Investigating new spaces in Retail

Welcome to "nouveau monde", your "nouveau genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #33!

We decided this week in nouveau monde to get a bit more technical…

Things move fast in retail and sustainability, we’re really happy to help you get the right tips and be inspired !

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Today's newsletter is 654 words, a 3-minute read.


Let’s get a bit more technical

by Phil

E-commerce sales in the US jumped nearly 32 percent in 2020 compared to the prior year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and it won’t stop. The Supply Chain is heating up. What could be the consequences for the planet?

The MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab is a research and development laboratory for the built environment that measures the financial and economic performance of innovation in real estate, design and planning. The lab published a study stimulating hundreds of thousands of those kinds of scenarios and found online shopping to be more sustainable than traditional retail 75 percent of the time, recommending how shoppers and policymakers could instead help reduce carbon footprints at various steps of the supply chain, because either way, people are buying more.

"Unlike any other form of real estate, retail and e-commerce can make the greatest impact on climate, as the location and transportation interaction can fundamentally alter the total emissions for consumers."

To read the full report, it’s here.

If you need more research, the Environmental Science and Technology published a “Comparative Greenhouse Gas Footprinting of Online versus Traditional Shopping for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods: A Stochastic Approach” Here, developing a stochastic model to quantify the variability in the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints of product distribution and purchase of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) via three prevalent retail channels in the United Kingdom (U.K.), analyzing that shopping via bricks and clicks (click and fulfillment via physical store delivery) most likely decreases the GHG footprints when substituting traditional shopping, while FMCGs purchased through pure players with parcel delivery often have higher GHG footprints compared to those purchased via traditional retail.

The full article here.


Empty Spaces

by Anthony

I will go a little bit out of the retail industry today to speak about real estate. I've always been interested in town planning and the way we can make people live better in cities or wherever.

So, it's a long time that I follow the work of one of Alphabet (aka Google) subsidies : Sidewalk Labs that invests in solutions for cities (if you don't know it, go and visit Coord, especially if you're in the delivery business...).

This time, my mind has been focused on another company of their portfolio : Ori. Ori designs smart furniture to optimize space in small apartments in crowded cities and enable people to have both the space and the coziness at the same time.

Yes, we've always seen foldable beds and other furnitures hiding in some wall or ceiling. No big revolution here, apart from the fact that's it's done in the 2020's and that you have all this connected to your digital life. And the most important part might be that this kind of structure must be flexible so that it can evolve with the needs of its inhabitants.

Why is it so important to focus on such a topic, today, especially in a newsletter about sustainability ?

Well, as our french Housing Minsiter, Emmanuelle Wargon outlined last month the suburbs housing model, designed in the 70's, with the car as the main transportation system, is not sustainable anymore and must be redesigned.

Well, she quickly had to backpedal when the building industry fell on her back, but I think she said is a true fact and that it’s only a matter of time that people admit it (if you speak French, read the excellent book from Sylvain Grisot, "Manifeste Pour un Urbanisme Circulaire", which sums it up clearly).

So, offering convenient, flexible, lasting solutions for people to live better in cities, therefore enabling more density, therefore less individual transportation is an ecosystem solution that one should think about when working on a more sustainable city.


Quick hits

Could Climate Change Make Food Less Nutritious?

New research looks at the way climate change will impact crop yields and foods rich in micronutrients like zinc, vitamin A, and iron, putting low- and middle-income countries at increased risk of malnutrition. 

Read more on Civil Eats !


Bonus track by Anthony

You can access the full nouveau monde playlist here on Spotify.