I apologize for the long gaps between posts lately, but I have definitely been fighting a lack of motivation as this stretch of being at home has stretched past six months. I am hoping we can get out for a little road trip next week to shake things up and hopefully generate some stories and pics to share. In addition I find the current political climate to be exhausting here in the U.S., especially being a fairly liberal minded person in a very red state area. The latest is the whole questioning of the Supreme Court replacement. First, it’s incredibly sad that at the passing of a person who gave so much of herself to the country and serves as an amazing example for young women everywhere, the focus is not on celebrating her life and accomplishments, but in fighting over her replacement. My largest disgust are the hypocrites who argued against going through with an appointment in an election year back in 2016, but who are willing to completely ignore what they said in order to support the agenda of “He Who Shall Not be Named”. I really don’t want to get into politics as I find it exhausting and I try and respect the beliefs of others, but hypocrisy needs to be called out by everyone regardless of what political side you are on. We need to stop letting people try and divide us further and further for their own gains and agenda.
Okay, off that soapbox and on to some interesting things I have come across in the last week or so:
I came across a great article in Fast Company that you can read here, and which really made me give some thought as to the opportunity we have to rethink so many things during this unprecedented period.
“Old success was selfish and short-lived; new success must be shared and sustaining.”
These extraordinary times provide the opportunity to question how we define success in business. Do we stick with older concepts like revenue, “winning”, maximizing profits or shareholder return? All of these create short-term fixations and very narrow views, as we have seen time and time again over the past few decades. What if we placed value on employee well-being, community and societal impact, and questioning how we foster the best of humanity?
What could we accomplish if we shift our goals and measurements to focus on building healthier people, companies, markets and communities? What if a premium was put on addressing the biggest issues facing all of those constituencies? None of this involves de-emphasizing capitalism, but does require us to redefine what a successful company looks like and then we need to put our support behind those companies that deliver on what we feel is important.
Taken even further, how would you define success in your own life? What weight would be given to quality of life vs. amount of money earned? How would you evaluate your impact on the environment or your local community vs. what you were able to amass? These are not right or wrong questions, and will be different for each of us, but the important step is to take some time to think through those questions and develop answers that make sense to you.
Plant Based Plastic
Another great article from Fast Company that you can read here, and which details how while essential and important they are probably not 100% of the solution.
“It would take a major reshaping of global agriculture to generate enough material to replace petroleum-based plastic with plant-based ones. Circularity has to be the end goal.”
To replace a seemingly endless stream of disposable packaging and items, the market has seen an influx of plant-based items and biomaterials. These new items are biodegradable or compostable, and biomaterials such as wood, corn, hemp and cotton can be grown over and over, often with smaller carbon footprints than their fossil-fuel counterparts. We need to embrace many of these new materials and their short-term growing pains to mitigate climate change and move to regenerative production.
However, to make this work we need to invest in new waste infrastructures to handle the new materials properly, and also plan to achieve a balance between food requirements and plant materials for the manufacturing of “plastic”. The more we can develop closed loops where the materials can be recycled into new products with fewer new inputs required the more quickly we can mitigate climate change and improve lives globally.
This is a problem and solution with many moving pieces that will impact our diets and what we consume, that will depend on how renewable we can produce and how we create circular product lifespans. The companies that successfully tackle these problems will be the market leaders of the mid Century.
Renting Running Shoes
Consumers cannot buy the new Cyclon running shoe from Swedish shoe company, On. Instead, you can subscribe to their monthly rental plan where you will receive replacement pairs on a regular basis and return the previously worn pair so they can be recycled and turned into new shoes.
At about $30 per month, and shoes replaced every six months, the program is designed to meet runners’ needs at a price that is only somewhat of a premium over purchasing shoes outright. Adding to the program is that the shoes are 100% recyclable and are simply returned in the box that the replacement pairs are shipped in.
You can get more details here.
I go through a pair of shoes about twice a year, so I can see this concept catching on. I also don’t think it’s hard to envision other categories where a similar model could be deployed so long as you can deliver on the right mix of sustainability and product performance. It is interesting how often Scandinavian companies seem to be on the forefront on these new ideas. All that extra indoor time during the winter maybe?
Local vs Amazon
Cinch Market is a newer online marketplace that aggregates the inventory of local businesses in Brooklyn to support same-day delivery and compete with national retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart. The end goal of the marketplace is to keep “our neighborhoods strong and money in our community.”
Launched in June, Cinch Market cites three beliefs:
- Community>Profit – businesses are asked to share nine percent of the sale to offset delivery costs and other expenses (Amazon generally charges 15%)
- Take Good Care of Each Other – delivery staff are paid $20-$25 per hour (plus tips)
- We Are Better Together – using scale lets us reduce costs to everyone
You can read the full article here.
I love this concept, and could see this grow into more and more markets as given the current climate I think we are all a little more sensitive to the need to support our local businesses. If something like this comes to my area, I will definitely sign up and become a user of the marketplace right away.
That’s all for this week, (whew, it was a lot), as always let me know what you are thinking.
Thee Free Range Viking