The Eco-trend ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

The Eco-trend

dolphin.JPGMy apologies for the break of several days, I'm a little under the weather from a flue of some sort. Nevertheless, I can't help looking at things and coming up with a ton of ideas, which must simply be written down, for your and my pleasure.

This time, I'm thinking about eco-issues, which is clearly a rising trend. I surely don't need to remind people of the effect that the disasters over the last years have had on the media (think: Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"), and the effect it has had on blue- and white-collar enterprises all over the world. But you (or at least I) don't really hear that much from the Food & Retail sector in this regard.

Nevertheless, yesterday I read a good article (in Dutch) on a night-club in Rotterdam, MyTown, which is rebuilding itself in an eco-style way, and another blurb on Marks & Spencer, which is opening their first Eco-store in Scotland. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples, only a Google-search away, but I want to keep it light for today.

For both venues, the eco-part comes from architectural design, making it harder for existing stores to do the same, without incurring cash-flow problems. I'm fairly impressed with some of the innovative measures that MyTown is taking, including building a dance-floor that creates energy through movement (kinetic), and a "relax roof," with solar panels and (how typically Dutch) windmills. Retail Analysis, as usual, is sparse with its details on what Marks & Spencer is doing, except implement energy-efficient measures on its electrical components (lighting, refrigeration, etc.) and using renewable wood-materials.

The business of Eco
This is a world, I've only superficially studied, so excuse mistakes in legislation. From my understanding, ever since the Kyoto agreement, the carbon-emissions per country and per company have become big business, even being traded globally. This manifests itself in such a way that even companies that pollute can acquire carbon-points from companies that are far in the clear in that regard. 

In the Netherlands, and I can't speak for other countries, except perhaps the European Union, subsidies centred around this issue are big business too. MyTown received up to €300,000 for it's reconstruction, and many architects will purposefully choose certain materials because of their eco-quality and the savings in costs it brings through subsidies. From my understanding, the same is happening across the EU, though I cannot confirm this.

As mentioned, this is the first time, I've delved into the FnR-aspect of eco-business, so I'm not sure how prevalent it is. Perhaps, with enough savings, a similar carbon-trading situation can or is occuring, certainly amongst larger chains like M&S.

Is Eco good marketing?
This is an issue I still have to study and perhaps write a future post about. Certainly eco-awareness amongst the public is at an all-time high and business "doing the right thing" can only appear more positive in their eyes. Whether it makes a difference per location or only on a Goodwill-level remains to be seen. For Clubs like MyTown, the entertainment-aspects will of course outweigh what kind of electricity they use for their fridges, however if they can package their eco-friendliness in an entertaining way, I can only see positive things coming out of that.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the "Dolphin" picture. I was in an abstract kind of mode.


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