Helping to protect the planet is top of mind for an increasing number of companies, individuals and investors. It was therefore both pleasing and eye-catching to read about three recent innovations that speak explicitly to this theme.
First up, Pandora, the world’s largest jeweller, announced that it will cease to use mined diamonds in its products. Instead, its rings, bracelets, necklaces and the like will be made from lab-created diamonds. Beyond the humanitarian and environmental benefits, Pandora says that the cost could be one-third lower when diamonds are produced in the lab. Moreover, they are “identical” in terms of optical, chemical, thermal and physical qualities. The products are already on sale in the UK and are set to launch globally over the course of the next year. During 2022, Pandora says it diamonds are expected to be made using 100% renewable energy.
Just as the traffic in diamonds often evokes strong emotions, readers may be interested to read that the most trafficked wild product in the world is neither ivory nor rhino horn. In fact, it is rosewood. The tree has become increasingly endangered as demand for furniture made from it has led to the desecration of forests in some countries. The good news is that a solution is at hand: via 3D printing, wood can be ‘printed’ with a grain that is able to mimic any type of tree. The grain in question is developed using wood by-products and effectively rebuilds a tree-equivalent bottom-up. The technology has been developed by a start-up called Forust but is being rolled out by 3D-printing business Desktop Metal. We have made the case for 3D-printing in the past and may return to the topic in more detail later this year.
Finally we saved arguably the best story until last. Many of us (including your author) are missing foreign holidays and where better to visit in spring than Seville, in southern Spain? The city is famous for its eponymous oranges. Seville counts close to 50,000 trees which grow them. Beyond the pleasing sight and smell, the fallen oranges constitute a major problem, both as a hazard to pedestrians and for the council to dispose of. However, Emasesa, the local utility company is taking some of the oranges off the council’s hands. It is then fermenting them with the intention of using the energy produced from this chemical process to generate green (or might one want to say ‘orange’?) electricity. If successful, all the city’s oranges may be recycled next year. The future looks bright(ly coloured)...
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