The self-proclaimed “global benchmark for creative excellence”, the Cannes Lions Awards are conferred to those excelling in creative fields like communication, advertising, branding, innovation, and more. Given out at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity each year, there are nine categories with encompass 28 specialist awards.
From awards for film craft to brand experience & activation, a wide variety of people and brands are spotlighted and up for the win each year. And with this win comes enhanced brand awareness and a fair amount of prestige — as being recognized within the creative community with a Cannes Lions award is quite impressive.
This year, there were a few notable winners — with one of the most exciting being the win by the Dole Sunshine Company + Ananas Anam for Piñatex, a pineapple leather substitute. It earned the Grand Prix award in the Creative Business Transformation category — beating out the likes of Deloitte, Budweiser, Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble, just to name a few.
Let’s take a look at what Piñatex is and why it is indeed an invention worthy of the honor bestowed upon it.
What is Piñatex, and Why Does It Matter?
Source: Ananas Anam
As one of the largest producers of pineapples in the world, the Dole Sunshine Company is quite well known globally. In fact, you’ve probably enjoyed one of their fruit cups at one point or another.
The company grows over 2.5 million tons of pineapple each year on its farms in the Philippines. And while most of the fruit itself is processed, packaged, and distributed to consumers all over the globe, the leaves have traditionally been left behind.
According to Dole, for every ton of pineapples the brand harvests, three tones of leaves are left behind. While some are used to regenerate the soil as organic fertilizer, what isn’t composted ends up decaying and releasing carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere — which ends up having a negative impact on the environment.
And Dole has pretty impressive goals in mind — for example, it wants to achieve zero waste from its farms by 2025. While this may sound like a rather out-of-reach goal, the brand has already taken some important steps toward achieving it.
Case in point, Dole has partnered up with Ananas Anam, an organization founded by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, to produce help in the production of Piñatex — a leather substitute made from pineapple leaf fiber. As a byproduct of an existing agricultural process, Piñatex is “a natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty free material” that “creates an additional income stream for farming communities” and allows them to “build a scalable commercial industry with minimal environmental impact.”
So, what makes Piñatex special enough to have won the prestigious Grand Prix for Creative Business Transformation? Well, the creation of Piñatex doesn’t impact the planet — something other producers of genuine and alternative leathers cannot say. In fact, many leather “vegan” alternatives are plastic-based and “ecologically toxic”.
Piñatex, on the other hand, needs “no additional land, water, pesticides, or fertilizers” — as the pineapple leaves used in its creation already exist. It’s sustainably sourced with a “closed-loop” production, with the leftovers from making Piñatex being turned into natural fertilizer.
For these reasons and more, Piñatex impressed the Cannes Lions enough to win the Grand Prix award for Creative Business Transformation in 2022.
Will Piñatex Grow In Popularity?
Source: Sneaker Jagers
Piñatex itself has already been adopted by more than 200 global lifestyle brands as a more sustainable alternative to traditional leather in categories such as clothing, furniture, accessories, shoes, and more.
From big names like Hugo Boss and Nike to smaller companies like Votch, Piñatex has been increasing in popularity and will continue to do so over the next few years thanks to consumers’ growing interest in the topics of sustainability and eco-consciousness.
While this interest has been growing across audiences, it’s most prominent in younger generations — with our own research finding that 18% of Gen Z wants brands to establish internal procedures to support sustainability and environmentalism, the highest of all generations.
Therefore, brands that have historically used traditional leather or even plastic-based leather alternatives would be wise to consider using a product like Piñatex in order to better appeal to younger consumers with increasing economic power.