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Posts Tagged ‘discussion’

Sharing Stuff: A review of challenges and unexpected results

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 9th, 2012


Photo by mtsofan via flickr CC

From “Collaborative Chats Recap: Stuff-Sharing: Where’s the Traction?” by Millicent Johnson on Shareable:

This month’s Collaborative Chats explored the world of peer to peer goods sharing services. While everyone loves the concept of sharing underutilized household items, these platforms have had a challenging time gaining traction. Throughout the evening we explored the challenges, lessons, and future of goods sharing. Joining the conversation were:

  • Tim Hyer, Founder and CEO, Getable
  • Micki Krimmel, Founder and CEO, NeighborGoods
  • Kip Harkness, Assistant City Manager, City of San Jose
  • Chris Smith, Co-Founder and CEO, NorCal Rental Group

Below are some reflections from the evening. Check back for the video next week!

What are the Biggest Challenges Facing Peer to Peer Goods Sharing Companies?

The conversation started by discussing the challenges of running a peer to peer goods sharing service. Micki said that when a lot of these services started a few years ago, people assumed that financial transactions were the only type of transaction that would draw people to share. Turns out people don‘t share household items for financial gain alone- it’s simply not the same return on investment as sharing your car or home. It’s a lot of work to post an item and take a picture, just to let someone use your power drill. She’s learned that the value for people who share their stuff is actually the social transaction and return. She reminded us that there are lots of ways that we transact with each other every day, like taking someone out to lunch in exchange for advice, that don’t involve a clear financial exchange but we still perceive them as valuable. She thinks that the challenge for the industry now is to figure out how to get people to pay for the value they receive through the social transaction of sharing.

Tim from Getable felt like the initial challenge for the industry is inventory of goods. When people are able to access a good they need immediately and seamlessly they’re more likely to rent or share in the future. That’s why Getable partnered with traditional sharing businesses like rental companies, to ensure a reliable transaction with guaranteed inventory of what people actually need to share. Micki challenged this assertion by pointing out that on NeighborGoods they have the opposite challenge – lots of inventory and people willing to share and not enough people wanting or looking to borrow, which was fascinating.

Check out the full post by Millicent Johnson on Shareable to read the responses to the other discussion points, below:
  • Is There a Cultural Barrier to Renting Goods?
  • New Ways of Thinking of Transactions
  • New Forms of “Neighborhood”
  • How Sharing can Help Governments
  • The Future of Goods Sharing

Working Together Towards a Sustainable World: Call for Papers

Posted in Events, Research, seeking by Kate Archdeacon on November 7th, 2011

The International Academic Forum in conjunction with its global partners is proud to announce the Second Annual Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment, to be held from May 3-6 2012, at the Ramada Osaka, Osaka, Japan.

CONFERENCE THEME: “Working Together Towards a Sustainable World”

Sustainability has emerged as the most important global issue for business, industry, government, and academia, and yet to begin with sustainability was associated only with environmental concerns such as energy and global warming. It is now recognized that the concept of sustainability is applicable to all areas of human society, for example in terms of social/economic justice, or responsible business practice. Issues such as poverty, hunger, education, health care, and access to markets should be a part of the evolution of any comprehensive sustainability paradigm as we work together to achieve a sustainable future.

ACSEE 2012 will address these various dimensions of human sustainability as we invite scholars from around the world to address questions and search for solutions to the complex issues surrounding sustainability in a forum encouraging serious and thoughtful exchange between academics, members of the global business community, and practitioners in the fields of human endeavor that link these.

We call on scientists from around the globe to meet and share our respective outlooks and collective wisdom on a critical issue of common concern: the pursuit of a sustainable world. It is a sincere hope that attendees will use this time together, not just for intellectual discovery and discourse, but to establish a common vision and to motivate each other to do our part in the creation of a better world. We greatly appreciate your attendance and encourage your active engagement throughout the conference.

Call for Papers Now Open: Abstract Submissions Deadline February 1 2012

Visit the website for more information.


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.


Resource: Climate Change Map

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 30th, 2009

Source: Met Office, UK

A-map-showing-the-impact--003_the Met
Image: Met Office

A new map illustrating the global consequences of failing to keep temperature change to under 2 °C was launched [last week] by the UK Government, in partnership with the Met Office.  The map was developed using the latest peer-reviewed science from the Met Office Hadley Centre and other leading impact scientists. The poster highlights some of the impacts that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4 °C above the pre-industrial climate average.  Ahead of December’s international climate change talks in Copenhagen, the Government is aiming for an agreement that limits climate change as far as possible to 2 °C. Increases of more than two degrees will have huge impacts on the world.

The poster shows that a four degree average rise will not be spread uniformly across the globe. The land will heat up more quickly than the sea, and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases. The average land temperature will be 5.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.  The impacts on human activity shown on the map are only a selection of those that may occur, and highlight the severe effects on water availability, agricultural productivity, extreme temperatures and drought, the risk of forest fire and sea-level rise.  Agricultural yields are expected to decrease for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production. Half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23% of the population of China being deprived of the vital dry season glacial melt water source.

“The map’s release marks a significant shift in political discourse on climate change, with many politicians until recently unwilling to discuss the possibility of a failure to hit the 2C target “, David Adam and Allegra Stratton, guardian.co.uk.

Read the full article.