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Sustainability Trends 2022: Extending Life

Extending life

Rising environmental concerns around mass consumption and growing eco-anxiety are driving customers’ demand for more durable, long-lasting products. Preferring quality over quantity is an outcome of the global interpandemic self-reflection, with consumers now taking pride in extending the life of the products they are using rather than replacing them.

Go circular

In our Trends 2022 Report: Rebound + Rebalance‘Extending Life’ was mapped as an expanding trend in the West-European and Australian region while already on the verge of establishing in the US, LATAM, South Africa and many Asian markets except for the Chinese region where it is still nascent. As this trend is all about circularity (using second-hand, recycled or recyclable materials) and durability (using first-life products longer), it is no surprise to see consumer electronics, fashion and home improvement as relevant playing fields. But re-purposing waste also offers innovation opportunities in food and beauty. About 6% of the global greenhouse gases come from food that is never eaten.

UK-based vegan cosmetics brand FRUU developed the world’s first lip balms extracted from damaged fruits and unused seeds and kernels. Sydney-based distillery Archie Rose created a new spirit made from over 50 tonnes of grapes that were damaged by smoke during the bushfires saving them from being wasted. In Spain and Portugal, Efecto Colibri is restoring forests ravaged by fire through selling organic skin care products made of ash.

Reducetarians sell-back

In our Conscious Consumption study, 6 out of 10 Europeans and Australians and 55% of Americans indicate they aim to consume less. About the same amount of people will mend clothes and repair household items to lengthen the lifecycle. IKEA Norway recently did a daring campaign showing discarded IKEA products dumped on streets and in junkyards to raise awareness about the 3 million pieces of furniture that are thrown away in that country each year. On the campaign website visitors can learn more about IKEA’s buy-back scheme, order spare parts to repair furniture and get price quotes for specific pieces they would sell back.

Inspired by the success of re-commerce sites such as DepopThredUp and VintedH&M is piloting Re:Wear in Canada making it easy to buy and sell used fashion items – not just from H&M but from any brand. The site’s algorithm recommends a competitive price for your items and H&M takes a 15% commission on sales. The second-hand market is projected to grow 11 times faster than the retail clothing sector – reaching a value of $77 billion by 2025, double the size of 2020.

In fashion, sustainability ambassador designer Stella McCartney made a lingerie and swimwear hybrid collection to make people buy less items and wear the same ones either as underwear, for swimming or yoga class. Petit Pli is experimenting with clothing that grows with the wearer. Founder Ryan Mario Yasin, an aeronautical engineer, uses the fabric’s pleated nature to make the same item useful for children between 6 and 36 months who would normally cover up to 6 different sizes.

In beauty, Danish eco start-up LastObject creates reusable alternatives for single-use hygiene and beauty products. Started in 2018 and funded via Kickstarter, the company first introduced an eco-friendly alternative to disposable cotton swabs of which the single use version is often flushed in toilets ending up in the sea as they don’t get caught by filtration systems. Meanwhile, the brand also developed Last Tissue that can be washed up to 520 times and Last Round, the home compostable zero waste facial pads.

The right to repair

New Zealand Sheep Inc is creating carbon negative merino wool sweaters and offers a lifetime guarantee for mending or maintenance. Beyond fashion and beauty and pressured by the ‘right to repair’ movement, Apple finally allowed customers to access original Apple parts and tools for self-service repair. Consumer electronics company Framework released a modular laptop that gives users full access to its hardware system permitting them to fix or upgrade their computers as desired.

Forever and ever

But real infinite lifecycles can be offered in the metaverse by NFTs or other digital goodies. Gucci Garden on gaming platform Roblox sold the Queen Bee Dionysus handbag which would cost you 3,400 dollars in a physical store for only 5.5 dollars. Although you can only show it off in Roblox, it turned out to be a good investment as some girl was able to re-sell it for 4,115 dollars surpassing the price of the physical handbag.

Conscious Consumption

Conscious Consumption

Sustainability is a key concern amongst consumers, and this has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. This bookzine highlights some of the key barriers amongst consumers as well as their expectations towards brands, through proprietary research, expert interviews with sustainability executives from several industries, and brand illustrations.

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