Bamboo pajamas are pajamas made from bamboo fabric. The fabric is said to be softer and more absorbent than traditional cotton pajamas, and is also said to be more environmentally friendly.
A rechargeable light bulb is a light bulb that can be recharged when being switched on with available power supply. The bulb contains a built-in battery that is charged when there is an available power supply. During power outages, the battery powers the light bulb so it stays on for two to eight hours, depending on the type of bulb.
A glass straw is a straw made from glass instead of plastic. Glass straws are reusable and are said to be more durable and environmentally friendly than plastic straws.
Net Zero Energy is a term used to describe a building or home that produces as much renewable energy as it consumes over the course of a year. The energy can come from a variety of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal energy.
Green Hydrogen is hydrogen that is produced by electrolysis or splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The hydrogen is then used to power vehicles, heat homes, and generate electricity.
Climate finance is the investment of resources to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, as well as to help countries and communities adapt to the effects of climate change. The goal of climate finance is to make sure that everyone has the resources they need to take climate action.
Green ammonia is a natural product that is made from the fermentation of sugarcane molasses and intended to be used in carbon-neutral products. The green ammonia is said to be a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional ammonia, as it does not produce harmful emissions.
Net Zero Carbon refers to activities where from the very beginning no carbon is emitted or releases net-zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and many net zero carbon projects are now underway around the world.
Trend Highlight – Zero Waste in the Hospitality Industry
By letting guests opt out of towel cleaning in the name of sustainability, hotels have been able to cut costs. They’re now extending this logic to shampoo, by replacing single-use shampoo containers with wall-mounted dispensers.
Tiny shampoo bottles are a high-waste product, since the bottle is thrown out if any of it is used, and the amount of plastic required per unit of shampoo is higher when the bottle is smaller. A dispenser can be cleaned off and topped up, at a lower marginal cost—and with less attention paid to keeping a stable inventory of small bottles. When Marriott started a plastic waste reduction program, they estimated it would cut their plastic use by 30%, eliminating 500 million bottles each year.
Shampoo dispensers, like pillow spray (Glimpse, March 2021), were popularized by hotels but have started moving into homes as well. Wall-mounted dispensers don't just reduce physical clutter, but visual clutter, since they mean replacing a product that has a label with a dispenser that doesn't. Much like cereal storage containers (Glimpse, April 2021), shampoo dispensers are a sort of in-home ad blocker, replacing a callout to a brand with a more minimalist display. Brands know that an appealing package can increase sales, and then increase usage after the sale; for customers who don’t want to be pitched products while they shower (even products they like), dispensers are a good solution.
Shampoo dispensers are part of a long-running evolution in how liquid consumer packaged goods get dispensed: when shampoo was first mass-produced in the early 1900s, bottles had unscrewable tops, followed by push buttons, then pumps. Single-serving dispensers may expand soon, into products like mouthwash; it’s already one of the popular features of the increasingly popular toothpaste tablets. Covid also affected the supply for dispensers, since it led to much higher deployment of hand sanitizer and touchless dispensers, and that manufacturing capacity can be redirected to other products afterwards.
There's a continuous tradeoff between usability, the cost of materials, and designs that increase usage and thus increase sales—but as Heinz discovered when they switched to inverted ketchup bottles, giving their customers the last drop of the product is a great way to earn goodwill, since it means the last interaction the customer has with the product is a reminder that they got their money's worth.
Trend Highlight – Carbon Offsets
As doing good for the environment becomes more and more of a social statement for consumers and businesses alike, carbon offsets are increasing in popularity. What's appealing about carbon offsets in particular is that they allow businesses and consumers to address their negative environmental impacts with money instead of a change in behavior or in business practices.
The goal of offsets is to cancel out the impact of emissions-heavy activities such as taking a flight, driving a car, or ordering a package online. In theory, carbon offsets allow environmental projects to make sense economically, where they may not have before. A company considering building a coal plant could instead choose to build a solar plant, and use the money generated from selling carbon offsets in order to cover the higher cost. The company doesn't have to invest any additional funds of their own to complete the project, and those on both sides of the equation can accrue brownie points in consumers' eyes for making more sustainable choices.
While the idea of carbon offsets was first introduced in the context of business, it has been an increasingly popular topic among consumers. This shows in the data: the rise in online consumer discussion of carbon offsets (orange) is noticeably more sudden than the rise of searches (blue), which includes both businesses and consumers.
While the concept makes sense on paper, though, it's far more complex in practice: accurately pricing certain offsets requires measuring environmental impact far into the future, for instance, and it's hard to know for sure whether certain projects would have been undertaken even without the aid of this additional funding.
Trend Highlight – Making Ecommerce Delivery Eco-Friendly
The global rise in ecommerce has led to a corresponding rise in porch pirates and package theft. While some consumers resort to buying doorbell cameras like Ring, or even cameras with “porch pirate insurance” like Kangaroo, others have instead opted to schedule deliveries for when they’re home after work. In this way, getting a delivery only when you’re home is a partial substitute for porch pirate insurance or a doorbell camera.
In e-commerce, the moment a product is delivered is the first and last time a company can make a physical impression on their customer. Budbee, a third-party delivery service popular in Scandinavia, is growing rapidly as it offers to make that first impression better. Like every other customer-facing part of business, it's a combination of a potential cost center and a potential revenue enhancer. In Budbee's case, the revenue enhancement comes from a combination of convenience and eco-friendliness that makes people more likely to make their next purchase from the same place. Home delivery is also more sought after in countries like Sweden where many e-commerce deliveries go to collection points rather than homes by default.
Budbee offers scheduled delivery, with a two-hour window or a paid upgrade to a one-hour window. This essentially allows customers to set a value on their time: if they have precise plans, they can still collect their package, but they need to pay. This also lets Budbee fully capture consumer surplus by precisely tapping into the tradeoff between the two tokens of value we use - time and money.
The app also lets customers track the package in real time. Deliveries are scheduled for the afternoon and evening, which means customers are more likely to be there to receive them. In contrast to corporate customers, who are happy to receive a package during the day and usually have someone on hand to receive it, consumers are choosy about when it’s convenient for them to receive their deliveries. This also means the company can leverage part-time workers, like students, whose other commitments during the day are time-aligned with that of Budbee’s customers.
Budbee mostly uses electric vehicles and sometimes even cargo bikes. As more people become aware of the zero-waste movement, and start to worry that online shopping might be more environmentally costly than physical visits to a store, services like Budbee that can visibly reduce the environmental impact of online shopping are getting more popular. The delivery vehicle is like a life-sized ad calling out the brand’s environmental awareness—and sharing the shopper’s carbon-consciousness with the neighbors, too.
Trend Highlight – Sustainable Toilet Paper
When it comes to toilet paper manufacturing, bamboo has surfaced as an attractive alternative to trees given that it grows very quickly, requires little water and zero pesticides, and can grow back after being cut down.
This is far better for than the environment than using trees, since the production of toilet paper alone accounts for an astounding 15% of deforestation globally.
One of the top brands selling Bamboo Toilet Paper, called "Who Gives a Crap" is growing rapidly. Their site, riddled with entertaining puns, saw traffic reach more than half a million unique visitors in August 2019.
While bamboo's characteristics would suggest it would be a cheaper alternative to trees, it lacks the tremendous economies of scale held by tree-based paper products, which have kept prices down.
As we've seen with mission-driven products like metal straws, mounting environmental concerns have made certain demographics more comfortable spending extra — a shift that will help drive products like these to a larger scale, eventually bringing prices down to compete with their more traditional counterparts.
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