Edition 106

In this week’s Our Take, we check out some new initiatives that are creating opportunities for marginalised communities through art and entrepreneurship! We all have a love hate relationship with Microsoft Excel but one business has went above and beyond to put a bit of expression in excel. And what’s the latest news in greenwashing? Check it out below.

Revving for change

Photo credit: Davide Virdis

The ‘Driven by Change’ initiative launched in 2021 by Formula 1 team McLaren and vape brand Vuse has revealed its latest firebrand young artist, automotive media designer Davide Virdis.

The ‘Driven by Change’ programme promotes emerging, underrepresented creatives by providing them with mentorship and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and experiences.

Available to artists over 25 years old, Virdis is one of the fortunate few to have made the cut. His work for the project celebrates McLaren’s racing by imagining a new car – the DBC83.

The sleek design is s**t hot with Virdis saying “It is not an exercise of engineering but an artistic perspective of what the future could behold.”

It’s refreshing to see big swingers of the industry create opportunities for the creative community – a group who they rely to make their rides look banging! 

Lights, Camera, Positive ACTION

Channel 4

We’ve witnessed a lot of performative activism and allyship since the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in 2020, so it’s refreshing to see Channel 4 taking real action and creating progressive change in the media landscape.

Black to Business is a class new initiative launched by Channel 4 in collaboration with Lloyds Bank which aims to support five Black-owned businesses new to TV advertising.  

The winning entrepreneurs will receive £100,000 worth of TV advertising airtime, a TV commercial and six months marketing and business support from Channel 4. An additional five shortlisted businesses will receive a Rising Star grant worth £3,000 and one-to-one consultation sessions to support their growth. 

A Channel 4 representative commented that Black in Business’s ambition is to ‘level the playing field when it comes to economic inclusion and highlight the contribution these businesses can make towards the wider UK economy’. Hats off to this initiative as it not only values the contributions and work of Black entrepreneurs but creates opportunities capable of real impact.

Excel-ent Designs

Studio Ingrid Picanyol

Barcelona café La Oficina de Parque created a space for “Digital Nomads” (the hipster version of ‘remote workers) to work while enjoying a coffee.

With this clientele in mind,designer Ingrid Picanyol drew inspiration for the branding from the café’s beautiful leafy surrounds, but also from the blandest Office tool of them all: Microsoft Excel.

Paying homage to Excel’s cell and grid formats, Picanyol developed a suite modular illustrations of different elements from the surrounding park such as leaves, flowers, bees and a fountain, while the menus maintain the format of a typical table of costs.

We absolutely love a clever design and when it’s as functional as it is beautiful it’s up there with the best.

A greener shade of landfill?

Let’s talk about ‘greenwashing’. Again.

Apple recently made an announcement that they plan to use 100 percent recycled cobalt in all their batteries by 2025. Great, right? Except that Apple, by making their devices difficult and expensive to repair, are subtly encouraging people to throw away their old devices instead of fixing or upgrading them. Which means a lot of these batteries will probably end up as landfill anyway.

Once again, it falls on consumers to be the ultimate regulators and industry watchdogs, staying vigilant towards brands and demanding transparency. And hey, it’s crucial to hold companies accountable for their environmental claims and push for meaningful change.

There’s already great success with things like the right-to-repair movement, which has succeeded in putting pressure on giants like Apple, Samsung, Google, and even John Deere to make it easier for people to repair their products and save them from going to landfill.

By insisting businesses put their money where their mouth is, we can help combat the trend of greenwashing and ensure that companies truly embrace sustainability.

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