More mushrooms, less plastic
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 #38
Le menu du jour at nouveau monde is about mushrooms that might help both in the apparel and the food industry, and a new process to replace plastic packaging made in Singapore.
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 673 words, a 3-minute read.
We've already talked about mushrooms in the shoe industry in our early edition of nouveau monde (see #5) but as you know things move fast and it's interesting to see that the fungi industry have seen a recent booster with at least 2 big funding rounds for companies in that area : MycoWorks raised $ 125 million and Nature's Fynd $ 350 million.
These companies bath have put mushroom at the heart of their process to replace animal material.
MycoWorks produces a biomaterial dedicated to replace leather and already is well established in the luxury industry. Among other advantages, the MycoWorks says that its platform enables on demand production of specific materials as you can grow mushrooms as you want to fit the final product you want.
With this kind of material, you can virtually make any piece of what you used to do with leather Nature's Fynd, on its side, uses mushrooms to develop dairy replacements like cream cheese or meatless patties. The great advantage here is that it brings a lot of proteins.
In both cases, producing apparel or highly protein based food with mushrooms reduces a lot the need for water, soil and CO2.
For instance, Nature's Fynd claims that its products emit 94% less CO2 while using 99% less water and land...
This could be a real game changer if we accept these kind of innovation in our lives and slightly change our habits.
We certainly don't watch enough this area of the living, often unknown, mysterious and even scary for some…
Are YOU ready to make the shift ?
Fake plastic food
Temasek Foundation International is a Singapore-based non-profit organization under the philanthropic arm of the Singapore state sovereign fund Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean holding company, owned by the Government of Singapore. “With a common goal to uplift and support our (Singaporean) communities and initiatives, they partner with public and private sector organizations to make (their) ideas a reality through the years, working side by side to co-create impactful and innovative solutions to uplift lives.”. Together with the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Singapore Management University, Temasek has invested in Alterpacks.
Yes, US startups have Silicon Valley, Sand Hill Road and VCs, Israel has the Startup Nation Central, both with a private investors landscape, France has the BPI from tax payers, and Singapore has its own Government pouring the money to startups as well.
Alterpacks has a very interesting project: use food loss in manufacturing to create a new biodegradable material to replace plastic packaging. The CEO has no specific backgound in engineering of any sort, nor a specific background in this domain, but getting rid of plastic of any sort is a priority I think we all should have, on a consumer standpoint and at all levels of the economic chain.
NSG BioLabs is a nest for the company. NSG Labs is Singapore's leading and largest co-working laboratory designed specifically to hatch revolutionary biotechnology ventures. With large laboratory benches, several state-of-the-art tissue culture suites, an extensive list of shared core equipment, and a group of very carefully selected tenants and partners in its sites, NSG BioLabs and NSG Ventures is a complete global life sciences incubation ecosystem.
The startup found two researchers at ETH Zurich, a senior PhD researcher on alternative construction materials, and a Project Coordinator and Senior Researcher at Future Cities, who could assist them in developing the prototype.
Secret sauce? “Using a patented concept, agricultural waste is harvested by the researchers to create a biodegradable material that can range in consistency — from as hard as plywood to as soft as sponge, or as crumbly as Styrofoam; and take on the appearance of corrugated cardboard or plywood. And depending on the consistency can be molded to specific shapes and sizes. Similar material produced has been tested to be G-shock and a fire retardant.”
I don’t speak this technical language, but it sounds promising.
Let’s kill the plastic industry.
Quick hits… with the NRF of course
NRF has released a guide to help retailers clarify and prioritize their response to climate change. “Retailers Reaching for Net-zero” provides an overview of the science, highlights the business case for taking action and describes a framework for setting science-based greenhouse gas emission targets. It also includes observations and lessons learned from leading retailers.
The NRF net-zero guide adopts the framework developed by the Science Based Targets initiative, which is being used by more than 2,250 companies worldwide. The framework, adapted to meet retailer needs, highlights the following steps:
Quantify current emissions, including scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
Set science-based targets aligned with the SBTi
Prevent, reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions to get to net-zero
Engage externally by reporting targets and progress and supporting others to do the same
Importantly, the guide also highlights the business benefits of understanding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NRF members identify several benefits, including:
Cost savings — reducing energy use and waste handling
Risk reduction — addressing consumer, investor and regulatory concerns and understanding supply chain vulnerabilities
Growth opportunities — identifying new products and business models and strengthening brand reputation
Bonus track by Anthony
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