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ECOICONIC ECOICONIC Document Transcript

  • trendwatching.com is an independent and opinionated consumer trends firm, relying on a global network of 8,000 spotters, working hard to deliver inspiration and pangs of anxiety to business professionals in 120+ countries worldwide.   May/June 2008 | We briefly introduced ECO-ICONIC earlier this year in our '8 trends for 2008' briefing: time now for a more comprehensive take on how the branding of eco-goods and services is about to enter a new phase... Oh, and weʼre throwing in ECO-EMBEDDED and ECO-BOOSTERS, too. Yes, itʼs a lot, but you can readily apply all of these examples and insights to your own business and brand today. Enjoy! “ECO-ICONIC” Intro | What could we possibly add to the heaps of eco-documentaries, carbon emission studies, corporate greening initiatives, and Earth Day activities now dedicated to one of the world's biggest tasks at hand: moving from wasteful, polluting economies to sustainable ones? Well, how about a fresh, consumer-oriented look at the opportunities in the next 12-18 months now that ʻeco awarenessʼ has been embraced not just by treehug- gers and celebrities, but by sizable parts of the global middle classes, too? When applying this ever-wider em- brace to green products and services, the shift looks somewhat like this: we've gone from ECO-UGLY (ugly, over-priced, low-performance, unsavory yet eco-friendly versions of the ʻreal thingʼ) to ECO-CHIC (eco-friendly stuff that actually looks as nice and cool as the less sustainable originals) to now ECO-ICONIC: ECO-ICONIC | "Eco-friendly goods and services sporting bold, iconic markers and de- sign, helping their eco-conscious owners show off their eco-credentials to their peers. At the heart of ECO-ICONIC is a status shift (isnʼt there always?): many consumers are eager to flaunt their green behavior and possessions because there are now millions of other consumers who are actually impressed by green lifestyles.” www.trendwatching.com 1 / 16
  • Now translate the above to the eco-sphere. To create eco-icons, creating a eco-friendly version of an existing product and Per the above definition, ECO-ICONIC is not about all green sticking a ‘hybrid’ or green label on it may work in some products, it’s about those products that through their distinct cases, but will most likely prove problematic, as it will either be appearance or stories actually show that they're green, or at least (literally) invisible, or will still be associated with the polluting ver- invoke some curiosity from onlookers, and thus help their owners/ sion. The Volkswagen Golf Hybrid—more on that later—is a good users attract recognition from their peers. How 'new' is this? Well, example. Instead, the solution is to make it new, bold and above just take a look around: a surprisingly high number of green prod- all, to make it look very different from existing non-green offer- ucts and services, imagined and designed in a distant past when ings. Like, yes, wait for it: the Prius. Want examples that aren't as green was seen as a compromise, still try to hide their sustainable overused? Scroll down. But first: superiority by looking as much like 'normal', 'non-green' products as possible. Now, ECO-ICONIC works both in the world of traditional status symbols (build a green brand/product, advertise the hell out of it and make it recognizable by the masses, which in turn makes it easy for buyers to get respect from strangers) and as part of the STATUS STORIES phenomenon, which involves providing buyers of little known/niche eco-brands with conversation starters and story details to get a status fix from their peers. We can’t point out often enough that hundreds and hundreds of millions of consumers, from the poor to the somewhat rich to the truly rich, don’t really care that much about the environment. Ei- ther because they don’t have the luxury of fretting over carbon To refresh your memory: emissions while trying to survive, or because they are too ad- dicted to living large, from SUVs to McMansions to jetsetting “An icon is an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or around the globe. Take cars: the only thing that seems to (some- what) influence the prosperous eco-unwilling is high fuel prices. likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it, or by analogy, as in semiotics; in computers an icon is a symbol But even then: on the monitor used to signify a command, file or record; by ex- tension, icon is also used, particularly in modern popular culture, • In 2007, US sales of small SUVs totaled 301,625 year-to- in the general sense of symbol — i.e. a name, face, picture, edi- date through November, an increase of 22.7% vs the fice or even a person readily recognized as having some well- year-ago period, according to AutoData. known significance or embodying certain qualities." (Source: • BMW saw its 2007 profits up by 9%, in part because of Wikipedia.) higher sales of its popular X5 SUV. • In 2007, 341,798 SUVs were sold in China, up 49.1 per- In brand and design terms: the iPod, the Mini, Coca-Cola bottles cent compared to the 229,182 SUVs sold in 2006. And in and Havaianas flip-flops ;-) the first two months of 2008, sales of sport utility vehi- Or, as StepInsideDesign puts it: cles in China were up 38 percent, while sales of luxury cars climbed 30 percent compared with the correspond- “Icons offer people idealization and identification. They are the ing period a year ago. ultimate manifestation of our collective desires. Modern icons are • In Australia, sales of new SUVs jumped 4.6% in October products of our culture, coming out of our desires and going on 2007 compared to September 2007. to pave the way for everyone else to follow -- becoming the benchmarks by which we judge all other brands.” www.trendwatching.com 2 / 16
  • Last but not least, many consumers are deeply skeptical about large corporations claiming to go green, as very few companies are seen as honest to begin with. However, as stated before, a large enough eco-conscious audience now exists to make it worthwhile for brands to join the ECO-ICONIC fray. Just seek out the eco-minded middle classes around the world and you will be off to a good start. For the next 12 months, at least ;-) • Belgium-based Ecover makes a range of domestic and professional cleaning products like washing-up liquid, laundry detergents and bleach. As a matter of policy, all ingredients are from renewable sources and of the "highest possible biodegradability." As promised, let’s move on to the examples. Here’s how brands from around the world are already making the most of ECO- ICONIC, as well as a few examples of brands that aren't getting it (yet). Note: we picked a few sectors that we think are setting the ECO- ICONIC tone right now. From real estate to automotive to utilities to detergents. Had we also included examples from airlines, ho- tels, furniture and so on, we would have ended up with a 120- page briefing. So please just add your own (industry-specific) examples if you'd like to turn this briefing into an in-house brain- storming session. And learn from cross-industry thinking. Re- • Daub & Bauble hand wash, hand lotion and dish deter- member the EXPECTATION ECONOMY? ;-) gent comes in three scents: Sorrento Lemon & Ginger, Mission Fig & Thyme and Tarocco Orange & Clove. Cleaning | In an ECO-ICONIC world, visibility counts, for big and Packaging features limited-edition patterns designed by small products alike. Which, in the case of cleaning products, Wink (of Target, Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters and means exposure will start the moment others check out your The Limited fame, among others). Daub & Bauble prod- shopping basket or cart. Will that bottle of washing-up liquid ucts use only natural ingredients and the bottles are fully scream 'green!'? Some examples: recyclable. Prices: between USD 8 and 10. Tagline: “Aesthetics with Ethics.” • And no, we didn't forget about Method, which was • New-Zealand-based Beauty Engineered Forever pro- started in 1999 and whose eco cleaning products line duces a range of environmentally-friendly household now extends to laundry, specialty surfaces, dish, hand & cleaning products from natural ingredients and essential body wash and all-purpose cleaners. Method’s very rec- oils that are not harmful to the environment and safe for ognizable design makes it the leader in ECO-ICONIC consumers. The packaging has been designed to con- cleaning. nect with the customer on a personal level with playful and cheeky pick-up lines, such as “I’ll do your dirty work” and “I’ll make it all white.” And yes, it’s different enough to be easily recognizable to visitors of one’s kitchen ;-) www.trendwatching.com 3 / 16
  • • Not so iconic: Clorox Green Works is at least 99 per- cent natural and made from ingredients derived from coconuts and lemon oil, and the products are formulated to be biodegradable, non-allergenic, packaged in recy- clabe bottles and not tested on animals. However, the design is far from different, and worse, the Clorox name will forever be associated with chlorine bleach. • Honda’s FCX Clarity is a fuel cell vehicle that runs on   electricity powered by hydrogen, and emits only water vapor and heat. Honda is also developing a Home En- Transportation | Now, chances are that when asked to name ergy Station for refueling the FCX Clarity, which it has iconic products, green or not, cars will come to mind first, with been testing in Torrance, California, since 2003. A mod- (for now) Toyota’s Prius taking the ECO-ICONIC prize. As The est roll-out in the US is scheduled for this summer, with New York Times put it: “Why are Prius sales surging when other Japan following in the fall. Honda is supposedly also hybrids are slumping? Because buyers want everyone to know working on a dedicated 'global hybrid' family car (mean- they are driving a hybrid." ing that like the Toyota Prius, there won't be a non- hybrid version) which is scheduled for launch in 2009. • First unveiled as a prototype in July 2006, Tesla Motors began regular production of its electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, in March 2008. The 2008 model is al- ready sold out and Tesla is currently taking reservations for the 2009 model. The 2008 Tesla Roadster acceler- Source: CNW Marketing Research ates from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, has a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) (limited for safety) and has No wonder then, that most other car manufacturers are keen to a base price of USD 98,000. There are already plans to give their ‘clean(er)’ cars a distinctive, if not iconic look. First, let's introduce a sedan, competing with the likes of the BMW look at two, by now well-publicized, ECO-ICONIC runner-ups: 5 Series and the Audi A6. www.trendwatching.com 4 / 16
  • • The all-electric version of the Aptera is priced at about • For more electrical sports cars and sedans in the mak- USD 27,000, and will go 120 miles on a charge. Its jet- ing: check out 2008 Electrum Spyder and the Venturi shaped appearance is nothing short of, well, iconic ;-) Fétish. And sedan-wise, let’s not forget the 2008 Dodge Zeo (Zero Emission Operation) concept car, the Chevro- let Volt, the Loremo… Oh well, you get the point. But ECO-ICONIC isn't restricted to flashy or big: the market is witnessing an 'innovation overload' in smaller, funky looking electric, hybrid, trybid and what have you cars. In a city near you (soon): • Another zero-emission car with iconic potential is the Mitsubishi iMiEV, first exhibited at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show last September. From the brochure: "The 'fast- back' exterior design expresses the quickness of the car with an appearance that is pleasing and lively." The iMiEV's release date in Japan might be moved up to 2009 (from 2010), with 1,000 vehicles possibly ready for sale at EUR 17,000 (USD 24,800) next year. (Source: Autoblog Green.) • Myers Motors all-electric NmG (No More Gas) has a range of about 30 miles and can be fully recharged in six to eight hours on any standard 110-volt outlet. The fully enclosed, single-passenger vehicle sports two front wheels and a single drive wheel in the rear. • The Nissan Pivo is a concept car by Nissan and is pow- ered by a lithium-ion battery. The car is essentially a 360 degree rotating cabin on a chassis of 4 wheels, and • Designed in California and manufactured in India, Goin- hence eliminates the need for reversing and makes park- Green's G-Wiz electric cars are a hit in London, where ing easier. The car's futuristic design incorporates large the company has sold over 1,000 units, making London doors for easy access to the cabin and large wind- the electric car capital of the world. screens and windows for high visibility. (Source: Wikipe- • The Subaru R1e is a battery-electric micro car undergo- dia.) ing development. Subaru hopes to start selling the car to consumers in 2010. www.trendwatching.com 5 / 16
  • Next? Chinese car makers going eco-friendly or at least eco- standard plug in 3 hours. A standard model, said to be friendlier. We'll save that one for a future briefing, but to get available soon, will cost USD 11,995. started, here's an excellent overview on Treehugger.com. Yes, we know, there are plenty of other vehicles and modes of transport going green and iconic, too. Three more examples, just for the fun of it: • The SunRay golf cart recharges its own batteries in the sun through solar panels mounted on the roof. The Spot the differences. company now also has a ‘Sunray Solar Roof Kit’ avail- able for other popular golf cart models. • P.S. Not so ECO-ECONIC: Volkswagen’s diesel-electric • Australian Solar Sailor has developed a ‘solar wing’ for hybrid version of their Golf hatchback. Whatever you do, ferries or yachts, which harvests both sun and wind en- don’t make it look like the old, polluting version of what ergy. Like a large sail, the (very iconic) solar wing can be you’ve been doing. This may have made sense a few manipulated into different rotating positions, as well as years ago, when hybrid meant lower performance and folding flat in high winds. The vessels can reach speeds less coolness, but those days are gone. But these days, of 10 to 13 knots, the same maximum speed as conven- owners of a 'hidden' hybrid simply miss out on a big tional ferries. Even on a cloudy day, enough energy is chunk of 'status'. Oh wait... Volkswagen just canceled generated to charge the vessel's main batteries and it... keep the boat running. Solar Sailor-powered vessels are already in service in Sydney Harbor, and the first of these "green ferries" in America could be launched in New York Harbor by Circle Line, which has partnered with Solar Sailor to build a USD 8 million, 115-foot hybrid ferry for its Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island route. And San Francisco announced that it will replace its ferries to Alcatraz with sun- and wind-powered ferries. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London, Stockholm, Rio and dozens of others to follow? (Tip of the hat to the New York Post and Wikipedia.) • And let’s not forget eco two-wheelers: check out Suzuki and Intelligent Energy’s collaboration, which resulted in the Suzuki Crosscage, a prototype hydrogen-fuelled concept motorcycle. • From Oregon-based Brammo Motorsports comes the Enertia Bike, a fully electric bike with a top speed of 50 mph and a range of 45 miles. It can fully recharge via a www.trendwatching.com 6 / 16
  • starters that should provide you with inspiration even if you don't work in fashion. • Adidas Originals’ eco collection—the Grün Collec- tion—offers a range of products, including classic sil- houettes like the Forum basketball sneaker and the ZX • Here’s one of our favorites from the pedal sector: French 500 runner, all made from recycled and natural materials. La Petite Reine, which maintains a fleet of about 60 More importantly, the earth tones and fabrics get the Cargocycles for hire by businesses that need to make message across to other eco-conscious sneaker freaks. small to medium-sized urban deliveries over a distance of up to 30 km. Weighing only 80 kg (as opposed to 1,000 kg or more for most delivery vans), each Cargocy- cle can transport about 180 kg of merchandise in its 1,400-liter cargo space, with the help of an electric as- sist motor. Cargocycle deliveries are faster than those made via traditional truck, and also 10 to 20 percent less expensive, La Petite Reine says. It makes some 2,500 less-polluting deliveries every day for clients including DHL, ColiPoste and Monoprix. • And one more shoe example, to illustrate a missed op- portunity: in February Nike introduced its Trash Talk shoes. From the sole to the shoelaces, this shoe is pro- Bags and shoes | Enough automotive. What could be more visi- duced not only from ‘environmentally preferred’ materi- ble than the stuff consumers wear or carry, day in, day out? There als but also recycled waste, with much of the latter com- are plenty of ECO-ICONIC opportunities in the world of haute ing from Nike’s own production facilities—scraps that couture and fast fashion. Check out: would otherwise have been discarded. It’s a great idea, but the shoes don’t exactly tout their eco-credentials, looking too much like Nike’s other shoes. Same for Nike’s eco-friendly Considered line. Pity.     Clean DIY power | Not only is consumer-generated solar and wind power ‘hot’, it can also be a very visible, iconic activity. Hey, personal windmills or solar panels are the new green accessory ;-) Learn from: • Ecoist's bags are made from misprinted or discontinued snack bags, pull tabs and candy wrappers. Material that would otherwise end up in landfills is folded into straps and woven into bags and clutches by Mexican artisans and Brazilian women’s cooperatives. Yup, it's been • First, more bags: made of Bavarian leather, Noon Solar’s around for a while but it's one of those eco-conversation Corland Solar Powered Bag incorporates a flexible www.trendwatching.com 7 / 16
  • solar panel into the body of each bag, which allows for • Sometime this year, Citizenrē REnU will allow consum- charging a cell phone or iPod. Collecting energy with the ers to rent a solar energy system (the REnU) for 1, 5 or bag is simple. The bag can be placed in a window with 25 years, instead of having to make significant invest- the panel facing towards the sun at work, home, at a ments by buying one, and having to deal with mainte- café, or while walking/biking around town. Even on nance. At the end of each month, Citizenrē will send a cloudy or rainy days, energy is collected through the UV bill showing how much electricity the REnU system has light of the sun. The battery pack has a green indicator generated that month. The company claims to have that lights up when it's charging. The current Fall 2008 signed up 30,000 people who are interested in partici- collection of the Corland Solar bag retails for USD 383, pating. However, as the site warns: “We want to make but is already sold out. Other solar bags from Noon So- very clear that the location of Citizenrē’s manufacturing lar are the Willow (USD 274) and the Logan (USD 412). facility is still in negotiation. And, as with all scheduling, Check out these other solar bag makers, too: Reware, delays can occur.” Also, keep an eye on SolarCity, a Eclipse, Picard and Voltaic. California-based solar installer, whose SolarLease leas- ing program offers a similar promise. Hey, visibly decking out roofs with solar panels is as ECO-ICONIC as it gets! • Edinburgh-based Renewable Devices’ Swift Rooftop Wind Energy System has been on the market since 2004. The 'Swift' roof-mounted wind turbine has a power output of 1.5 kW, and has been installed on hun- dreds of buildings (residential, and on Tesco supermar- • Italian design house Zegna created the ZegnaSport So- kets and BP gas stations) across the UK. The price is lar Jacket with built-in solar cells in its collar to charge around GBP 2,000 including installation. the wearer’s iPod and mobile phone. The electricity is • Mariah Power’s Windspire is a wind power appliance transferred via conducting textile cables to a small Li-ion that provides a safe method for harnessing power from storage battery, or directly to a device. the wind. At 30 feet tall and 2 feet wide, Windspire sports a propeller-free design, and sells for USD 3,995. • In the US, Arizona-based Southwest Windpower rustled up USD 8 million in venture capital for development of its new 1.8 KW Skystream 3.7 turbine. The Skystream pro- duces usable energy in exceptionally low winds and will provide up to 100% of the energy needs for a home or small business. Any extra energy is fed into the utility grid, spinning the customer's meter backwards. The price is approximately USD 13,000, which includes in- • HYmini is a hand-held universal power charger that uses stallation costs. wind and solar energy to top up most gadgets, and it • Canadian WINDTERRA is targeting the residential mar- comes with miniSOLAR panels and extra batteries to ket with its vertical axis wind turbine, the Eco 1200, de- store even more power. Twenty minutes of stiff breeze signed to operate in micro-winds of as low as 3 meters will provide 30 minutes of iPod time. The HYmini can be per second (about 10.8 kilometers per hour). The Wind- attached to bike handlebars or car windows. The basic terra costs USD 7,000 including installation. HYmini device costs USD 49.99. Also check out com- peting Solio, whose hand charger was voted Best of Adventure Gear by National Geographic. Commercial real estate | Last but not least, green trophy build- ings are all the rage, and like cars, they offer a fun, almost indul- gent starting point for anyone trying to spruce up their ECO- ICONIC offerings. Consider the exhibitionist glee with which these buildings expose their vast green roofs, towering windmills and glimmering acres of solar panels. www.trendwatching.com 8 / 16
  • three huge 225-kilowatt wind turbines and 4000 photo- voltaic panels. Plans are still in the development phase, but the building is slated to be completed by 2010. • The 309-meter-tall Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, aims to be one of the most environmentally-friendly buildings in the world. Slated for completion in 2009, it too fea- tures turbines that turn wind into energy for the build- ing's heating, ventilating and air conditioning. • The Bahrain World Trade Center is the world's first commercial building to incorporate large-scale wind tur- bines into its initial design. It has three massive wind turbines that measure 29 meters in diameter and are • More Dubai: the 370-meter, 92-floor Wave Tower, de- supported on bridges between the BWTC’s two 240- signed by the Spanish architectural group A-cero, will meter-high towers. The turbines generate approximately be located right on the water. The “seascraper” is de- 11–15% of the BWTC’s total energy needs. signed to be a green building: interior gardens or 'sky gardens' will be located in common zones, improving the air quality and working as natural temperature regu- lators. The building's silk-screened glass skin will assist with controlling heat from the sun. Wave Tower will also contain a water purification plant, which will desalinate and purify the surrounding sea water to be used as drinking water and for landscape maintenance and sew- age. (Source: MetaEfficient.) Pictured: Light House / Castle House / Pearl River • The Castle House, a 42-storey apartment tower under construction at Elephant and Castle in London, will fea- ture a roof with an array of integrated wind turbines, each nine meters in diameter. • The Lighthouse is currently being designed by interna- • The Solstice on the Park, a 26-storey residential tower tional consultants Atkins (who also designed the afore- in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, to be completed mentioned Bahrain WTC), and is envisioned as a 360- in September 2010, is literally shaped by solar access. meter, 55-storey luxury low-carbon office tower in Dubai. Its surface is designed to precisely the optimum angle Quite a lot of the structure’s energy will be gained from for 41.5 degrees north (Chicago), which allows the sun www.trendwatching.com 9 / 16
  • to enter the apartments during winter for passive solar warming and keeps it out during the summer to reduce air-conditioning usage. The saw-tooth design creates balconies that block direct midday sun, decreasing the need for power-hungry air conditioning. In winter, when the sun is lower, rays pass through the windows to warm the interior. Quote from the architects: “By making lati- tude into a visible feature for the façade and its reason- to-be, the project challenges the current notion of pure iconography and symbolism in tall buildings."   • South Beach is a planned commercial and residential complex to be located on Beach Road in downtown Singapore. The development will feature two new tow- ers, 45 and 42 stories tall, which house two luxury ho- tels, offices and apartments. Designed by British archi- tectural firm Foster + Partners, a key feature of the de- sign is a large 'environmental filter' canopy that covers open spaces, providing shelter from the elements and drawing air currents to cool the area beneath it. The two towers will have slanting facades to catch wind and di- rect air flow to ground-level spaces. The buildings' fa- cades will also incorporate photovoltaic cells. Rainwater • The Agro-Housing concept by Israeli Knafo Klimor Ar- will be collected off the towers and the canopy and flow chitects is a combination of housing and urban agricul- into a holding tank underground, instead of being ture. The building is composed of two parts: an apart- wasted. South Beach is scheduled for completion in ment tower and a vertical greenhouse. The greenhouse 2012. (Source: Wikipedia.) is a multi-level structure for cultivating crops such as vegetables, fruits, flowers and spices. It's equipped with a drip-irrigation system, heating system and natural ven- tilation. Knafo Klimor Architects developed this concept with concern for predictions that 50% of China's citizens will eventually live in its cities, a trend mirrored in many developing countries in the world. www.trendwatching.com 10 / 16
  • • And last but not least, expect many more green roofs and walls to add to the ECO-ICONIC landscape. From GAP’s headquarters in San Bruno, California, to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to the Ann Demeulemeester store in Seoul, to the ACROS building in Fukuoka, Japan. And yes, green roofs will increasingly appeal to households, too. More examples If there’s one trend that will eventually render ECO-ICONIC 1.0 at the aptly named greenroofs.com, and Wikipedia. obsolete, it’s going to be ECO-EMBEDDED: “While the current good intentions of corporations and consumers are helpful, serious eco-results will depend on making products and processes more sustainable without consumers even noticing it, and, if necessary, not leaving much room for consumers and companies to opt for less sustainable alternatives. Which will often mean forceful, if not painful, government intervention, or some serious corporate guts, or brilliantly smart design and thinking, if not all of those combined. Think green buildings, or a ban on plastic bags or gas- guzzlers—anything that becomes truly embedded into This Trend Briefing is just a snapshot of what’s happening out daily life, and by default leaves no choice, no room for there. For ongoing ECO-ICONIC inspiration, from detergents to complacency.” motorcycles, check out the following sources: In fact, the regulation part of ECO-EMBEDDED has already been • Inhabitat called the 'fourth R' (remember the main priorities for individuals • Treehugger and societies keen on a more sustainable lifestyle: Reduce, Re- • Springwise (our sister site) use, Recycle). What better way to bring ECO-EMBEDDED to life • Evo than some global examples of governments, architects and • And our new fave: MetaEfficient brands that are taking action: However, make sure you don't just track other people’s smart innovations, but design and market a few yourself, too! But wait, there’s more: www.trendwatching.com 11 / 16
  • Wikipedia, including initiatives in Ireland, Bhutan, China, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Italy. Plastics | Consider the incredible pollution (and waste) caused by the production and disposal of plastic bags: Taking the ban beyond bags: in Australia, the soon-to-be-built • 500 billion plastic bags are sold every year AUD 300 million Totem shopping center at Balgowlah may be the • Almost 80% of plastic bag use is by consumers in North first council-enforced plastic-free zone in the country. All 60 re- America and western Europe tailers, including Coles supermarket, will be banned from provid- • 88.5 billion plastic bags were used in the US in 2006 ing plastic bags. They will also be banned from handing out food • 1,460 plastic bags are used in a year by an average fam- and drink containers made out of plastic or non-biodegradable ily of four in the US foam. (Source: Manly Daily.) • Less than 1% of all plastic bags are recycled in the US • It takes 1,000 years for plastic bags to degrade Now, it would be *very* easy for consumers to bring their own durable shopping bags voluntarily when they head for the grocery store. Well, they just don’t and the majority probably never will. And if left to corporations, it will take years and years of half- assed pilot programs to beg consumers to bring their own, or charge them a few cents per bag. (To no avail: most consumers will gladly pay up. Only when the price is raised to 20 cents, like it was in Ireland, will consumers start to take notice). The only solu- tion: governments stepping in, and getting rid of the bags all to- gether, leaving all parties involved no choice but to deal with it. Learn from: Credit cards | Yet another manifestation of ECO-EMBEDDED, this one championed by corporations: automatic carbon offset- • San Francisco, where an estimated 180 million plastic ting, as part of a purchase or purchasing process. Whereas a bags are distributed to shoppers each year. As of 20 small number of companies now timidly ask their customers if November 2007, any large grocery store with more than they’re willing to maybe, perhaps, please spend a bit more after a five locations in the city of San Francisco is no longer purchase to offset the accompanying carbon emissions (espe- allowed to bag groceries in petroleum-based plastic. The cially airlines), why not go one step further and just embed the ‘free’ bags at the checkout stands will be made either of extra cost into the price? Two examples: recycled and recyclable paper or of certified composta- ble plastic materials such as corn or potato starch. In • By using GE's Earth Rewards credit card, consumers May 2008, the plastic bag ban will also extend to major ensure that a portion of their net expenditure will go to pharmacies. offsetting the emissions created by their purchases and • Similar measures are being considered in Boston, Oak- activities. For example, spending USD 25 contributes land, Portland, Santa Monica, and Steamboat Springs enough to offset the emissions associated with running a (Colorado). Plastic shopping bags are banned in at least typical refrigerator for a month. Spending USD 500 off- 30 villages and towns in Alaska. Worldwide, plastic sets the emissions from driving almost 1,500 miles in an shopping bags are banned in Bangladesh and Taiwan, average car. while in France, a nationwide ban is scheduled to take • Brazilian Ipiranga gas stations have launched a Carbono effect on January 1, 2010. More on plastic bag bans on Zero credit card in cooperation with MasterCard, which www.trendwatching.com 12 / 16
  • offsets the carbon emissions from their customers. farms and photovoltaic farms as well as research fields When a customer uses the card to pay for fuel, Ipiranga and plantations so that the city will be entirely self- calculates how much CO2 emission that amount of fuel sustaining. Completion date: 2015. represents and will revert part of the sales to CO2 neu- tralization programs. Means of offsetting CO2 include reforestation projects, preservation of the rainforest and sponsorship of renewable energy companies.   • Foster + Partners sure are busy: Moscow's Crystal Is- land is a new development located on the Nagatino Green(er) taxis | As part of PlaNYC, the New York Taxi and Lim- Peninsula, edged by the Moscow River, only 7.5 km from ousine Commission will implement new emissions and mileage the Kremlin. The USD 4 billion "city inside a building", standards for yellow taxicabs that will lead to a fully hybrid fleet which would become one of the tallest structures on the by October 2012. The new standards will be phased in over a planet, will reach 450 m into the sky, and house up to four-year period and will reduce the carbon emissions of New 30,000 residents. The exterior facade will be solar re- York City's taxicab and for-hire vehicle fleet by 50% over the next sponsive and will include solar panels which, along with decade. According to the PlaNYC, "New York City's 13,000 taxi wind turbines, will generate electricity for the huge tower. cabs will still be yellow on the outside, but soon they will be green Dynamic enclosure panels can be controlled to modify on the inside.” Currently there are only 375 hybrid vehicles in the temperature inside the building—closed in winter for city's taxi fleet. extra warmth and opened in summer to allow natural ventilation. Crystal Island is scheduled to be built within Green cities | While also part of ECO-EMBEDDED, we opted to the next 5 years. showcase green buildings in the ECO-ICONIC part of this brief- ing. So let’s move on to lots of green buildings that together form ECO-EMBEDDED cities. Here's a few to get you going: • Dongtan is a new eco-city planned for the island of Chongming near Shanghai. Planned to open by the time the Expo 2010 opens in Shanghai, it will house 50,000 residents, while by 2040, the city is slated to be one- third the size of Manhattan with a population of 500,000. • The much-publicized Masdar Initiative (Foster + Part- Dongtan will produce its own energy from wind, solar, ners) is a newly-planned, six-million-square-meter de- bio-fuel and recycled city waste, and—in order to reduce velopment within Abu Dhabi and aims to be the world’s its impact on the environment—will only allow hydrogen- first “zero carbon, zero waste” city. It will also be car- fueled or renewable-energy-fueled cars on its streets. free, with surrounding land planned to contain wind www.trendwatching.com 13 / 16
  • Green nations | Green buildings, cities and... nations. The rush is on: in April 2007, Norway, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, stated that it was aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030, while Costa Rica aims for the same by 2021. California (practically a country by itself ;-) aims to cut emissions by 80% by 2050. Swe- den claims it will be the first oil-free country in the world by 2020. And last but not least, in Iceland, 99.95% of all electricity used is already produced by green energy. • The Bionic Tower is a proposed vertical, ecologically- sound city designed by Spanish architects Eloy Celaya and Cervera & Pioz, created to hold 100,000 people in a 300-storey tower of 1,200 meters high. The Bionic Tower has no governmental or financial backers at this time, though the city of Hong Kong is said to be interested. We’ll keep an eye on possible developments. You never know! Count on the list of ECO-EMBEDDED initiatives to become much longer this year: • Keep an eye on German cities like Berlin, Hannover, Dortmund, Cologne and Stuttgart, which have applied a complete ban on all vehicles that don't have a catalytic converter or diesel particulate filter. To enter these ‘low emission zones’, cars must have a windshield sticker stating the installation of such devices. Drivers without will be fined EUR 40. Similar plans are currently being applied in cities around Italy, while other cities in Europe • Designed by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA office, The Gateway (Amsterdam, Madrid) are also thinking about ‘dirty car’ Eco City in the UAE Emirate of Ras al Khaimah is a bans. (Source: Autoblog Green.) planned eco city intended to be entirely sustainable. • The incandescent light bulb will be phased out of the Solar technology will power the 1.2 million-square-meter U.S. market beginning in 2012. Under the measure, all city, built using locally-sourced Arabic materials and light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than to- aesthetic styles to support the city’s overall ethos of day's products by 2012 to 2014. Earlier, Australia and sustainability. Development will take shape in five Italy became the first countries to announce an outright phases; the estimated time for completion is 2012. ban by 2010 on incandescent bulbs. Countries such as   the Philippines, Brazil, Venezuela, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand are also at- tempting to introduce measures to phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs. For an overview, see Wikipe- dia. Still, we’re not there yet: www.trendwatching.com 14 / 16
  • • As part of its sustainable growth initiative, FIJI Water will offset its total carbon footprint by 120%. Pity it still in- volves plastic bottles, of course. • London-based Ecoigo, a ‘green’ car service, aims to be carbon positive, offsetting double the emissions from every trip as well as from energy used by its office. • BMW Hydrogen 7 series may not be very ECO-ICONIC, looking exactly like the original, ‘dirty’ 7 series, it does apparently sport an engine that actively cleans the air, actually showing emissions that, for certain compo- nents, such as Non Methane Organic Gases (NMOG’s) and Carbon Monoxides (CO’s), are cleaner than the ambient air that comes into the car’s engine. Now, even if this is to be taken with a grain of salt, it perfectly illustrates what ECO-BOOSTERS should one day be about. • US-based ‘Off The Earth’ sells handmade Flower Seed Paper that produces a bloom of flowers after being used. The paper sheets can be planted directly into the soil in a pot or in the garden.A fun advertising application of this cradle-to-cradle thinking: when Honda UK While ECO-EMBEDDED may make the first wave of ECO-ICONIC wanted to remind avid gardeners that their range of products and services redundant, expect the ECO-BOOSTERS products is not only good for their garden, but also good trend to offer ECO-ICONIC a new lease on life: for the environment, they worked with inferno to print the mailer on similar paper containing seeds that could ECO-BOOSTERS | “Expect smart companies to quickly be planted to grow flowers. We know, we know, it's a bit move from ‘merely’ neutralizing and offsetting their unde- frilly, and a digital mailer would still have been better, but sirable eco-effects to actually boosting the environment it's the thought (and direction) that counts ;-) by doing something extra.” Just remember, if your brand • ‘The Energy Plus’ office building in Paris, designed by wants to be UBER-ECO, boosting is the new neutral ;-) (again) Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will have the largest solar roof array in the world. It will generate all energy needed for the building, as well as providing additional energy to be fed back into the grid. Aforementioned Basically, once companies and consumers can no longer get Masdar Headquarters will also generate more energy away with anything less than totally offsetting their negative im- than it consumes. pact on the environment—and this will happen sooner rather • The city of Perpignan (France) will invest EUR 500 million than later—the only way to stand out, to gain any kind of re- in the development of a renewable energy park capable spect in the eco-sphere, will be to go the extra mile (no pun of providing 135 MW of power, which represents more intended). From planting more trees than is strictly required, to energy over a year than the electricity consumption of cleaning up not only your own mess, but someone else's, too. the city of 200,000 inhabitants. Surplus energy will be bought by electricity company EDF at a better rate than These boosts will then used by brands to add 'green boasts' to is paid for electricity from other sources. their green products and services that in turn will make their own- • Back to DIY green power for a bit: in California, the As- ers and users look even more attractive and considerate. So the sembly Bill 1920 (also called the Solar Surplus Power bar will be raised yet again. As we're not futurists, this is not Bill) will enable consumers who produce solar power to something for 2020 or even 2010; it's already happening. Check be paid by their utility company for any excess electricity out some early ECO-BOOSTER examples to get a feel for things they produce on an annual basis. Michigan, Minnesota, to come: and Rhode Island are considering similar plans. www.trendwatching.com 15 / 16
  • Count on merely being sustainable, or merely being carbon- neutral to soon be the starting point, not the end goal. So start thinking about how your brand can actually boost the environ- ment instead of just limiting the damage. Call it PR or responsibil- ity or both. As long as you’re going out of your way to do some- thing extra, everyone wins. Quick exercise: come up with at least one headline-worthy (and honest!) ECO-BOOSTER to be implemented before the year is over, learning from the examples in this briefing. Hey, you have half a year left! When designing your 2009 eco product line, don't mirror what's already out there in the non-eco world, but make it bold, original, distinguishable, and yes, iconic. Whether it's cars, shoes or de- tergents. Find your own Jonathan Ive (by engaging in a bit of CROWD MINING perhaps?) and give your customers something that will yield them instant respect and status from other green- minded consumers. Quick exercise: name three ECO-ICONIC products in your in- dustry? And how can you do better, learning from ECO-ICONIC leaders in other industries (hence this briefing)? Prepare for much more regulation in years to come as it is the only way to embed sustainability into mature and emerging economies. (China, anyone?) Which means new markets for any- thing and everything. So joining in, instead of fighting the inevita- ble, may be a smart move. Why wait until something becomes mandatory—especially if you can see it coming for miles and miles—to then (yet again) be lumped in with the laggards? Quick exercise: come up with at least three products and serv- ices in your portfolio that are most likely to be replaced with ‘em- bedded’ alternatives in the near future. Are you in any way pre- pared to make money from those alternatives? www.trendwatching.com 16 / 16