Benetton raises the curtains on a new store concept in Florence.
Featuring intensive use of sustainable materials and state-of-the-art, energy-saving technologies, this new location is a new approach to low environmental impact retail.
The result of an intensive research and innovation effort, the new store is part of a major sustainability project that Benetton is carrying out to consolidate best practices, improve its environmental and social performance throughout the supply chain, and become a model for sustainable fashion – not only in Italy, but throughout the entire world.
“The concept behind this store is unique in the world. It was developed to launch a new phase for our firm,” Massimo Renon, Benetton Group Chief Executive Officer, commented. “It’s a project our company firmly believes in, a milestone on our path to becoming a global reference point in terms of sustainability, and in which Florence represents the symbol of a sustainable Rinascimento. Benetton has always made courageous and cutting-edge choices in terms of social impact. We will continue in this tradition, with ever more determination and conviction.”
The 160-square meter, single floor boutique makes abundant use of upcycled natural materials. The floor is made with gravel from the river Piave and waste wood from beech trees brought down by Vaia (a storm that hit the Italian Veneto region in 2018), while the walls are treated with a mineral paint with antibacterial and anti-mold properties that can also reduce pollutants in the environment.
The store interiors are made with new materials created from textile industry scrap: the perimeter platforms and bases of the display stands are made with a compound created from used buttons (difficult to dispose of) mixed in hydro-resin; recycled wool (in its raw wick state) is reused in the design of the perimeter lining and as decoration for the curtains of the dressing rooms; shelves, display bases and mannequins are made in “rossino”, a material created from upcycled, mixed textile fibres.
The shop window displays make use of sustainable solutions that reduce the use of resources. Transparent panels fixed to the ceiling can be moved at will, creating a sort of theatrical backdrop that forms a connection between the store and the street. The windows are equipped with low environmental impact transparent LED screens, which will feature content about product visuals, commercial information and communication.
The Florence boutique is also a benchmark in terms of power consumption: the new shop uses 20% less energy than a standard store. A system based on tiny sensors, artificial intelligence and data analysis maximizes the energy efficiency of the points of sale and guarantees comfort for the customer, for example by automatically adjusting store temperature based on the amount of people in the shop.
Visitors to the store can choose from among the wide range of United Colors of Benetton sustainable garments in organic, recycled or BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton, regenerated nylon, natural fibres such as linen, and other sustainable materials. Customers can then choose to take their purchases home in either washable, easily recyclable organic cotton bags or in paper bags made with materials sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests.
Barcelona launches awards for sustainable digitalisation projects
Mobile World Capital Barcelona has announced the launch of international awards to recognise the best innovative projects in sustainable digital transformation. The Foundation will reward the public or private proposals that are best aligned with compliance with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria.
With these awards, MWCapital aims to take a step towards highlighting the role of technology as a driver of change to generate a positive impact on society and the economy and, therefore, on the planet. This is also reflected in the development of the maxim that will govern MWCapital’s activity, which goes from Technology Matters to Humanising Technology.
This launch took place today at the presentation of MWCapital’s new Strategic Plan, which was attended by the Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, the Minister of Enterprise and Employment of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, and the new Minister of Digital Transformation of the Government of Spain, José Luis Escrivá, who has recently joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Also participating were the Director General of GSMA, Mats Granryd, the CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., John Hoffman, the President of Fira de Barcelona, Pau Relat, and the CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Francesc Fajula.
Since its inception, Mobile World Capital Barcelona has been a pioneer in showing how technology can improve people’s quality of life and contribute to the overall well-being of society. The Foundation will focus on Tech4Good, promoting technological projects and scalable digital services that have a mission to generate a positive impact on society and the economy; Digital talent, promoting the generation and attraction of digital talent so as to position Barcelona as the benchmark in this field, and technology transfer, occupying a unique space in Europe in the ecosystem of initiatives to support the creation of scientific spin-offs.
During the presentation, Francesc Fajula, CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, and John Hoffman, CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., announced the first strategic alliance to confirm the city of Barcelona as a benchmark in the field of sustainable digital solutions.
Technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics will be explored to develop scalable projects and to face the challenges linked to technological progress in society.
10 European cities awarded by EU for plans to reach climate-neutrality by 2030
10 European cities have been awarded the Label of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, one of the EU Missions in Horizon Europe. The EU Mission Label is an important milestone as it recognises the cities’ plans to achieve climate-neutrality already by 2030 and aims to facilitate access to public and private funding towards that objective.
The cities that have received the label are: Sønderborg (Denmark), Mannheim (Germany), Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza (Spain),Klagenfurt (Austria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden).
The EU Mission Label is an acknowledgement of the successful development of Climate City Contracts, which outline the cities’ overall vision for climate neutrality, and contain an action plan as well as an investment strategy. Cities co-create their Climate City Contracts with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens. A first group of cities presented their Contracts in April 2023, which were reviewed by the Commission with the support of experts, including from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). Following a positive review, cities receive an EU Mission Label, which is intended to facilitate access to EU, national, and regional funding and financing sources, in particular private investment.
In total, 100 EU cities participate in the EU Cities Mission, with 12 additional cities from countries associated to Horizon Europe.
The Commission, through the Mission Platform, will continue to support cities with hands-on advice and funding programmes, such as a €32 million pilot programme combined with a twinning programme. Another call for pilot cities with a budget of €20 million is currently open until 6 November.
How does solar energy work and why to use it?
The impact of the climate crisis has never been more evident, with flooding, rising sea levels and high temperatures now becoming common occurrences on national news.
But renewables are a relatively unfamiliar technology, which means that we first need to raise awareness about how they work in order for people to feel comfortable using them. In this post, we explore solar energy – how it works, how you can use it at home, and why you should make the effort to switch to green energy.
Solar energy is probably the most well-known form of renewable energy, but it’s massively underutilised. In fact, some research suggests that in just an hour and a half, the amount of sunlight that hits the earth could actually power the world for a year.
To harness the power of the sun, we need to use solar panels, which capture the sunlight (solar radiation) and then turn it into power that we can use in our homes. A conductor material in the panels, such as silicon, releases electrons when exposed to light, which in turn produces an electric charge. This then creates a direct current, which is passed through an inverter to create an alternating current – the type of electricity we use in our homes.
When most people refer to solar panels, they tend to mean solar photovoltaic panels (PV panels) which we’ve outlined above, but there are actually two types. Solar thermal panels are made up of tubes or panels filled with water and glycol. They harness solar energy, converting it to heat.
The fluid is then pumped around the solar thermal circuit, which goes through the hot water cylinder used for the house. So, they do not offer solar electricity, but rather solar powered hot water, which can be used for washing as well as heating a property.
Solar PV panels can either be placed on a residential property, for direct use by the homeowner, or they can be part of a solar farm. If you have solar panels on your home, you’ll use solar power first, before topping up your electricity supply from the national grid. UK homeowners can also take advantage of the Smart Export Tariff, allowing you to sell back any excess electricity you generate but that you don’t use to the grid.
Alternatively, if you’re renting, don’t want to or can’t have solar panels at home, you can choose a renewable energy supplier to provide you with your electricity. Whilst there’s no way of ensuring that only green energy flows into your home, these renewable suppliers will put more green energy units into the grid mix, increasing the overall percentage of eco-friendly electricity – so you’re essentially voting for clean energy with your money.
The most significant reason to choose solar energy is that doing so can slash your carbon footprint, reducing your impact on the environment. Your installer will be able to advise on the best solar setup for your home, based on the orientation of the property, size of the roof and how much energy you’re likely to need. Whilst solar panels won’t be able to provide all of the necessary energy for your property all the time, there’s something satisfying about running your devices on energy that isn’t harmful to the planet.
Generating your own solar energy can help you cut your energy bills at home, both because you can use the energy directly and through the Smart Export Tariff. You’re simply making the most of the geographical orientation of your property, utilising a previously untapped resource to generate power for your home. In a time where energy bills are notoriously high, this is a welcome idea for many homeowners. Whilst there is the initial cost of the panels to consider, in the long run, you’re likely to end up saving money.
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