News 01.02.2024

Need to Know

Introducing Cyrus Clarke’s Non-Fungible Plants, Pandora stops selling mined silver and gold, and why American Gen Z are literally falling in love with anime.

Non-Fungible Plants could be the future of decentralised eco-data centres

‘Grown’ by Cyrus Clarke, France

France – In a ground-breaking intersection of art, technology and nature, artist Cyrus Clarke is growing Non-Fungible Plants (NFPs) – living plants with encoded digital data in their DNA. Positioned as a solution to the carbon footprint of digital infrastructure, NFPs explore the potential of biological computing for sustainable data storage.

NFPs, hosted on the 3D garden website NFP.garden, pioneer a new paradigm for data storage. Clarke envisages a community of ‘gardeners’ supporting this project, addressing the concept of Data Warming and offering a greener alternative to traditional data storage and even energy-intensive decentralised blockchain systems.

The NFP project unfolds in phases, with the ongoing Pre-Seed Round inviting participants to collect digital artworks, fostering awareness and raising funds. The subsequent Seed Round allows collectors to grow unique digital seeds, culminating in the Initial Plant Offering, where participants become part of the world’s first Non-Fungible Plant.

The project not only pushes the boundaries of synthetic biology, but also offers a visionary perspective on addressing climate change challenges.

Cyrus Clarke’s NFPs symbolise a harmonious future where technology will co-exist with nature, offering hope for a planet regenerated through innovative data solutions. In Preserving Digital Legacies, we profiled similar innovators safeguarding data in new kinds of hardware to build a sustainable future where memories can still be owned and cherished.

Strategic opportunity

Although NFPs are only part of a design project at present, explore opportunities to invest in or develop sustainable data storage solutions, such as bio-data centres or similar eco-friendly alternatives, to address the growing concerns about the carbon footprint of traditional digital infrastructure

Lift Kettlebells create a modular revolution for at-home equipment

Lift by Erika Avery and Stu Cole, UK Lift by Erika Avery and Stu Cole, UK
Lift by Erika Avery and Stu Cole, UK Lift by Erika Avery and Stu Cole, UK

Global – Fitness enthusiasts should take note of the new Lift Kettlebells. Designed by Erika Avery and Stu Cole, these kettlebells bring a modular twist to traditional weight training, giving this mundane product a much-needed facelift. The Lift Kettlebells system is ingeniously simple, consisting of just nine components. Four stackable plate weights, an ergonomic handle and a twist-locking mechanism create a versatile fitness tool.

Each plate weight is a manageable 5kg (11 pounds), making it perfect for users of all levels. Thanks to its stackable design, users can gradually increase the weight as their strength grows, offering a tailored workout experience. The entire system weighs in at 20kg (44 pounds), and its compact design makes it ideal for home or on-the-go workouts.

To protect floors and prevent corrosion, Lift Kettlebells feature a durable rubber finish. This thoughtful design ensures convenience, comfort and versatility in one’s fitness journey. The pandemic converted many people into at-home exercise enthusiasts and Lift’s modular product is a perfect space-saving solution. It shows the ingenuity and innovation coming out of product design for our homes, as revealed in Home States Futures: Residential Retail.

Strategic opportunity

Innovation in the at-home gym equipment category offers big opportunities for fitness influencers, sports brands and gyms – especially since gym memberships come with considerable costs amid a cost of living crisis. Consider how you can develop exercise products and services that use modular products and align with people’s home gym set-ups

Jewellery brand Pandora stops selling mined silver and gold

Pandora, UK Pandora, UK

Global – Pandora, the jewellery brand best known for its charm bracelets, has ditched mined silver and gold in favour of recycled metals.

The Danish brand reported having to acquire about 340 tonnes of silver and one tonne of gold every year to produce its best-selling jewellery. In its annual report, Pandora disclosed that 264,224 tonnes of CO2 were generated in 2022 across the supply chain. In a bid to reduce the brand’s environmental footprint, Pandora changed to 100% recycled silver and gold in December 2023. Using recycled metals only is set to cut Pandora’s carbon emissions by roughly 58,000 tonnes annually, and has no adverse effect on product as precious metals can be recycled for ever without suffering quality loss.

While the transition to recycled materials entails an investment of some £7.8m ($10m, €9.2m) a year, Pandora decided to absorb the cost instead of making consumers bear the brunt through price hikes. With the move, Pandora has joined a slew of Regenerative Luxury Jewellers making the sector cleaner and meeting next generations’ sustainability demands.

Strategic opportunity

Pandora makes the case for big and bold environmental policies over short-term fixes. Like Pandora, aim higher than industry standards with your sustainability goals

Stat: Anime’s popularity among American Gen Z reaches a historical high

Woo, UK Woo, UK

US – In a new report published in January 2024, Polygon revealed that anime’s popularity is growing among US-based Gen Z like never before. After surveying an audience sample of 4,275 Americans aged 18 and up, Polygon found that 42% of the Gen Z surveyed watch anime weekly compared to 25% of Millennials, 12% of Gen X and 3% of Boomers.

Although its sample size was not the same, the report compared its results to a 2021 survey from YPulse that previously revealed that only 25% of American Gen Z follow the National Football League (NFL). ‘That [42%] Gen Z number stands out not only because it shows anime’s ubiquity, but because of how it outpaces established juggernauts,’ reads the report. ‘A few [football] teams are even chasing the audience. See: the LA Chargers cutting One Piece-referencing promo videos and then Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams showing off his Naruto love with absolute pride.’

Polygon also revealed that anime fans as a group are more diverse than the broader US population. Among Gen Z anime fans, 23% are Black American compared to 14% of the general population, and 13% are Asian American compared to 7% of the general population. Some 27% of anime fans also identify as LGBTQ+, compared to 16% of the general population.

Anime fans also expressed how emotionally connected they feel towards anime. Almost two-thirds of Gen Z who watch anime say they connect better emotionally with anime than with traditional media due to the types of storylines and characters present. Some 44% of anime fans and 58% of Gen Z fans say they have had a crush on an anime character at some point.

Head to our Gen Z section for more insights on young consumers.

Strategic opportunity

Explore partnerships or invest in the creation of anime content that resonates with Gen Z preferences. Can you secure licensing agreements for popular anime series to tap into the growing demand for diverse and engaging content?

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