Lab-grown meat: fantasy or reality?

memphis meats.jpgSustainability problem:

Global livestock farming generates 7.1  gigatons of CO2 annually, which represents 15% of human induced GHG emissions.

To top it off, our global population is fast increasing (10 billion by 2050), and so is our meat consumption (+ 4.5% by 2024).

At this rate, it is evident that our GHG emissions from livestock farming are only going to increase at accelerating speed.

Technology:

Lab-grown meat. There are studies showing that lab grown meat’s carbon footprint is less intensive than slaughtered meat’s.

Currently, fetal serum is taken from unborn calves to grow muscle tissue. The current technology produces about a pound of meat for $9,000.

Stakeholders:

  • alternative meat producers
  • investors
  • livestock farms meat producers
  • slaughterhouses
  • consumers
  • government

Development/Implementation:

  • Improve technology to reduce the cost of production
  • Launch consumer product
  • Elaborate communications campaign and educational programs
  • Partner with food suppliers and retailers

Sources:

http://www.memphismeats.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/startup-to-serve-up-chicken-strips-cultivated-from-cells-in-lab-1489570202

https://gizmodo.com/behind-the-hype-of-lab-grown-meat-1797383294

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095311914608911

Additional thoughts:

This technology could revolutionize the way we consume and feed ourselves. Currently though, the only proved advantage is related to animal welfare. Although there are some studies showing a lower associated GHG footprint than with traditional meat, more research needs to be done. Finally, product cost remains astronomical and scaling strategy unknown.

Comment on post ‘Not a Plastic Bag’: This is a very promising technology. I would say that part of the current problem associated with alternative plastic bags is the lack of clarity to the consumer. Are they actually more sustainable? If so, which ones are best amongst the many options? This is a case where consumers need to be better informed in order to actually put pressure on retailers to adopt such technologies and create systemic change.

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Fashion’s solution to waste methane

Sustainability problem:

Methane is a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Methane is emitted by natural sources, but also by human activities such as leakage from natural gas systems, landfill and dairy farms.

CH4 is more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2: the comparative impact of CH4 is more than 25 times greater than CO2.

Technology:

Mango material is a startup using Methane to create fabric for apparel. The technology involves using waste methane to feed bacteria that then produce PHAs, a fully biodegradable bio-polyester fiber that can be turned into thread.

Mango Material is currently working on a pilot project, with a wastewater facility in California.

Stakeholders:

  • Waste facilities
  • Apparel companies
  • Apparel consumers
  • Textile industry
  • NGOs
  • General population

Development/Implementation:

  • Expand network of waste facilities to recycle waste methane
  • Develop technology to expand Methane sourcing to dairy farms and natural gas leakage
  • Implement an awareness campaign on the technology and quality of product
  • Business development campaign to partner with apparel companies

Sources:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40476430/the-shirt-of-the-future-is-made-from-polyester-thats-been-created-by-methane-eating-bacteria?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds&

http://mangomaterials.com/technology/

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

Fashion tech: animal-free leather?

Sustainability problem:

Leather is a $100 billion global business. It is an industry tied to a complex and unreliable supply chain, challenged by price volatility and sourcing inconsistency due to the non-homogenous quality of the material. Research has shown that 20 to 30% of the raw material goes to waste.

The industry is dependent on animal skin, and is petrochemical and GHG intensive.

Technology:

modernmeadow1-500x625.png Fake or real? (source: Courtesy)

Modern Meadow is a biotechnology startup fabricating leather without animal skin. The company produces a fibrous protein called collagen by fermenting a specific strain of yeast. The collagen is then assembled and tanned to create a material that is almost identical to traditional leather.

Stakeholders:

  • any company sourcing leather to manufacture its goods
  • fashion and luxury industry with high margins and a pressing need to innovate
  • traditional leather suppliers
  • NGOs

Development/Implementation:

  • Raise product and technology awareness
  • Strategic B2B business development campaigns
  • Product development partnerships with clients
  • Further technology/advance to reduce the price of currently costly product and unlock mainstream markets beyond the luxury industry

Sources:

http://www.modernmeadow.com

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/fashion-tech/bof-exclusive-with-lab-grown-leather-modern-meadow-is-bio-engineering-a-fashion-revolution?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=c58e96867e-modern-meadow-s-biotech-revolution-burberry-s-arti&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d2191372b3-c58e96867e-417127961&

 

Blockchain Technology for Food Security

Sustainability problem:

Every year, hundreds of thousands of deaths are attributed to food contamination. Because a supply chain is extremely complex, it is lengthy and costly to identify the source of contamination, which leads to illness, food waste and costly financial losses.

Food traceability is, therefore, a crucial challenge to be tackled in working towards sustainable development and specifically SGD goal #2 – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Technology:

IBM has partnered with global companies Nestle, Unilever and Tyson Foods to integrate its block chain technology platform into their supply chains.

Blockchain technology allows transactions to be permanently recorded and easily traced within a business network. Groups of transactions are blocked together and, what IBM calls a ‘fingerprint’ of that block is then added to the next block. In addition, since no transaction can be altered without being recorded by the entire network, the data is secure and accurate.

In the context of food supply chain, Blockchain would allow to quickly and accurately follow the origin of goods. When cases of contamination arise, it would also allow to identify with certainty the origin of contaminated foods and track them while reducing other food wastes.

Stakeholders:

  • Farmers
  • Processors
  • Distributors
  • Retailers
  • Consumers
  • Governments
  • United Nations

Development/Implementation:

  • IBM must develop partnerships with companies interested in adopting the technology for their supply chain
  • Identify stakeholders in supply chain
  • Provide secure access to the platform to all stakeholders
  • Deploy trainings on technology

Sources:

https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/what-is-blockchain.html

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/unilever-nestle-and-other-food-giants-team-blockchain

Smart Solutions for Food Waste

Sustainability problem:

Food waste is both a critical environmental issue and an economic challenge.

Some keys facts to consider:

  • $218 billion is spent annually in the US to grow, process, transport, and dispose 52 million tons of food that is never eaten!
  • Food waste consumes 21% of all freshwater.

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Technology:

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 11.18.35 AM.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Spoiler Alert is a software company founded by two MIT Sloan graduates to help organizations manage and track unsold inventory.
  • Spoiler Alert’s online management platform creates secondary markets to sell remaining inventory to discount buyers or connect with/donate to NGOs.
  • It allows companies to generate new revenue and tax benefits, as well as minimize waste costs by reducing food surplus.

Stakeholders:

  • Farms
  • Food businesses
  • NGOs
  • Civil society impacted by GHG emissions and climate change
  • Local government
  • Waste management facilities

Development/Implementation:

  • Organizations such as farms, food businesses and NGOs must acquire and install the technology.
  • Integrate or sync the technology with existing inventory management systems.
  • Train employees on the use of the software.
  • Increase awareness of the tool: the success of the secondary marketplaces depend on scale.

Sources:

  1. http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/waste_not/matt_greenstein/how_right_kpis_can_help_eliminate_food_loss_waste?utm_source=email&utm_medium=community&utm_content=title&utm_campaign=sbnews201732&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWTJFMk5tUmhOekkxWkdKaCIsInQiOiIwSlh1bTc2RHpSREhwOFQxbkJ4YVM1Ump1M3JWTmtQcmVoUmpDVTh5YVlHdFh5Z0ZjSTFrZTJsMUhzQ0tzekFuV3NxQTcycEVBWTZQUkVWdFwvYVB6b1ZDT2o0eHl3OEJSclJmdkZmK1lwM2VSbFZPZ3RyTVJzekFvWUhlc2hhYVwvIn0%3D
  2. http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/business_models/hannah_furlong/spoiler_alert_can_app_close_food_waste_loop
  3. https://www.spoileralert.com
  4. http://blog.spoileralert.com/environmental-impact-of-food-waste

 

UNI: amr2184