September 15, 2023
AR/VR/MR (XR) is aiding in the transition to a low-carbon economy in a number of ways, for instance by reducing business travel and reducing waste early in the design process. Check out 3 companies who’ve used immersive technologies towards greater sustainability.
What first comes to mind when you think of sources of plastic pollution? For me, it’s grocery store bags and drinking straws, but what about plastic toys? Around 80% of plastic toys end up in landfills, incinerators, and the ocean. Burger King has been experimenting with replacing plastic toys altogether with experiences. In 2016, in its South African restaurants, the fast food giant offered an AR game with every junior meal instead of a physical toy. Users downloaded the mobile Defend The King app and scanned a game marker in the Burger King restaurant to access the short, easy-to-play game.
In 2018, Chiquita Brands International rolled out 200 million Chiquita Banana blue stickers bearing a code to access an AR experience. The “Behind the Blue Sticker” campaign is essentially a virtual product development journey. Shoppers virtually follow a banana as it travels “from farm to shelves.” They even get to meet the Latin American farmers behind Chiquita’s product, showcasing the brand’s eco-friendly supply chain as well as its social sustainability.
Behind the Blue Sticker is a great example of immersive storytelling. Chiquita doesn’t merely pay lip service to sustainability but rather shows its genuine commitment to the environment and the farming communities behind the brand’s products. The AR experience creates transparency as well as an emotional connection between brand and consumer that undoubtedly leads to an increase in brand loyalty.
In addition to using virtual reality from the earliest stages of vehicle design, VW provides virtual tours. Both actions conserve energy and resources, helping the brand meet sustainability targets.
The automaker now also employs virtual assembly planning in lieu of plywood and cardboard. Volkswagen holds 3P workshops (production preparation process) to set up or modify an assembly line at one of its locations, setting up “stations” to determine things like the safety and efficiency of an employee’s route, the ideal location of the material trolley, etc. Traditionally, VW used plywood, cardboard, and other dummy elements along with an expensive dismantled prototype in its assessments. Today, it uses a virtual version of the production facilities, which is better for the environment and the company’s bottom line.
Image source: Chiquita