Tag Archives: sustainability

‘Bank in a Can’ in Rural Africa


It can tough to get to the bank, especially when customers are located in rural areas that are remote from urban financial centers. Many rural areas lack access to quality banking and important financial services that the population needs. This is the case in rural South Africa where people face challenges in getting to banks and getting sound financial advice.

“Bank in a can” is an innovative solution that is now being used in South Africa. A product of a joint venture between South African FNB Bank and design firm Architecture for a Change, the pre-manufactured units are made from shipping containers and can be located in any rural (or urban) community. The nature of the pop-up units allow organizations to become operational quickly in less than three months. The new pop-up bank branches include teller windows, offices for opening accounts and applying for loans, along with separate ATM areas.

FNB is not the only bank to try pop-up locations. Canadian Tangerine Bank also has opened pop-up locations in shipping containers across Canada as a way to introduce customers to direct banking.

Reusing shipping containers are a clever way for companies to expand their reach into new area.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of distribution for products and services.
  2. What are creative ways in which companies can expand their reach?
  3. Show photos of the pop-up banks:

Architecture for Change site (South Africa): http://www.a4ac.net/

Tangerine Bank (Canada): https://www.tangerine.ca/en/landing-page/mobilepopups/toronto/index.html

  1. Have students discuss how these solutions can expand a service’s reach and market access.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team select another service and work out how a pop-up site might benefit the service.

Source: Branchannel.com

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Pizza Boxes Do Double-Duty


Everyone likes pizza. But let’s face it, the pizza boxes are a hassle and take up space in the trash and on the kitchen counter. Wouldn’t it be nice if pizza boxes had usefulness beyond just delivering a hot meal?

Pizza Hut agrees and has had several clever iterations of their boxes in different markets – all of which extend the usefulness of the box itself. For example, there is a pizza box that turns into a movie projector, another that is a playable DJ box, and yet another that turns into a game box for flick football. That’s great news for extending the life of the box, and making the party livelier.

But, did you also realize that pizza boxes are not generally recyclable? While cardboard can certainly be recycled, most pizza boxes are contaminated with grease and food, rendering them unsuitable for recycling. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but given the mountains of boxes piling up in college dorms, there should be a solution.

So, next time you order a pizza, consider how the packaging could be more useful.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their pizza habits. What happens to the boxes? How many boxes are used in an average week?
  2. Next, show some of the creative uses of pizza boxes:
  3. View a video on recycling pizza boxes: https://youtu.be/bQgVhbbMkiI
  4. Bring up the Web site for Green Box pizza boxes: http://www.greenboxny.com/
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team research pizza boxes and design new uses for the boxes. Have students focus on reuse, recycle, and sustainability.

Source: Ad Age Daily, CNN, Fortune, other news sources

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Ugly Fruit is Good for You


Admit it. We all buy products at least partly based on how they look. And, we eat our food with our eyes as well as our taste buds. But, just because something doesn’t look perfect, doesn’t mean that it can’t perfectly meet a consumer’s needs and even help with sustainability issues.

Realizing that more than 300 million tons of food gets thrown away each year, the third-largest supermarket chain in France decided to take action. It put together a successful campaign called “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” to provide less-than-perfect-looking foods at a discount. The campaign featured products such as the grotesque apple, ridiculous potato, hideous orange, failed lemon, and ugly carrot. The ugly fruits and veggies got their own aisle in the supermarket, unique label, and were sold at a 30% discount. Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables were also produced into a line of popular soups and fruit juices.

The results were overwhelming positive from consumers. The average sale per store for the first two days was 1.2 tons. The products sold out in days, overall store traffic increased 24%, and more than 13 million people were reached by the campaign, many of whom called for expansion of the program to all grocery stores in France.

Go ahead. Eat the ugly fruits and vegetables – they’re good for you, and good for the world.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss food and sustainability.
  2. Poll students: Are they influenced by the appearance of foods? What foods do they throw away?
  3. Show the campaign video:


  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a sustainability topic that interests them.
  2. Have the teams each develop a short promotional campaign to highlight their topic.

Source:  UK Daily Mail


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