Earlier this summer, Finch & Beak’s team in the Netherlands moved into a new office, located in a 1930s water tower in the Belcrum area of Breda. While the Dutch have a complex history with water, the ongoing drought across Europe is putting water scarcity on the collective agenda, even in areas where it was thought to be abundant.
With the recent UN resolution on marine litter and microplastics adopted by all 193 member states and studies claiming that our oceans will contain more plastics than fish by 2050, ocean plastics is en vogue. Roughly 13% of these ocean plastics are accounted for by abandoned fishing nets. Not only do these nets contaminate our waters, before disintegrating they lead to “ghost fishing”: entangling and killing hundreds of thousands of sea animals. With fishermen as obvious key stakeholders in this global challenge, entrepreneur François van den Abeele found a way to truly engage them: making stylish sunglasses from plastic waste such as retrieved fishing nets.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been able to catch responsible investors’ attention all around the globe since they were adopted in September 2015. One year down the road, a coalition of investors, including the managers of more than €550bn in Dutch pension assets, publicly committed to integrate SDGs within their investment strategy. Although the coalition is a Dutch and Swedish affair for now, the intention and hope is that other institutional investors will come on board.
In May 2016, Innocent Drinks was rewarded as the winner of the water category of the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards with its Irri-fresa app. This application supports strawberry farmers in Southern Spain to drastically reduce their water usage. In order to scale up Irri-fresa’s impact, the company has embarked on a journey for which partnering is key.
With the prediction that the global apparel business is to generate double digit growth between 2014 and 2020, substantial societal pressures are mounting on the way clothing retailers manufacture their garments. At current, the global textile industry is responsible for 10 percent of global CO2 emissions, and 25 percent of the world's pesticides is used for growing cotton.