By Sapphire Jones and Natalie Kelleway

Can we create protein with purpose?

Welcome back to the second post in our blog series on the future of animal product consumption. Following our first post, where we confirmed the hypothesis that one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon “foodprint” is to follow a predominantly plant-based diet, we now return to explore what this could look like in reality. What does the future of protein look like? This post will introduce the spectrum of alternative proteins and their market readiness, covering four main groups: plant-based proteins, circular food production, micro livestock and cultured meat.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the rapidly changing market landscape. Consumer behaviour is shifting: with increasing concern over environmental degradation and climate change, people are finding more ways to consume sustainably. Thanks to a deluge of documentaries, high profile campaigners and the ever-popular Veganuary trend, consumers are increasingly aware that animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation and over 14% of human-induced greenhouse gases. The case is clear and the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled from 2014 to 2019. However, a different population is driving growth in the alternative protein market — 92% of plant-based meals in the UK are consumed by non-vegans. As such — whether it’s adopting a fully vegan diet or swapping to animal product alternatives — it’s clear that the demand for protein alternatives is on the up and the race to replace animals in industrial protein production is in full swing. …

By Sapphire Jones and Natalie Kelleway

To say that 2020 has been a strange year would be a massive understatement. Putting the huge health pandemic aside, the personal lifestyle implications of COVID-19 have been drastic. Whether it’s toilet roll hysteria, mass jigsaw consumption or obsessing over banana bread — this year has taken a turn none of us could have imagined.

The coronavirus lockdown has made us consider our food supply, meal plans and shopping routine more than ever before. But have you got enough to eat? Most probably. Will we all have enough in the future? It’s unlikely. …

By Sapphire Jones

Barclays have just announced a net zero carbon target for 2050, following investor pressure and lobbying by sustainable finance campaign group ShareAction. This major target puts climate back in the spotlight, and demonstrates that companies must be clear of their role in society — made even more pressing by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This blog shall explore the hot topic of net zero commitments, demystify carbon language and set out three major considerations for companies to deliver credible carbon claims.

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Source: Barclays

What does net zero actually mean?

Net zero, carbon neutral, carbon positive, carbon negative, resource positive… what does it all mean? …

Trend #5: Material World: My Top Five Consumer Goods and Services Sustainability Trends for 2019

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This article is co-authored by Sapphire Jones and Sophie Wilson. Due to our own knowledge and experience, we write predominantly with reference to the UK. All opinions are our own and not necessarily those of our employer, Accenture.

Welcome to the final trend in the series on sustainability trends for the consumer goods and services sector. As a reminder, you can find an overview of the trends here. Trend #1, Clean Lives, looked at how a new set of consumers, who are more socially and environmentally-conscious, are generating sustained demand for ethical products. Then, in Trend #2, ‘Good’ under Scrutiny, ways in which these consumers, alongside other stakeholders, held corporations to account were examined. Trend #3, Quality, not Quantity, considered the extent to which consumer behaviour and the discourse on trust is re-shaping the fashion industry. …

This is a co-written piece, part of my colleague Sophie Wilson’s five part series, examining sustainability trends for the CGS sector in 2019. You can find an overview of her other trends here.

I recently came across the following soundbite (p.119):

“The era of telling the public how ‘good’ a company is and expecting those messages to be taken at face value is well and truly over. Consumers have access to so much information in real time nowadays that only those companies that back up their words with actions will win respect”

For me, this summarises the turn that conversations around sustainability have taken since the 1980s and 1990s — the days of more blatant corporate ‘greenwashing’, meaning the proliferation of unsubstantiated ethical claims deployed by marketing and PR departments. …

Pensions are dull. They are about money and being old. Almost nobody wants to talk about them. People who do are exactly the kind of people you hope to avoid at a wedding. But pensions are also really important. They are the single largest collection of financial power in history. They are worth over $200 trillion globally. That is 100 times the size of the whole UK economy. And they are owned by us — the people. So surely we can do something with all this money?

In the news this month, we’ve all been following the Extinction Rebellion protests and schoolchildren striking across the world. They have brought public attention to the catastrophic effects of global warming, many of which are already being experienced around the world. In the past year alone, we’ve seen: Southern India faced the worst flooding in 100 years, Hurricane Florence’s catastrophic winds drove the evacuation of over 1 million people in America, the blistering summer heatwave caused food shortages across Europe and, most recently, Cyclone Idai killed over 1,000 people in Mozambique and Malawi. No country or community is immune. These events damage infrastructure, have disastrous implications on public health, decrease productivity and destroy wealth. …

By Sapphire Jones and Zomo S Y Fisher

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Welcome to the final blog in our three-part series on the plastic packaging challenge! In our first blog (Life in plastic, not so fantastic?), we saw how overwhelming the problem with plastic was, and we were ready to ditch plastic from the supply chain and our lives. Then in our second blog (Has the ‘war’ on plastic gone too far?), we flipped the coin and de-demonised plastic, looking at the benefits and the need to examine the full picture before making any rash decisions.

So, what is the solution then?

There is a clear opportunity for transformation. As explored in the earlier blogs in this series, the creation of virgin plastic from fossil fuels is not the ideal solution, but neither are bio-plastics due to their many other potentially negative impacts. But what would happen if we considered a future where existing boundaries didn’t constrain opportunities for innovation? …

By Zomo S Y Fisher and Sapphire Jones

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What would WALL-E think?

Consumers and NGOs alike are still ‘at war’ with plastic, especially considering recent high-profile anti-plastic campaigns and media attention. Just in the last year, we’ve seen consumers respond in a big way, with regulation following not far behind, including:

· The UK city of Manchester announcing that it aims to be plastic-free by 2020

· Sky’s #PassOnPlastic campaign reaching over 2.5 million impressions on Twitter

· Kenya imposing a USD 40,000 fine for producing, selling or using plastic bags

· The ban on manufacture and sales of rinse-off cosmetics containing plastic microbeads in the…

By Sapphire Jones and Zomo S Y Fisher

It is probably fair to say, unless you’ve been living under a rock or have had a complete digital detox over the past year, that you are aware of the current ‘war’ on plastic. In our first blog in a three-part series on this topic, we look at how this has come about, what the problem is, and what alternative solutions are out there.

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The problem with plastic…

It is estimated that over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans, which can take hundreds of years to fully degrade: From mammoth accumulations such as the famous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, to ubiquitous tiny pieces, known as microplastics, that break down over time and can end up being eaten by marine creatures, affecting the entire the food chain (and we’re not exempt!) …


Saffy Jones

Sustainability ramblings

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