Playing sustainabitely

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 #34!

This week nouveau monde talks about inclusivity, from the playground and a big UK retailer entering the sustainability innovation process, but will it play big enough ?

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 875 words, a 4-minute read.


Girls and Boys

by Anthony

Changing habits takes time.

We've talked this summer about Lego trying to remove fossil fuel products in its iconic bricks, and we saw that it was quite difficult to do so, but they are on their way !

They now face another big challenge : gender bias !

We've seen since a long time in toys stores girls and boys alleys, segregated but we nowadays tend to see them disappear.

But, what LEGO found while conducting a study by the Geena Davis Institute is that the problem is deeper than just labels on a toy box.

That study shows that even if Lego removes its boys and girls labels, it's the whole society that needs to shift and enable children to move forward and play more :

It appears that traditionally Lego is more used by boys who will therefore develop more abilities regarding spatial recognition and manipulation, while girls playing with dolls will emphasize their abilities to socialize for instance. But, those two abilities are important for both genders !

here are the key findings of the survey :

  • Parents express that they are more limited in the types of creative activities they can encourage their sons to do, compared to their daughters.

  • Children, especially boys, prefer creative activities that conform to traditional gender roles.

  • Implicit reactions find parents encourage daughters to engage in activities that are performative, artistic, and domestic or related to the dramatic arts; these findings persist across markets.

  • Implicit reactions find parents encourage sons to engage in activities that are related to STEM (scientific, technological, engineering, mathematics), physicality, and activities that engage exploration and curiosity; these findings persist across markets.

  • Parents imagine a man in the vast majority of creative professions, regardless of whether there is a daughter or son in their household; children share these impressions.

  • Parents recommend incorporating more gender neutral marketing for creative products.

How can we engage more girls to play Lego and mor boys to play with dolls ? The answer isn't easy, certainly change the parents / surroundings view on these practices.

And Lego starts to engage on that path by bringing a few tips, in a creative way !

Let's go Girls & Boys ! (the title and the soundtrack were quickly found today :-) )

(By the way, I'm full with joy to see that such a company orders a study AND follows its conclusion to move forward, unlike other companies like Facebook Meta, but this is another problem !)


Oyez, Oyez, here is some money along the way…

by Phil

The John Lewis Partnership is a British company which operates John Lewis & Partners department stores, Waitrose & Partners supermarkets, its banking and financial services, and other retail-related activities. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, has a revenue of Revenue of 10.15 billion GBP (2020) for about 80,000.

The department store giant, has created a £1m fund inviting academics, charities and start-ups that have ideas with the potential to reduce the environmental impact of the food, clothing and gadgets we buy, to pitch for a share of the money. Those successful will the be given grants of £150,000 to £300,000.

Quite typical. What a company with 80,000 souls is not capable to do can certainly found down the street, with a little money, and hopefully no equity taken when it comes with a young startup having fresh ideas about the subject.

The Circular Future Fund is supposed to focus on food, textiles and household products. Winning ideas could have the answer to food waste in the supply chain or consumers’ homes, or, with the fashion industry a big polluter, a more sustainable production method or material.

I recall the unfortunate CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, setting up new standards of management for his employees, switching roles to maintain motivation inside of the company, soliciting creativity. Employees are customers only, having their own opinions and ideas for a better and new future. It seems better to pour money outside of the company. And it’s just one million after all. Divided by 80,000, it’s only 12.5 GBP per employee. One million, it’s a small budget for some agency making a plan.

12.5 GBP per employee: the price for research in sustainability. All the best. Applications for the fund will close on January 9, and an independent panel will review from March with the grants being awarded in April.

Find out more here about Ethics & Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership.


Quick hits

Decathlon Canada has made a move forwards for “disabled” people, giving them back their abilities skills and making them able to practice sports, with a nice campaign on parking signage, called Ability Signs:

You can see the campaign here on their site and download the icons set !


Bonus track by Anthony

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