Horizons Newsletter – Week 12 // 2020
Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
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State of the art
Investing in art is a ‘super-wealthy-Boomer’ thing, right? Not anymore. According to a recent UBS/Art Basel report, Millennials are the most active buyers in the market right now. They are spending over six times as much money on art as Boomers do. Millennials’ focus on personal experiences and the wish to express their individuality is one way to explain their affinity with art. Adding to that, underground ‘art parties’ are creating a hype and podcast series such as ‘Dialogues’ by top art dealer David Zwirner are popular among young listeners. Catering to Millennials wishes, top galleries and auction houses are increasingly focusing on online channels to reach wealthy Millennial buyers. After all, in 2019 29% of Millennial art buyers preferred buying art online, compared to 14% in 2018 per a report by insurer Hiscox. This explains the rise of third-party art platforms such as Artsy, and online viewing rooms by top-tier galleries that allow viewers to access curated online-only exhibitions, for a limited time, usually with an option to click to enquire further about works for sale. These are all signs of an art industry waking up to the idea that new generations have as much interest in art as their parents, but need different ways to be engaged.
The right to repair
Last year, the E.U. adopted new “eco-design measures” that should make it easier to repair – instead of replace – old household appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators. Now, the E.U. wants to include smartphones in this list. After several years, when parts break down, these devices are often renewed as they cannot be opened for maintenance and repair. Just as it does on emissions trading and trying to establish a climate-neutral economy by 2050, the E.U. is using regulatory measures to establish itself as a sustainability leader. The new proposal on the right-to-repair smartphones ties into a growing awareness of the environmental and economic cost of discarding products early on, as consumers are taking reparation matters in their own hands. There are multiple other examples of the move to repair: the Repair Manifesto calls to take the (rewarding) effort to repair our broken stuff, while the Maker Movement demands that all products are repairable for consumers. This is facilitated by a growing number of Repair Cafes that provide tools for people to restore their stuff. As such, this “right to repair” could help to fix our current throwaway culture.
Upstream food innovation
Over the last year, investments in agritech plunged, but those operating upstream in the supply chain achieved a record year. While investment in food delivery halted, funding in alternative protein and vertical farming increased. Indeed, upstream along the food chain, the urge for innovation is the biggest. Going back all the way to where food production starts, it is the soil we grow food on that is under threat. Soil is a very complex ecosystem consisting of minerals, organic matter, water, air and living organisms. As soil formation is an extremely slow process, soil can be considered essentially as a non-renewable resource. According to a 2015 FAO report, a third of the world’s soil was moderately to highly degraded. As this process is not decelerating under an increase of pesticides usage and intensive farming practices, this gives rise to farming methods that remove soil from the equation. Vertical farming still costs a lot of energy and many key crops cannot be grown indoors. Nevertheless, in closed systems the farmer goes back to what crops actually need to thrive in terms of nutrients, water and light, without using pesticides and further degrading the soil.