Your weekly helping of five interesting ideas to take you into the weekend. Curated by Good Business and delivered straight to your inbox first thing on a Friday, if you subscribe here.
(1) Tech Traceability
Blockchain, the technology used to power cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is now being trialled to track the buying and selling of fish throughout its supply chain with the aim of helping to stop human rights abuses and illegal fishing. Blockchain is a digital ledger or record of information that in this case provides details of where fish was caught, processed and sold on. While it does not stop illegal fishing on its own, it opens up the supply chain for anyone to scrutinise, as all the information is publicly accessible. The technology is being piloted by British startup Provenance and has already received interest from the Co-op Food group and Thai Union, the world’s biggest tuna exporter whose John West brand was pulled from Tesco’s shelves earlier this year in response to sustainability concerns. Though there has been plenty of talk about blockchain’s potential to revolutionise the finance and property industries, its role in simplifying supply chain transparency across industries is most interesting to us here at Good Business.
(2) Degrees of Value
A report commissioned by insurance company Aviva has found that more than a third of graduates regret going to university, and almost half reckon they would have landed their current job without having to study for a degree. Aviva said financial woes force many to question the value of a university education—millennials have relatively low disposable incomes and estimate that it will take 11-12 years to repay their student debts. The figures were released as part of Aviva’s regular Family Finances report and are based on more than a thousand interviews among 18-35 year-olds to capture the millennial perspective. While universities have dismissed the findings — citing an overall satisfaction rating of 86% in this year’s National Student Survey, and calling Aviva’s survey data too narrow — we are familiar with these changing attitudes towards the perceived value of a degree. Our friends at the Excelerator Programme have been working to raise awareness amongst school students of elite apprenticeships as an alternative to university that allows you to earn and gain professional experience while working towards a degree.
(3) Lonely Girls
Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke, stars of hit US TV series Girls, have stripped down to their underwear for Auckland-based lingerie brand Lonely Label. Lonely is using a photographic series of women "who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves" for their latest campaign, shooting them unposed in their homes and avoiding retouching altogether. The campaign, dubbed #LonelyGirlsProject has had international success, with fans around the world posting pictures in their lingerie, tagging themselves in the campaign, and generating masses of much-valued user-generated content for the brand in the process. By espousing authenticity and empowerment, the Kiwi label has built a cult following that includes celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and Lorde, and with this latest campaign it adds to a growing positive body image movement that recognises women in all shapes and skin tones should be celebrated. Lonely is a great example of a brand listening to what society is saying and using what it hears to stay ahead of the curve, and not behind it.
(4) The Why Behind Waste
Sainsbury’s has published a new report that identifies the the four key ‘bin-fluences’ contributing to Britain’s food waste cycle. The supermarket found that the reasons behind the 7 million tonnes of food thrown away by British households each year are: (1) a lack of awareness of the financial (and environmental) benefits of avoiding food waste, (2) a disconnect between knowledge and behaviour, (3) an absence of role models when it comes to reducing waste in our homes, and (4) a tendency to experiment that creates significant waste as people purchase exotic and unusual ingredients without knowing how to use them up. The findings, based on the food waste patterns of 5,000 people, include the revelation that despite increased conversation around food waste, only 3% of people feel there is a social stigma associated with wasting food. While Friday 5 has previously featured a range of initiatives that aim to make innovative use of food waste (most recently: an app, and a redistribution policy), preventative programmes are fewer and far between. Real understanding of underlying motivations is key to any campaign to change behaviour and we look forward to seeing how Sainsbury’s (or any other brand) turns these insights into actions that will nudge consumers to waste less in the first place.
(5) Cutting the Cord
Smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung have dominated headlines in the last week: the former for the release of a new, headphone-jack-less iPhone 7, and the latter for a massive recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 after it was realised that faulty batteries could cause the phone to explode during or after charging. Competition between the two technology brands — particularly to build market share in China and India where middle-class incomes are fast-growing — has fuelled phone feature decisions: the iPhone 7, for example, is described as water-resistant and plays catch-up to the Galaxy Note 7, released last year and one of the first high-profile smartphones to claim full waterproofing. The most talked-about iPhone feature so far however, is the unprecedented removal of the traditional headphone jack and introduction of AirPods, a set of truly wireless headphones that Apple hopes will catch on amongst consumers as a status symbol the way their initially-reviled-but-now-ubiquitous white earphones did a decade ago. Is this a case of Apple attempting to push the consumer too far, or another example of the company giving people exactly what they want but don’t yet know they want? Let us know what you think by replying to this email.