Sustainability is not always what you think it is

Welcome to "Nouveau Monde", sort of a "Nouveau Genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #8

Hi there and welcome to Nouveau Monde ! In this newsletter, Phil and Anthony 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 for 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 week, they 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 !


“To be or not to be ESG”: ask Deliveroo

by Phil

Well, you subscribed to this newsletter so you know, right, what ‘ESG’ means?

  • The E in ESG, environmental criteria, includes the energy your company takes in and the waste it discharges, the resources it needs, and the consequences for living beings as a result. Not least, E encompasses carbon emissions and climate change. Every company uses energy and resources; every company affects, and is affected by, the environment.

  • Ssocial criteria, addresses the relationships your company has and the reputation it fosters with people and institutions in the communities where you do business. S includes labor relations and diversity and inclusion. Every company operates within a broader, diverse society.

  • Ggovernance, is the internal system of practices, controls, and procedures your company adopts in order to govern itself, make effective decisions, comply with the law, and meet the needs of external stakeholders. Every company, which is itself a legal creation, requires governance.

UK food delivery app Deliveroo saw its share price fall down by 30% during its first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange last week, closing the day at £2.87. A few billions evaporated in one day. According to specialists, it’s been the worst ever first-day performance for a £1 billion-plus London IPO.

In the US, a company in the same business Doordash, had a surge of 86% of its share price! Just in case, Deliveroo is an online food delivery service that allows users to order restaurant meals using the web and mobile. Those poor guys biking under any kind of weather with some sort of big backpack, you saw them I guess.

Ok, Deliveroo is a big company, a successful startup in terms of scale, now operating in over 800 locations in 12 countries across the world, European, Middle Eastern, and Asia-Pacific markets since its creation in 2013. A good performance. But sometimes, size don’t matter. Of course, it’s loosing millions, which is not so unusual for a startup.

“The number of institutions lining up to say ‘no’ on ESG [you know now] grounds always looked like it was going to make it a tricky debut,” said the investment director of Aberdeen Standard Investments.

Indeed. The company has faced too many criticism over its treatment of drivers, who have previously held strikes over alleged poor working conditions, low pay, and lack of holiday and sickness provisions. And one day, you must pay the price of it. Investors seem anticipating how a customer of 21st Century can think?!

ROO should improve its rooh. (if you don’t get it, hit reply !)

Fashion makes it sustainable revolution, part 1

by Anthony

We all know that textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world : it consumes a lot of water, uses chemical products and often ignores human rights (remember Rana plazza ?)

The fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater (1.5 trillion litres of water used annually) and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions - more than all international flights and maritime shipping. (Source United Nations )

Let’s deep dive into one of the most impactful industry, if we manage to transform it !

As you can see, 73% of the textile industry’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the production, with a big 38% coming from the material itself.

As the fashion industry is really complex, we’ll focus this week on B2B solutions and we’ll watch B2C or B2B2C solutions next week. 

OK ? Let’s go !

First, let’s talk about the design and manufacturing process : usually, fashion brands design their new collection in their offices (mostly in the west) and then try and find suppliers to manufacture them in bulk.

By digitizing the process, enables you to find the right supplier, the right materials, and immediately have all the sustainable information you need to make the right decision. It enables you to try and find the best supplier next to you and keep the control of your supply chain.

Don’t want traditional materials for your next collection ? meet Refiberd

Out of the 93 million tons of textile discarded each year, only 1% is recycled from old clothes (according to Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation). Refiberd gathers unsorted wasted textile materials and is able to make a 100% recycled thread, ready to be used again, making it cheaper and resourceless than traditional thread.

On the other side of the value chain, we also know that there is a lot - a tremendous - amount of waste coming from unsold items. 

So, what about staying as close to the consumer's demand ?

Tekyn, a french startup - coming from Lille like me 🎉 - is producing small series, on demand, from local (european) factories, making it easier for brands to manage their stocks. 

Kniterate, based in the UK, offers a sort of 3D printing machine to workshops, small factories, enabling them to produce prototypes or small series easily.

Kniterate is halfway to the consumer side as it can also be used in stores and produce on demand in front of the client, making its clothes as local as possible.

Next week, we’ll go deeper in the B2C innovations that might tackle the fashion sustainability problem. See you !

Bonus track