HTSI editor’s letter: first, choose your cause
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Sustainability news every morning.
Soil, greywater cycles and bagnums are not the first things that spring to mind when thinking about new luxuries. Yet all have found their way onto our pages this week, our third annual issue of “How to spend it wisely”. Sustainable living is not the sexiest of topics, and for many people the subject often throws up more objections than solutions. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore things. At the FT Business of Luxury Summit earlier this year, I was reassured by a panellist who advised consumers to pick a lane rather than trying to achieve a perfect record. Are you concerned about carbon offsetting and going local, or are you more interested in finding more humane methods of production? Do you want to stop cruelty and industrial malpractice? Or are you more invested in clean water? Trying to do everything right, she concluded, will likely end in failure. So, first, choose your cause.
One of the quickest shortcuts to a cleaner, greener lifestyle is to adopt a plant-based diet. According to the University of Oxford, cutting meat, dairy and eggs could reduce your carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent. I am not a vegan, nor even a vegetarian (despite my best intentions), but I am always on the lookout for good vegan dining, especially when abroad. Our “Global Guide to Great Vegan Food” is an attempt to start the conversation about where to find the most exciting plant-based menus. There will no doubt be many others, so please send your recommendations (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will add to an ongoing vegan directory.
Shopping for sustainable clothes is also a bit of a minefield. Our fashion shoot on Burgh Island in Devon meant sourcing from brands working with recycled, upcycled and deadstock materials. Again, sustainable choices are predicated on the different concerns of individual consumers. For some this can mean local manufacturers and small supply chains. For others, no plastics or no animal products. Personally, I’m not keen on wearing clothes sewn by a child working unconscionable hours in a dangerous environment. For this shoot, we focused on a range of brands with different objectives, but all aiming to produce wares one can buy with good conscience.
I’m also keen to investigate the Hydraloop, as mentioned in this week’s green gadget round-up for Technopolis. A greywater management system that the World Intellectual Property Organization has recognised as a valuable tool to reduce water consumption, the Hydraloop will save up to 45 per cent of mains water consumption, reduce sewage emissions by up to 45 per cent and reduce your overall energy usage by around 400kWh per year on average.
Olafur Eliasson is also trying to refocus our attention on the environment, though his contribution is rather less prosaic. Anyone who has stood under his Weather Project, the vast sun which once dominated Tate Modern, or seen the sparkling windows of the concert hall in Reykjavik will appreciate Eliasson’s genius for eliciting from the man-made the same emotions we experience before a natural wonder. And it’s a reaction he hopes can shift our perspective on the world, which he continues to “sculpt” with his projects. Gisela Williams visits the artist in Berlin shortly before his next exhibition, a dazzling immersive work that will use kaleidoscopics.
For some, however, spending it wisely simply means seeing a sweet return on an investment. A keen observer of the market for vintage watches, Nick Foulkes has identified the most in-demand dealers in the business. For those who dream of owning a Rolex Submariner with original radium, or the grail-like Patek Philippe 1518 (and who, quite frankly, wouldn’t, considering some early models now fetch many, many millions of pounds?), make a note. These men, for it is all men in this instance, have got all the time you need.
For the best of HTSI straight into your inbox, sign up to our newsletter at ft.com/newsletters