With full-on fandom for (and acknowledgement to) Sesame Street, this 2022 trends report is brought to you by the letter C (and the atomic number 6).
We see three big trends powering impact this year, all beginning with the letter C: Carbon Accounting (hence the number 6); Collaborations; and the Climate Generation.
Tools for Carbon Accounting
From carbon labeling to carbon credits, companies both large and increasingly small will be embracing the principles of carbon accounting.
While most big business have the resources to measure their carbon footprint, this endeavor has been daunting for small businesses. That’s changing.
Any number of consulting organizations offer cost-effective services for small businesses. One good example is We Are Neutral, an environmental nonprofit that’s been at this for more than 14 years. They’ll help you every step of the way on your journey, from measuring and reducing your impact to bridging the gap between a small carbon footprint and carbon neutrality.
Aclymate is a startup carbon accounting and offsetting platform developed especially for small businesses. Aclymate provides an online software it supports with a “Climate Navigator” team member to help you quickly calculate your company’s carbon footprint. It then offers a variety of options to offset your emissions. Oh, and did we mention — it’s free to use.
More broadly, there’s a growing body of carbon accounting tools that are specific to industries or even to websites — what’s encouraging is that many of them are open-source.
Curious about the carbon emissions of your website? British B Corp Wholegrain Digital has developed a carbon calculator that determines emissions generated by your site, and Chicago B Corp Mightybytes has an online tool called the Ecograder that establishes how green your website is. Tools like these are powerful as they offer a way to directly redesign and reduce your carbon emissions, rather than staying the status quo and buying credits to offset ongoing impact.
No sharp elbows here — New Belgium Brewing developed its own carbon-accounting tool and shared it as a toolkit to help the industry make progress on climate change. Many small craft breweries are actively using this tool because of New Belgium’s open-source philosophy for climate action. BTW: Did you know New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale is the world’s first carbon-neutral beer?
Birds of a feather (ouch — couldn’t resist!), Allbirds took the same approach in creating a carbon calculator for its own products and then offering this suite of tools and a helpful usage guidebook to the fashion industry.
We’re seeing more and more brand collabs at the forefront of the marketing world. When aligned (or even competitive) brands co-create together, they generate limited-edition excitement, introduce and cross-promote their brands and products to new audiences, and hey – the respective teams learn a thing or two from one another and likely have a good time doing it.
We’ll start with a collab between Burton and New Belgium Brewing. (Nice work, New Belgium — you get twofer credit in this article.) The two B Corps and Protect Our Winters partners created Fat Tire X Burton, a limited-edition collection including a weatherproof performance pullover, heritage beanie, fleece crew sweatshirt, and exclusive pow surfer snowboard.
Pioneering sustainable outdoor brand (and British B Corp) Finisterre is collaborating with New Zealand’s Blundstone on some super-sweet new fully vegan boots. (Trying hard, here, to suppress an immense sense of “want” right now.)
Competing footwear brands Allbirds (Ding, ding — another member of the twofer club in this blog, well done!) and adidas are collaborating on FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT, a 12-month-long joint project to produce an ultralight running shoe with minimum carbon footprint. Release of this shoe arrives in April.
Big brands aplenty — sure — but there are plenty of smaller organizations collaborating on regional and local levels, too.
B Corp Regrained’s Upcycled Food Lab got together with Semolina Artisanal Pasta to co-create Strozapretti pasta. Using certified upcycled grains and organic durum wheat, this toothsome pasta is delicious (we’ve tried it), and each box also saves 50 gallons of water in the production process.
Events pretty much tanked during the pandemic, so you can imagine how this challenged local performing and cultural arts organizations. A group of 8 nonprofits in Boise, Idaho, is banding together this spring to launch a first-ever collective campaign,” let’s arty!” Campaign starts in March and runs exclusively through the Instagram channel @letsarty_.
You might even look at our company, Unit, as a collab — starting as a group brainstorming session that eventually brought three B Corps together (Roundpeg, Oliver Russell, and Unity Web Agency) to collaborate on starting a platform to measure and report impact.
Meet the Climate Generation
Move over, Pepsi Generation. Time to meet the Climate Generation.
Greta Thunberg and other young environmental activists ushered this generation into being. Or perhaps it’s more accurate that Boomers created the world that gave birth to this group.
Bridging Millennials and Gen Z (and growing every year as people age into adult consumers), we peg the Climate Generation as ranging in age from roughly 18 to 30*. Not the peak of spending power, but that doesn’t matter as much as you think, which we’ll cover shortly.
This generation is afraid and it’s angry about the state of the planet. We believe this combination leads to what will be the first generation to actualize the promise of conscious consumerism. While nearly 60% of Americans “think” of themselves as conscious consumers, the Climate Generation, especially on its younger side, “lives” the life of a conscious consumer because it has grown up with a future that depends on it. Just watch!
We think this forces real change on corporations as CEOs and CMOs adjust to the realities of the Climate Generation. These younger consumers don’t have to spur significant sale decreases to change corporate behavior. All it takes is to effect a small percentage sales decline, as even a one-percent drop in sales has an outsized effect on company profits — it’s those last sales that power the profit and get the attention of leadership pressured to report pennies per share every quarter.
It’s Time to “C’z” the Day
So, in signing off, we extend thanks to the letter “C” for serving as a role model to its compadres in the alphabet and for providing the contextual framework for our trend predictions.
As for the predictive trends, well — in truth — who knows what the future holds? But here are three things we DO know:
- We’re encouraged by the drive for Carbon Accounting and the human resources and technology being applied to climate action.
- If you aren’t planning a collaboration right now, what’s keeping you? It’s time to take your Vitamin C! Put a collaboration on your 2022 calendar.
- The Climate Generation – we’re inspired by your passion, and while you might be afraid for the future, you’re fearless in your action. We will stand aside you in word and action and exhort others to do the same. You bring hope to all!
* You don’t find many search results when looking for the Climate Generation. So, how’d we determine this age range for our definition? Well, Greta Thunberg was born in 2003, so we used that as an approximate minimum age, rounding down to 18. A fantastic nonprofit named Climate Generation was formed in 2012 — so if you were 18 when it was formed, you’d now be 30. Super scientific!