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How Houdini Explores Reducing The Use Of Material Resources

Half-Earth is 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.

Founded 25 years ago, Swedish outdoor clothing brand Houdini Sportswear has a unique perspective on manufacturing and retail operations that weaves together environment, ethics and business. A key element is the rejection of linear production in favour of It supports a circular cycle of production with its Re-projects initiative, (Repair, ReUse, Clean, Recycle), weaving together repairs, pre-owned sales, rental and recycling.

Its Planetary Boundaries Assessment 2018 offered a ranking system across nine key areas of planetary impact – climate change, novel entities, stratospheric ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosol loading, ocean acidification, biogeochemical flows, freshwater use, land-system change and biosphere integrity. Houdini is using the model to help evaluate the impact of its operations and its progress towards ‘impact positive’ status.

Following the shocking UN report estimating that 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction and that urgent transformative change is needed, Houdini has announced The Regenerative Lifestyle Initiative, where the company is identifying attractive lifestyle solutions that have the potential to drastically reduce the use of material resources and safeguard and protect half of earth for nature. 

A trailblazer in sustainable innovation in its quest to become regenerative, it is a two-year project exploring what an attractive lifestyle well within planetary boundaries could look like and if scaling it could enable the Half-Earth Project of setting aside half of our planet to safeguard biodiversity, celebrate all life on earth and manifest the beauty and intrinsic value of nature. As the author of Half-Earth, biologist E.O. Wilson, has stated, “We can share this precious planet of ours. All life could prosper. It would be humanity’s greatest achievement.” 

Examples of lifestyle initiatives to be explored:

  • Having a significantly smaller wardrobe that lasts longer and caters to a wider range of needs, including spending time in the outdoors. 
  • Accessing a shared wardrobe through product-as-a-service solutions, catering to an unlimited range of activities while being more resource efficiency.
  • Being part of a connected community for peer-to-peer sharing of gear and experiences, open source innovation and sharing of knowledge and insights.    
  • Multiplied outdoor experiences and encounters with nature with the well-being and connection to nature these bring as well as the decrease in advertising exposure this results in.
  • Values orientation shifting towards less material consumption, more time spent being active and in nature as well as making walking, bike commuting and ski touring the preferred alternative to motorized mobility and local adventures or sustainable travel destinations the preferred choice when vacationing.
  • Increased awareness and behaviours shifting towards less impactful and regenerative lifestyles. 

Houdini will run this initiative in partnership with Cybercom – a digital consultancy company specialising in how digitalization 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 digitalization 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 a participant in other relevant international processes such as Mission Innovation.

Steps and updates planned within the initiative:

  • Explore Houdini’s existing and potential positive and negative effects on lifestyle and culture; May – July 2019.
  • Quantify and simulate the effects these bring to individuals, communities, society and the planet; August – October 2019.
  • Findings to be shared on Half-Earth Day; October 2019.
  • Assess how far these regenerative effects could take humanity towards the ambition of Half-Earth when scaled; November – April 2020. 
  • Explore possibilities for how to exponentially increase these effects through further development, collaborations and partnerships; May – September 2020.
  • Full report to be published in October 2020.
Eva Karlsson, Houdini Sportswear CEO, is clear about the need for commitment, “It is absolutely critical that companies realize their opportunity but also their responsibility to become stewards of the planet and to play their part in the transformation the world so urgently needs. Lately, I have seen troublesome tendencies among companies so eager to communicate their commitment and improvements that they find creative ways to label their brand and products ‘positive’ even though they are still far from it. Shortcuts and greenwashing are counterproductive to anyone who wants this societal transformation to succeed, possibly the most massive humanity has ever faced. Honesty and transparency will be essential.”
Credit: Houdini Sportswear
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