Our agenda for 2023.

Things we are observing in the climate, regeneration, social and circular universe.

This is not a trends list. It’s a combination of strategy fermented with intuition. An internal exercise to keep us sensitive to the things that we believe will make impact in the years to come. And a dive on what we love and work with: climate, regeneration, social and circular.

Financing the value of nature and communities.

Money is being transferred from dirty to clean, from rich to vulnerable. The major outcome of COP 27 was to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries. China became the biggest investor in clean energy. The EU is resuming investments in Brazil’s Fundo Amazônia.

The idea of Natural Capital and Natural Based Solutions (NBS) is getting in the vocabulary. Companies are rethinking KPI’s, diving into emissions and metrics of Scope 3 and SBTi targets. Carbon credits are entering a new cycle with innovative platforms (i.e. blockchain based Regen Network) and technologies (i.e. Pachama using remote sensing). Standards are going beyond carbon, as Value Change Initiative from GOLD and Climate, Community and Biodiversity from VCS.

Not mentioning the more mature Impact Investing industry, betting on metaverse powered by renewable (i.e. Project ARK), and Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) technologies. Money isn’t just going to the latest tech, but also to traditional sectors that are finding ways to make a positive impact.

New Businesses for a changing climate.

The word of 2022, picked by different organizations, was “permacrisis”. From war and political polarization to climate instability, the feeling of insecurity is a threat. But also an opportunity.

Cities are evolving in ways to “feed themselves”. Business models have matured to become more accessible. Vertical farming has been hit with high power consumption, costs and ability to scale, but investments keep growing. Plant-based meat has cooled but the category is just getting started. Local produce delivery (i.e. Crowdfarming, Imperfect Foods), traceability technologies (DNA, RFID, QR) and responsible packaging (reusable, recycled or recyclable) are also on a rise, each with their challenges and scales.

Fashion has also seen shifts driven by the climate and pollution. The resale market (i.e RealReal, Vestiaire) is the new luxury and expected to grow 3X faster than the global apparel market overall, an increase of 127% by 2026. Repair is also a growing business and becoming a luxury service (i.e. VEJA at Gallery Lafayette). “Luxury Is That Which You Can Repair” -Vogue. From fashion to food and other industries, we will see businesses maturing and others being developed as an answer to climate change.

Sustainability claims are everyone’s problem.

Consumers, regulators and the media are more than ready to scrutinize greenwashing. Followed by the H&M lawsuit, accused to be misleading, illegal, and deceptive. The EU is requiring companies to collect their own data to back up any environmental claims. And data must be clear, objective and verifiable.

Companies will have to invest in intelligence (i.e LCA) and tools (i.e Novisto, Brightest, Avarni) to collect and verify data. And also create bridges between departments. Claims should be the responsibility of the sustainability department, but also marketing, R&D, legal, design and up to C-level. However, with the amount of data and information, where between 70% and 90% is dark data, that will be a big challenge.

The market is flooded with labels and certifications. Companies need to have a compliance strategy to pick where to invest and connect that seamlessly with communications. BOF report, The State of Fashion 2023, recommends to “Be precise: avoid broad, vague terms like”green” or “eco-friendly””. Also, Mintel reports that “Clear and simple communication will be essential to connect with fatigued consumers”.

Veja at Galeries Lafayette.

Redesigning the organization of the future.

Pandemic forced us to work remotely. And, even though companies want workers back, the hybrid model is here to stay. LinkedIn reported that remote jobs received 50% of all applications, despite representing less than 20% of all jobs offerings. It makes no sense to go to an office to stay in video calls, but still there’s no better place than an office for mentoring, creativity, socializing and building company’s culture.

Companies need a vision of what is the organization of the future. Models that focus on decentralized collaboration have been emerging and attracting talents. From DAO, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (i.e. Colony, Aragon), inspired by blockchain and web3, to the re-imagination of Digital Cooperatives or popularization of stock options and employee owned. And even new models like Patagonia’s perpetual through steward-ownership.

Another reflection of that is the end of the “CEO Hero”. Especially tech companies brought founders to an exaggerated projection that inflated their ego to a deluge of shame. Diversity and decolonisation comes as a relief answer, highlighting introverts and marginalized, redistributing power and re-framing ways of thinking. The business case for diversity has been proved through innovation, problem-solving and revenue. However, it is not just about hiring, but how to implement a neuro and cognitive diversity into the company’s culture.

Strengthen businesses through mental health

One of the scariest places on earth is inside of us. We are scratching the surface of mental health, how it is connected with work performance, burnouts, and how companies can strengthen businesses through minds.

At the same time we have the Sustainable Development Goals, there is the Inner Development Goals, where people can evaluate the relationship with themselves first, then understand the best way to approach their social engagement and drive change.

Companies are offering mental health checks, as well as unorthodox alternatives, like CBD, mushrooms and psychedelics. Democratized by Michael Pollan, and other authors. In this realm is also Neoxamanism, or the use of ancestral medicines integrated with our cultural and philosophical modernity. Ayahuasca itself is a entheogen that induces alterations in perception, mood, consciousness and cognition of the serotonin receptors, like LSD.

Serotonin itself is part of what HoBB called DOSE, the 4 feel good hormone. In a simplistic definition: Dopamine (reward), Oxytocin (love), Serotonin (mood) and Endorphins (wellbeing). Boosting the DOSE of you and the people that you work with might be scary, but it is worth it.

Rethinking time and occupying new spaces.

We are redefining the idea of time and space. The first, time, has merged with working hours: weekdays, quarters, and annual results. We need to stop adapting our time to work, and adapt our work to a new idea of time.

Projects like The Long Now Foundation and The Long Time Project provoke us on how to think about the long term changes the way people behave in the short term. If short termism took us here, can long termism take us out? It brings the idea that we are going to be an ancestor of someone in the future. So we need to be a good ancestor because the future is ancestral. Also the idea of planning for the long term, Paul Hawken’s Drawdown is a book consider “The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Roll Back Global Warming”.

Finally, the space is being filled by the intersection of high-tech and Lo-TEK (Local Traditional Ecological Knowledge). We are seeing indigenous and traditional communities occupying new spaces. From fictional narratives as Wakanda Forever and Encanto, to political and cultural protagonists. In Brazil, it has been an amazing movement to witness, from cinema (i.e. Territory), to arts (i.e. Jaider Esbell RIP, Denilson Baniwa), literature (i.e. Ailton Krenak, Itamar Vieira Junior) and, most recently, the first indigenous ministry, Sonia Guajajara.

Sonia Guajajara taking office.

Nature and traditional communities have different rhythms. We depend on their knowledge and collaboration to make the case for humans to exist. Business can be a force for that, but if we want them to be part of our supply-chains and tell their stories, we need to adapt our time and space, not theirs. Maybe that is the best business strategy for the years to come.



Co-founder of Farfarm.co

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