Meat two. Sort of. And sew. Quick.
Welcome to "nouveau monde", your "nouveau genre" (see, we even create new words) newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #40, not bad, huh ?
Le menu du jour at nouveau monde is about some pieces about agriculture in the 21st Century and about sewing.
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 1,105 words, a 5.32654-minutes read.
Meat is Murder (Bis)
We often talk about food in nouveau monde and indeed, it is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, we talked about false ideas that can lead us to make bad food choices, simply because we don't have enough information to take the good decisions (we also make bad decisions because it's easier, and it's ok !).
A recent study gives us great insights about a way to significantly reduce greenhouse gases emissions for real and rather quick.
Disclaimer : the writer of the study directly benefits at the application of its findings, as he is CEO of Impossible Foods a plant-based meat company.
Because, yes, the study shows in a very strong way that we could achieve half of the emissions reductions needed to meet Paris Agreement GHG targets with "simply" (but completely) stop to use animals for their meat, their milk or their eggs.
Multiple impacts would enable to do so :
The first one and the most visible would be that if we completely remove animals in our farms, we will give back to Earth roughly 30% of its land and thus enable plants, soil and non stock animals to absorb a massive amount of CO2 : in 30 years, Earth would suck 790 Gt of CO2 (this is huge given we estimate that we have put 1650 Gt of CO2 overall since the beginning of industrialization.
However, even if it is large scale and for 30 years, this would have a limited time effect.
Other substantial savings of CO2 equivalent would be the reduction of methane (CH4) (mainly due to ruminants digestion) and N2O used to fertilize soil. These two gas have a big impact on warming as they stay longer in the atmosphere than CO2.
Given all these changes in gas emitting, the study shows that we could reduce our emissions by 25 Gt a year on average, about half of the target as already said. Which is huge and needs to be thought about.
Yes, stopping immediately the whole meat and dairy production is hard to foresee and would have multiple social impacts. The authors have worked on a "quick phase out scenario" giving us another 15 years to change both our habits and a giant industry.
They also give us insights on which animals we should put our efforts first. With no surprise, beef is the most wanted animal in the farmyard, showing us by the way that buffalos and cattle have a terrible ratio of proteins per kg of CO2... So beef alone accounts for 47% of the benefits of phasing out all animal agriculture, and cow milk 24%.
Again, this is a scientific study, reviewed by peers and published like any other study but we can't help and think that the authors have a direct interest in changing the industry to an all plant based diet. Nevertheless, the study is based on multiple other studies and even though it might be a little biased it shows us with a very clear model how we could drive change.
Really hard to imagine a world without any animal dedicated to serve as meat or milk. We’ll, no one would have imagined we would be all locked down for a few months because of a virus… Would make a great film, don’t you think ?
Ready to - really - change your habits ? If so, I recommend the reading of our #7 and the interview we made of Baptiste, CEO of Kuri, an app to facilitate the transition to a more eco-friendly diet. See you there !
Source : the paper
PS : I personally still eat meat, much less than before, but still ! So, I have a balanced idea on that topic that makes me think about my habits but don’t want to proselytize !
Sewbots you said?
What is wrong with the apparel industry? Degrading soil, deforestation, chemical pollution, child labour. Lack of control in production, expensive supply chain, you name it. When you buy a T-shirt made in Bangladesh for 5 bucks, you’re definitely not saving the planet, and sustain a business which needs to be cleared for sure.
What are the solutions? Let’s go one step after another, and focus here on production. What about robots? Sewbots, they call it, for ‘sewing robots’. I love to talk about robots, you know?
Wired said that “robots can’t sew your T-shirt”.
“…Sewing has been notoriously difficult to automate, because textiles bunch and stretch as they’re worked with. Human hands are adept at keeping fabric organized as it passes through a sewing machine. Robots typically are not deft enough to handle the task.”
This did not stop startups and technologists to investigate and build solutions back on 2012 with the example of Softwear Automation that was launched in 2012 with help from the Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center and a contract with Darpa.
How it works?
Softwear Automation’s sewbots have vacuum-powered robotic grips that feed fabric into a sewing machine, adjusting it accordingly using machine vision.
“They can make a T-shirt. But making them as cheaply as human workers do in places like China or Guatemala, where workers earn a fraction of what they might make in the US, will be a challenge.”. Every time robots are coming into the conversation, it’s always the same story: . But what kind of jobs? A 12 years old kid’s job?
What about producing the right quantity of products, and not waste materials for nothing? I’m thinking about two main keywords here: On-Demand and Made-To-Measure. It’s more than time to bring on the shelf what we sell and what customers need. Not more.
By the way, how much does it cost?
SoftWear says Sewbots-as-a-Service creates “immediate return on investment” benefits while enabling scale across retailer, brand, and manufacturer. For a monthly fee starting at $5,000 per month per robot, a factory can add annual production capacity of up to 1 million units, depending on the product.
When the technology has been built with the appropriate business model, the pricing of robot is unbeatable because of the gains in productivity it provides. And flexibility.
Nothing will stop startups developing all the sectors that can be improved by technology. Nothing. Speaking about jobs lost, there is definitely a challenge for the society to imagine the future of job, not just the future of work, which is a very bug trend nowadays, especially since Covid came.
It’s weekend, let’s watch some movies together and think about robots vs sustainability. Voila:
Bonus track by Anthony
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