Mikael Selling CEO and Founding Partner at Opticom Consulting Group - Opticom Group

The seven lives of a tree. Sustainable enough?

Take a closer look at the cardboard box that you just opened, or the newspaper you finished reading, or the bag of toilet tissue you recently bought. In an earlier life, they all used to be trees. Or rather, the cellulose fibres these products are made of used to be trees. But since then, the fibres have made a long journey.

Let’s start from the beginning, out in the deep forests. Chances are that these trees grew in the Nordics, and were planted in the beginning of the 20th century. Then they were cared for, decade after decade. While they grew, they absorbed enormous amounts of CO2 and produced oxygen, year after year.

Then they got harvested. And while new seedlings were planted, the best timber became floor boards, kitchen cabinets, or even complete houses. The rest was meticulously processed into fresh fibre pulp. Which eventually allowed publicists to issue their glossiest magazines. Confectionaries to pack their most delicate chocolates. And IT-companies to market their smartest mobile phones.

End of act one. Time to recycle. These recycled fibres return as tabloid newsprint, heavy-duty packaging board, trendy wall-paper, best-selling books or almost anything else. And so it evolves. Time after time, in an eternal cycle of life. Or?

The truth is that not even cellulose fibre have eternal life. After six or seven iterations they’re done. Their tenacity is gone, and they turn into dust. And here’s the catch of the very important and ambitious recycling systems deployed all over the world today. Unless they’re fed with a certain amount of new, fresh fibre, they collapse.

Where will this insight take the recycling industry in the long run? How will it affect the policies of the environmentalists? And what opportunities will it present to adaptive and inventive pulp & paper companies that want to focus even more on sustainability?

We don’t know yet. But we can find out.

Because we create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and effective communication.

Mikael Selling CEO and Founding Partner at Opticom Consulting Group - Opticom Group

Where did your kitchen table grow?

You probably don’t have the faintest idea. But, it is an important question to ask. Not only for you, but the entire globe.

Think about how much you care about the food you eat. You ask questions, such as; were the hens happy laying the eggs? Did the cows eat well? Are the carrots grown organically? Or did the peas get sprinkled with pesticides? It’s also become more important to know about the entire value chain, if the products come from a farm nearby, or have they been flown across the globe?

These are facts consumers use to drive their buying behaviour. So manufacturers now supply accurate information and are increasingly doing so. The proof can be found on a pack of eggs, or a bag of peas; there it all is, clearly declared.

Could this also be a way forward for the forest industry? Or rather in all industries making products from trees?

Consumer power is a forceful way to create the necessary peer pressure for change. Most people know from early age that trees are the lungs of mother Earth, transforming CO2 to the oxygen we breathe. But much fewer consumers know that trees are a steadily growing resource thanks to a century of responsible forestry.

Now look at this from a corporate perspective. Supplying sustainably produced goods has become one of the strongest brand promises today. So imagine the following. Next time you buy a new kitchen table, there’s a label with the GPS coordinates indicating where the trees grew. Your floorboards will be marked with how much water was used in production. And cookbooks will explain their environmental credentials by presenting both the ingredients and the recipes of the pulp they are made from.

Would that work? We don’t know yet. But let’s find out.

Because we create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and effective communication.

JC Fantechi Business Development Director - Opticom Group - Opticom Group

Internet of Anything! A thriller. Part two.

Sometimes you wish you’d been wrong. Like early this summer, when we wrote about the Telcos, and their century long globetrotting, from telecom to the Internet of Things. Way back, it was a novelty that anyone could speak to anyone. Now, anything will soon be able to speak to anything.

May, 2016.
We wrote: “Who will care about the Telcos and their brands? Isn’t it more likely that the smart “Internet” companies or the sophisticated makers of the “things” get the upper hand? And that the Telcos become subordinate and anonymous suppliers of commodities.”

June, 2016.
The leading North European Telco announces that they will initiate a program for making major layoffs.

July, 2016:
The same Telco is letting their CEO go. And admits that competition is very tough, not least from completely different types of companies.

September, 2016:
Drastic plans are communicated about downsizing, mainly of hardware manufacturing. But also some plans about life after telecommunication.

October, 2016:
This Telco is looking rather gray and gloomy, and their figures are now in the red. But some analytics see a brighter side; the beginning of their Internet of Things era.

We cannot help remembering another thing we wrote in May: “Can it turn the other way? That the Telcos – who in fact sparked it all off more than a century ago – will prove their tenacity once again. And remain household brands. Even within the Internet of Anything.”

We don’t know yet. But we can find out.

Because we help companies around the world create value by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.

JC Fantechi Business Development Director - Opticom Group - Opticom Group

Car for sale. Who cares?

Think of the word “chevalier”

At first hand, it implies that a man is chivalrous. A knight, as it was called way back in the day. Someone who was quite well off. Had a good hand with the ladies. A charmer.

But if you do your linguistic (i.e. French) research right, it is far simpler than that. It means a guy who owns a horse. No more, no less. A mere horse.

Owning a horse, in the old days, extended not only your body (taller, faster, tougher) but also your persona (smarter, sexier, more powerful).

Now fast forward to present days. Few men, and women, own a horse today. But very many of us own a car. And funnily enough, we have, for the last century, attributed that ownership the same connotations as our medieval predecessors did to their horses. We love and cherish the brand of the car we own and drive.

My car makes me not only taller, faster and tougher but also smarter, sexier and more powerful. At least, that is what we think. And what makes us spend a considerable part of our income on a rather dead piece of metal and plastic. At least compared to a horse.

But now things are changing.

Cars are not sold anymore. They are leased. Or even rented by the hour (without any shady implications). Basically, cars are owned by banks. Not by individuals.

So, from being an object that you own, cars have become a service that you buy. When you need it.

Where will this – in the longer perspective – lead to in terms of brand affinity and brand asset? Will young urban drivers develop a closer relationship with those brands that provide the functionality of a car-for-hire than the brands of those manufacturers that actually make cars-for-sale.

We don’t know yet. But we can find out.

Because we create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.