19 : 02 : 21 : Weekly Debrief

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Need To Know

This week: A risqué novel to boost homebuyer’s sex drive, democratising job hunting, Volkswagen reduces its digital carbon footprint, open-source sustainable packaging solutions and carbon negative fashion accessories.

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19 February 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: AirCarbon by Covalent


The Road to Completion by Uncommon Creative Studio for Habito, London

1. Habito’s erotic novel reignites homebuyer intimacy

UK – Mortgage broker Habito is launching an erotic novel in response to the lack of intimacy often experienced by stressed couples during the home-buying process.

The novel, by creative studio Uncommon, tells the story of a couple’s search for a new home and the difficulties of finding a suitable mortgage deal. Through innuendo storytelling and graphic imagery, Habito offers a unique and humorous take on the experience of first time buying. ‘Finding the sweet spot between sex and mortgages allowed us to make something quite unusual with the incredible crew at Habito… an erotic novel about buying a house,’ says Nina Beyers, creative at Uncommon.

This unconventional marketing approach is informed by Habito’s own research into the sex lives of homebuyers across the UK, finding that one in 10 couples stopped being intimate with each other throughout the mortgage application process.

Brands and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the mental and physical toll that money can have on overall wellbeing. For more, explore our Financial Wellness microtrend.

UCandu, US

2. UCandu democratises job hunting

US – UCandu is a new job-hunting app and online platform offering support and community to people searching for employment.

The platform, still in beta mode, allows users to track their progress with job applications and better manage their search for new opportunities. Taking a community-based approach, UCandu also encourages users to give advice, share job leads and provide general motivation to each other. UCandu is taking a human-centric approach by providing a space for people to connect over shared experiences.

Its founders also hope to instill a sense of empowerment to job-seekers using UCandu, especially considering the impact of the pandemic on recruitment opportunities. ‘My vision for the members of this community and the people using the app is to build power for job-seekers,' says Cat Bradley, co-founder of UCandu.

In education, Alumni Incubators have stepped in to nurture the next generation of creative talent. But as career prospects and the workplaceface continued disruption in the inter-Covid period, there is also a need to support job-seekers.

ASCII low-impact website by Volkswagen, Canada

3. Volkswagen creates a sustainable browsing experience

Canada – Launching a new range of electric SUVs, Volkswagen has created a low-impact website to reflect its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

The Carbon Neutral Net website has a lower digital carbon footprint, achievable by manipulating American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text into the shape of its new SUVs, instead of adding real photos of the vehicles. By using the monochrome ASCII text, the site's load time is shorter and uses less energy, making it a green alternative to traditional retail or brand platforms.

The landing page also includes online footprint calculator Website Carbon, proving it produces 99% less carbon dioxide per page view in comparison to average websites. In turn, the site echoes the green credentials of Volkswagen's new electric SUV. ‘We created this web experience to educate Canadians about sustainability in the digital world,’ Volkswagen shares. ‘By reducing our electric vehicle web pages to little more than black and white text we’ve significantly lowered the amount of data embedded in them.’

An increasing number of brands are extending carbon reduction efforts to customers' online experience by recoding platforms to use less energy. Discover more in Low Impact Interfaces.

4. An open-source resource to improve packaging

Stockholm – Clothing retailer Asket is overhauling its packaging to reduce its environmental impact – and set a precedent for the wider industry.

In a fully transparent brand initiative shared on its website, Asket details the incremental changes retail brands can make to their packaging, from material choices to sizing and the reduction of marketing collateral. ‘Given the world’s mounting trash problem, we set out to improve our footprint but perhaps more importantly, share our learning with the rest of the industry, so that other brands can act too,' explains August Bard Bringéus, the brand's co-founder.

As a result of its exploration, Asket is eliminating plastic poly bags as well as switching to 100% recycled paper mailers and cardboard boxes – reducing the material used per order by 22% and cutting packaging-related CO2 emissions by 47%.

Seeing the industry-wide opportunity, the brand has made its findings available for others to utilise in the form of a white paper, tuning into the rise of open-source sustainability initiatives shared between brands.

Packaging by ASKET, Stockholm
AirCarbon by Covalent, US

5. Covalent creates carbon-negative fashion accessories

US – Fashion brand Covalent has launched a collection of earth-friendly accessories produced using regenerative materials.

Each item in the range – including bags, laptop cases and eyewear – is made from a bio-positive material, dubbed AirCarbon. The material is created using carbon-capturing technology that extracts ocean micro-organisms from greenhouse gases. By mining natural resources from carbon dioxide, the brand claims its manufacturing process is carbon-negative. Tying this into Covalent’s marketing, each item listed on the brand's website shares its carbon-negative footprint, with the figures calculated by a third-party carbon accounting firm.

By using AirCarbon and disclosing each product's impact, the brand aims to differentiate itself from other fashion brands that claim to make eco-friendly goods but partake in greenwashing. ‘We think that to help empower change in the fashion industry, consumers should have actionable information about the carbon impact of the products they use,’ says Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight, parent company of Covalent.

As sustainability demands in the fashion sector continue, other bio-positive materials are emerging to counter fashion’s environmental impact.


To future-proof your world, visit The Future Laboratory's forecasting platform LS:N Global for daily news, opinions, trends, sector specific insights, and strategic toolkits.


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