Posts Tagged ‘consumption’

Making Toys From Waste: Small interventions

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on December 21st, 2011

Makedo:

Wouldn’t you love to make play objects, kid’s costumes, furniture, decorations for the home and well, just about anything you can think of from the materials around you? makedo makes it possible and impossibly fun. makedo is a connector system that enables materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to easily join together to form new objects or structures. When you’re done playing, simply pull it apart to reuse over and over again.

http://mymakedo.com/

Box Play for Kids:

We make eco-friendly, 100% recycled, custom-designed stickers* that (combined with a little imagination) turn any old box into a wonderland of possibilities. Good for the imagination. Good for the earth. Good for the pocketbook.

http://www.boxplayforkids.com/


Diverting waste to make durable products: Replas on Kangaroo Island

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on December 19th, 2011

From the Re-Plas blog:

Not only was Kangaroo Island, in South Australia, one of the first locations in Australia to ban the use of plastic bags, but now the KI Council has gone a step further in helping the planet by installing 27 outdoor settings, 900 bollards and a staircase, all made from recycled plastic.

Ian Woolard, Co-ordinator Civil Works, Kangaroo Island Council, said, ‘We were looking for a product that would stand up the elements experienced on the South coast of Kangaroo Island and one that would incur the minimum ongoing maintenance cost to Council’.   As a result of choosing to use recycled plastic KI council has diverted approx. 22,000 kg of plastic waste from landfill in 2010-11 alone.

Six years ago Kangaroo Island started the trend by purchasing recycled plastic seats for their school. More recently the local Landcare Group built a staircase out of garden panels and the Kingscote Jetty was also refurbished with Enduroplank™ decking as part of a trail by the South Australian government to see if recycled plastic proves more durable and cost effective than timber.  All of this adds up to an estimated 35 000 kg of plastic waste which has been diverted from landfill and made into Replas recycled-plastic products for use throughout Kangaroo Island. Not bad for an island with a population of 4500!


Sharing Energy Makeover Costs

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 28th, 2011

Source: Climate Spectator


Photo by Yemisi Blake via flickr CC

From “Free energy makeovers drive growth for Siemens” by Natalia Drozdiak (Reuters):

One of Berlin’s most famous universities is getting a free green makeover that will slash its energy bill by nearly a third under an increasingly popular type of efficiency contract.

With engineering companies looking for new ways to drive growth in a tough economic environment, and the public sector finding it difficult to invest on stretched budgets, the deal between Siemens and the University of the Arts is a template for more. Under a ‘buy now pay later’ scheme, worth about 1.1 million euros, the UdK has turned its heating, cooling and lighting over to Siemens to renovate. In return Siemens gets to keep a substantial part of the savings that the scheme generates: since 2004 it has cut energy consumption by about 28 percent each year, reaping annual savings of about 240,000 euros. After the 10-year contract expires and the renovation has been paid for, the university gets to keep all the savings.

Read the full article by Natalia Drozdiak.


Sustainable Ethical Fashion: Discussion

Posted in Movements, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on October 6th, 2011

Source: guardian.co.uk


Photo by Bert van Dijk via flickr CC

From “Discussion round up: sustainability in the fashion business” by Jenny Purt:

What should the priorities be for the apparel business?

Labour conditions, water footprints, fibres and carbon.

An initial step would be for companies to make a concerted effort to adopt a few fabrics that are more sustainable but which may cost 5-10% more in base price. This would cause a chain reaction in the rest of industry. As big brands source more responsible textiles for their collections, there will be a bigger volume of orders which will lower the overall manufacturing cost (and therefore retail price), making the product more accessible to the mainstream market.[…]

How can companies increase sustainability throughout their supply chains?

In order to implement systemic change, there must first be a market for sustainable products, and currently that is quite small. Companies need to heighten customer awareness of where clothing comes from, how it is made and the social and environmental impact of its production. One panellist commented that there is a market for sustainability but currently consumers just don’t know enough. The first step is internal transparency.[…]

Can collaboration help?

Sharing best practices is a key element for change in the industry. Sharing knowledge is critical because the clothing industry is very complex and there is not just one answer. Only through collaboration at different stages of the supply chain we can find solutions.

How can brands bring ethical fashion into the mainstream?

While there are some super-premium ethical fashion brands, the market lacks stylish, affordable clothes from well-known high-street brands. One of the problems is that many ethical fashion companies do not get the exposure of the big, non-ethical brands because they cannot afford PR representation which is the engine house of the fashion industry. This means while there may be editors and stylists who would like some of the ethical fashion being produced, they are not exposed to it in the same way they are to big labels. The Mintel report in 2009 showed that some consumers would buy ethical fashion if prices were lower. However others said they would not trust cheap ethical fashion.[…]

What steps are being made across the apparel industry to encourage people to value quality and longevity over quantity and trends?

Mainstream retailers saw a “flight to quality” during the last recession. This means customers moving away from the cheaper, value products to more design-led and added-value pieces. This could be an interesting way of moving mainstream fashion to more sustainable sources if we can demonstrate real design value in ethical alternatives.[…]

Is organic cotton a sustainable solution?

There are a whole range of viewpoints on organic cotton with the most controversial being that farming cotton, organic or not, is not a sustainable option due to water availability. With many man-made fibres starting to mimic the touch, feel and handle of organic cotton, we will start to see cotton production levels falling and replacement fibres taking centre stage. The WWF recently produced a report on cotton highlighting the work done by the Better Cotton Initiative and the wider issues surrounding cotton production.[…]

Adopting more than one fibre type

Made-by has created an environmental benchmark for fibres which compares 23 fibres and ranks them on their sustainability impact. The organisation works with brands to develop a sustainable fibre strategy, swapping less sustainable fibres for those that are more sustainable.[…]

How can brands communicate sustainable approaches to consumers?

M&S [Marks & Spencer] is a leader in terms getting the message of its sustainability strategy out to the public but there are also other big brands doing some really interesting things. For example, Nike’s apparel eco index has now been released as open source. The company has also integrated its sustainability team into its business innovation lab with the ethos of “business as normal”. Puma are well known for its Clever Little Bag campaign, getting rid of shoe boxes and using a reusable bag instead. The sports company is also working on product development with eco scorecards and converting more of their range to sustainable materials, including cotton made in Africa. It is key for a brand to find an appropriate product and lexicon to communicate their approach to sustainability […]

How can companies change consumer behaviour?

One panellist said that some of the best examples have come from the laundry sector. Procter & Gamble’s Ariel Turn to 30 campaign has been successful in raising awareness around washing at lower temperatures to save money as has Persil’s Small and Mighty washing product which is designed to clean in 30 minutes. There have also been encouraging examples in the apparel industry with Patagonia developing closed loop recycling for their fleeces and Tesco’s collection and redistribution of used school uniforms through British Red Cross a few years ago.[…]

How can businesses work with suppliers to increase sustainability?

Panellists agreed that talking to suppliers is key to getting internal transparency. One panellist said that in her experience suppliers are quite knowledgeable and enthusiastic about traceability and sustainable materials. If a business has an existing supply chain, a life-cycle-wide assessment of the overall impact might help identify the weakest areas in the chain. An initiative such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s could help identify what issues to start chipping away at.[…]

What comes next for the fashion industry?

One of the major trends will be securing resources, raw materials, energy and water to run factories. Cotton prices have gone up over the last 12 months with factories in Bangladesh suffering four or five power cuts every day. With rising energy and water bills all over the world, even the big brands will struggle with these issues. Companies should see these challenges as an opportunity for more sustainable designs. The sector will face even tougher competition as suppliers from emerging countries establish their own brands and export to international markets in parallel with their work as contractors. New rules must be set and a common and clearer understanding about what is and is not sustainable is needed.

Key issues are:

  • Consumer behaviour change – especially in how we clean and dispose of clothes.
  • Making sustainable development desirable.
  • Climate change adaptation – as the planet’s temperature changes, consumers needs from clothes will change.
Read the full article by Jenny Purt on the Guardian.


The Slow Food Almanac for 2011: Out now

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on September 12th, 2011

The Slow Food Almanac for 2011 is now available to read online. Introduction by Carlo Petrini:

A recent addition to the movement’s publications, each edition paints an increasingly effective picture of what we are doing in the world.  Once again the Almanac is rich in stories that describe who we are and what we do: Slow Food and Terra Madre’s activities on every continent to defend biodiversity, promote local food through taste education and grow our network with projects, meetings and exchanges. They are stories of men and women, young people and elders, cooks and teachers who are united by the Slow Food movement – active, determined, working together to bring change to their communities. Through their perseverance and imaginative approaches, and sharing in our global network, their examples become a stimulus and an opportunity for common growth and exchange.

The 2011 Almanac speaks about us and the land we live on – our true wealth. It offers a glimpse of how vast geographic diversity and human interactions with ecosystems have allowed us to be creative and produce food in a good, clean and fair way, and thus continue to hope for a better world. This is our culture, the culture of Slow Food.

I hope you will enjoy the inspiring stories and wonderful photographs in this electronic publication. It also contains links for further information – connecting to the various sections of the Slow Food website, as well as other websites, photo galleries and video footage. Please share it with friends who may be interested in joining Slow Food.

To read the Almanac, click here.


Eco-Ideation Tool: Re-Thinking Product Design

Posted in Research, Tools by Kate Archdeacon on August 3rd, 2011

Source: Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)


Bocken N M P, Allwood J M, Willey A R and King J M H (2011). ‘Development of an eco-ideation tool to identify stepwise greenhouse gas emissions reduction options for consumer goods’ Journal of Cleaner Production 19 1279-1287

Abstract

Pressure on consumer goods manufacturers to develop new products with significantly less environmental impact is growing, through increased consumer awareness of environmental issues and governments setting ambitious emissions reductions targets. A strategic response to this pressure is to prepare a portfolio of innovative product ideas to meet a range of future emissions reductions targets.However, although extensive work exists on ideation (the generation of novel product ideas) and ecodesign (design for reduced environmental impact), eco-ideation (generation of ideas that particularly aim to reduce environmental impacts) has had little attention.

The challenge of eco-ideation is to release the creativity of a broad range of employees, only few of whom may be familiar with the drivers of environmental impact. This paper proposes a novel tool to facilitate the generation of radical product and process ideas giving step-change reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The features of products and processes that drive greenhouse gas emissions across the product life cycle were characterized with a set of indicators. A simple visual tool was created to show these indicators on a sliding scale between best and worst imaginable performance. A leading question associated with each slider was designed to stimulate lower impact ideas.

The tool was iteratively refined and simplified through structured testing with individuals from across a range of roles and differing knowledge of environmental impacts. The final eco-ideation tool used 14 scales, with leading questions for each scale developed to stimulate idea generation. The tool’s effectiveness was evaluated through use in a series of 15 individual workshops and compared with the outcomes of an equal number of conventional 12-person group-brainstorming sessions.

The comparison suggests that using the simple tool generally leads to a wider range of more radical ideas than emerge from group brainstorming.

Read more about the Eco-Ideation paper here.


Straw-Bale Council Housing

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 28th, 2011

Source: guardian.co.uk


ModCell makes sustainable, prefabricated straw bales and sets up a ‘flying factory’ in a space such as a farmyard where wall panels for homes can be assembled close to where they are needed.” Click through to see the image gallery on the Guardian.

Two local councils in the UK have chosen to build straw-bale council houses, in order to decrease domestic GHG emissions.  The houses are extremely well-insulated, potentially reducing residents’ heating costs to 20 percent of those of conventional homes, and helping address the issue of fuel scarcity.  The straw-bale homes are built using locally produced hay-bales, and they achieve a higher fire safety rating than the required standards.

Read the full article by Cath Harris in the Guardian.


Collaborative Consumption: Infographic

Posted in Movements, Tools by Kate Archdeacon on July 13th, 2011

Source: Fast Company‘s Co.Design


Infographic by Collaborative

From “Infographic Of The Day: A Tour Guide To Collaborative Consumption” by Morgan Clendaniel:

You might own some tools that you never use, or perhaps you have a backyard that you just don’t have the time to do anything interesting with. Until recently, those pieces of property mostly served as nagging reminders that you didn’t have enough time to do everything you wanted to do. Today, they can look like revenue streams, not wastes of money.

Ideas about ownership of property are slowly starting to change in this country. The success of Zip Car and of bike sharing programs in a few major cities are the vanguard of a host of different “collaborative consumption” services and businesses that allow people to monetize their own unused resources, or to find ways to get goods and services without purchasing them. This infographic shows some of the stuff that might be lying around your house that are just profits waiting to happen — and all the start-ups trying to help you along.

This infographic was made by the venture fund Collaborative–which invests in collaborative consumption businesses–and the Startup America Partnership in order to help illustrate the economic benefits of this idea.

Read the full article by Morgan Clendaniel to find out more about specific start-ups, including Park At My House and TaskRabbit (where you can get paid to assemble other people’s IKEA furniture).


Sustainable Restaurant Association (UK): Network for Restaurants, Suppliers & Diners

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 6th, 2011

Via Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)

The Sustainable Restaurant Association is a not for profit membership organisation helping restaurants become more sustainable and diners make more sustainable choices when dining out. We help our member restaurants source food more sustainably, manage resources more efficiently and work more closely with their community. Our independently verified star rating system means diners can choose a restaurant that matches their sustainability priorities. We recognise restaurants as one, two or three star sustainability champions depending on how they rate against a wide range of criteria covering 14 areas of sustainability. So, whether a diner’s main concern is animal welfare or carbon reduction, the SRA and its members are committed to a change for the better. We also help keep sustainability on the news agenda at a local and national level, running campaigns on issues such as finding more sustainable fish supplies, food waste and energy efficiency.

Ways in which we’ve helped restaurants be more sustainable.

Since our launch in March 2010 we’ve provided restaurants with hundreds of practical, cost saving, sustainable solutions across our three sustainable categories. Here are just a few examples of the varied ways in which the SRA has helped our members:

  • Society – Ping Pong, with 12 sites in London, wanted to engage with a local charity working with homeless people – we put them in touch with St Mungo’s and now they are working together. [UPDATE Feb 29, 2012: Ping Pong ended up working with a different charity, according to a St Mungo’s rep who contacted SCN.]
  • Environment – Quo Vadis, in Soho, asked to us solve their waste problem. The restaurant recognised it was sending too much to landfill. We introduced them to Harrow Waste. Now nothing goes to landfill, they have installed a glass crusher, cardboard and glass is separated from the rest and they are starting to recycle paper and plastic, saving thousands of pounds in the process.
  • Sourcing – In early 2011 all 11 Leon restaurants introduced a new item on its menu – the fish finger wrap and wanted to be sure that the cod was from a sustainable source. Our extensive research proved positive and now the wrap is Leon’s bestseller – making it sustainable in every sense.
www.thesra.org/

Well worth reading the SRA 2010 Report for more detail on the way it’s been working. KA


Eco Rating for UK Mobile Phones: One Year On

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 4th, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future newsletter


Graphic taken from the PDF, “O2 Eco Rating Brief“.

From “O2 Eco rating – one year on“:

Eco rating, the UK’s first scheme rating the sustainability of mobile phones, has won three major coups since it launched nearly a year ago.

Eco ratings appeared in O2’s shops in August 2010, scoring handsets out of five for their sustainability. Since then the project has become a brilliant example of how a measurement approach can drive innovation into many elements of a system, rather than just one pocket. Or in other words: how an organisational change project can become an enabler of system change.

In the UK, O2 uses the Eco rating assessment scores to engage its international supplier base of mobile phone manufacturers on the sustainability agenda. But on top of continuing to drive change within the O2 UK business and its supply chain, the Eco rating scheme is now being rolled out to the wider Telefónica Group. Telefónica O2 Germany, for example, uses the Eco rating methodology and launched it in its stores (as Eco Index) in May.

Coup number two is the success of the ‘functionality’ element of the Eco rating project. By this we mean mobile phone functions and pre-installed software (such as point-to-point walking maps) that encourage users to behave in ways that are good for the planet. The inclusion of consumer behaviour elements in the Eco rating assessment pushes sustainability boundaries, so we are very pleased to have the opportunity to propose this aspect of the Eco rating scheme to the European Commission. We’re currently updating the EU Green Public Procurement guidelines for mobile phones in the light of the Eco rating project, with the revised GPP guidelines due to be published in November 2011.

The icing on the cake has been three recent award nominations for Eco rating, including one from the Ethical Corporation Awards and one from the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards. Even though O2 UK didn’t win, we’re very happy that Eco rating has been recognised as a success.

We’ll continue to observe and learn from how Eco rating, which started as a humble measurement project, can reach further into the Information and Communication Technology industry and the public sector, and help to engage consumers.

http://www.forumforthefuture.org/project/o2-eco-rating-assessing-sustainability-mobile-phones/overview