News 10.10.2019

Need to Know

Sheep Inc. launches carbon-negative wool sweaters, The Other Bar lets chocolate lovers fight poverty, and Chinese tourists want hobby-led holidays.

This fashion label has carbon-negative ambitions

Sheep Inc. Sheep Inc.
Sheep Inc. Sheep Inc.

UK – Working across New Zealand, Spain, Italy and the UK, Sheep Inc. is a new premium fashion brand striving to be carbon-negative.

With its first product, a merino wool sweater priced at £190 ($232, €211), the company has worked to ensure total supply chain transparency. Each jumper contains a tag with a unique serial number, allowing the owner to look up its journey, down to the name of the person who hand-finished it.

‘Because of the urgency of the climate crisis, Sheep Inc. has decided not only to offset these emissions but to offset 10 times [the amount of] emissions,’ explains Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at UCL, who advises Sheep Inc. on its biodiversity investment portfolio. To do this, the company is working with schemes that align with the business, including reforestation and proper management of grasslands in New Zealand. It also donates 5% of its revenue to biodiversity projects, enabling it to offset 325kg of carbon per sweater.

As the boundaries between society and nature continue to blur and consumerism is further integrated with our living world, Sheep Inc. shows how tomorrow’s brands will take a Whole-system Thinking approach to their products.

Burger King says goodbye to plastic toys

Burger King The Meltdown, campaign by Jones Knowles Ritchie

UK – Fast food chain Burger King is offering to melt down the plastic toys given away with its children’s meals as it works to step up its sustainable activity.

The brand has chosen to axe the toys given away with its kids meals, and is calling on families to take part in a plastic toy amnesty, returning Burger King toys – along with those from other fast food outlets and children’s magazines – to be melted down and fashioned into new play furniture for its restaurants. In exchange, children will receive a free kids’ meal.

A supporting campaign, dubbed The Meltdown, features colourful toys marching forth to be transformed into chairs, seesaws and meal trays. ‘Removing plastic toys from our kids’ meals represents a huge step for the brand in the UK and we knew we couldn’t do this quietly,’ explains Katie Evans, marketing director at Burger King UK. ‘This is an opportunity for us to lead radical change in our industry and we know we can positively contribute to finding new, more sustainable solutions, long term.’

With people acutely aware of the impact of their consumption on the planet, toy brands are offering parents support in their quest to become more environmentally friendly. For more, explore the Conscious Play microtrend.

Tech-enabled chocolate that empowers cocoa farmers

Ecuador & The Netherlands – The Other Bar is an organic chocolate brand experimenting with technology to support cocoa farmers and producers.

According to the brand, cocoa farmers receive just 3% of the value of the cocoa used to make commercial chocolate, meaning the majority do not earn living incomes. Now, backed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the FairChain Foundation, it has created a chocolate bar that lets everyday consumers support farmers directly.

Inside each pink wrapper is a QR-code token that, when scanned, gives back the equivalent value of one-quarter of a cocoa-producing tree. This means, for every four bars purchased, a farmer can grow more cocoa, earn more, and feed their family.

Flipping this act, however, people scanning the QR code can also use it to get 25p off their next Other Bar purchase. ‘It’s your choice,’ reads its supporting marketing video. ‘Either way, it’s a win-win for farmers.’

As we unpack in Regenerative Consumption, brands are realising that consumption can support ecological solutions, creating new products that feed back to their sources.

The Other Bar by Fairchain Foundation and UNDP

Stat: Themed travel experiences woo Chinese tourists

Self-drive holidays, photography-led excursions, and trips that focus on wellbeing are capturing the attention of Chinese holidaymakers.

According to new research from Mintel, a desire for new experiences is fuelling this curiosity, with three in five urban Chinese respondents motivated to try 'themed travel' because it would make a suitable hobby (66%) and provides an in-depth travel experience (64%). For almost half (45%), a desire to meet people with similar interests is a further reason why they would like to try themed travel.

For brands, there is an opportunity to use their heritage and expertise to create such themed tours and experiences, for example self-drive classic car expeditions, or decelerated wellness experiences that juxtapose urban Chinese living. For more on the shifting mindset behind Chinese travel, read our dedicated Opinion piece.

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