News 17.02.2021

Need to Know

Volkswagen reduces its digital carbon footprint, a Chinese make-up brand celebrating family and Black-owned businesses lack financial support.

Volkswagen creates a sustainable browsing experience

ASCII low-impact website by Volkswagen, Canada
ASCII low-impact website by Volkswagen, Canada
ASCII low-impact website by Volkswagen, Canada

Canada – Launching a new range of electric SUVs, Volkswagen has created a low-impact website to reflect its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

The Carbon-Neutral Net website has a lower digital carbon footprint, achieved by manipulating American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text into the shape of its new SUVs, instead of adding real photos of the vehicles. By using the monochrome ASCII text, the site's load time is shorter and uses less energy, making it a green alternative to traditional retail or brand platforms.

The landing page also includes the online footprint calculator Website Carbon, proving it produces 99% less carbon dioxide per page view than average websites. In turn, the site echoes the green credentials of Volkswagen's new electric SUV. ‘We created this web experience to educate Canadians about sustainability in the digital world,’ says Volkswagen. ‘By reducing our electric vehicle web pages to little more than black and white text we’ve significantly lowered the amount of data embedded in them.’

An increasing number of brands are extending carbon reduction efforts to customers' online experience by recoding platforms to use less energy. Discover more in Low-Impact Interfaces.

An open-source resource to improve packaging

Packaging by Asket, Stockholm Packaging by Asket, Stockholm
Packaging by Asket, Stockholm Packaging by Asket, Stockholm

Stockholm – Clothing retailer Asket is overhauling its packaging to reduce its environmental impact – and set a precedent for the wider industry.

In a fully transparent brand initiative shared on its website, Asket details the incremental changes retail brands can make to their packaging, from material choices to sizing and the reduction of marketing material. ‘Given the world’s mounting trash problem, we set out to improve our footprint, but perhaps more importantly, share what we have learned with the rest of the industry, so that other brands can act too,' explains August Bard Bringéus, the brand's co-founder.

As a result of its exploration, Asket is eliminating plastic polythene bags as well as switching to 100% recycled paper mailers and cardboard boxes – reducing the material used per order by 22% and cutting packaging-related CO2 emissions by 47%.

Seeing the industry-wide opportunity, the brand has made its findings available for others in the form of a white paper, tuning in to the rise of open-source sustainability initiatives shared between brands.

Perfect Diary’s inter-generational beauty campaign

CNY campaign by Perfect Diary, China CNY campaign by Perfect Diary, China

China – For its latest video campaign, beauty brand Perfect Diary has highlighted how beauty can be a great connector between women of all ages.

Throughout the video, make-up is used to re-ignite relations between family members, following an adult daughter giving her mother a makeover and offering make-up advice as she prepares for a date. The daughter applies make-up from Perfect Diary’s latest collection, which includes an eyeshadow palette with packaging inspired by historical family homes in Beijing.

The brand launched the limited-edition make-up collection and video as families across China re-united for Chinese New Year in the wake of Covid-19's impact. By featuring a mother and daughter and in particular an older woman exploring cosmetics, the brand aims to show how beauty can be a shared experience between family members.

As we explore in the Flat Age Beauty Market, the sector is steadily meeting the needs of women over 50 with products and marketing that support maturing skin and hair – and their inquisitive outlook.

Stat: Black-owned businesses struggle to access financial support

Modern Banking for the Culture by Greenwood, US Modern Banking for the Culture by Greenwood, US

New research shows that Black business owners are most likely to avoid applying for financial support for their companies because they believe they will be turned down.

Black businesses have experienced the most acute decline in business operations during the pandemic with a 41% drop, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank survey in the US. Yet the survey also shows that 37.9% of Black business owners are discouraged to seek help owing to the existing financial support system, compared with 12.7% of white-owned firms.

The research also shows that 54% of healthy or stable white employers have an existing banking relationship, compared with just 33% of healthy or stable Black employers. This suggests that, regardless of the financial state of a company, racial discrimination remains a core barrier in accessing financial support.

With Black communities disproportionately affected by traditional financial systems, new initiatives aim to build Black wealth through new routes, such as the launch of rapper Killer Mike's moral neo-bank Greenwood.

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