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The Future Laboratory presents multiple futures at our annual festival of ideas, Coca-Cola explores the potential of recycled marine plastic and why Americans need education in digital literacy.

The Future Laboratory unpacks the age of contrarian consumption

Forecasting the Future, The Future Laboratory

London – On 17 October, 100 delegates attended the 2019 edition of our Global Futures Forum, The Future Laboratory’s annual festival of ideas, at our Elder Street home.

At this year’s event, we looked at how four key human needs – attainment, purpose, identity and security – are reshaping the coming decade of contrarian consumption.

The forum was split into two sessions, with guests invited to customise their experience by selecting their preferred track. In the first session, guests chose between the Future of Purpose – uncovering how macro-shifts in the food and drink sector, as well as concerns over sustainability, are changing consumer expectations of brands – and the Future of Attainment, which explored the next-generation technologies set to shape brand marketing and how retail is being reframed.

Guest speakers for the first session included Rory Paterson, co-founder of Wow Drinks, consumer and business psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, and Natsai Audrey Chieza, founder and director of Faber Futures, alongside Geoffrey Lillemon, co-founder of Wieden + Kennedy’s Department of New Realities.

In two further sessions, attendees were guided through the Future of Identity, which unpacked our Uncoupled Living macrotrend and unveiled our latest youth macrotrend, Paradox Personas. In our simultaneous Security presentation, we explored how Resilience Culture is becoming a core part of consumers’ wellbeing agenda. During this part of the day, we were joined by guest speakers Seray Ozdemir, a designer and researcher, Nick Bennett, co-founder and CEO of emotional fitness app FIKA, and Calum Morrison, founder of Extraordinary Adventure Club.

For those that were unable to attend, you can explore our Global Futures Forum microsite.

Spill’s merchandise destigmatises workplace therapy

Spill Spill
Spill Spill

UK – The workplace therapy service is encouraging employees to wear their emotions on their sleeve.

Spill, a company that offers message-based therapy to improve the wellbeing of employees, has launched a range of merchandise via its Spill Shop. Products on offer include a tote bag declaring ‘less plastic, more therapy’, and ‘off to therapy’ socks. Shoppers can also buy a book on ‘how to be emotionally woke’.

According to the company, the range is designed to reduce the stigma that exists around therapy while provoking conversation, with Spill encouraging people to join its movement by proudly wearing a piece of pro-therapy merchandise.

Spill is just one example of a new breed of therapy services helping the sector to diversify and address the vulnerabilities of the next generation.

Coca-Cola is recycling and re-using marine plastic

Coca Cola ocean plastic bottles

Global – The multinational drinks corporation has unveiled sample bottles made using recycled marine plastics.

Some 300 sample bottles have been produced using 25% recycled plastic recovered from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. The marine plastic bottles have been developed to show the potential of new recycling technologies, which can transform used plastics of any quality into high-quality packaging for food and drink.

The pioneering process breaks down the components of plastic and strips out impurities in lower-grade recyclables, which means that even low-quality plastics can be diverted from incineration or landfill, and given a second life. Coca-Cola plans to introduce this recycled plastic into some of its bottles from 2020.

‘Enhanced recycling technologies are enormously exciting, not just for us but for the industry and society at large,’ says Bruno van Gompel, technical and supply chain director for Coca-Cola Western Europe. ‘They accelerate the prospect of a closed-loop economy for plastic, which is why we are investing behind them.’

To learn more about how bottled drinks brands are exploring material innovations, read our Bio-bottles listicle.

Stat: American adults are misinformed on digital literacy

The majority of American adults are struggling with digital literacy, according to a new Americans and Digital Knowledge report by Pew Research Center. The study found that, while a majority of adults can correctly answer questions about phishing scams or website cookies, other areas are more challenging. Just 28% can identify an example of two-factor authentication, while 24% know what private browsing only hides browser history from other users of that computer.

Perhaps most surprisingly, just 29% of people correctly answered that Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp. ‘There are relatively low levels of familiarity with the company’s assets – and that is true across demographic groups,’ says Monica Anderson, Pew’s associate director of research.

With American adults underinformed about their own privacy and digital habits, brands are best placed to step in and provide the education they are lacking. Read our macrotrend Morality Recoded to see why brands must create a new moral code for the digital era.

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