4 May 2018Hi MLE,I’ve been thinking a lot about Lush Cosmetics lately… I’ve known this brand since forever, as there were always shops in the city where I grew up in Canada. However, I’ve never really shopped there, as I’ve never really bought things with fragrance. Well, now I am a big fan! There are so many things I didn’t know or appreciate about this brand until recently, and I thought I’d pass thing along to you, as you may not have known either.First, a little background. I had an epiphany (finally) last year: I buy things based on "price" and "brand" (order depends on the product). Now I buy things based on another variable: "ethics." And I've pushed "brand" out. Sometimes I put “ethics” ahead of “price,” and I think of this a bit like a donation to charity. Sometimes I put “price” first, but that’s okay. Often, however, I find I can shop ethically without it being any more expensive than what I was buying before.I have a good friend who works at Pepsi. I was discussing ethics with her one day, and she said something that may have lead to this epiphany. She said quite simply, “as long as consumers want to buy something, we will give it to them.” Our consumer dollar is very very powerful. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that where we put it has a significant effect on the world in which we live.Hence I have been doing a lot of research into the ethics of the companies I buy from, especially regularly. In terms of cosmetics, my buying has totally changed. No more MAC, Nars and Chanel. I buy from companies like Lush:Every Lush product is made by hand.Lush volunteers to pay the Living Wage (higher than the minimum wage) to all its staff.Lush has doubled maternity and paternity leave and will pay for 20 hours a week of childcare for primary care-givers who have been with the company at least two years and return to full-time work.Lush was awarded the Fair Tax Mark. It reports on tax paid in each country, showing an effective rate of 30.5 per cent, compared with UK standard corporation tax of 20 per cent.Lush refuses to open stores in China because of animal testing regulations. (Though the soap bar above is created to bring to China).Lush does not buy from companies that carry out, fund, or commission any animal testing. They test their products on human volunteers before they are sold to the public.Lush products are 100% vegetarian, while 80% are vegan.Over 40% of Lush products are sold packaging-free. Says Lush, “For most cosmetics, you're paying more for the packaging than you are for the product. Something like seven parts packaging and three parts contents is the norm, and that's just for a branded package of shower gel. I'd like [the cosmetics industry] to stop being subdivision of the packaging industry.”Lush has phased out its use of sodium palm kernelate, which is often derived from trees in the natural habitat of orangutans and home to tropical forests with overall endangered biodiversity. Since 2008, all Lush soaps have been made with palm-free soap base, and they have since removed all traces of palm oil from the products.In 2007, Lush launched Charity Pot. One-hundred percent of the purchase price goes into a Charity Pot Fund, which is donated to environmental, humanitarian and animal rights charities. In the first five years, the company donated $2 million to charities through the programme.The annual £250,000 LUSH Prize is designed to reward individuals working in the field of cruelty-free scientific research, awareness-raising and lobbying to help bring an end to animal testing. Recipients could be scientists, campaigners, lobbyists, training specialists and young researchers.Lush admits a lot of the campaigning it does has nothing to do with its own business. Far from carefully choosing a few business-friendly good causes, Lush has backed a plethora of controversial causes from Guantanamo prisoners, to hunt saboteurs and the anti-fracking campaign. Such blatant politicisation is a tactic few other businesses in the UK seem willing to replicate.But it is working for Lush. Worldwide sales in 2016 were £723 million, an increase of 26% over the previous year. The company is projecting 25% growth for fiscal 2017. Maybe more companies will follow suit?
5 May 2017
Hello MLE,Some do not find it objectionable at all for a President to have business interests while he is in the White House. Others do.Regardless of where you stand, it is interesting to realise that this is actually the first time in history, that the president of the United States is a fully commercialised Superbrand, with family members who are best understood as spin-off brands.To Naomi Klein, this presents a very interesting opportunity for the first time in history. The opportunity to systematically erode the brand of a man who is banking on profiting from his presidency both before, after and during his time in office.Suzan
21 April 2017Hi MLE,
We just launched a new site and brand for the Kavli NDI Institute!
The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work.
Much like the Nobel Prize, the Kavli Prize is a prestigious prize awarded every year for advances in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience, and is honoured by the US President at an Oval Office reception.
The Kavli Foundation is also actively involved in establishing research institutes at the best universities across the globe (e.g., MIT, Cambridge, Tokyo). Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was one of the most recently awarded an institute, and the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute was launched this year.
In the last 25 years there has been an incredible expansion of knowledge regarding the molecular components of the brain, the development of remarkable new technologies to measure, image and manipulate the brain, as well as dramatic enhancement in computational capacities that give us the ability to define the structure, function and malleability of discrete brain circuits. One daunting aspect of this extraordinary opportunity in brain research is the sheer volume, variety, and complexity of modern neuroscientific data.
Neuroscience still lacks effective tools for managing these massively large data sets. Kavli NDI researchers are filling this gap by finding new ways to organize, analyze, and extract meaning from neurodata. They plan to lead the transformation toward big data-driven neuroscience and in so doing accelerate the pace of discovery.
Answering the questions that are most important is no longer achievable by a single individual or lab, or even by a single department or center. Rather, novel insights will come from establishing deep, long-lasting, transdisciplinary collaborations that combine the efforts of scientists with diverse expertise to understand the emergent behaviors of systems as complex as the human brain.
The Kavli NDI mission is to advance neuroscience discovery by uniting neuroscience, engineering and computational data science to understand the structure and function of the brain.
14 October 2016Hi MLE,Today in London, a project as ambitious in scope as the Human Genome Project was announced: the Human Cell Atlas.This would describe every cell in the human body (approx 35 trillion of them) in a vast atlas that could transform researchers' understanding of human development and disease. If successful, it could impact almost every aspect of biology and medicine in the decades to come.This will be a global effort, that will likely take over a decade to complete, convened buy Wellcome and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.“The Human Cell Atlas is the most exciting initiative to come out of the life science community in a long time. In sickness and in health, cells are the fundamental units of life, and only by knowing our cells will we be able to fully comprehend the mechanisms of human disease.”- Prof Sten Linnarsson, Professor of Molecular Systems Biology from the Karolinska InstituteMOTHandRUST was honoured to be involved in the branding and site:Suzan
8 September 2015
Hello the MLE,
Just came across this news item from the world of branding… The city of Shima in Japan, excited about hosting the G7 economic summit in May 2016, has created a new mascot for the town.
The city is most well known for its ama divers, who famously do not use oxygen tanks to plunge to the ocean floor to catch various fruits of the sea. This is a highly skilled and dangerous profession that dates back thousands of years. Of course, in modern times, ama wear diving masks, wetsuits and flippers, though oxygen tanks are still forbidden. The industry is still mostly women, and the average age is about 60 and above (see some real ama divers above).
Naturally, everyone expected the Shima mascot to be an ama diver – but what they got was somewhat of an insult to them instead. The new mascot, Aoshima Megu, is introduced on the city website as a “17-year-old girl wanting to become a cute, fashionable ama, who is hoping for a boyfriend, and admires her veteran diver grandmother.” She wears a traditional “isogi” costume that has been shortened up to the thigh and tightened around her predictably big boobs.
Over 170 ama divers have signed a petition against the character and has asked that the city consider changing the mascot to something that shows respect and appreciation for this important part of Shima culture and heritage. So far, the city has no plans to change its mascot.