A Carpet That Reduces Footprints…Carbon Footprints, That Is.

A Carpet That Reduces Footprints…Carbon Footprints, That Is.

July 15, 2021

 

The next time you step on a commercial market, you may be walking on stored carbon dioxide.

Interface, a maker of commercial flooring, has developed carpet tiles that have a negative carbon footprint. Their design involves the infusion and storage of carbon dioxide, and the processes to manufacture them are more energy-efficient. Other manufacturers are betting on this innovation to produce environmentally friendly plastics, fuels, concrete, and even fish food. The concept is attractive but it faces multiple obstacles before it becomes commercially viable and widely adopted.

 


Video Spotlight: Carbon as a Resource at Interface


This post is based on The New York Times article, Has the Carbontech Revolution Begun?, by J. Gertner, June 23, 2021, and the YouTube video, Interface FYI|Carbon, by Interface, January 27, 2019. Image source: lucato/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is carbontech? Give some examples of products involving this concept.

Guidance: Carbontech, or carbon utilization, involves the use or recycling of carbon oxides to make value-added products. The products “store” the pollutants, and the fabrication processes used to make these products add no emissions. Carbon neutrality remains a long-term goal for many businesses, but being carbon negative is already Continue reading

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Pandora Closes the Box on Mined Diamonds

Pandora Closes the Box on Mined Diamonds

July 7, 2021

The popular jewelry company, Pandora, will no longer source real diamonds and will exclusively use lab grown diamonds instead.

A combination of low cost and sustainability strategies are driving this change to make beautiful jewelry that is more affordable, accessible, and sustainable.  Pandora’s decision follows a larger market trend that has seen the production of lab-grown diamonds increase to approximately six or seven million carats in 2020, while mined diamonds saw demand drop.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the CNN article, Pandora says laboratory-made diamonds are forever, by Jonathan Josephs, May 4, 2021; CBS News article, Pandora, world’s largest jewelry marker, will no longer use mined diamonds, by Sophie Lewis, May 7, 2021; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Tetra Images/Alamy

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the move to lab-grown diamonds fit with Pandora’s operations strategies?

Guidance: CEO Alexander Lacik says that low cost is a prime driver of the move to using more lab-grown diamonds.  While Pandora’s jewelry is recognized for good quality and attractive design, its design and price point are Continue reading

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Upcycled Food Is Trending

Upcycled Food Is Trending

 

More than one third of the global food production is lost or wasted.

This is a serious problem with humanitarian, economic, and environmental implications. Inadequate handling, storage, and distribution result in food losses while limited shelf life and spoilage of perishable products contribute to food waste. One solution to the problem is the design of new products from waste and byproducts of food processing. The market success of these new products depends on their appeal to consumers and their price.

 


Video Spotlight: Upcycled Food


This post is based on The Conversation article, Upcycling’ Promises to Turn Food Waste into Your Next Meal, by R. Holcomb and D. Bellmer, June 22, 2021, and the YouTube video, Upcycled Food Becomes This Year’s Latest Food Trend, by CBS This Morning, April 17, 2021. Image source: RonBailey/E+/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the consequences of food loss/waste? Could lower food production levels solve the problem?

Guidance: There are humanitarian, financial, and environmental consequences of food loss/waste. From a humanitarian standpoint, the coexistence of hunger and food loss/waste exposes the intolerable weaknesses of the food supply chains. The economic consequences of food losses are estimated to Continue reading

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