News and Notes

Houdini explores a Half-Earth lifestyle

Following the alarming UN report estimating that 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction and that urgent transformative change is needed, outdoor brand Houdini Sportswear announces The Regenerative Lifestyle Initiative, where the company is identifying attractive lifestyle solutions that have the potential to drastically reduce the use of material resources and safeguard and protect half of Earth for nature. 

A trailblazer in sustainable innovation in its quest to become regenerative, the Stockholm-based outdoor company Houdini Sportswear continues to break new ground. The project launched today is a two-year project exploring what an attractive lifestyle well within planetary boundaries could look like and further, if scaling it could enable the Half-Earth Project of setting aside half of our planet to safeguard biodiversity, celebrate all life on earth and manifest the beauty and intrinsic value of nature.

With its company vision “Maximum experiences, zero impact and beyond” Houdini has, since more than 25 years, been in the business of designing lifestyle solutions for people who want to enjoy nature, sports, camaraderie and culture while contributing to the world rather than exploiting it. In the company’s latest report This is Houdini, published in June 2018, the company pioneered impact assessments using the Planetary Boundaries framework in order to understand its impact on a planetary level and set strategies for how to improve.

With the Regenerative Lifestyle Initiative, Houdini sets out to assess how far its lifestyle solutions could take humanity towards the grand ambition of Half-Earth. As the author of Half-Earth, acclaimed biologist E.O. Wilson, has eloquently stated, “We can share this precious planet of ours. All life could prosper. It would be humanity’s greatest achievement.”

Examples of lifestyle effects that will be explored within the initiative:

  • Having a significantly smaller wardrobe that lasts longer and caters to a wider range of needs, including spending time in the outdoors.
  • Accessing a shared wardrobe through product-as-a-service solutions, catering to an unlimited range of activities while being more resource efficiency.
  • Being part of a connected community for peer-to-peer sharing of gear and experiences, open-source innovation and sharing of knowledge and insights.
  • Multiplied outdoor experiences and encounters with nature with the well-being and connection to nature these bring as well as the decrease in advertising exposure this results in.
  • Values orientation shifting towards less material consumption, more time spent being active and in nature as well as making walking, bike commuting and ski touring the preferred alternative to motorized mobility and local adventures or sustainable travel destinations the preferred choice when vacationing.
  • Increased awareness and behaviours shifting towards less impactful and regenerative lifestyles.

Houdini will run this initiative in partnership with Cybercom, a digital consultancy company specializing in how digitalization can provide solutions to global challenges and drive business innovation. The company recently led the work of developing a roadmap for a Fossil Free Sweden on behalf of the digital consultancy sector. Cybercom has been working with numerous companies on digitalization to drive development towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and was one of the first companies to integrate the SDGs into KPIs and the CRM system to ensure that they are linked to core business development. Cybercom is an active member of the UN Global Compact and a participant in other relevant international processes such as Mission Innovation.

Steps and updates planned within the initiative:

  • Explore Houdini’s existing and potential positive and negative effects on lifestyle and culture May – July 2019.
  • Quantify and simulate the effects these bring to individuals, communities, society and the planet August – October 2019.
  • Findings to be shared on Half-Earth Day, October 2019.
  • Assess how far these regenerative effects could take humanity towards the ambition of Half-Earth when scaled November – April 2020.
  • Explore possibilities for how to exponentially increase these effects through further development, collaborations and partnerships May – September 2020.
  • Full report to be published in October 2020.

 

QUOTES

Eva Karlsson, CEO at Houdini Sportswear:

”It is absolutely critical that companies realize their opportunity but also their responsibility to become stewards of the planet and to play their part in the transformation of the world so urgently needs. Lately, I have seen troublesome tendencies among companies so eager to communicate their commitment and improvements that they find creative ways to label their brand and products ”positive” even though they are still far from it. Shortcuts and greenwashing are counterproductive to anyone who wants this societal transformation to succeed, possibly the most massive humanity has ever faced. Honesty and transparency will be essential. Collaboration and sharing of knowledge as well. A science-based approach will be key in order to succeed. And compensating for negative impact elsewhere is far from enough. I want to stress that this initiative is about assessing our potential for scaling positive impact on lifestyles within our core business. Parallel we will continue transforming our core business towards regenerative through circular materials and design, technology and business model innovation and more. We will label Houdini positive only when we truly are. That is our promise.”

Josef Nyström Baksaas, Business Development at Houdini Sportswear:

“Half-Earth is a brilliantly intuitive, compelling and beautiful vision of where humanity needs to be heading to save life on earth as we know it. And it aligns perfectly with Houdini’s vision of the maximum experience, zero impact and beyond-lifestyle, where we live and thrive in partnership with nature rather than at the expense of it. To explore how far Houdini’s proposed shift in lifestyle could take us towards Half-Earth is truly intriguing and essential for our work and development. I believe it is equally important to visualize how this lifestyle shift is not about making sacrifices but about allowing ourselves to actually live more fulfilling lives, by being smarter about how we spend our time, harvest technologies, design systems, create solutions, collaborate and care.“

Jesper Danielsson, Head of Design at Houdini Sportswear:

“We have come far in the transition we envisioned at Houdini. Learning from living systems we have moved from linear to circular product lifecycles, eliminating the concept of waste. We have designed collaborative business models where access to products rather than ownership is in focus and resources are shared. Not only have we become highly resource-efficient, but our work also strikes a chord among our customers and end-users, multiplying our reach and encounters with nature, creating ripples far outside of our own sphere. Add to this, emerging technologies where nature and technology form partnerships and the fact that there is still plenty for us to learn from nature. Half-Earth should reason with every designer, explorer, scientist, artist and outdoor enthusiast out there.“

Niklas Flyborg, Cybercom CEO:

“Houdini is one of the most interesting companies today and a global sustainability leader. We are proud to be a partner in this initiative. Our focus at Cybercom is how companies can use sustainability and digitalisation as drivers for business innovation. We support companies that through their current and future goods and services have the potential to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cybercom believes that delivery on the SDGs requires a business model where sustainability is an integrated part of the strategy. This is a flagship project for us, and we look forward to groundbreaking deliverables.”

Dennis Pamlin, Accelerator Net-positive and Digital Sustainability at Cybercom:

“This is exactly the kind of innovative approaches with a positive vision we need in order to have a chance to reverse the negative sustainability trends of today. Through this initiative, Houdini will manifest its position as one of the pioneering companies within the category called the third-generation sustainability leaders. The first generation of sustainability leaders focused on philanthropy. The second generation, that still dominates, focuses on how companies could reduce their own impact to zero, or compensate for their negative impact. The new generation of sustainability leaders, the third generation, focus on how they bring value to society and the planet. These are companies that are making society more sustainable through their products and services. The fact that we will use Half-Earth as a guiding principle in this initiative is also groundbreaking. We need positive and ambitious visions of the future.

Paula Ehrlich, President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and leads the Half-Earth Project:

“The ongoing mass extinction of the natural world ranks with pandemics, world war and climate change as among the greatest threats that humanity has imposed on itself. To lose so much of Earth’s biodiversity is to both destroy our living heritage and to risk the stability of the planet today and for all future generations. Half-Earth is a call to protect half the land and half the sea in order to manage sufficient habitat to reverse the species extinction crisis and ensure the long-term health of our planet. We are happy that the goal of Half-Earth has become a driver for business innovation in the collaboration between Houdini and Cybercom. We look forward to the first results by Half-Earth Day 2019.”


Half-Earth: The idea that if we protect half the global surface, the fraction of species protected will be 85% or more. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone. Half-Earth can be seen as an ethical starting point for how humanity can live in harmony with nature where nature has an intrinsic value.

For more information see: https://www.half-earthproject.org/discover-half-earth/

For further information, please contact:

Niklas Flyborg, CEO, Cybercom +46 70 594 96 78

Eva Karlsson, CEO, Houdini, Eva.Karlsson@Houdinisportswear.com +46 8 557 746 40

Olle van Keppel, PR & Communication, Houdini, Olle.Keppel@Houdinisportswear.com +46 8 557 746 40

Kristina Cato, Head of Sustainability and Communications Cybercom +46 708 644 702

Chris Heltne, Vice President of Engagement, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the Half-Earth Project cheltne@eowilsonfoundation.org +1 (984) 219-2279

https://www.houdinisportswear.com/en/

www.cybercom.com