HOW TO  
CONSUME RESPONSIBLY

Innovative business models driving impact at scale

Discover how the next generation businesses innovate to transition towards more responsible production practices. You have a major role to play, as a consumer. Get inspired on how you can support this transition through your consumption habits.

1) Buy products that last forever

Longevity is a major (overlooked) solution to climate change. Some products have been designed to be short-lived, in order to keep you coming back. It’s called planned obsolescence.  We have to change our purchase behaviors from short-term cheap throwaway buying to longer term, mindful buying. Prioritize products that last for a lifetime, are repearable and offer better guarantees.
 

Fairphone

Fairphone is making ethical modular smartphones. The phone is built with replaceable modules so you can repair it youself.
Business model innovation :
Modular design to avoid e-waste, transparent mapping of the supply chain, use of conflict-free materials 

Impact : Reducing e-waste, good working conditions for all people along the supply chain

Scale : 175,000 phones sold (2019)

 

BuyMeOnce

A marketplace of 2000 products curated to be long-lasting.
Business model innovation :
Independantly researched selection of longest-lasting products. No company can pay to be on the site. BuyMeOnce is also a movement, with the book « A Life Less Throwaway » published by the CEO in 2018. 

Impact : Reducing waste

Scale : 40,000 visits/month (2019) 

 

2) Rent instead of buying

In the last 15 years, clothing production and consumption has doubled and the average consumer purchases 60% more clothing. The average garment is only worn seven times before it gets thrown out.  Compared to other items, it can be harder to buy clothes for a lifetime as the body and taste might change over time.  That’s when the leasing model comes to the rescue. And if you’re feeling creative, you can also invest in a (life-long) sewing machine and upcycle your own clothes 🙂

 

 

 

MUD Jeans

Jeans leasing and recycling.
Business model innovation :
A pioneering lease system. Every garment that comes back to them gets recycled, repairs are provided for free and the customers can keep the jeans for as long as they want and can swap them for a new pair after the one-year rental term is complete. 50% of clients are choosing that option.

Impact : Reducing fashion waste

Scale : 25,000 pairs of jeans produced in 2018 and 3,200 pairs returned for recycling 

 

3) Buy second-hand and recycle

Launched in 1995, eBay was one of the first large scale platform for the sharing economy of goods.  Today innovation in this field makes it easier and easier to buy second-hand items and sell pre-loved items that will be recycled or upcycled.  Recent success stories include Poshmark, Reebonz and Vestiaire Collective for second hand fashion, or Remade and Recommerce for remanufactured electronics.
 

Idle Fish (Xianyu)

Alibaba’s re-commerce platform to buy and sell second-hand items in China.
Business model innovation :
In a few clicks, clothes are collected at the user’s house in exchange of a payment, then sent to partner companies which sell or recycle the items.  All this is done in no time and safely as the app is integrated with Alibaba’s mobile payment Alipay and its notation system Sesame Credit.

Impact : Reducing waste

Scale : 24 million pieces recycled since launch (2020), 76 million users per month (2020)  

 

4) Buy food from companies that fight waste

Every year, 1/3 of all food produced is wasted. If this food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of CO2 – only behind the USA and China! Innovative models tackling that problem are growing fast : the app Too Good To Go started in 2016 and is already present in 14 countries, and subscription models to boxes of surplus and « ugly » food, such as Misfits Market or Imperfect Foods are raising considerable amount of funding.

 

Too Good To Go

An app which uses a geo-targeted map to show users the restaurants closest to them with leftover food available for collection at special time, at great price.
Business model innovation :
Stores and restaurants make extra cash on food that would have otherwise cost them to throw out.   Customers win by getting a great value meal – collecting tasty food at a reduced price.  There is the option for the user to donate £1 alongside his purchase, which will go towards providing a meal to someone who needs it.

Impact : Reducing food waste

Scale : 38 million meals saved globally (2020)  

 

Imperfect Foods

Delivery of imperfect food boxes at discounted price.
Business model innovation :
Delivery of boxes of surplus or cosmeticallly imperfect fruits, vegetables and pantry items that would normally go to waste to consumers in curated boxes.  The produce is discounted up to 30% compared to grocery store prices.

Impact : Reducing food waste

Scale : 116 million pounds of imperfect food saved and 200,000 customers (2020) 

 

5) Switch to vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian

The meat industry has been held responsible of a large amount of carbon emissions, of 8% of global human water use, and of course of exploitation of animals. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that not eating meat and dairy products can reduce a person’s carbon footprint by up to 73%. Beside, researches also found that they would be responsible of some cancers and high blood pressure diseases.  Switching to a diet without meat and dairy is therefore critical to consume more responsibly. Innovations to help this transition include companies trying to replicate the taste and texture of meat (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods), and platforms making it more convenient to buy food for a specific diet (Kazidomi).

 

 

Impossible Foods

Develops plant based substitutes to meat products.
Business model innovation :
5 years Research and development to research animal products at the molecular level and select proteins and nutrients from plants to recreate the experience and nutrition of meat products. While Impossible Foods started as a B2B company, selling to restaurants and retailers, it has recently started a direct-to-consumers strategy.

Impact : Shifting consumption habits to plant-based products

Scale : Available in around 17,000 food outlets and 700 retailers in the US (April 2020). Also available in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Kazidomi

Membership-based startup selling healthy products at wholesale price to members.
Business model innovation :
E-commerce platform that allows environmentally conscious customers to find everything they need in one place (healthy, organic, vegan, gluten-free or lactose-free …) at reduced prices and delivered to their homes. A team of experts, nutritionists, and doctors help in the selection of products. Users have to pay 80 euros per year to become members and benefit from the reduced prices.

Impact : Promoting environmentally-friendly and healthy products 

Scale : 10,000 subscribers (June 2019)

6) Buy from conscious brands and retailers

More and more brands are emerging and some leading brands are transforming to ensure a positive impact to all their stakeholders. Some of them are adopting innovative practices or business models such as Choba Choba, a chocolate company which made cocoa farmers shareholders of the company, or Soko which is using technology to coordinate with 1,300 independant artisans.

To help conscious consumers navigate among brands and not be fooled by greenwashing, new certifications, numerous curated marketplaces such as Mamoq, Klow, Done Good, Ethica, Verishop for ethical fashion or Thrive Market for healthy food, and rating apps (Good On You for ethical fashion, Yuka for heatlhy food and cosmetics) have emerged.

 

B Corp

A certification for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corp is administred by the non-profit B Lab.
Business model innovation :
To be granted and to preserve certification, companies must receive a minimum score on the (BIA).  The BIA has two primary objectives for companies: to differentiate their performance, and to help them identify and take concrete actions for improvement.  They must also pay an annual fee ranging from $500 to $50,000, depending on annual sales.

Impact : Accelerating a culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Scale : 3,300 for-profit companies in 71 countries (April 2020)

Soko

Delivery of imperfect food boxes at discounted price.
Business model innovation :
« Virtual factory » using mobile phones to coordinate over 1,300 independant artisans into a demand responsive manufacturing model. Artisans receive purchase orders, manage inventory and delivery, and get paid directly on their mobile phone. A cloud system is matching demand with available capacity. This business model reduces waste, time and costs, offering a lower price to the consumer and higher wage to the producer. Artisans retain 25-35% of revenue while industry standards is 2-3%. 

Impact : The earning income is multiplied by 5 for each artisan

Scale : Sells to over 400 international resellers, and directly to 10.000 online consumers ; 1,300 independant artisans impacted (2018)

 

Choba Choba

Sale of premium Swiss chocolate.
Business model innovation :
Thee cocoa farmers are shareholders of the company. They participate in the decision making and the benefits of the company.  Also, 5% of the sales are allocated to the Revolution Fund and transferred to the communities in direct payouts and in the form of shares.

Impact : Fair remuneration of the farmers who benefit from the profits, empowerment and pride

Scale : 36 families impacted in Peru (2020)

Yuka

Yuka deciphers product labels and analyzes the health impact of food products and cosmetics.
Business model innovation :
The user scan the barcode of a product with the Yuka app to get a rating. Products are analyzed independantly and provide a detailed data sheet to explain how it is evaluated. The app also recommends similar items that are better for your health. The app is free with premium features (offline mode, search without scanning and dietary preferences). 

Impact : Improving health and driving manufacturers to offer better products 

Scale : 17 million users (2020)

7) Buy products designed to avoid single use plastic

Avoid single-use packaging and product waste, so that it doesn’t end up in our oceans.  More and more zero-waste stores are emerging all around the world, encouraging you to bring your own shopping bags and bring your own containers for items like food, soap and laundry detergent.  Some innovative companies like TerraCycle are looking at ways to reimagine products and packaging.
 

Loop (by TerraCycle)

Loop is a shopping platform selling zero-waste products from your favorite brands.

Business model innovation :
Loop has partnered with leading brands to reimagine how they can be waste free. These products are available exclusively through Loop. The consumer just pays a small fully refundable one-time deposit to borrow the package. Loop delivers the products and pick them up once they have been used.Its cleaning technology hygienically cleans the empty packages so that they are ready for reuse.

Impact : Eliminating waste through ending single-use

Scale : Loop already operates in the US and France, and coming to Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and UK.

Simply Good Jars

A fresh and healthy meal service packaged in reusable and returnable jars.

Business model innovation : The jars are distributed via « Simply Smart Fridges », RFID enabled and refregirated vending machines, making it easy to monitor and stock inventory and minimize food waste. Jars are returned and cleaned for reuse. The company also donates meals to charity every time a jar is returned to them.

Impact : Eliminating single-use plastic waste.

Scale : 8718 pounds of trash returned, and 37,000 returned jars and meals donated (2020)

FEATURED STORIES

Brac

Brac

BRAC has set up 16 social enterprises addressing community needs and providing jobs to many. Its flagship social enterprise is the retail outlet Aarong Craft Shops in Bangladesh, reaches more than 65,000 artisans. Its dairy business, BRAC Dairy, collects milk from 54,000 marginalized farmers and has 20-30% of market share. With the profit, BRAC can offer free education programs to build skills and training for decent jobs in growth sectors.

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Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go is an app which uses a geo-targeted map to show users the restaurants closest to them with leftover food available for collection at special time, at great price.   Too Good To Go sells food that they buy from the stores at a great price. Stores make extra cash on food that would have otherwise cost them to throw out.   Customers win by getting a great value meal – collecting tasty food at a reduced price.
There is the option for the user to donate £1 alongside his purchase, which will go towards providing a meal to someone who needs it.

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Choba Choba

Choba Choba

Sale of premium Swiss chocolate. Choba Choba has a unique business model : the cocoa farmers are shareholders of the company. They participate in the decision making and the benefits of the company.  Also, 5% of the sales are allocated to the Revolution Fund and transferred to the communities in direct payouts and in the form of shares.

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What YOU can do

Get inspired on how to:

Consume Responsibly

Make a Difference While Traveling

Contribute Financially

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What WE can do 

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Inspiring Content
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