators and policy economists anonymously surveyed by Johannes Stroebel and Jeffrey Wurgler of New York University’s Stern School of Business. Respondents are at least 20 times more likely to believe that climate risk is currently being underestimated by asset markets as opposed to overestimated.

A comprehensive net zero pathway, properly understood, presents a range of investment opportunities within and outside of existing portfolios for all investors and includes valuation of things that till now have been considered externalities. Sustainable investing is therefore likely to involve investing in volatile and dynamic markets with an approach firmly based in natural science, not spreadsheet accounting.

Things we didn’t account for earlier are now being valued in financial terms. Take the case of Mangroves and Whales.

  • Mangroves provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, soil formation, wood production, fish spawning grounds, ecotourism and carbon. It can be 2 to 5 times cheaper to restore coastal wetlands by growing mangroves than to construct breakwaters. Using total economic valuation methodology, the economic value of mangrove resource is estimated ranging from US $3,624.98 – US $26,734.61per ha per year.
  • Whales lead long lives sequestering carbon dioxide in their bodies and are responsible on average for pulling 33 tons of heat-trapping CO2 out of the atmosphere. The estimated economic value of this service to slow climate change is $2 million per individual whale.

The problem is there’s never been an official global accounting of natural capital, not in gross domestic product (GDP), the calculation of goods and services, or any other broad economic measure.  While we account for the price of crops in GDP we don’t value soil quality, bees and climatic conditions. The World Bank predicts global annual losses of $2.7 trillion by 2030 if ecological tipping points are breached without more investment to protect and restore nature. The time to value nature is now!

This is why world leaders in Glasgow at Cop26 have committed to stop deforestation. More than 30 of the world’s biggest financial companies – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – have already promised to end investment in activities linked to deforestation.

The only country that has ever stopped and reversed deforestation has been Costa Rica. This has been achieved because of a government-led initiative that pays local communities to help protect the natural ecosystem. Costa Rica’s success was driven by economics. A ban on deforestation combined with the introduction of PES- which pays farmers to protect watersheds, conserve biodiversity or mitigate carbon dioxide emissions- is the reason for success. This meant that the government actually succeeded in raising the value of nature.

Innovation

When it comes to Technology and Trust, Intent Matters

Look around and you will see technology everywhere. From fashion to automotive, from buildings to cities. Experts from The Dow Chemical Company, Shell, Swiss Re, and Unilever, working with The Nature Conservancy and a resiliency expert, evaluated a number of business case studies, and developed a white paper with recommendations that green and hybrid infrastructure solutions should become part of the standard toolkit for modern engineers. This can be enabled via new age technologies that create, capture, monitor and measure energy, water and waste from the buildings.

Everyone needs data and the scalability of technology to solve some of the pressing sustainability challenges of today. While technology can enable and solve sustainability issues it can create new challenges. Responsibility therefore needs to play an important role in all aspects of the digital economy.

AI

Artificial intelligence based systems can help achieve lower emissions by can optimizing materials, energy and processes. At the same time AI can be a powerful ally for weather and natural catastrophe prediction, biomimicry or advanced materials and clean energy. AI can scale fast and get smarter over time. Hence, AI systems need to be empathetic, do what’s right and be inherently privacy first.

Roll out of automation.

Automation will replace many of the tasks that we have previously done, but it will also create new ones. Automation can however increase resource use and lead to excessive material extraction. It can also have an adverse effect on jobs. We therefore need to balance human rights, public safety and environmental sustainability

IOT

Increased tracking and monitoring, from the myriad of smart devices, wearables, sensors, meters is enabled via the Internet of Things (IOT). This can provide real time accountability around how companies behave with our water, forests, air, precious minerals, wildlife and oceans. To ensure our commons are protected we would need to define the relationship between the aggregators of data and the consumers of data.

Financial Markets

India offers the largest investment opportunities in clean energy via @standard chartered

With USD9.391 trillion required across all emerging markets to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, and an average private-sector participation rate of 45 per cent, the potential opportunity for investors looking to support Affordable and Clean Energy is USD4.226 trillion. The greatest investment opportunities are found in India (USD701.5 billion), Indonesia (USD147.5 billion) and Bangladesh (USD73.9 billion) where their large and growing populations, together with strong projected GDP per capita growth, mean significant investment is required to maintain access to electricity across the populations by 2030.

Innovation

Realtime tech for agri

The impact of global climate change on agriculture forces farmers to constantly adjust to abnormal or atypical weather like lack of snow cover in winter, which means high risks of poor yields of winter cash crops. The effects also involve abnormally hot summers and very cold winters, or vice versa, warm winters and chilly summers.

Another impact of climate change on agriculture is the atypical lack of rainfalls that brings the necessity of manmade irrigation in the regions where it was done solely by nature before. Quite the opposite impact on agriculture due to climate change is excessive moisture, too.

Technology is now being used to monitor crops realtime, this includes fields analytics based on high-resolution satellite images. Crop Monitoring helps in many ways.

  • Daily forecasts up to 14 days ahead with air temperatures, precipitations, wind, humidity, cloudiness. Aware of the upcoming conditions, farmers can schedule field activities (like sowing or harvesting as well as herbicide/fertilizer applications).
  • Historical weather data (accumulated precipitation, daily precipitation, daily temperatures, the sum of active temperatures) enabling to outline general tendencies of weather changes in the selected region.
  • Cold and heat stress feature, which is important due to temperature leaps that are critical for plant health and growth. Neither excessively high nor excessively low temperatures contribute to high yields. So, farmers have to be aware of the threat and address it in time.
  • Climate change and agriculture are closely interconnected. Agriculture is not the sole anthropogenic factor to induce it; nonetheless, the effect of agriculture on climate change is tremendous. Online software for agriculture like Crop Monitoring assists in thoughtful and sparing management. It allows farmers to accurately calculate the required inputs, which reduces costs in the short-time perspective and protects nature in the long-term one. In other words, differentiated application of fertilizers and/or herbicides directly contributes to decreased soil pollution as well as lesser impact to the overall environment’s ecological state.

Green Companies

To communicate ESG, Customer Experience is the answer

If you’re ready to put #ESG at the forefront of your marketing and communications efforts, you’ll want to start by creating a strategy for sharing your story.

JOURNEYS TO BUILD TRUST

Environmental responsibility isn’t just targets. ESG isn’t just a sustainability report. Customers need to know how your corporate practices impact the brand and therefore their lives. Communicating via retargeting popups, spamming and cold calling won’t work anymore. A responsible brand is more than just advertising and PR. #CustomerExperience have and will always matter. Change products and service journeys to build the environmental, social and governance narrative.

GIVING HOPE

Much of the climate narrative is around gloom and doom. For everyone emerging out of the pandemic a narrative around climate crisis is unlikely to succeed. Marketers often forget that consumers are people first. One of the underlying desires today is to feel joy. Help people make their lives better and of those around them through your ESG journeys.

AUTHENTICITY

ESG is as much about investors and employees as it is about customers. The entire ecosystem needs to believe in the ESG journey that you have started. From social media to the mission statement, to your program and products, to your employees, to investor and public relations efforts, consider how your messaging will integrate throughout our company’s brand. You just can’t fake it anymore. Stay authentic.