At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

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Sustainability comes in many forms at Davos, from seaweed dyes to 3D printing. (AN photo/Tarek Ali Ahmad)
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Sustainability comes in many forms at Davos, from seaweed dyes to 3D printing. (AN photo/Tarek Ali Ahmad)
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Updated 24 January 2020

At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

  • A single tree that to bear 40 different types of apple

DAVOS: The World Economic Forum is not all about the fourth industrial revolution or the rise of AI.

You can also find all manner of strange and intriguing products on display from biodegradable plastic made from algae to wallpaper made from recycled corn husks.

One stand titled “How do you design a tree?” is part of a conservation effort where a single tree is designed to bear 40 different types of apple.

Another stand displays colored seaweed on a rack, showing how clothes can be dyed in a sustainable, non-chemically corrosive manner.

Propped along a large wall is Fernando Laposse’s wallpaper made of variations of purple corn husks that are reinforced with recycled cardboard and cork to create wallpaper and furniture. The husks come from corn that needs very little water and can be grown in the desert, which makes it all the more sustainable.

“This initiative helps the local economy as it brings in jobs and a resurgence of crafts and food traditions while also ensuring sustainability,” Laposse said.

Another display shows a machine that extracts pellets from a mixture of algae and starch and is used to create a thread that is the base of 3D printing. These sustainable, biodegradable plastics made from algae are being experimented with in different regions.

With the rise of deep fakes — a branch of synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness — another stand delivers a warning on the looming dangers of unregulated software.

The Davos forum prides itself on its sustainability, and key topics have included climate, mobility, energy and the circular economy. Everything is recyclable, and participants must download an application in order to keep up with the program and any changes — a move to cut down on paper waste.


Apple supplier Foxconn’s profit down 24% in last quarter of 2019

Updated 30 March 2020

Apple supplier Foxconn’s profit down 24% in last quarter of 2019

  • Foxconn assembles Apple’s iPhone smartphones at factories in China
  • Foxconn is among manufacturers worldwide grappling with the fallout from coronavirus restrictions
TAIPEI: Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn reported a 23.7 percent fall in profit in the last three months of 2019 on Monday as it braces for the impact from the coronavirus pandemic that has hit demand from key customers such as Apple.
Foxconn, which assembles iPhones at factories in China, reported net profit of T$47.76 billion ($1.6 billion), according to Reuters calculations, slightly above an average forecast of T$46.94 billion from 14 analysts compiled by Refinitiv.
The world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer did not give any explanation for the decline from T$62.61 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Foxconn is among manufacturers worldwide grappling with the fallout from coronavirus restrictions that have disrupted supply chains and hurt demand.
Apple, its biggest client, rescinded its outlook for the first quarter of 2020 saying manufacturing in China had taken longer than expected to resume amid travel restrictions and an extended Lunar New Year break.
Foxconn warned this month that revenue would fall more than 15 percent in businesses including consumer electronics in the first quarter. But it said revenue would recover thereafter as production returns to normal in virus-hit China.
Foxconn reported its biggest monthly drop in revenue in about seven years in February as the outbreak continued to play havoc with its business.
Shares in the company, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd, have fallen more than 12 percent this year.