Introducing the band & the GIANT + IKEA case

Welcome to "Nouveau Monde", sort of a "Nouveau Genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. Be ready gents!

Introducing the band

Hi there and welcome to Nouveau Monde ! In this newsletter, Phil and Anthony will deep dive in retailers and startups innovations that will help make the world better !

A little background for you dear audience there : Phil and Anthony met in 2016 while they were both working at ZTP, a company dedicated to help retail businesses innovate. They took different directions but could not stand not having any project together, they are still interested in these type of topics and they love to share some stories about it.

Every two weeks (hopefully) they will try to go deep on a some specific topics, Phil with its lens of no BS and Anthony (the geek guy in the gang) will talk about how it impacts climate change. Please subscribe to get fresh news on your inbox !

So, let’s go ! This week, we’ll talk about an iconic brand that has decided to be bold on its climate commitments, and a retailer concerned by the products he's selling to his customers !


by Phil

The Giant Company is an American regional supermarket chain that operates stores in 5 states including Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The chain operates full-scale supermarkets under the Giant and Martin's banners along with small-scale urban stores under the Giant Heirloom Market banner. Giant is a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize USA, having then some European roots somehow, having almost 200 stores.

Giant is pushing its efforts towards sustainable retailing by joining forces with independent research company HowGood to help digital grocery shoppers access an easy-to-use environmental and social impact rating system. HowGood is a SaaS platform with more than 33,000 ingredients, chemicals, and materials assessed, and impact data available for brands and retailers to improve their environmental and social impact, providing in-depth, ingredient-level insights into factors ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to animal welfare to labor risk.

“Our new partnership with HowGood reinforces our commitment to healing the planet — whether it’s through greater product transparency or reducing waste. We continue to explore opportunities throughout The GiantCompany’s entire operation to do what we can to further lessen our environmental footprint and empower sustainable choices in our customers’ shopping experience,” said Manuel Haro, the vice president of strategy and communications.

Customers at Giant Direct and Martin’s Direct will be able to access the service, which analyzes how each product is ranked against such environmental and social criteria as farming practices, treatment of animals, labor conditions and chemical use.

I seems that customers in the US are becoming more concerned by certain factors when it comes to go grocery shopping which are actually not necessarily the price. More information are available on Internet and online shopping is increasing, giving more time for shoppers to think about it. Or maybe that’s a way to seduce the new generations of customers (the famous Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z and what’s coming next).

On the other side of the Ocean, a company I met back in January 2016 in Redwood City that I introduced to some potential investors, called Innit (for “what’s in it”), is doing a good job as well with Retailers (in France with Carrefour, Intermarché for example) on a similar use case, starting from dinner ideas to personalized nutrition information, ingredient trends for example.

More sources:

Giant website
Press release
Innit Teams With SPINS to Add Personalization, Guided Cooking and Shoppable Recipes to Grocer Websites


by Anthony

Among all the companies that communicate nowadays about their climate pledge, it's difficult to identify the ones that are really concerned.

I tend to believe that IKEA is doing pretty well regarding the multiple actions they have set since a few years.

And when you know that the total IKEA climate footprint is an estimated 0.1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, we can tell that IKEA has a great responsibility and that it stands for it.

By the end of 2020, IKEA made its pledge to become climate positive by 2030 and detailed how it planned to do so. What’s interesting is that it is a mix of a wide variety of actions that seem really smart to put together.

Not only it plans to transform its whole supply chain, invest in more sustainable forests and so on but also help its clients produce their own electricity by developing their own solar panels, help them reduce their carbon footprint by launching their own  tiny houses dedicated to living in a more frugal way.

But in such cases, it’s when it comes to the core system - and the money - that it becomes difficult. We’ll see how it goes but for the moment, things to be well on track.

“We’re not just changing the engines, we’re changing the entire business model” - Angela Hultberg, Head of Sustainable Mobility

IKEA is transforming its whole delivery chain by replacing its gas vehicles by electric ones but also trying to bring cargo bikes and other low carbon modes in the game.

Same thing for their food division : long time well known for its Swedish meatballs, IKEA is transforming its whole offer to bring more veggie food, and more sustainable stuff. Their veggie meatballs have only 4% of the carbon footprint of the traditional ones.

Don’t take everything for granted and keep an eye on this pledge but there is one more thing that might enable IKEA to win its bet - and the battle for the climate : it is privately owned and therefore has the ability to see long term. We’ve recently seen with Danone’s case that when you’re on the market, well the market reminds you that it needs cash, even if you’re a purpose driven company.

More resources :

HBR interview with Jesper Brodin, CEO Ingka Group
Greenbiz article summarizing what ikea does around sustainability 

Bonus track

Introducing the band by Suede - 1994

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Cheers !