Our Innovating Sustainable Lifestyles workstream is investigating what combination of products and services will enable a sustainable lifestyle.
Sustainable lifestyles can’t be enabled by one company on its own. They won’t be made possible by lighter packaging or fuel-efficient vehicles. Companies need to collaborate, combining their areas of expertise to address the impacts of their products when used. Transformative business collaborations and innovations that enable more sustainable living will inspire people to modify and adapt their own behaviors too.
If you’re earning a middle-class income anywhere in the world today, you cannot buy yourself a sustainable lifestyle. The infrastructure, products, services, business models and technology are simply not available, regardless of the behavior changes that you could make. We need to develop systemic solutions to address the impacts of our modern lifestyles.
Companies know they can’t enable sustainable lifestyles by themselves. It’s already hard to drive current portfolios in some markets due to environmental pressures; for example, water scarcity makes it difficult to sell hygiene products in some parts of the world. Innovation is critical, as it will help make current portfolios risk-proof and open up new opportunities.
We’re lucky to have access to a physical space where we can explore collaborations. Whirlpool Corporation’s ReNEWW House, a traditional US home on the campus at Purdue University in Indiana, has been given a deep retrofit and is a “live-in laboratory” where R&D teams can experience sustainable living.
Working group member companies are introducing product and behavior investigations at the ReNEWW House, exploring the use of current products as well as how different combinations of innovations could enable more sustainable lifestyles.
We’re using the lessons learned at the ReNEWW House to help other companies within the working group leverage their own existing lifestyle investigations (e.g. smart homes). Our aim is to uncover further collaboration opportunities and combine insights from the wide range of member company efforts in order to focus innovation further.