Brand Ethics: Is It All Just A Waste Of Time?

Emily Atkinson, who joined Acceleris for a work experience placement

Emily Atkinson, who joined Acceleris for a work experience placement

Did you know that 300,000 tonnes of clothing was sent to landfill sites in the UK last year; seven million coffee cups are disposed of each day, and by 2050, the ocean is set to contain more plastic than fish? In a recent article from The Guardian, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation expressed its concern over the perennial question: ‘Who will halt this tidal wave of waste?’

 

Indeed, each year sees an increase in the number of UK and worldwide businesses that are prepared to jump onto the eco-friendly band wagon with the aim of attaining a brand image that evokes transparency, sustainability and ethical behaviour. To mention only a few; Coca-Cola, Tesco, H&M, and Stella McCartney are all companies which, in the last couple of years, have made a significant attempt to refresh their reputation by working towards a more renewable world.

 

Businesses are recognising the increase in consumer demand for more ethical and sustainable products – a revolution that is taking social media by storm. For instance, NARS cosmetics recently took to Instagram to announce that they wanted to put an end to animal testing, stating: “We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen.”

 

Social media has become a platform on which anyone, anywhere can have their say. The likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube not only allow people to criticise but also for businesses to respond to criticism and relaunch their brand as one which satisfies consumer demands.

 

Coca-Cola

Take Coca-Cola for instance, its most recent campaign shows an epic love story between Coke and Fanta; the idea that they are both contained in recyclable plastic bottles means that they are able to meet over and over again, and eventually fall in love (how sweet!). Lucy Barry, a Berlin-based artist, used ALL recyclable materials, including 1,500 bottles, to create the masterpiece. Accompanying the ad is a short YouTube video showing ‘A Timeline Tour’ of change in the production of Coca-Cola bottles.

Coca-Cola has high hopes for its campaign, with a similar piece last year generating around 37,000 pledges.

H&M

Both high street and high end fashion labels have also joined forces to save our planet. As a self-confessed shopaholic and fashion enthusiast, I think it’s great that clothing brands have entered into this craze. Last year, H&M launched its first eco-friendly campaign, collaborating with singer M.I.A to create a song and video called ‘Rewear It’. The campaign secured 500,000 views within a week of being released and, since the launch of its garment collecting initiative in 2013, H&M has acquired over 32,000 tonnes of recyclable clothing.

And H&M aren’t the only ones! Stella McCartney recently chose a landfill site in Scotland as the backdrop for her fall 2017 collection launch. The lead image of the campaign features a model surrounded by a mass of cast-off clothing, accessories and so-called ‘rubbish’. Again, McCartney proves that a great picture/ video never fails when it comes to making your brand stand out.

stella mccartney model in landfill

 

But does it work?

The answer is YES! As an agency, we are no strangers to the process of brand rejuvenation and the promotion of environmental sustainability as a less commercial way of building a relationship with consumers. Back in 2015, we were tasked with launching the UK’s first website dedicated solely to upcycling: Remade in Britain. The company focuses on the restoration of furniture, home accessories and gifts, targeting those who seek, ‘ethical, sustainable, and waste-reducing products’. We even created our own recycling stunt, creating room in a skip using furniture from the site.

Remade in Britain Founder Donna Fenn in the 'Skip Room' - press

Remade in Britain Founder Donna Fenn in the ‘Skip Room’

To read more about this campaign and find out more about what we do, head to http://www.acceleris-mc.com/.

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