Issue 017 / Sustainable "Super Materials”, Tone-Deaf Advertising and How to Manage Your Climate Anxiety

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

At Toyota, The Automation Is Human-Powered — Fast Company
While the auto industry is racing to embrace automation, Toyota is taking a different approach. The company's unique manufacturing philosophy hinges on the notion that people are indispensable, and its new strategy calls for a return to human craftsmanship. It's an interesting model for how robotics can enhance human productivity, rather than replace it.

I Am the Woman in the ‘Racist Dove Ad'. I Am Not a Victim — The Guardian
Last week, the social media world erupted at Dove (a Unilever company) over a racially tone-deaf advertisement posted to its Facebook page. The model in the advertisement, Lola Ogunyemi, penned this response in The Guardian, arguing that the clip was misinterpreted. The spectacle raises questions over the depiction of race in advertising — and spotlights the reputational disaster more and more brands face following corporate responsibility missteps.

Notice Less Candy Around CVS Cash Registers? You're Right — Marketplace
Over the past three years, CVS has taken steps to make its offerings healthier and transform itself from a drugstore chain into a purpose-driven health care company. Some moves have been significant — like its decision to stop cigarette sales three years ago — while others have been more understated, like offering less candy options by the checkout counters and removing transfats from store brand food products.

Wear and TearUndark
This four-part photojournalistic series dives into the heart of the global leather-tanning and textile industries. With support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, writer Debbie M. Price travels from Bangladesh, to Indonesia, to India, to Appalachia, to upstate New York, where environmental pollution from the tanning industry continues to impact local populations.

Climate Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Life. Here’s How to Manage It — Grist
For many people — especially those working in sustainability — climate change is a depressing and scary reality to come to grips with. In this advice column, Eve Andrews speaks with an environmental psychologist (yes, they exist) to figure out some coping mechanisms.

Being ecologically conscious is like living in a world of wounds.
— Conservationist Aldo Leopold, quoted in "Climate Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Life. Here’s How to Manage It" (Grist)

Spotlight: Nike’s Newest "Super Material"


Nike’s latest sustainable “super material” is impressive, to say the least. Made from recycled leather fibres melded with a polyester blend, Flyleather boasts a carbon footprint that's 80 percent smaller than traditional, full-grain leather and needs 90 percent less water to produce. The material is 40% lighter, five times stronger and allows more flexibility than traditional leather. And let’s not forget the business benefits — according to Nike, the Flyleather production process generates less waste (= cost savings) and is viewed as an opportunity for Nike to enter new product categories.

Sustainability was an important consideration during the product development process, but Nike is clear that performance benefits were the driving factor. “Figuring out zero waste is critical, but at the end of the day, the question is: How can we obsolete the past?” Hannah Jones, Nike’s chief sustainability officer and VP of innovation, told Business of Fashion. “We can never put something into the market that we think compromises performance or aesthetic or price, because we believe to do that is to do a disservice to sustainability.”

#TrueFashionTalks: Power to the Consumer!

Last week, I moderated a fascinating #TrueFashionTalks panel on empowering consumers to make their voices heard on sustainability. Check out this fun video teaser and the event re-cap, which features tangible tips for change-makers. And if you're in Amsterdam (or just passing through) follow Fashion for Good and the True Fashion Collective on Facebook to stay updated on future events.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!