In the whitepaper, “Regenerative Lifestyles”, Houdini encourages its industry peers across sectors to address its impact on both nature and culture, in its ambitions to become sustainable. The paper introduces a formula for total impact of a company, P * V + L = I. Where “P” is the impact of the product, “V” is the volume of the product, “L” is the lifestyle supported and “I” is the total impact. Only with a formula like this the total footprint and handprint of a company can be assessed and improved.
A year ago, when Houdini Sportswear launched the project to explore regenerative lifestyles that could support the goals of the Half-Earth Project*, it was hard to imagine that the world would look so different just 12 months later. With COVID-19 the world has changed in profound ways. In a few weeks’ time large parts of the world’s population have made radical changes to how we move, live, eat, work and enjoy ourselves. Policymakers have dramatically shifted their priorities and many companies have been given or taken new roles in society. In parallel, discussions about purpose, values and ethics have gained attention and relevance. How the future will unfold depend on how we emerge from this crisis.
The white paper released today, is a continuation of Houdini’s journey towards regeneration and co-creating a world where humans live in harmony with nature. The starting point for the whitepaper was exploring how the vision of a Half-Earth future, a future where half the global surface would be protected, could be used as a driver for innovation and how a company could contribute. The white paper introduces a formula suggesting that companies address not only their products’ impact from production but also from consumption, i.e. at what volume these products are consumed, and while consumed, what lifestyles are supported.
The paper highlights that most companies today focus their efforts on minimizing the negative impact from production, while very few seem to have strategies and goals to reduce the volume of consumption to a sustainable level. Even fewer have strategies and goals for how they, through their product offering, brand and communication, can support sustainable lifestyles. For an apparel company to be truly sustainable, the paper suggests it needs to address all three:
1. Product - circular and sustainable by design, sourcing and production, including value chains.
2. Volume - sustainable volumes of the product. Versatile functionality, high level of quality and timeless design are three key factors, parallel to circular business models, to allow for smaller and longer lasting wardrobes.
3. Lifestyle - sustainable ways of living supported by the product itself and by the apparel brand, though its marketing, relations to customers and partnerships. Enabling and encouraging customers to shift from excessive consumption to a mindful way of keeping and caring for their product and to empower people to partake and contribute in the transition towards sustainable ways of living and a sustainable society.
The estimations in the whitepaper indicate that the difference between lifestyles that a company can support and enable are very significant. The difference in environmental impact between a low-impact lifestyle and a high-impact lifestyle is often 500% to 1000%, sometimes even higher. High-impact lifestyles are not compatible with global sustainability, let alone a Half-Earth future, and will continue to undermine the living systems on this planet. The whitepaper also highlights the need to discuss the impact of “obscene” lifestyles, lifestyle with extreme high use of natural resources, often promoted as the ultimate luxury and the lifestyle to admire and strive for.
The whitepaper highlights a number of potential lifestyle initiatives for the apparel sector and partners in other sectors. Areas with significant impact include:
- Circular and regenerative material and products design
- Products designed for longevity, both in terms of quality and style
- Multipurpose product design to enable smaller wardrobes
- Circular and regenerative business models to extend product lifetime further
- Promote sustainable lifestyle choices connected to products and wardrobe
- Promote sustainable lifestyle choices in general, such as choice of travel, commuting, vacations, etc
- An overall shift towards lifestyles with low material consumption.
Houdini is running this initiative in partnership with Cybercom, a digital consultancy company specialising in how digitalisation can provide solutions to global challenges and drive business innovation. The company recently led the work of developing a roadmap for a Fossil Free Sweden on behalf of the digital consultancy sector. Cybercom has been working with numerous companies on digitalisation to drive development towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and was one of the first companies to integrate the SDGs into KPIs and the CRM system to ensure that they are linked to core business development. Cybercom is an active member in the UN Global Compact and an active participant in processes such as Mission Innovation. Recently Cybercom helped develop a web platform to gather COVID-19 responses that can inspire 1.5 °C compatible innovations.
Eva Karlsson, CEO at Houdini Sportswear:
”The current crisis has made it clear that we must create a more resilient world where companies integrate regenerative solutions at the heart of their business. Our mission, to become a positive and regenerative force in society and for the planet, have never been more important. This project helps us in accelerating our journey towards regenerative and will hopefully serve as a tool to share our insights and find partners to expand and accelerate our common journey towards a thriving Half-Earth future”.
Josef Nyström Baksaas, Business Development at Houdini Sportswear:
“A total impact approach is very inspiring, not only as it provides us with a structured way to deliver on our mission to have a positive impact. It also provides us with hands-on guidance regarding which shifts in lifestyle are the most important and that these would actually allow us to live more fulfilling lives, by being smarter about how we spend our time, harvest technologies, design systems, create solutions, collaborate and care.“
Jesper Danielsson, Head of Design at Houdini Sportswear:
“Designing for smart use is what we always have done at Houdini, but to ensure that the maximum experience we want to enable is sustainable and put in a broader context with the help of a simple yet holistic formula will help us structure our approach further. It is also nice to get some hard facts for how important and impactful our design principles are for the planet."
Niklas Flyborg, Cybercom CEO:
Moving from a “reduction”- to “positive impact”-focus is something that we see an increasing number of companies exploring. To develop new tools that allow companies to develop solutions for a positive impact, together with an internationally recognized sustainability leader like Houdini, is very valuable for us. Our focus at Cybercom is how companies can use sustainability and digitalisation as drivers for business innovation and the current COVID-19 has put the need for digitalisation and sustainability in the centre of the discussion. With the launch of this whitepaper we now look forward to work with Houdini and other partners to support a more innovation driven and sustainable post COVID-19 society."
Dennis Pamlin, Accelerator Net-positive and Digital Sustainability at Cybercom:
“Up until now the sustainability leadership has been about reducing negative impacts from the production. This new paper clearly shows that such a narrow perspective is not enough. We need to include consumption volumes and lifestyles in the assessment of companies. With the formula for total impact, P * V + L = I, it will be possible to identify and support the new generation of companies where core business and measurable results in society for global sustainability is the focus. I look forward to a very exciting 2020 where we will see some ground-breaking new initiatives."
* Half-Earth: The idea that if we protect half the global surface, the fraction of species protected will be 85%, or more. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone. Half-Earth can be seen as an ethical starting point for how humanity can live in harmony with nature where nature has an intrinsic value.
For more information see: https://www.half-earthproject.org/discover-half-earth/