Sep 23, 2019

Environmentally Conscious Brands: Urban Initiatives


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Global Industry Leaders Doing More with Less

Brands are taking a stand for causes that directly affect their communities in an effort to raise environmental awareness and drive change. And some urban initiatives are taking an especially creative approach.

Toronto – Food Waste

Hellmann’s realized that Canada is the second worst country for food waste after America. Perfectly safe, edible food that could be feeding those in need is wasted every day. Enough food, actually, to feed an entire stadium every minute. So Hellman’s brought the spotlight back to its Real Food Rescue initiative by diverting grocery store food waste to feed the people inside Scotiabank Arena (North America’s third busiest arena).


Stockholm – Energy Waste

Volkswagen had an insight that most environmental awareness campaigns focus on the negative outcome or impact of the issue at hand, rather than finding a positive way to excite consumers about that issue. And so, came the Fun Theory – a campaign that convinces consumers to change their behavior for the better through fun.

Piano Stairs: First, they remodeled a staircase as a set of piano keys right beside an escalator to convince more people to choose to take the stairs.



The Fast Lane Slide: Then, they transformed a set of stairs into a “fast lane” with a slide that would get people from top to bottom in no time, with a smile on.



Fun Theory Contest: As the campaign continued to gain traction, they decided to turn it into a contest for consumers to come up with their own activations. The winner was a man who came up with a Speed Camera lottery that photographs every passing car and either fines them for speeding or enters them into a lottery to win 20,000 SEK.


London – Bioplastic Development

A group of designers from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College  known teamed up to create Shellworks in order to bring attention to the possibilities of sustainable materials. Using the shells of crustaceans (yes, like lobsters and crabs) they developed a paper-like material that has the potential to replace conventional single-use plastics.


Boston – Conscious Consumerism

Delivered local produceWe’ve seen some impressive (and usually unexpected) partnerships align to make us more conscious consumers. But WeWork’s partnership with Freight Farms, which allows members to subscribe to a weekly delivery of fresh greens, takes it to a new scale, supporting local farmers, increasing sustainability and providing convenience.



Vancouver – Plastic Bag Usage Strategic plastic shopping bag

East West Market in Vancouver initiated a campaign to convince people that using plastic bags is just not worth it by printing humiliating messages on his plastic shopping bags like “Colon Care Co-op,” “Weird Adult Video Emporium,” and “Wart Ointment Wholesale.” Though just a small market, owner David Lee Kwen hopes this strategy sends a message that sticks.

New York City – Ocean Pollution

Sculpture made from plastic wasteIn support of its new campaign called ‘Question How You Hydrate,’ Lonely Whale created the Museum of Plastic pop-up in New York City. Repurposing trash from our oceans into beautiful works of art, the museum brings awareness to the pollution caused by single-use plastic water bottles with works from S’Well, Ever & Ever and HP.



Sweden – Electric Vehicles

McDonald’s conducted a survey to determine the demand for charging outposts and found that 48% of electric car drivers “find it difficult to find charging stations.” McDonald’s has installed 55 electric car-charging stations across Sweden in the drive-thru locations to continue to motivate a fossil free future.


What do these brands have in common?

A creative delivery rooted in a true tension can create a titanic shift in the way consumers view the importance and/or gravity of an environmental issue. And brands that unexpectedly partner together on issues that are tangential to their organization’s values create a wide range of entry points for their consumers to get involved or simply become more aware of the issue at hand. 
Taking a human approach by reaching consumers on the ground level can ignite not only interest, but a sense of fervor to care more about the organization’s charge. Authenticity is everything.


At BrandJuice, we strive to help your organization speak your truth, in a way that feels true to your values, your team and your vision. Reach out to learn more about how we can help you create an impact on your community, near and far.




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