Branding for Good - Issue 36

26 Nov 2013|Added Value

Welcome to Added Value’s newsletter focused on Sustainable marketing: the challenges, opportunities, our solutions and points of view.

Brands take on poverty
At the end of September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the first installment of its fifth assessment (AR5) of the state of the global climate. The report, which synthesizes nearly seven years of new climate research, refers to 1983-2012 as the “warmest 30-year period in the last 1,400 years”. It warns that warming is likely to cross the critical threshold of 2°C (global mean increase in temperature) by 2100.

Australian fire fighters are battling a series of major wildfires in New South Wales. Scores of fires have now burned more than 126,000 hectares of land, an area greater than the size of Los Angeles, destroying more than 200 homes. Forest fires have always burned, but experts link their changing patterns to climate change and believe fires of this intensity and frequency will become the new norm.

Two weeks ago in Harbin, China, off-the-charts pollution dropped visibility to less than 10 meters, forcing closure of schools and highways. Local government reported an air quality index (AQI) score of 500, the highest and most hazardous reading. By comparison, New York scored 41 on the AQI scale on that day. The World Health Organization judges a score above 500 to be more than 20 times the level of particulate matter in the air deemed safe.

On a more positive note, a Dutch designer has developed an “electronic vacuum cleaner” to mitigate China’s notorious smog problem. His concept creates a weak electrostatic field using buried coils of copper that will draw smog particles towards the ground, creating a void of clean air above them. The designer will spend up to a year and a half developing this technology before breaking ground in Beijing.

Last week, Bill de Blasio defeated Joseph Lhota in the most sweeping victory of the mayoral race since 1985. Replacing three-term Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg, de Blasio will be the first Democrat to serve NYC in two decades. Bill de Blasio pledges to address the city’s widening economic gap with a liberal agenda that will raise taxes on the wealthy to support educational programs. While deficit reduction continues to dominate the national agenda, the de Blasio win may be a harbinger of more socially-balanced local leadership to come.

Brands with purpose
Patagonia launches new eco-retail concept
Patagonia has rolled out a new sort of retail channel in four stores across the US that sells good quality, used Patagonia apparel that has been turned in for credit. This “Worn Wear” initiative underscores the brand’s long-standing commitment to sustainability while also creating a partnership with customers around common values. Together, brand and consumer pledge to recirculate, recycle, and repurpose what they no longer use (not to mention keeping their favorite “vintage” 80’s fleece styles in circulation).

Target bans the box, giving ex-cons a second chance
US retailer Target has announced a new “ban the box” policy which will remove the criminal conviction tick box from its job applications. Target’s bold move voices the retailer’s commitment to the very communities that support its business, and it hopes to encourage other larger corporations to follow suit. Across the Atlantic, a U.K. charity is receiving a lot of buzz for its interactive “Ban the Box” ad, which takes the form of YouTube video. Each time the viewer clicks on the “skip ad” button, he’ll see an increasingly despondent ex-con discuss his demoralizing job search.

In automotive, is there such thing as a free ride?
Electric car maker Tesla has installed free supercharger stations along the West Coast’s Interstate 5 from San Diego, California, to Vancouver, Canada, causing us to rethink the idea of a free ride. As of now, the stations work only with the Tesla Model S luxury electric car. Completely funded by Tesla, the stations are often situated near restaurants or shopping centers designed as rest-stops for tired drivers. With this I-5 route as a backbone, Tesla further dispels stories about electric cars only being fit for a 35-mile radius.

Brands tackle Millennium Goals
The 2015 deadline for meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG), agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions, is looming. At a recent United Nations panel, UK prime minister, David Cameron heightened the sense of urgency, calling for an end to extreme poverty by 2030.
This ambitious target goes far beyond that set by the MDG, with panellists expressing the view that wiping out extreme poverty (defined as people earning less than US$1.25 a day) “can be done”.
Added Value South Africa’s Camilla Howson explores how brands can help uplift the world’s poorest people, in partnership with governments and NGOs. Continue to article…

Eco Innovations
Plastic bottles that allow you to ride the Chinese metro, a saving paper that keeps food fresh longer, baby food that is convenient and nutritious, a campaign to recruit organ donors, and a creative use of 3-D printing. Take a look…

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Image source: Immortal Fans, Ogilvy.

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