Earth Day 2022: Brands walking the walk, not just talking the talk when it comes to sustainability
Eco-friendly History & Demand
Earth Day was first established in 1970, now engaging more than a billion people every year in an effort to unite with the end goal of preserving the environment. It aims to accomplish this through local, national, and global changes. This mentality has since influenced a number of changes, from government policies to the creation of sustainable alternatives, and its traction is only growing.
Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy and Marketing Consultants conducted a compelling Global Sustainability Study in 2021, which surveyed more than 10,000 participants across 17 countries. It supports the notion that consumers will continue to demand more sustainable options in the future, making it clear that, “sustainability will continue to be an expectation, rather than an exception.” Whether businesses personally believe in sustainable practices or not, the data paints a clear picture of what consumers are looking for. Millennial and Gen Z consumers, in particular, are at the forefront of this demand.
As Shikha Jain, author of the study and partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners aptly put it, “Millennials and Gen Z are becoming a force to be reckoned with as they continue to represent a larger share of the consumer demographic. Companies that don’t have sustainability as part of their core value proposition need to act now to protect against future reputational impacts and loss of market share … failure to think through the implications could have long-term consequences for traditional firms.”
This growing change in mindset is being reflected in U.S. government legislation as well. While it’s not a unified stance as of yet, various state legislatures have taken it upon themselves to uphold this value. Legislation such as reducing the use of plastic bags and creating policies and incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are both examples of this change.
Practicing sustainability takes patience
However, it’s not only consumers who care about sustainability — modern business leaders have shown solidarity as well. We see it within our own clients here at Orca Communications. Take, for example, the consumer brand Current Foods, one of the leaders in the plant-based seafood industry. When asked about what sustainability meant to their brand, Adrienne Han, VP Consumer Marketing at Current Foods describes, “Sustainability for us is about finding satisfying ways to feed the world’s next billion people. This is why we’ve taken food science below sea level here at Current Foods. In doing so, we’re reimagining seafood, with fish made from plants.” Current Foods launched in 2021 after two years of research & development. And they continue to work on new products to increase the brand’s appeal not just to vegans, but to all people. They’re taking action in a way that is meant to have a lasting impact. Han says, “We’re making food that’s great for our palate and the planet. We don’t skimp on taste, texture, or nutritional density, but we do skip the mercury, microplastics, and planetary strain. Eat sushi. Devour ceviche. Do our oceans a solid. All in one bite.”
That Earth-forward sentiment is echoed by Aliya Jiwa, founder of organic children’s clothing brand Spunky Stork, she said that, “When we started our business and began sourcing the type of material we knew we wanted for our brand; thick, durable, comfortable cotton, it made sense for us to be as conscious in our business as we are in our personal lives: consuming organic whole foods and reducing as many toxic products and chemicals we come into contact with.” Although Jiwa recognizes that practicing sustainability in business isn’t the easiest road, especially in the beginning, “Finding a certified organic cotton manufacturer for our kids’ clothing was a challenge, but we have forged a wonderful relationship with them over the past 13 years. Our only challenge remains to be the battle between absorbing the surging price of organic cotton commodities and keeping our retail prices the same.” Despite rising costs of cottonseed, Spunk Stork has not changed its prices since the business started in 2009.
Those types of challenges are important to note for new brands and companies that want to prioritize sustainability. It isn’t the easiest or the cheapest road, but the rewards are long-lasting.
“Greenwashing” and challenges in marketing
Greenwashing refers to businesses that are misleading or disingenuous in their marketing and messaging surrounding our planet. An article published in Green Queen in 2021 claims that many fashion brands are “addicted to greenwashing,” and calls out brands for a lack of transparency about where and how their materials are sourced. That’s why it’s important for small business owners in particular to be careful about making sustainability claims without being able to explain their sustainability practices. And for many brands, they admit it is a work in progress. Think about efforts to be more sustainable in our own personal lives. It starts with throwing plastic bottles into the recycling bin instead of the trash, then consciously making a choice to eliminate single-use items all together, and for some ends with a completely different lifestyle that requires a lot of planning and sacrifice. From a PR perspective, it is important brands only make claims they can back up with evidence.
Walking the walk
Here at Orca Communications, we work with several brands that are making an effort to be better for the environment. Our experience generates targeted press coverage for brands in this category and helps bring more awareness to consumers. We are always looking for new brand partners in this space, so feel free to contact us about that today.
Below are a few examples of small and growing consumer brands walking the walk, not just talking the talk when it comes to eco-friendliness and sustainability.
The Spunky Stork is a happy + modern fashion brand passionate about creating clean, organic, non-toxic clothing that is safe for babies, children and adults, too. The Spunky Stork hand prints charming and whimsical designs onto soft organic cotton baby bodysuits and toddler/youth tees. They have hundreds of sweet and whimsical designs to choose from. All items are made from organic cotton. The material has no dyes or chemical colorants. The Spunky Stork also makes matching Mommy/Daddy & Me sets and sibling sets. Check out all the designs at: https://spunkystork.com/ and Amazon.
Sonett USA, pioneers in ecological laundry detergents and cleaners since 1977, are now available in the USA! Make way for helpful household products to keep home sweet home even cleaner and greener than ever with Sonett USA’s bio-organic solutions. Consumers can select from their all-purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquids, laundry liquids and laundry powders available online. Also those with sensitive skin can choose from their fragrance-free Sensitive Collection. In addition to cleaning, home items Sonett USA offers body care products such as hand soaps, Myrtle Orange, Lavender Frankincense and Lemon Pine lotions and massage oils to pamper, clean and nourish your skin naturally. Check out all collections at: https://www.sonettusa.com/collections and Amazon.
O-Yaki Ecoware – Ditch plastic, single-use containers that end up in the trash and opt for reusable, eco-friendly O-Yaki Ecoware containers. The O-Yaki Ecoware Take Anywhere Lunch Box is a bento-style box with three separate compartments to keep food separated. It includes a reusable spoon and fork utensil set and a snap-on, spill-proof lid to keep food fresh. Made with natural wheat or rice husk composite material, this bento box is biodegradable, BPA-Free plus freezer and microwave safe. Comes in four colors. O-Yaki Ecoware also makes eco-friendly water bottles, beverage cups, reusable utensil sets and reusable chopsticks. For more information, visit: https://www.o-yaki.com/product-page/o-yaki-ecoware-take-anwhere-lunchbox. Also sold on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
Make everyday a day you give back to the Earth by reusing an innovative solution for mealtime to go! Roll’eat sustainable, eco-friendly, reusable food wrappers are now available in the USA to help consumers get on-the-go with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between manufactured from durable and washable fabrics. Simply pack, snack, clean and rewrap snacks, sandwiches and more with Roll’eats stylish and useful collections of Boc’n’Roll sustainable sandwich bags, Snack’n’Go zero waste snack bags and a Snack’n’Go Duo. Enjoy finding your favorite Roll’eat reusable food wrapper from their beautiful variety of solid colors, patterns like tile and patchwork, and fresh designs with fruits, nature, animals and more. You can also choose from their new Bio Collection that offers the Boc’n’Roll and Snack’n’Go made of 100% biodegradable materials. The Roll’eat Team wants to raise awareness of the unnecessary pollution consumers can cause with traditional food wrapping and have reached out with the help of schools, local businesses and other institutions working together to make a significant impact on the future health of the planet. Give the gift of Roll’eat, an everyday item everyone needs and also makes a smart bag for gift-giving. Check out the entire collection at: https://rolleatusa.com
Current Foods is the new school of fish. They’re taking food science below sea level to make seafood entirely from plants. Earthly ingredients meet imaginative food science to create products that are uncompromising in taste, texture, appearance, and nutritional density, including omega-3, iron, and vitamin B12. After a successful soft launch with foodservice partners like Erewhon and Blue Sushi Sake Grill in 2021, Current Foods is now rolling out nationwide in restaurants, retail, and e-commerce. The company was founded in 2019, headquartered in San Francisco, and backed by investors including Y Combinator, Astanor Ventures, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. For more information, visit www.currentfoods.com.