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News of the Week: Your Weekly Debrief 21/21

Business, Food, Fashion & Design: Your Weekly Debrief for Week 21, 2021, a curated newsletter with a handpicked selection of news from the plant-based world.

May 28, 2021

Words – Eric Mirbach
Editorial Desk – Laura Sinnhuber

Good Morning,

and great to have you join us for the Weekly Debrief for week 21 of 2021. We got the latest from the world of plant-based business, food, fashion, travel, and lifestyle, curated and contextualized for you.

You can subscribe, too.

But it gets better: You can subscribe to the Weekly Debrief, now, too. Get them delivered straight to their inbox every Saturday morning as a nicely prepared weekend read.

This week we got some corporate dinosaurs getting their behinds handed to them, a fully plant-based Burger King plus a vital alternative and big fashion brands overlooking the impact of animal materials in their venturing into more sustainable practices yet again.

The Week of Kicked Butts!
Amendment 171: Canceled! Shell: Super-Canceled!

Remember Amendment 171? The unprecedented restrictions for plant-based dairy products, which would have banned vegan brands from displaying allergen information, selling their products in cartons or using images of their own products? Well, EU leaders have dropped the plans this week, likely thanks to the huge campaign led by German NGO ProVeg and joined by brands like Oatly, Willicroft and Planted — or maybe they thought about it for 10 seconds and felt stupid (rightfully). Either way: Take this, dairy industry.

Another great piece of news this week which kind of triggered a lot of guttural “serves them right”-reflexes was regarding oil-and-gas-giant Shell. On Wednesday, a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell PLC is partially responsible for climate change and ordered the company to reduce its carbon emissions — a total first, adding pressure to oil-and-gas companies. We found a great quote to sum up our thoughts:

“I saw that!”
— Karma

A fully plant-based Burger King Restaurant, anyone?

Vegetarian Butcher, out of Amsterdam originally, the now-Unilever brand may not be entirely vegan, but has a history with powering Burger King‘s vegan offerings.

The newest coup: A fully plant-based location, planned to open it’s doors in Cologne, Germany. What sounded like a permanent gig at first, turned out to be more of a pop-up concept (thanks to our colleagues over at vegconomist who we annoyed via social for more precise info, which they actually delivered — amazing!), open only for a limited time. Still… (imagine a sound-loop of Bob Dylan singing about how times are a-changing here).

But we got more Vegetarian Butcher for you: Unilever announced a partnership with food-tech company Enough (formerly known as 3F BIO) to develop new plant-based products to market through the Vegetarian Butcher brand. We’re on the lookout — maybe they’ll beat Beyond in bringing that Brontosaurus steak we’ve all been waiting for to market.

But who needs a semi-vegan Burger King if they can have a Plant Power?

With a $7.5 m Series A capital raise, San Diego fast food restaurant chain Plant Power Fast Food has nationwide expansion on the to-do-list, with two Las Vegas locations already underway. The company witnessed immense growth in 2020, with a retail net sales increase of 52.14% — and their locations will likely be open longer than three days (looking at you, BK).

Miu Miu Upcycling Levi’s Denim

A “sustainable fashion” project between the two brands, for which Miu Miu is refashioning classic Levi’s denim in “true Miu Miu style” (whatever that exactly means), is underway and celebrated by international fashion press.

The collection will be available in 18 select Miu Miu stores worldwide and even though Levi’s is one of the very few jeans brand who don’t have their full identity riding on a leather patch, the pink re-invention of the classic back patch for the collab looked very much like leather to us (and a quick search confirmed our fear). So why are we covering this? Well, because this is a prime example of very unfortunate short-sightedness in new “sustainable fashion”-campaigning, where the choice of materials basically counteracts the sustainability PR the brands are trying to create. The science is out there, people!

External Guidance for big Fashion Houses as Regulations tighten

What seems like a better approach is described in this read in Vogue Business (behind a paywall), with a closer look on how brands like Rothy’s, Chloé or North Face are consciously seeking outside expertise to tackle their sustainability goals.

And it looks like it will be needed: As laid out in this piece, the ever-growing sustainability-claims in the fashion sphere — not surprisingly very often little more than greenwashing — are now increasingly met with consumer protection agencies rewriting regulations and cracking down on enforcement. We’re here for it!

As always, thanks for reading and have a great weekend. Read you next week!

Yours truly,
Eric Mirbach
(Editor in Chief)

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Curated, selected and contextualized for you by the Antagonist editorial team.

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