“As sustainability becomes more and more of a concern, we’re going to see more plastics.”
– Greg Lynn
Waste Not, Want Not: There may be Such a Thing as too Many Swedish Meatballs
When we think of IKEA we imagine space-saving furniture, a huge blue box that we can never seem to find our way out of and arguments with our spouses while sitting on the floor looking for the right peg to put our kitchen table together. But don’t forget about the Swedish meatballs! IKEA sells tons of hot meals and food products that its 650 million annual visitors can take home, reports GreenBiz. In addition to selling affordable furniture and delicious Swedish food, IKEA is looking to expand its sustainable role in the marketplace. On the food part of its business model, IKEA has set a lofty goal to halve its food waste by 2020 using technology, employee training and diverted waste. IKEA is using smart scales to adjust its operations and buying process by measuring how much and which food is thrown out. With cloud software and daily reports they can better understand why food is being wasted and improve their operational process by raising awareness with employees. For the food that is inevitably thrown out, IKEA plans to divert it away from landfills and into composts or biodigestion. As a major corporation tackling a global problem, IKEA is giving the food service industry a realistic blueprint on how to be sustainable in the modern era.
I Double Dog Dare You
Science historian Naomi Oreskes and Harvard researcher Geoffrey Supran completed Exxon’s dare to the public to read all of its documents and make up their mind about climate science. After sifting through 40 years of internal documents, research, reports and advertisements Oreskes and Supran have come to the conclusion that there is a deep disconnect between Exxon’s research and its communication with the public. They found that 80 percent of Exxon’s internal documents and 83 percent of its peer-reviewed research claims that climate change is real and human-made. However, 81 percent of Exxon’s advertisements declared loudly that there was uncertainty and a knowledge gap when it comes to climate change. Exxon lost its dare challenge to these scientists. Now that its oily secrets have been drilled up and proven with facts, will Exxon opt for the truth part of the game in the future or will it devise another double dog dare?
It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Super Burger . . . or Is It?
The rapid and creative change coming out of Silicon Valley is still mind boggling. Entire industries are changing almost overnight and companies have to think outside the box to keep up. That’s what Impossible Foods is trying to do in the food service industry with its plant-based burgers. Soy leghemoglobin (SLH) is being called the company’s secret sauce because it gives vegetarian patties the look, texture and taste of meat. Impossible Foods explains that this ingredient is found in all plants and animals and has undergone rigorous review by food safety scientists. However, this disruptive food product is coming up against the slow-moving pace of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even though they have self-affirmed that their products are safe for human consumption, they wanted the FDA to confirm its findings — which it has not done. The FDA has expressed concerns that SLH might be an allergen and that it has not been consumed by humans before. So now the food industry is waiting to see if legal or corporate changes will be made and who will win out: disruptive technology or government agencies.
Time to Step up U.S. — China is Out
China has proposed a ban on scrap plastic imports, which the U.S. currently relies on heavily. While many have been calling on the government, especially in states like California, to build up its recycling infrastructure and put pressure on companies to use recyclable plastics, the results have been slow-moving. President of the Association of Plastic Recyclers, Steve Alexander, states that he worries there will be a “tsunami” of regulations if the China ban comes to fruition. This is why he, and many others, are calling for end-use B2C companies to step up their game and use more recycled plastics before they’re forced to. Instead of dealing with a volatile market (China), it’s time for B2C companies to get ahead of regulations and take control of the supply chain. It’s time for them to create and promote recycling infrastructure on their own turf before their forced to by either the U.S. government or China’s.