News 27.10.2022

Need to Know

How employers can support informal care-givers, an NFT project that democratises nature, and plastic recycling rates are decreasing.

DDW: A platform for working informal care-givers

WORK.CARE.WORK by iDROPS, Eindhoven

Eindhoven – WORK.CARE.WORK is a platform that helps people balance professional work and informal care. The digital service acts as the middle man between informal care-givers who are also employed by a professional organisation and their HR department.

The socialisation of care has been in progress for many years as formal healthcare systems struggle to keep up with an ageing population. The concept of care-munities has also been accelerating, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as those outside of traditional care-giving roles such as friends, neighbours and local communities looked after those in need.

While WORK.CARE.WORK is now in beta phase, the aim is to launch it imminently given these rising pressures. The system has undergone an intensive design assessment involving employers and HR personnel. The final iteration of the platform contains digestible information about informal care to ensure all parties are aware of the logistics involved, and a selection of tools to support the dialogue between the informal care-giver and employer in finding a workable balance between work and care tasks.

For more on how micro-societies of Decentralised Care are coming to the fore, read our Neo-collectivism macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Care-giving support from professional employers is currently something nice to have and not considered something people need to have. With more people engaging in informal modes of care, it is essential that HR departments begin to recognise, act on and strategise for such situations.

DDW: Artificial Greenhouse democratises digital nature

Artificial Greenhouse by WhitenNoiseDADA and De Vormforensen, Eindhoven Artificial Greenhouse by WhitenNoiseDADA and De Vormforensen, Eindhoven
Artificial Greenhouse by WhitenNoiseDADA and De Vormforensen, Eindhoven Artificial Greenhouse by WhitenNoiseDADA and De Vormforensen, Eindhoven

Eindhoven – Artificial Greenhouse is a design research project exploring a sustainable future for digital and artificial nature using technology.

Created by design duo WhitenNoiseDADA and graphic design studio De Vormforensen for Dutch Design Week 2022, the greenhouse is a three-part project, one of which – Nature as Property – examines the role of ownership and capitalism through vegetables and plants. Many seeds are patented and owned by a handful of companies, namely Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. Challenging this, Nature as Property provides an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that digitally cross-breeds over 1,000 artificial flowers. These new species are then protected by a non-fungible token (NFT) code, which people can own and look after, democratising access to new species.

By creating digital species that anyone has the right to own, the project invites viewers to question who owns nature, and what obligation society has to protect and conserve natural assets. As society starts to discover and fund the use of new technologies that enable more sustainable practices, the stage is set for researchers and governments to use digitisation in new and innovative ways.

To discover how to harness technology in a way that benefits people and the planet, read our Digital Conservation microtrend.

Strategic opportunity

As AI develops it has the potential to bolster biodiversity and conversation efforts. Consider how technology can be used to democratise and safeguard knowledge of the natural world for future collaboration

Boots launches a symbol to spotlight menopause-friendly products

UK – Boots, which was accredited as a Menopause Friendly Employer earlier in 2022, continues to support women going through this stage of life with the introduction of in-store and online signposting of menopause-friendly products and services.

In partnership with GenM, a collective helping brands serve the menopause better, Boots has created a symbol to help women identify products that alleviate symptoms specific to this life stage. The selection encompasses various product categories, such as tailored skincare, targeted over-the-counter medicines and supplements, and Boots is aiming to reach 100 labelled products over the next weeks.

Boots and GenM are also inviting other retailers to start use this symbol, hoping to help women navigating perimenopause on a larger scale, and to make it easier to pin down the support they need. As awareness and interest in challenges that come with this life stage increase, the available solutions are also multiplying, such as Tech-powered Perimenopause and the booming Perimenopause Wellness Market that we explore as part of LS:N Global’s ongoing Perimenopause series.

Boots, UK

Strategic opportunity

Intricate health and wellness offerings can be overwhelming. Spotlighting products for specific needs via clear labelling is an easy way to help consumers identify solutions tailored to their unique requirements

Stat: Plastic recycling is on the decline

Plastic, neutral by Humankind, US Plastic, neutral by Humankind, US

US – Greenpeace USA has published a report detailing the decrease in plastic recycling rates, flying in the face of the popular narrative. The report found global plastic waste is expected to nearly triple by 2060, while recycling rates in the US have declined from their peak in 2014, falling from 9.5% to only 5–6% in 2021. While companies encourage consumers to recycle, there is a gap between expectation and reality. Only two out of the seven commonly used types are widely accepted in waste centres across the US.

The study concludes that most types of packaging require sorting facilities that are not available in most waste centres, deeming most plastics economically impossible to sort – and suggests that this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, virgin plastic is cheaper to produce, leaving recycled plastics a less economical option.

Greenpeace calls for companies to begin implementing sustainability goals, and to set targets for 50% re-usable packaging by 2030. Explore more innovations in this area in our Re-usable Packaging Market.

Strategic opportunity

As plastic pollution becomes a greater problem, consumers will expect companies to invest in re-usable packaging that requires minimal effort to recycle

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