Eco Buzz | Millennials Driving $9 Trillion Sustainable Investing Market, Sewing Robots to Fully Automate Clothes Manufacturing

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Eco Buzz | Millennials Driving $9 Trillion Sustainable Investing Market, Sewing Robots to Fully Automate Clothes Manufacturing

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Millennials Underpin the $9 Trillion Sustainable Investing Market

A newly released sustainable investing whitepaper by Morgan Stanley indicates that millennials are driving the demand for sustainable investment products – which aims to deliver financial returns without negatively impacting society or the environment -to the tune of almost $9 trillion.

The bank’s Sustainable Signals 2017 report polled 1,000 active investors and found that millennials are responsible for the growth of the market for impact investing – 33 percent growth rate between 2014 and 2016 in the United States, increasing from $US6.57 trillion to $US8.72 trillion – and the adoption of sustainable investment products such as green bonds.

“Widespread interest in sustainability surely helped whet appetites for sustainable investing — and now momentum behind sustainable investment appears to be catching up to other facets of sustainability,” the report said.

Millennials are driving sustainable investing market

The report also reveals that women show a greater receptivity to sustainable investing than men (84% women compared with 67% men):

“[Women] are more likely than men to report focusing on positive social and/or environmental impact alongside rates of return when investing, as opposed to a strict focus on the rate of return. Fifty-six percent of women focus at least partially on making a positive impact with their investments, compared with 45 percent of men.”

For those fighting for a sustainable world, this report brings welcome news. Despite the perception that millennials only care about Snapchatting and eating avocado toast, the report clearly shows that when it comes to building a sustainable future, this generation is the one that cares most.

The Sustainable Signals whitepaper can be downloaded here. – Jennifer Nini

Sewing Robots to Fully Automate Garment Manufacturing

Clothing manufacturing is labour intensive but new technology is looking to change all of this.

At the fashion frontier sits an innovation known as the Automated Sewbot™. Created by SoftWear Automation, the patented Sewbots can sew goods autonomously; goods such as footwear and clothing. It is the stuff of science fiction no longer. These robots are designed to sew cloth and other materials by “mapping” the surface as it sews. The company’s Sewbots has produced 2 million home goods since 2015.

Founded by a set of Georgia Tech science professors in 2012, SoftWear Automation seems set for success, recently raising $4.5 million in its latest funding round and partnering with the largest producer of apparel for Adidas, China-based Tianyuan Garments Company – to produce 800,000 t-shirts per day.

“From fabric cutting and sewing to finished product, it takes roughly four minutes,” announced Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan Garments. “We will install 21 production lines. When fully operational, the system will make one T-shirt every 22 seconds. We will produce 800,000 T-shirts a day for Adidas.”

According to Tang, once the Sewbot is fully operational, the personnel cost for each t-shirt will be roughly 33 cents. “Around the world, even the cheapest labor market can’t compete with us. I am really excited about this,” he said.

While technologists and capitalists are praising the obvious efficiencies and productivity gains of sewing robots claiming that it can “help bring clothing manufacturing back to the US“, ethical and sustainable fashion advocates are nervous about what this technology means for the industry.

Jane Milburn an agricultural scientist and communications consultant tweeting as @textilebeat shares her feelings on Twitter. She tweets: “uneasy yes, about where this is leading – cheap clothes encourage waste, we need to value garments for reasons other than their cheapness.”

Agatha Lee known as @agytextileart on Twitter an environmental scientist and textile artist believes it’s not all gloom and doom. “A sust future needs tech but implemented in right way. Perhaps it cld b used in nations eg Bangladesh / Viet. Move wrkers up value chain.”

The retail market is poised for disruption with this new technology. Whether sewing robots will bring about an improvement or worsen the industry is still anyone’s guess. – Jennifer Nini

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