With great brands comes great responsibility

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Throughout the year, we’ve seen brands begin to take responsibility for the impact they’re having on the world.

  • Big name brands such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola have all signed the UK Plastics Pact, promising to reduce single-use packaging.
  • MPs launched an enquiry in June to investigate the impact of fast fashion, following Stacey Dooley’s documentary, Fashion’s Dirty Secrets.
  • Blue Planet 2 raised awareness to the masses about plastic waste, prompting the BBC to ban single-use plastic by 2020.
  • We’ve seen ethical brands such as Innocent, Pret, Lush, Ella’s Kitchen and Method disrupting the retail scene.

Whilst this is great for the environment and social climate, it’s also a rising factor for consumers when buying new products or choosing brand loyalty. A recent survey found consumers want greater transparency and sustainability from the brands they buy from. 92% of those surveyed by J. Walter Thompson are now trying to live more sustainably, and 83% would actively choose to purchase from a brand that’s more socially or environmentally conscious. Going hand in hand with this, we’ve seen a rise in supporting ad campaigns, showcasing this new responsibility.

Examples include Saltwater Brewery, a small craft beer brand that created edible six pack rings to combat the issue of plastic rings ending up in the ocean.

Volkswagen have attempted to make recycling more fun, using a publicity stunt in which a bottle bank was transformed into an arcade machine that allowed the user to collect points for recycling their empty bottles.

Finally, a recent campaign from Heathrow Express focused on using rubbish found within their trains to create art pieces, which were then placed on their ads to promote their new strategy for sustainability. The visuals sat alongside headlines that depicted their achievements, such as cutting their landfill waste down to zero and using electric trains.

As 2019 approaches, I guess it’s time to go buy a reusable straw.