2020 has been a year of many important conversations and the environment is top of the list. Consumer priorities have shifted and supporting sustainable brands with ethical practices has become an easy, effective way to contribute to a better world. This year, 66% of Raconteur readers noted “more sustainable” and “environmentally-friendly” as the top traits they wanted brands to have. In a world of high market saturation and unlimited choices, it’s impossible to ignore what the consumer values. The smartest brands, in turn, have recognized this and implemented sustainable practices. Let’s take a look at how some of the best brands incorporate the environment into their overarching strategies and how they use different social media channels to spread their message.
In August of 2020, well-known UK department store, Selfridges, launched Project Earth, a sustainability initiative aiming to change the way consumers shop by 2025. The project is a commitment to using environmentally impactful materials throughout the business and to engage with partners, employees, and consumers to inspire a shift in mindset. Their initiatives extend beyond carrying sustainable brands in their stores. Selfridges launched a resell, rent, and repair service, and has begun hosting a series of in-store events focused on environmental topics.
Since the launch, the brand has actively promoted all things sustainability on Instagram by championing products that will last a lifetime, posting IGTV videos of interviews with sustainability experts, and offering discounted incentives for consumers who use their beauty refill services.
Ben & Jerry’s UK lobbied for the environment before it was a “cool” thing to do and now they are at the forefront of environmentally conscious brands. Not only do they make their voice heard through their social channels and some punny ice cream flavours (Save Our Swirled), but they practice what they preach in the manufacturing process as well. Ben & Jerry’s sources its dairy and egg products from ethical and fairtrade producers and uses responsible packaging for every product. In 2017, the company launched a non-dairy option of the beloved ice cream in effort to inspire global change for “the climate crisis you can’t ignore”.
Using its social platforms to its advantage, the brand combines adorable graphics with powerful messages to grab the attention of its audience. Every post the brand shares on Instagram relating to climate activism links out to a link-in-bio solution. From there, the brand provides a plethora of content, including educational blog posts, environmental petitions to sign, and videos on climate change.
Stella McCartney is a leading force when it comes to sustainability within the fashion industry. The designer took control of her supply chain in 2016, in a move to ensure all products were being ethically sourced and produced with the environment in mind. Just this month, Stella McCartney launched a Sustainability Manifesto from A-Z, involving local artists and highlighting the brand’s environmental values. The brand has always been committed to producing its beautiful pieces sans fur or leather, proving time and time again that fashion can be both luxurious and sustainable.
To promote the A-Z manifesto, the designer took to Instagram, highlighting key pillars such as Accountability, Timeless, and Effortless. When fashion week rolled around, every photo of the SS21 collection posted also included a description of the materials used for each look, where they were sourced, and how they contributed to the overall company goal of sustainability.
Global furniture giant, IKEA, lives and breathes sustainability in everything it does. Over the past few years, the brand has launched a “sustainable at home” line of water and energy efficient products, as well as construction on the UK’s “most sustainable store”. The company, guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, aims to one day produce as much renewable energy as it consumes in an attempt to create a circular economy. While the brand is still working on incorporating recycled materials into its products, the steps they are taking to be sustainable are leaps and bounds ahead of most.
On social, the brand has been actively showcasing ways to live more sustainably at home. This includes encouraging consumers to repurpose old furniture instead of throwing it out, educating consumers on what their products are made of, and even providing fans with the recipe to their newest creation—plant-based Swedish meatballs.
Childhood favourite, LEGO, has been tasked with making its tiny, plastic toys environmentally friendly. Pledging to make all core LEGO products from sustainable materials by 2030, the brand is also actively seeking ways in which to make its packaging from renewable and recycled materials. The most exciting part is the LEGO Replay campaign, which is the brand’s effort to create a circular economy by passing on old LEGO blocks to children in need.
The brand’s recent social media hashtag campaign #RebuildtheWorld, promotes repurposing old LEGO blocks by passing them on, using them in new ways, or fixing regular items using LEGO. The campaign has garnered over 20.1K posts from user-generated content, with users creating and sharing posts, videos, and reels that focus on sustainability.
ASOS has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to ecommerce retailing and its policies on sustainability are no different. Since launching ASOS Marketplace, this platform now sees 76% of all items sold either vintage or pre-worn. The brand actively promotes the Marketplace and its sellers on its social channels, highlighting clothing care, sustainable choices, and how to repair and recycle old clothes. Committing to a circular economy, ASOS also launched a circular design training program in 2018 for its design team, in partnership with The London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion.
ASOS Marketplace has its own dedicated Instagram account that features the posts of its vintage sellers. The account not only promotes buying second-hand clothing, but also showcases local handmade products and sustainable charities to support.
There are many other notable mentions doing great things for the earth, such as Lush Cosmetics and Arket. Sustainability is no longer an option or a “nice thing to do”. Consumers are demanding that the brands they support prioritize and actively seek out ways to better the environment. From supply chain right down to the products on the shelves, the future top brands of the world will be those that incorporate sustainable practices as a key pillar in their business.