New York City’s annual Climate Week at the end of September plays host to a number of ventures featuring clever, ingenious proposals to address our most pressing sustainability challenges. Since 2017, Amer Jandali has given these voices the exhibitionist platform Marketplace of the Future, a “World’s Fair” of sustainable innovations. As Jandali puts it, “Marketplace of the Future is supposed to be a snapshot of what is going to be normal in the future.”
Branching Out Sustainability in Scope and Impact
In its five years and counting, MOTF has grown exponentially in audience and leverage, taking an initial 252 attendees in 2017 — “I remember exactly how many we had,” Jandali recalled — to over 2000 guests two short years later, with a host of 50 exhibitors promoting sustainable solutions to everyday challenges. When it comes to serving environmental and human needs in an age of climate urgency, Jandali notes that the five main sources of greenhouse gas emissions are all being actively reconsidered by brands and organizations representing MOTF. These sources include:
- Energy: The electricity flowing through our power lines
- Transportation: How we transport ourselves and our things
- Buildings: Heating and cooling where we live, work, and play
- Manufacturing: The materials that make our products – steel, glass, and plastic
- Food and agriculture: Where the food we eat comes from and the health of soil and plant life
From this diverse array of working fields, notable examples include “an organization that’s working on solar energy, an organization that’s working on divesting food waste and soil health, an organization that’s working on capturing carbon from the air, tons of organizations that are using recycled and organic materials for their fashion lines,” Jandali listed. Among those, a favorite standout of his is Carbon Calories, which profiles the emissions information of consumer products in a similar style as the well-known nutrition label.
A New Digital World
Despite the pandemic putting the brakes on all kinds of events, Jandali and MOTF found a way to keep the exhibit going through its fourth and fifth years. By transitioning to a digital layout on the platform Gather, guest avatars can now walk through designed spaces to interact with other guests through video chat popups. Looking back on the 2020 event, Jandali recalled that Michael Cyr, founder of Cup Zero, recognized that even online, “so many of the things that you need to find in common with somebody are already there,” as he noted the commonality between guests at both digital and physical past events. Jandali added that “doing all this for the first time, I think that let people have their guard down a bit and git to know each other more.”
Jandali’s Vision for Zero-Waste Shopping
Besides serving as an exhibitionist extraordinaire, Jandali is also piloting a number of creative independent projects. Among these is Braceletote, a unique design solution for toting around reusable bags for zero-waste shopping. Styled as a wristband that unpacks into a tote bag, Braceletote functions as a wearable utility for integrating eco-consciousness into our daily routines. “I wanted some sort of a symbol, I wanted some sort of a signal, and I wanted that signal to be functional, like a functional signal, that told the story and just showed the world that you can have reusable bags and you can wear your values,” Jandali described. With over 200 sales since launching in January, it looks like wearable designs like the Braceletote are a pilot program for the future.
To purchase a Braceletote design and learn more about Marketplace of the Future 2021, visit futuremeetspresent.com