Need to Know
20 : 06 : 19

The pub becomes a luxury hotspot, a credit card for medical cannabis purchases, and young Americans have an appetite for carbs.

This sneaker is 100% biodegradable

The Plant Shoe by Native Shoes, Canada
The Plant Shoe by Native Shoes, Canada
The Plant Shoe by Native Shoes, Canada

Vancouver – Native Shoes has launched a sneaker made entirely from compostable plant-based materials.

The footwear brand is pioneering positive change in the industry with its Plant Shoe. The unisex style has been in development since 2017, with Native Shoes establishing the materials and techniques needed to achieve its goal of creating an entirely plant-based sneaker. Its components include textile uppers made from pineapple husks, a linen sockliner, a natural latex outsole made from lactae hevea and a lasting board made from eucalyptus pulp.

In the US alone, more than 300 million pairs of shoes end up in landfill each year, according to the brand. Of these, sneakers are the most impactful due to their use of plastic or chemically-treated components, which are tough to break down. Because of this, the brand is pledging that by 2023, the lifecycle of every pair of Native Shoes will be fully managed to ensure circular practices.

For more on how shoemakers are embracing sustainability, read our Sustainable Footwear Market.

Mulberry takes luxury fans to the pub

Mulberry My Local, UK Mulberry My Local, UK
Mulberry My Local, UK Mulberry My Local, UK

UK – The Somerset-founded luxury brand is celebrating British pub culture with a series of gigs hosted at some of London’s most popular drinking spots.

The My Local series will see four pubs transformed into intimate gig venues, with Mulberry presenting British artists, poets and DJs at locations in west, east and south London. ‘We will be hosting a series of public gigs that capture the sense of community, democracy and general joviality found at your favourite local – with a Mulberry twist,' reads a statement from the brand. The events link to Mulberry’s autumn-winter 2019 collection, which takes inspiration from British pubs as melting pots of cross-generational and cultural happenings, as well as unpredictable fashion ensembles.

As luxury brands’ attitudes to access evolve, they are turning to touch points such as music to reach wider consumer audiences. With the My Local series free to attend, and tickets bookable through popular ticket platform Dice, Mulberry is positioning itself as the latest brand offering Auralux Experiences.

A credit card for medicinal cannabis

New York – One of the largest operators in the American medical cannabis industry is launching a credit card for cannabis purchases.

Columbia Care’s Columbia National Credit programme will enable consumers and cannabis dispensaries in the US to transact electronically using credit instead of cash. The programme makes Columbia Care the first and only cannabis company in the US able to accept a credit card. Initially, the CNC Card will only be available to use at the company’s own dispensaries, but it could achieve wider market adoption through future partnerships.

‘By launching the first credit card in the country that can be used by consumers and industry participants to purchase cannabis products, we now exclusively offer an important capability that will serve Columbia Care’s national growth initiatives, including home delivery, automatic fulfilment and e-commerce,’ says Nicholas Vita, chief executive officer of Columbia Care.

In providing a new payment option, the card responds to the rise and normalisation of the cannabis market.

Columbia National Credit by Columbia Care

Useless is a directory of zero-waste stores

Useless, UK

London, UK – With consumers increasingly conscious of the excess packaging and plastic associated with grocery shopping, new platform Useless is redirecting shoppers to zero-waste stores.

Created by ethical agency Nice and Serious, the Useless website helps shoppers find London-based stores offering loose or unpackaged produce, alongside refill services for home cleaning products and toiletries. With a simple map functionality, users input their postcode or select their borough to find nearby zero-waste stores. Each location is listed with a vibrant illustrated storefront, with a short blurb outlining its product range, information about its founders and company ethos.

Useless is also educational, providing users with insight into the impact of single-use plastics like water bottles and grocery bags. The site encourages users to buy a Survival Kit – a set of staple products to help them live waste-free, such as bamboo toothbrushes, menstrual cups and DIY shampoos, with links to various brands’ products.

For more on the ways consumers are reducing their reliance on plastic in the home, read our Refined Refillables microtrend.

Stat: America’s youth have a taste for bread

In the past week, 73% of Millennial and Generation Z consumers in the US have purchased bread, and 63% a sweet baked item, according to a new report from the American Bakers Association.

In particular, these younger consumers regard ‘whole grains,’ ‘freshness’ and ‘natural ingredients’ as important and influential descriptors for baked goods and breads. In line with the Carb Revival that's being energised by high-end pasta restaurants and creative bakers, 75% of respondents say they are not deterred from eating bread because of its associations with carbohydrates, while an equal number are concerned about wasting bread.

Discover why the baking industry is turning to science to create bread that's gut-positive in our interview with Leo Campbell of the Modern Baker.

Thought-starter: Will microbes make manufacturing more transparent?

Dr Jessica Green, CEO and co-founder of Phylagen, on using microbiome to verify brands’ ethical manufacturing practices.

Phylagen uses the genetic information encoded in microbes to reveal insights into supply chains. Imagine swabbing the dust on a shoe and being able to see where it came from,’ says Green. ‘Phylagen can do this by using the naturally occurring bacteria, fungi, viruses and pollen – the microbiome – that is present on every object and place on the planet.

The company’s Origin Test is pioneering the use of microbiome technology to create greater transparency across global manufacturing processes. ‘It uses a standard swab to collect the microbiome naturally present in dust, which together represent the 'fingerprint' of a given factory,’ Green explains. ‘All samples are then processed at Phylagen’s testing lab and the DNA fingerprints of each product and corresponding factory are compared to determine a match.’

According to Green, using this process allows companies to ensure sustainable sourcing by verifying product origin. ‘We’re building a microbial map of the world with numerous applications,’ she says. ‘And we are just scratching the surface.’

Read the full Q&A here.

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