News 29.04.2022

Need to Know

Hilton reworks a hotel for sustainable futures, Sports Direct creates a soundtrack for Ramadan runners, and mass resignation hits the education sector.

Hilton retrofits a 1970s hotel to be net zero

Hotel Marcel New Haven by Hilton, US
Hotel Marcel New Haven by Hilton, US
Hotel Marcel New Haven by Hilton, US

US – Recognising that many existing hotels can be damaging for the environment, Hilton is renovating its Hotel Marcel New Haven into a net-zero destination. Having originally been built in 1970, the hotel’s retrofitting project will see its 165 rooms and suites use energy produced from on-site solar panels. Other sustainable features include an energy-efficient lighting system, as well as repurposed building materials such as restored wood panelling and light fixtures.

In addition to its infrastructural updates, Hotel Marcel will also promote eco-friendly behaviours among guests, with electric vehicle chargers, locally sourced meals and water refill stations. Here, Hilton recognises the importance of building eco-consciousness into its brand values, while future-proofing its accommodation. ‘We are all responsible for confronting the climate crisis, and that sense of obligation was factored into every decision we made in creating Hotel Marcel New Haven,’ says Becker + Becker, the architectural firm behind the project.

As we explore in Repurposed Resorts, there is an ongoing opportunity for hoteliers to upgrade existing buildings, often a less environmentally damaging and more cost-effective approach to greener travel.

Startegic opportunity

Beyond hotels, leisure spaces from restaurants to cinemas can take inspiration from this project. How might your brand begin to retrofit buildings in line with sustainable credentials?

Hyper-local Italian furniture with global ambitions

Vero, Italy Vero, Italy
Vero, Italy Vero, Italy

Milan – Italian furniture brand Vero is striving to put hyper-local production on the global map. The company’s first collection features six functional objects that have been crafted by artisans in Puglia, southern Italy.

The products, which come in vivid tones of green and violet as well as softer shades of brown and cream, pay homage to Italy’s design history while pointing to the future of globalised production. While the items are manufactured in Puglia, they are made by an international roster of designers and manufacturers, including Stockholm-based Fredrik Paulsen and Roman designer Federica Elmo.

To avoid clients waiting weeks for their furniture – an issue that has been exacerbated by recent supply chain bottlenecks – the company operates on a ready-to-order model, guaranteeing that each item will be delivered within two weeks. Further, as people look to invest more in their abodes in light of ongoing working from home capacities, Vero is bringing locally produced design to global audiences, forging a new path for the Premium Homeware market.

Strategic opportunity

While a lot of focus has been on furniture diffusion lines, consider the potential for high street homeware brands to create highly-crafted collections that celebrate regional artisanship or design history

Sports Direct guides runners through Ramadan

UK – The sports retailer is hosting a podcast series to support Muslim runners who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Offering curated exercise plans, wellness tips and mental advice, the weekly episodes help listeners reflect and explore the spiritual and physical elements of their run. With the aim of promoting mindfulness and balance, the podcast backing track is set to a steady tempo of 120bpm.

To promote the podcast, Sports Direct also hosted a live event at its London flagship store, inviting members of the public to learn more about the holy month. By responding to demands for more services that cater for the lifestyle needs of different communities, Sports Direct is addressing an underserved area of Inclusive Fitness. Beckie Stanion, chief marketing officer at Sports Direct, says: ‘We know that training during Ramadan is about listening to the body and making decisions based on wellbeing, not records.’

As sports brands help people optimise their wellbeing through Precision Running, this initiative points to a future when religious and spiritual practices will be a key consideration.

Ramadan Running podcast by Sports Direct, UK

Strategic opportunity

The wider health and wellness sector can take inspiration from this project and create products and services that are aligned with religious and cultural practices

Stat: England’s teachers are resigning en masse

Finding a Digital Letter-form by Gang Buron-Yi Finding a Digital Letter-form by Gang Buron-Yi

A mass wave of resignations is threatening to hit England's education sector in the coming years. According to research by the National Education Union (NEU), 44% of teachers are considering leaving the profession by 2027.

Among those planning to leave the profession in the next two years, 65% of respondents cited workload as one of the key reasons for quitting. Indeed, 52% of those polled said their workload was ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unmanageable most of the time’, revealing structural problems of burnout in the sector as a whole. ‘We remain a profession with among the highest number of unpaid working hours, and we are still well above the international average for hours worked by teachers. This is simply unsustainable and can only lead to burnout,’ explains Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU.

As teachers are expressing high levels of dissatisfaction, fatigue and burnout, the research demonstrates an urgent need for industry-wide reform to ensure that Education in 2030 is more manageable. Digital or non-school-based learning alternatives could rise to prominence in the coming years.

Strategic opportunity

Teachers have had to deal with an unprecedented number of challenges in the past two years. How can businesses promote the use of technology in the classroom to relieve academics' workload?

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