Tag: environment

Consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly food packaging

When it comes to food and beverage packaging, consumers are most likely to pay more for value-added features that relate to freshness and sustainability, according to a global study by Ipsos InnoQuest.

On a global basis, consumers were most likely to say they would pay more for “packaging that keeps food fresh longer” (55%) and “packaging that is environmentally-friendly” (55%). Following freshness and environmental benefits, consumers said they were likely to pay more for packaging that is re-usable (42%) and easier to use (39%).

Interestingly, more sophisticated packaging features were less likely to motivate consumers to spend more: packaging that prevents mess or spills, keeps food and beverages at the right temperature, and makes it easier to eat and drink on-the-go ranked lowest (34%, 33% and 31%, respectively).

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10 signals and trends

Gleaned from recent press reports and other sources:

These are boom times for U.S. makers of unmanned military aircraft (drones).

Sample Lab Ltd. opened a  “marketing cafe” in Tokyo that lets trend-setting women see and test new products.

With the recession crimping legal budgets, some big companies are insisting on flat-fee payments instead of law firms’ long-standing practice of the “billable hour.”

City “water cops” are handing out citations to people caught wasting water resources in drought-stricken areas.

Lumber mills that produce woods for hardwood floors and maple cabinets have been devastated by the U.S. recession’s double whammy: the housing bust and unavailable credit.

Some hospitals find that owning up to medical errors reduces litigation and helps them learn from their mistakes.

Despite a 25-year effort to improve U.S. education, the latest high-school SAT exam scores are disappointing. Asian-American students are thriving but the SAT gap for blacks and Hispanics widens.

More than half of Somalia’s population needs humanitarian aid, the U.N. says.

Software makers are scrambling to develop cell phone safety applications that prevent texting while driving.

Inexpensive mini-reactors may be an alternative to building giant nuclear powerplants, though there are technical, financial and regulatory hurdles.

Very early signs of ecomigration

A rising tide may lift the boats but it may also cause people to relocate. Rising sea levels and storms brought on by global warming may lead people to move to higher ground, greener pastures or interior regions. The Washington Post (23 February 2009) calls them ecomigrants. The article cites two examples:

  • Adam Fier, of Montgomery County, Md., has moved his family to New Zealand, where he likes the green policies and feels safe from conflict.
  • The president of Kiribati, a Pacific nation of low-lying islands, is exploring ways to move all 100,000
    Channel between two Kiribati islands
    Channel between two Kiribati islands

    citizens to a new homeland because of fears that a steadily rising ocean will make the islands uninhabitable. He called for an international fund to buy land for such mass migrations.

The article also hints that people in hurricane-prone areas (such as Louisiana and Florida) are thinking of moving elsewhere.

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Related: 2080: Global warming leads to floods, droughts, agricultural disasters, hunger
Twitter: RT @mitchbetts Ecomigration: People worried about global warming (rising seas) are moving to higher ground. http://bit.ly/12HwSV

The president-elect will face big problems, threats

It’ll be a short honeymoon. The next U.S. president will face high expectations (which may be impossible to fulfill), a recessionary economy and huge budget deficits. And that’s just domestically. Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, gave a speech this week that lays out the broader threats. As The Washington Post reported:

The next U.S. president will govern in an era of increasing international instability, including a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in the near future, long-term prospects of regional conflicts and diminished U.S. dominance across the globe, the nation’s top intelligence officer said Thursday.

Competition for energy, water and food will drive conflicts between nations to a degree not seen in decades, and climate change and global economic upheaval will amplify the effects, [McConnell said].

“After the new president-elect’s excitement subsides after winning the election, it is going to be dampened somewhat when he begins to focus on the realities of the myriad of changes and challenges,” he said.

Of course, besides the predictable conflicts and threats, “there is always surprise,” McConnell said. (Futurists call ’em wild cards.)

Continue reading “The president-elect will face big problems, threats”

World’s first carbon-neutral garment factory

Is this the start of a rush towards green factories? “MAS Holdings claims to have built the world’s first carbon-neutral garment factory in Sri Lanka,” reports Anthony Townsend at The Institute for the Future. The plant will make underwear for retailer Marks & Spencer in the UK.

While the plant cost 25% more to build than a traditional design (it would have been 15% without some frills due to being a showcase), with rising fuel prices it’s expected to pay for the difference in less than five years.

According to MAS Holdings:

It features the biggest installation of solar panels to date in Sri Lanka, which will provide around 10% of the total electricity required for the plant. The remaining electricity will be mini-hydro, sourced through a green power agreement that MAS pioneered for Sri Lanka earlier this month.

Apparently this is part of Marks & Spencer’s wide-ranging effort to be carbon-neutral by 2012.