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Green Lifestyles Update: What’s New in Sustainable and Ethical Consumption and Brand Initiatives? December 2013

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Daphne Kasriel-Alexander Bio

Welcome to Euromonitor International's bimonthly bulletin which sets out to bring you the latest on green and ethical consumption around the world in terms of consumer interest and purchasing as well as brand initiatives. The devastating storm that hit the Philippines in November was yet another warning that our global climate is changing for the worse.

We also aim to reflect the broad spectrum of green and ethical consumers - from those who support a charity that aims to promote sustainability and justice to those keen to purchase energy-efficient kitchen gadgets and who won’t settle for green equalling dowdy.



Carbon Trust Means Business in Waste Reduction

The Carbon Trust, created in 2001, has become a globally respected expert on low carbon issues and strategies, carbon footprinting and low carbon technology development and deployment. It claims that the Trust’s work has saved their clients £5billion in energy costs and cut customers' carbon emissions by 53.5Mt. The Trust supports businesses, governments and the public sector towards a sustainable, low carbon economy through carbon reduction, energy-saving strategies and commercialising low carbon technologies. In November 2013, the Carbon Trust launched the first international standard for organisational waste reduction.

A Fund that Aims to End Injustice

The Global Greengrants Fund describes itself as “a public charity that seeds environmental action through small grants”. It facilitates local projects by channelling donations and grassroots campaigns, primarily in the developing world and emerging economies. It offers itself as a bridge between “passionate people seeking social justice and environmental sustainability, from the neighbourhood organizer in Ghana’s mining region to the Chicago donor advocating global environmental rights”.  The Fund’s activities are rooted in a belief that everyone deserves a healthy environment, and its strategy is to support local leaders, mainly outside the USA and Western Europe, in fighting injustice.

Recycling of Non-metal Waste and Scrap in Australia, USA and Germany: 2007–2012

Source: Euromonitor International from trade sources/national statistics


High-End Eco Products…

Being green does not mean living a dowdy life, as a sunny yellow pouf, made of finest leather tanned with extracts of olive leaves, shown in the latest issue of upscale German “Madame” magazine, proves. The pouf was made by German designer Anne Lorenz for the Freifrau (Baroness) seating range, a company that “emphasises its ecological awareness through using carefully selected, durable materials”.

Another example of high-end eco chic is the Aveda range of cosmetics, which, in 1989, was the first privately held company to sign the CERES Principles (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies). The brand also shows its ethical credentials by sponsoring the campaign “Gifts of joy for all – change lives in Nepal”.

…and More Premium Brand Ethical Activity

Fashion designer Michael Kors saw an opportunity on World Food Day on October the 16th 2013 to offer his customers the chance to shop and do good at the same time. Kors entered a partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme in 2012, to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger. This year, Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry joined Kors in his work with the World Food Programme. She has previously worked with the Jenesse Center in Los Angeles, which provides shelter and assistance to women and children suffering from domestic violence, while Kors looks back at 20 years’ experience of working with the organisation God's Love We Deliver in the New York area, which provides free, healthy food for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.

Green Potato Crisps

Euromonitor International has identified sustainability as the hottest consumer trend across national and cultural divides. Many businesses and brands are finding ways of producing in a less energy-intensive way and adapting sustainable practices across the value chain. An example of this is offered by PepsiCo Europe, which worked with the Carbon Trust to develop the carbon footprint of Walkers Crisps, which now carry the Carbon Reduction Label. Since then, it also has put the label on 1kg packages of Quaker Oats, as well as Oatso Simple Original and Oatso Simple Golden Syrup.

Emissions breakdown figures are published on the Walkers website, walkerscarbonfootprint.co.uk. In the UK, about 52% of those polled said they were more likely to buy a product carrying the Carbon Reduction Label, Martyn Seal, Sustainability Director of PepsiCo Europe, explained.


A Model of Green Dining for Educational Institutions

The Italian food blog, parlafood.com, enthuses about the Rome Sustainable Food Project, an “eco-gastronomic endeavour” envisioned as a logical extension of the values held by the American Academy in Rome. A brainchild of celebrity chef Alice Waters, it has transformed the Academy’s community with a collaborative dining programme “that nourishes and supports both work and conviviality”. Alice Waters is convinced that “The dining table at the Academy isn’t just delicious, it’s an idea that brings us back to our senses and can be a model for educational institutions everywhere”.

From Affluent Gourmet to Skint Foodie

The career of blogger, theskintfoodie.com, went from being an affluent gourmet to penniless alcoholic – and up again. In his own words: “Charmed life • cool job • platinum amex • business class…alcoholism • depression • breakdown...  • home repossession • bankruptcy • homeless hostel...housing association flat • voluntary work…hope • relapse • try again”. Tony seeks out the best deals in supermarkets and in his local shops to publish on his blog, which has 270 recipes to date, for people like him, who want to share the privilege of good food and healthy eating with the affluent.

Poverty is Blighting the UK, and this blog has Something to Say about it

Entitled “How to eat well on next to nothing”, the UK’s Telegraph newspaper told the story of food blogger Jack Monroe. In March 2012, she started her blog, “A girl called Jack”, and a post entitled ‘Hunger Hurts’ went viral. A year later, Jack counted 250,000 followers every week, attended a G8 conference on poverty, addressed parliament, met the Prime Minister, landed a book deal and has been asked to stand as an MP. She also writes a food column for the Guardian, with low-cost recipes like nut-free Kale pesto, beetroot, feta and lentil salad and fish tagine, which attract hundreds of comments, the majority of them positive.


Indian Women Farmers are Helped to Adapt to the Changing Climate

A report on the website philanthropynews.alliancemagazine.org describes the South Asia programme of Women’s Earth Alliance (a non-profit organisation that mobilises resources for women farmers in the Sundarbans in West Bengal, India, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Bay of Bengal and the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem), and how climate change is increasing women’s burden and responsibilities on farms and at home as men leave in search of alternative livelihoods. Research indicates that South Asia will be particularly vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels. As rural women are dealing with life-sustaining tasks such as gathering wood, sourcing fodder for livestock, and collecting drinking water for their families, grants with a gender approach are becoming essential. Through a Global Greengrants Fund grant, a local women’s group, Maa Durga, is now helping women to set up seed banks.

Reaching for the Sun

In 2009, the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund allocated US$750 million for the Desertec solar thermal projects in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. While European governments and consumers are hesitant about supporting solar energy, Morocco is pushing ahead with its Plan Solaire Maroccain in the Sahara desert, building some of the world’s most extensive solar power plants in five locations totalling 10,000 hectares. This and other wind and water energy projects are close to the heart of King Mohammed VI, who wants to see 42% of his country’s energy supply coming from alternative sources by 2020. Energy Minister Abdelkader Amara confirmed that “We want to become a green country”.

The Story of a Utopia

Gaviotas is a village in Colombia, South America. Since the 1970s, Gaviotans have struggled to build an oasis of imagination and sustainability in the remote, barren savannahs of eastern Colombia, an area plagued by political instability. By planting millions of trees, they regenerated the indigenous rainforest. They farm organically and use wind and solar power. Every family enjoys free housing, community meals, and schooling. The community also produced a number of inventions and innovations, including a children's seesaw that drives a water pump. Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called founder Paolo Lugari the "inventor of the world".


Thrift Sprouts Green Shoots

While the volume of car traffic continues to rise in most countries, the USA is making a notable exception with car traffic declining by 4.9% between 2007 and 2012. This trend is blamed largely on US consumers’ straitened budgets, but “What most intrigues me is that rates of car ownership per household and per person started to come down two to three years before the downturn,” according to Michael Sivak, a research professor at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, quoted in the New York Times in April this year. If the trend persists, it is bound to have a positive effect on the environment, since traffic is the second strongest cause of pollution in the USA, second only to power stations.

Green by Default, Part Two

US consumers apparently are doing everything right, although their intention is not to save the environment, but to save money. This is the overall finding of a 2013 report, ‘Climate Change in the American Mind’, compiled  by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. It finds that half of Americans now say they have purchased an energy efficient kitchen appliance, and large majorities intend their next appliance or car purchase to be green. Three-quarters say as much for kitchen appliances, and 61% say they want their next car to do 30 miles per gallon or better. 53% of Americans now claim that "most or all" of their light bulbs are CFLs (40% in 2008). However, the public belief in personal or individual actions actually making a difference for the climate has fallen from 78% in 2008 to 56%. The authors of the report blame this on the fact that environmental issues have been crowded out in the media by economic ones in recent years.

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