What’s Cruelty-Free Innovation and Why the Planet Needs It?
Published on: 18.05.2021
Fruit and veggies are good for health and the planet too. New innovative startups are making it possible that we not only eat fruit and vegetables but that we also wear them. Consumers worldwide know that factory farming and agriculture are major contributors to deforestation, habitat loss, and climate change. Disruptive startups are picking on the needs of eco-conscious consumers and innovate for solutions to animal cruelty and agricultural waste.
On the other hand, billions of animals in industrial farms suffer while living in stressful and disease-ridden conditions before being slaughtered or mutilated for meat and dairy, clothing, accessories, and cosmetics. Animal cruelty remains a saddening and concerning issue worldwide. Not only it’s inhuman, but it has a toll on the environment and wellbeing of all beings involved in the process. When it comes to health concerns, it’s not only the animals that we need to worry about but also the spread of viruses from animals to humans, especially zoonotic source diseases like COVID-19.
Hence, innovative startups are coming up with solutions that tackle various issues related to industrial farms and the impact of agricultural practices.
Innovation in meat alternatives and food tech
Eminent scientists say that a plant-based diet would help feed billions and prevent millions of deaths. The meat we buy could be a ‘killer offer’ that we’re paying for. According to news.harvard.edu, increased meat consumption, especially processed meat is linked with higher risks of premature death.
Hence, lab meat is believed to be a solution to the need for food while it would put an end to factory farming and to the waste problems that it creates.
In the meantime, meat alternatives seem like a promising market. According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global meat substitute market was valued at $4.1 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026. This list includes products made from tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, seitan, and Quorn.
What about lab meat that tastes like real meat?
Scientists and food tech startups have made meat from a petri dish using stem cells, but it’s not yet sustainable for mass production due to high costs. However, companies and investors are recognizing the need for a sustainable meat substitute and seeing opportunities in the lab meat. Hopefully, lab meat will soon be a common a cheaper alternative to meat.
Alternatives to leather and animal fiber in the fashion industry
If plant-based meat substitutes and lab meat become the norm, there will no more animal waste and consequently no animal leather for the fashion industry. On the other hand, consumers are looking for cruelty-free products. This has given rise to several clean leather companies. Besides animal welfare, they provide alternatives to non-renewable, polyester, and cotton-based clothing and accessories. They not only recycle synthetic materials but also solve the issue of agricultural waste by making leather and clothing materials from it.
Italy rules when it comes to style, but the Italian obsession with the ‘Bella Figura’ is switching to a new obsession for ethical fashion. In such a case, Italian designers have the power to drive change in the fashion industry due to their reputation. Innovative startups are providing the textile industry and big brands with materials made from grape waste from vineries, orange, pineapple, and banana fiber, apple skin and waste, mushrooms, and even lab-growth leather.
The goal of old and young designers is to create sustainable cycles, cut waste, reduce emissions, and be friendly with the environment and animals.
Cruelty-free and sustainable beauty
Like in fashion and food, it’s the conscious consumers that drive innovation in the ethical cosmetics and beauty industry. A new generation of eco-conscious people is looking to support ethical brands that are worth it. Hence beauty brands are innovating and experimenting to keep up with their customer demands for cruelty-free and vegan products.
What’s the difference?
Animal rights movements use cruelty-free as a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals anywhere in the world or any link in the production chain.
Meanwhile, in the cosmetic, beauty, and toiletry industry cruelty-free means that the product has not been tested on animals. However, it still can contain animal derived-ingredients and the buyers need to check the list of ingredients to understand what are they’re going to put on the face, hair, or body.
Moreover, vegan is the label used for cosmetic products that don’t contain animal ingredients. This includes, but is not limited to, honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, and many others.
In a nutshell, if someone can make a lab-burger look and taste like real meat, there’s no reason why the fashion and beauty industries cannot make animal-free clothing and products that look as good and healthy as delicious fruit.
What’s the situation of animal welfare in your country? Do you have an innovative solution that promotes compassion towards animals cut’s down on agricultural waste? Would you like to learn how to convert your idea into an innovative service or product most easily and smartly possible? Take the free online training provided by the Entrepreneurship Campus, learn how to become a sustainable entrepreneur, and join the 2021 Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition with an idea or project that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Read also: How to Get Started with Sustainable Fashion