Sustainable Brands London 2012 Day 2

Following on from our previous article, here’s more from that great event Sustainable Brands London 2012. Some of our favourites from Day 2 (Nov 28)…

Dorothy Mackenzie, Dragon Rouge

Dragon Rouge, the global design and innovation business, have created Brand Futures to stimulate discussion on what future possibilities might be for their clients. With a backdrop of sustainable principles they looked at how Primark could have the same proposition, but be delivered differently. They projected ahead to 2030 to see how a future could look if we returned our clothes for reconditioning, recycling, or up-cycling into other clothes and accessories. See their imaginings in the video below.

Brands can play an important role in creating a sustainable future, but they need to remain appealing to people. Dragon Rouge’s innovation is developed through having an in-depth knowledge of the brand’s promise, an understanding of what customers want, plus the foresight of what we can expect over the coming decades.

Another of their clients is Easyjet. People still want to go to great places, it’s considered a fundamental human need, but how is it possible to be mobile in a different way? Take a look at their video below.

Click here for more sustainability insights from Dragon Rouge and their ‘Brand Futures’ projects.

Julian Borra, Saatchi & Saatchi S
Global Creative Strategic Partner

Saatchi & Saatchi S thinks sustainability should be irresistible. They use creative storytelling to propel innovation, create organisational change and engage employees.

Julian says there’s currently a lot to resist – the language around sustainability is not attractive and it takes us to a place we don’t want to go – people are talking “weird stuff…’tree hugger’…‘supply chains’…”

To be irresistible a brand needs to have sustainability written into its structure, but how do we do this if 80% of people don’t really care, it’s not a priority for them? Julian proposed 6 rules to help get a brand’s audience on board:

1. Change the Language: ‘Collaborative Consumption’ doesn’t work down the pub. Also ‘oldies’ and ‘youngies’ should be working together – ‘upcyling’ is the same as the ‘make do and mend’ of older generations.

2. Stories Not Statements: Companies make statements…people tell stories.

3. Planet We, Not Planet Me: People don’t get out of bed to save the world, make it relevant, real and close to home.

4. Lighten Up!

5. Simplify: Brevity is a great tool.

6. Playgrounds, Not Train Sets: Build playgrounds to play in, not just things that are trendy to make you look good.

Tobias Fischer, H&M
CSR Project & Relations Manager

Tobias Fisher of H&M says the challenge is in balancing change in an organisation with staying true to what the brand’s about.

In the past H&M offered an eco-conscious range called ’Nature Calling’, which wasn’t a big success. Why?..The collection was in browns and not really fashionable. Customers want to feel they can have what they want, it just happens to be in organic cotton.

They’ve also discovered that to be trustworthy you have to have something in store the whole year, so that people can find it at any time. They’re seeing a growing number of consumers who’re looking for ethical clothing.

H&M are working towards more sustainable cotton, but they know this isn’t enough. Cotton production is water intensive and uses lots of pesticides and fertilisers. Also, in future we’ll have less land to grow cotton, as food will compete. They want to reduce the effects of cotton on the environment, but need to develop other materials too, such as organic hemp, recycled wool and polyester and Tencel (made from cellulose in wood pulp).

They are also looking to improve working conditions in factories and to reduce hazardous chemicals in production.

H&M may not be able to tell consumers about some of the more technical stuff, but it’s important to create a language to communicate these things in a way they can relate to. By engaging their own staff, and making them aware and proud of what they’re selling, they will become better ambassador when they meet customers.

Read more in the H&M Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2011

Alex Cole, Sainsbury’s
Director of Corporate Affairs

Sainsbury’s asked their customers what they wanted and a quarter of a million told them. In the economic downturn they thought people would walk away from ethical values, but it’s quite the opposite. Although people don’t want to pay a premium for ethically sourced products, their connection has been reinforced through empathy and worries about the state of the world and business.

Sainsbury’s “20 by 20 Sustainability Plan” is designed to accelerate their commitment to social and environmental responsibility. They’ve set out 20 ambitious goals, which will help customers make more nutritious, sustainable and ethical choices week in, week out, on a journey to 2020. They’re building sustainable supply chains, finding ways to make land more productive and protecting the biodiversity on which all food production ultimately depends. Here’s just some of what they’ve achieved so far…and find out more at Sainsbury’s 20 x 20.

• Largest retailer of MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified seafood for 3rd year running with sales of £81m
• 120+ fish products now MSC certified
• All own brand canned tuna is pole and line caught

• 93% of wood used for Sainsbury’s products made from FSC or recycled sources in 2011
• 100% own brand tissue and baking paper converted to 100% FSC paper
• 1.77m trees planted with the Woodland Trust since 2004

• Top 30 raw materials identified and sourcing plans being reviewed
• More than 50 own brand products now made with physically certified palm oil

Kim Slicklein, OgilvyEarth

Kim Slicklein says that sustainability is now on every CEOs agenda and is finding a way into the centre of businesses. It’s no longer just about the environment – what OgilvyEarth are doing is so much more. The intersection of people, planet and profit is where they see the biggest impact. Check out this video for OgilvyEarth’s take on it. They see enormous opportunities for the future and not catastrophe and crisis.

Most people want to be more sustainable, it’s not just for the “granola hippies”, it’s mainstream. But people don’t do what they say they do and we must focus on what the mainstream identify with – to make it normal.

Following are 3 examples which Kim featured, showing sustainable concepts delivered in engaging and motivating ways:

1. Back To The Start, Chipotle Mexican Grill: The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system. The video went viral, won multiple awards and increased sales by over 11%.

2. Axe (Lynx in the UK), Showerpooling Campaign: The campaign shows what happens when a brand brings its personality to a relevant sustainability issue. It uses the brand to talk to a traditionally hard to reach audience on sustainability – teenage boys.

3. Follow The Frog, The Rainforest Alliance: The Rainforest Alliance took a complicated issue and made it simple. You don’t have to go to the ends of the Earth to save the rainforest. Just Follow the Frog! Shop for Rainforest Alliance Certified products.

Michael Wilde, Eosta Nature & More
Communications & Sustainability Manager

Eosta is a leading international distributor of organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Nature & More is created by Eosta to provide consumers with greater transparency about the quality of their organic products. Their aim is to communicate the efforts of individual growers, so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions. See their video for how it works.

Retailers and consumers can access background information about the farmers and their ecological and social commitments, via the Internet (

Additionally the growers like the feedback they get from their customers; a direct relationship is developed. Community members can write messages back, saying things such as “Thank you…and did you know we’re building a school…” And customers can get involved in the projects. They want to be part of the solution.

Michael believes we must speak from our hearts…it’s not just about business! And without transparency there’s no sustainability; people generally “don’t trust brands and politicians, they trust Friends Of The Earth.”