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Earth Day round up 2022: Brands walk the talk for sustainability

Earth Day round up 2022: Brands walk the talk for sustainability

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Sustainability has become one of the few topics of focus in recent times and many brands have begun walking the talk by launching a slew of initiatives and campaigns in conjunction with Earth Day to encourage more responsible consumption. 

A recent global survey by Google Cloud found that 77% of APAC executives believe that sustainability can drive significant business transformations, compared to 73% globally. Many identify ESG initiatives as their top organisational priority, ranking ESG on par with business model evolution and customer relationship and experience optimisation. 

That said, there is still a gap between consumers and brands in the area of sustainability, especially in the CPG space. Talkwalker’s "Shape Tomorrow" report said only 33.1% of conversations around sustainability in CPG were shared between them. Talkwalker also found that 54.1% of brands aren't connecting with over half of the total conversation, while 12.7% of conversations are being led by brands but aren't resonating with their audience.

A brand's communications are also helpful in driving conversations about sustainability with consumers. Brands, however, face the issue of greenwashing, which Forrester said is "just the tip of the sustainability communications iceberg. Beyond green marketing, Forrester explained that sustainability issues will take up more of marketers’ working headspace. As they respond to values-driven customers, firms that embrace responsible marketing will get a lasting competitive advantage.

At the same time, the cost of miscommunicating is high. Regulators, activists, NGOs, investors, and customers will scrutinise companies' communications. Beyond legal action, negative word-of-mouth, bad press, and brand equity loss, one of the main business risks is that customers will turn to competitors. The majority of online adults in Singapore (63%) and 77% in India believe brands should take a stand on climate change.

Nonetheless, it is still important to highlight the brands' efforts in doubling down on sustainability. Hence, we have compiled a list of sustainability initiatives that brands have launched in conjunction with Earth Day this year.

A.S Watson

Global health and wellness chain A.S. Watson will be embracing sustainability with the launch of its Greener Stores Global Framework to accelerate the transformation of retail towards lower environmental impact stores. This will be done with the aim to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions, water usage and landfill waste as well as leverage its scale for good to speed up the global movement towards a more sustainable future.

According to the company, keys to the Greener Stores Global Framework are efforts to inspire a sustainable culture in the everyday operations of retail stores, engaging customers in choosing more sustainable products and lifestyle, accelerating energy efficiency and renewable energy, increasing the use of responsible materials and waste diversion. For example, Watsons Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore have launched a refill Station that encourages customers to reuse the containers and reduce the use of plastic. 

This follows the brand’s acknowledgement that building a sustainable culture is not a one-off action, and rather is a continuous effort in raising awareness of sustainability and bringing behavioural changes to its consumers.

Alibaba 

Alibaba’s T-mall launched a carbon labelling programme that will help consumers be more aware of their own carbon footprints. This initiative will help customers make more sustainable shopping choices. The service will utilise Alibaba Cloud, which will make waste incineration more energy efficient in China.According to Alibaba’s news site, by 2030, the company has pledged to reach carbon neutrality, and is working with merchants and consumers across its digital ecosystem to slash 1.5 giga tonnes of carbon emissions by 2035.

Baby Shark 

The Pinkfong Company, home to the famous Baby Shark brand, released a 35-minute playlist on climate change for kids and parents all around the world to consume, which will be done through a series of 15 videos. The brand aims to educate viewers on the importance of preserving the earth and habits to improve the environment, as well as learn how to reduce waste and emissions and conserve endangered species.Available for global consumption, the playlist has tactfully been curated in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

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CapitaLand Investment

CapitaLand Investment partnered with SkillsFuture Singapore in a two-year partnership. The company will join as a SkillsFuture Queen Bee to uplift the skills and capabilities of Singapore’s retail sector, by leveraging its extensive network of retail partners that includes a wide range of SMEs.

As part of the initiative, CapitaLand Investment is also collaborating with Singapore’s Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) to launch the CapitaLand x LII Learning Café at Funan, where visitors will be able to learn more about the jobs and skills required in the green economy. This event will also introduce key green skills Singaporeans need to prioritise building, which will also support sustainability efforts across sectors such as the build environment, energy and power, hospitality and retail.

image 2 capitaland x lifelong learning institute learning café at funan510

Carousell Singapore

Carousell launched a sustainability campaign titled “Choose Secondhand” to encourage consumers in Singapore to reduce waste by buying and selling secondhand items. The campaign features video ads that show tonnes of clothing along with the texts "1.1 Sale", "2.2 Sale", "3.3 Sale" and so on, followed by a short clip of people buying secondhand items with the caption "Be part of the solution". Carousell collaborated with agency Bread Butter Bacon for the campaign and the ads are currently running on Facebook and TikTok, as well as through DOOH at various bus stops in Singapore that attract high footfall. 

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Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss is set to launch its premium resale platform in the third quarter of the year, where customers can buy pre-owned Hugo Boss items. These items will be curated by the brand from clothing that has been traded in by existing customers. The resale platform can be accessed through the brand’s online store and will launch first in France, with plans to expand to Germany, the UK and the US in 2025.

In wider sustainability efforts, Hugo Boss will also launch a care and repair service in selected German stores later this year, with more key markets to follow. The service will cover the repair of suits, jeans, shoes, jersey products, and leather goods, to ensure the longevity of customers’ Hugo Boss items.

Hyundai Motors

Hyundai Motors' new global sustainability campaign is part of the newly formed "Team Century", a group of ambassadors that will promote environmental and social sustainability projects throughout 2022. Hyundai will enlist the likes of retired footballer Steven Gerrard and South Korean artist BTS to star in a manifesto film and global TV commercial. The campaign runs through and beyond the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which will be held from 21 November to 18 December.

Alongside Gerrard and BTS, Afghan refugee soccer player and Danish UNESCO ambassador Nadia Nadim, American fashion designer Jeremy Scott, contemporary Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn, documentary photographer Nicky Woo, and Boston Dynamics' Spot robot are set to join the crew. Hyundai additionally plans to unveil four more regional ambassadors in the months to come.

Eco-friendly vehicles will also be included in the brand's official fleet for the first time, including the IONIQ 5, Santa Fe Hybrid, and Elec City bus. Furthermore, the company will continue its support of  FIFA's sustainability agenda through various activities, including the 'Hyundai Goal of the Century Pledge' event.

image 01 hyundai gotc world cup campaign

IKEA Singapore

IKEA Singapore partnered with Carousell to launch a Secondhand Showroom at IKEA Tampines, in celebration of Earth Day. The month-long physical showroom in IKEA Tampines will feature preloved IKEA items from influencers such as singer-songwriter Nathan Hartono, Tiong Jia En, Munah Bagharib and even Carousell co-founder Marcus Tan from 21 April to 30 June 2022. 

These items will also be listed on Carousell until 8 May 2022, where users can stand a chance to win these items by sharing the best reasons for why they will make a good next owner for the product, on the listing's comments. The partnership will also have an incentivised programme rewarding customers for buying and selling second-hand items and aims to make a sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle more accessible to consumers. This move follows a statement by IKEA, that affirms its commitment to being "circular" and climate positive by 2030.

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Lazada Group

Lazada Group's LazEarth campaign focuses on reducing plastic waste in the company's products and packaging. According to a report by ASEAN, Southeast Asia generates an estimate of over 31 million tonnes of plastic waste each year.

Lazada will also work with its LazMall brands and partners as part of the campaign, to make eco-friendly products more accessible and identifiable to consumers. The brand looks to work with and feature more than 70 brands and 5,000 items across its fashion and FMCG product categories to utilise reduced or better plastics in their operations. 

This follows Lazada’s initiative last year to offer more sustainable parcels, such as those made from alternative sustainable packaging materials, through its Fulfilment by Lazada service for partner brands.

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lululemon

The activewear brand will begin rolling out its “Like New” campaign across all of its US stores this Earth Day. Like New is a resale and reCommerce platform that will allow customers to trade in their used Lululemon apparel and gear, in exchange for discounts on new products.

The programme currently reinvests 100% of profits to support the brand’s commitments, including making 100% of products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030.  

Lululemon “Like New” first debuted in May 2021 with a trade-in trial run across over 80 participating stores in Texas and California. According to a press statement, the pilot programme was met with an overwhelmingly positive response with majority of inventory categorized as ‘good as new,’ showing the quality of the product allowing for second and third life cycles. 

Mastercard

Mastercard Priceless Planet Coalition, a platform to unite corporate sustainability efforts, and engage businesses and consumers to take collective actions, has announced the expansion of its reforestation work to include 15 new sites around the world. In APAC, new projects are being launched in Cambodia, China, India, and the Philippines while planting continues in Australia. To reduce carbon emissions, the Coalition is working towards restoring 100 million trees globally by 2025, while Mastercard is also undertaking sustainability initiatives such as the rollout of its carbon calculator.

The calculator allows banks and fintechs to embed carbon tracking within their own digital products, so their customers can view the estimated carbon footprint of all their purchases. A user’s carbon footprint is tracked month by month across a variety of spending categories so they can better understand where they are having the greatest impact and make small modifications that can result in real change
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Nanyang Technological University

To better meet the energy demand of Singaporeans, NTU is leading an initiative to launchtwo new laboratories which will help energy start-ups make the leap from research and development into commercialisation through industry expertise, mentorship, and test-bedding. 

The first is the EcoLabs Digital Twin Co-Innovation Lab, which is an all-in-one integrated testbed platform to help local small and medium enterprises and start-ups innovate in the energy space. The second lab is known as the NTU–Arrow Invent Joint Lab, a tie-up between the University and Arrow Electronics, a global provider of technology products, services, and solutions.

With the launch of the two new labs, NTU aims to close the gap between translational research and real-world commercialisation in the cleantech space. The two new labs are launched under the EcoLabs Centre of Innovation for Energy (EcoLabs) partnership, which is a collaboration between NTU Singapore, Enterprise Singapore and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore.

Retykle

Kidswear resale platform Retykle has launched a carbon savings calculator to help customers understand how much they have reduced their carbon footprint by purchasing preloved fashion items on the platform versus purchasing new. The carbon savings calculator helps Retykle’s customers visualise the environmental significance of their purchasing decision. This allows customers to quantify their impact in simple terms so that they reflect positively on their actions and measure their individual and collective impact.

This new feature is available on its Hong Kong and Singapore sites. Retykle said it hopes to foster and grow their community’s commitment to trading secondhand and encourage greater engagement with other sustainability measures. To calculate the carbon emissions saved for each piece of secondhand clothing, Retykle has devised their own impact measurement matrix which takes into account the product category, size, material composition and weight of each garment as well as the emission factors for each material.

The North Face

The brand has announced a new collaboration with Online Ceramics for a collection inspired by the California climbing culture in the 1970s. The collaboration between The North Face and Online Ceramics reimagines outdoor wear with a unique fashion dimension.  Fashioning a youthful and vibrant design, the collection not only complements The North Face’s brand motto of "Never Stop Exploring", but also reinforces its deep commitment to sustainability with the mission of "Exploration without Compromise".

Launching together with this collaboration is a collection of T-shirts featuring print designs of the earth. This new collection also serves as an ode to the planet, and a reminder to customers to do what they can to protect it.the north face x online ceramics lifestyle image 3

YSL Beauty  

YSL Beauty's global programme “REWILD OUR EARTH” is done in collaboration with global NGO Re:wild and reflects the brand’s broader commitment to making a positive impact on the planet and its people. The Rewild Our Earth programme aims to protect and restore 100,000 hectares of land by 2030––a surface area almost 10 times the size of Paris––and to safeguard biodiversity in priority areas affected by climate change.

For 2022, the programme will focus specifically on the launch of "rewilding" programs in priority areas for biodiversity where the brand sources product ingredients. According to the brand, rewilding is an innovative approach to conservation based on a progressive effort to enable natural processes, repair damaged ecosystems, and restore degraded landscapes; in other words, to better let nature take care of itself.

The programme will focus on four key priority segments this year, starting with The Ourika Valley in Morocco, where the brand cultivates a range of its ingredients, having started The Ourika Community Gardens project in 2013. This will be followed by Haiti, Madagascar and Indonesia.

Do you have a newly launched sustainability initiative for Earth Day? Share it with us at janicetan@marketing-interactive.com.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

Giana Siddiqui contributed to the article.

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