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In case December passed you by in a haze of mulled wine and magic, here’s a look at some of the announcements that caught our attention last month. And if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to keep up with what’s happening in the world of sustainable business, sign up to our WhatsApp broadcast by texting ‘purpose’ to 07367897583.

HSBC offers way to help homeless people get a bank account


At a time when homlessness is at the forefront of people’s minds and lots of brands are offering short term support, HSBC’s new ‘No fixed address’ stood out for addressing one of the systemic challenges with homlessness. Partnering with charities including Shelter and Crisis, the service allows people to bypass the usual requirements for photo ID and proof of address to obtain a bank account, without which, many homeless people struggle to gain employment or access to benefits. The scheme is available in 31 branches across the UK and has helped an estimated 86 homeless people within its first stage of launch.

Mattel pledges to use 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based materials by 2030


As a manufacturer who had previously made little noise in the world of sustainability, Mattel’s recent commitment to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2030 was a significant one. Over the next 10 years, Mattel has pledged to transition to recycled, recyclable or bio-based materials. To kick start this, the company will relaunch its best-selling Fisher-Price ‘Rock-a-Stack’ using sugar cane plastics and 100% recyclable packaging. We’re excited to see future product changes and more progress across the toy market.

Reebok unveils its first ever plant-based running shoe, made from castor beans, eucalyptus trees and algae foam


Reebok continues its sustainability drive by launching its first plant-based running shoe. The new trainer named the “Forever Floatride Grow”, is designed to look like the original “Forever Floatride Energy” but has been created through sustainable means. Reebok states that the trainer has been three years in the making, with various trials to perfect the most sustainable design while meeting the high performance needs of runners.

Marks and Spencers rolls-out vertical herb farms in its London stores


Moving on to a creative supermarket initiative, M&S announced the roll-out of its vertical herb farms across popular London stores. The retailer partnered with Berlin-based food company, Infarm to create a controlled, mini ecosystem within glass cabinets. This system allows healthy herbs and plants to grow in-store, without the need for harvesting, transport or distribution costs. It was first rolled out in Clapham but now can be found in six other London branches, including: Bromley, Kensington and Kings Cross.

ASOS set to trial reusable mailing bags in 2020


Last but not least, as ecommerce packaging comes under more scrutiny, ASOS announced plans to trial reusable mailing bags in 2020 as part of a bid to scale down on plastic production. The company has also signed up to the “New Plastics Economy Global Commitment” which binds them to making three major changes: Eliminating all problematic and unnecessary plastic items, ensuring all plastic needed is reusable, recyclable or compostable and keeping all plastic items in the economy and not in the environment. Find out more about the commitment here –