October 30, 2023

Top three green marketing moments

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Top three green marketing moments

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George Reader, PR & Marketing Assistant:
  • Patagonia owner sells company for free
  • Lacoste drops its iconic green crocodile logo
  • Who Gives a Crap about climate change?

Recent years have seen a growing awareness of the escalating threat posed by climate change, we’ve witnessed increasingly severe weather events, and more recently, people watched in shock as wildfires engulfed much of Europe’s countryside bringing destruction to the doorsteps of many. As the effects of a deteriorating environment become more apparent, individuals have begun to adopt more sustainable habits to reduce their carbon footprints, with attention shifting towards big businesses and major corporations with the textile industry in particular coming under heavy criticism. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, a quick search online reveals plenty of inspiring examples of companies using their influence for positive change. Below are my top three green marketing moments from the last few years: 

1: Yvon Chouinard sells Patagonia

At number one, Yvon Chouindard sells Patagonia. In late 2022 the fashion industry went into somewhat of a meltdown as it was announced that Yvon Chouinard, the ‘reluctant billionaire’ and owner of Patagonia, would be giving his $3 billion dollar sportswear company away… for free.

In a move that made headlines, the Chouinard family transferred ownership of Patagonia to two specially designed non-profit organisations – both would run the company and ensure all profits are used to combat climate change. However, this bold move isn’t the first time Patagonia has highlighted its desire to clean up the fashion industry. 

Patagonia is a company that has made its position on climate change well known and, consequently, the label has amassed somewhat of a cult following. In 2011, Patagonia began its viral ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ campaign, in which the company used one of its own products to highlight the textile industry’s environmental impact and educate consumers about the impacts of choosing the inexpensive convenience that the fast fashion industry provides. The advert went down a storm, but the company has done more than that. Not only does Patagonia guarantee products for life, but it was also one of the first brands that I noticed to begin offering reasonably priced in-house repairs – a change that a lot of other outdoor brands have since replicated; a move away from the throwaway consumer culture we find ourselves in.

Now, no one is expecting other labels to follow in the steps of the Chouinard’s and sell off companies in the name of sustainability. In fact, doing so would probably spell disaster for the fashion industry, making the situation worse by opening the door to new, fast fashion brands focused on profit. But it did undoubtedly position Patagonia as the undisputed champion of sustainability in the industry. So, at a time when CEOs and billionaires are coming under heavy fire to use their platforms to combat climate change, I think Yvon Chouinard’s move was a prime example of putting your money where your mouth is.

2: Lacoste: Save our Species Campaign

At number two, Lacoste – Save our Species Campaign. In 2018 I saw a slightly misleading article headline stating that the French clothing brand, Lacoste, would be dropping its famous green crocodile emblem. After reading a few more lines it became clear that whilst the brand wouldn’t be completely removing its iconic logo, the French designer did have bold plans that would see the emblem replaced… at least temporarily. 

In 2018, Lacoste took a daring step and announced a new three-year partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A partnership that would see Lacoste help raise awareness for some of the most endangered animal species on the planet, but also reposition the brand as one committed to tackling climate change as well as habitat loss. 

Lacoste’s ‘Save Our Species’ campaign would see the brand’s famous green embroidered crocodile replaced by one of 10 endangered species, with the Sumatran Tiger, Cao Gibbon, and the Northern Sportive Lemur all featuring. Lacoste also announced that it would only be producing a limited number of shirts, with production numbers matching the amount of each animal left in the wild with all proceeds being donated to the preservation of the featured species.

Not only was this a bold move, but the French designer chose to do it at Paris Fashion Week of all places! 

3: Who Gives a Crap?

At number three, is a modern twist on toilet paper. I think it was 2020 when I first started seeing adverts for ‘Who Gives a Crap?’ (WGAC) and since then I have seen the company’s colourful, individually wrapped toilet rolls on bathroom shelves. My initial thoughts were “Isn’t it a bit of a time waster to individually wrap something that inevitably would only be ripped off in a hurry”. But, when I dug a bit deeper, I was impressed with not just how pun-heavy the whole business is, but also how someone had found a way to turn an everyday fairly mundane item into a force for good. 

WGAC is an Australian company that offers a subscription style service for toilet paper – yes, toilet paper. On the face of it, you might be thinking, the world has gone mad, is there anything a company will not create a monthly subscription for? However, this business really has more to it. For a start, it’s eco-friendly, it’s made from 100% recycled materials and 100% bamboo – a far more sustainable option than the usual products we flush down the toilet. More importantly, WGAC donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets for the two billion people in the developing world who don’t have access to one, helping to try and stop the almost 800 children a day who die of diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.

You could ask how WGAC toilet paper is a great marketing moment. But there’s a point at which a great product becomes an advert all within itself; a great product equals a great advert. Now every time I see one of the company’s eye-catching toilet rolls sitting on a bathroom shelf, I’m reminded that through the power of marketing, even the most mundane items can be transformed into something that has a real positive impact. 

George Reader, PR & Marketing Assistant:
  • Patagonia owner sells company for free
  • Lacoste drops its iconic green crocodile logo
  • Who Gives a Crap about climate change?

Recent years have seen a growing awareness of the escalating threat posed by climate change, we’ve witnessed increasingly severe weather events, and more recently, people watched in shock as wildfires engulfed much of Europe’s countryside bringing destruction to the doorsteps of many. As the effects of a deteriorating environment become more apparent, individuals have begun to adopt more sustainable habits to reduce their carbon footprints, with attention shifting towards big businesses and major corporations with the textile industry in particular coming under heavy criticism. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, a quick search online reveals plenty of inspiring examples of companies using their influence for positive change. Below are my top three green marketing moments from the last few years: 

1: Yvon Chouinard sells Patagonia

At number one, Yvon Chouindard sells Patagonia. In late 2022 the fashion industry went into somewhat of a meltdown as it was announced that Yvon Chouinard, the ‘reluctant billionaire’ and owner of Patagonia, would be giving his $3 billion dollar sportswear company away… for free.

In a move that made headlines, the Chouinard family transferred ownership of Patagonia to two specially designed non-profit organisations – both would run the company and ensure all profits are used to combat climate change. However, this bold move isn’t the first time Patagonia has highlighted its desire to clean up the fashion industry. 

Patagonia is a company that has made its position on climate change well known and, consequently, the label has amassed somewhat of a cult following. In 2011, Patagonia began its viral ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ campaign, in which the company used one of its own products to highlight the textile industry’s environmental impact and educate consumers about the impacts of choosing the inexpensive convenience that the fast fashion industry provides. The advert went down a storm, but the company has done more than that. Not only does Patagonia guarantee products for life, but it was also one of the first brands that I noticed to begin offering reasonably priced in-house repairs – a change that a lot of other outdoor brands have since replicated; a move away from the throwaway consumer culture we find ourselves in.

Now, no one is expecting other labels to follow in the steps of the Chouinard’s and sell off companies in the name of sustainability. In fact, doing so would probably spell disaster for the fashion industry, making the situation worse by opening the door to new, fast fashion brands focused on profit. But it did undoubtedly position Patagonia as the undisputed champion of sustainability in the industry. So, at a time when CEOs and billionaires are coming under heavy fire to use their platforms to combat climate change, I think Yvon Chouinard’s move was a prime example of putting your money where your mouth is.

2: Lacoste: Save our Species Campaign

At number two, Lacoste – Save our Species Campaign. In 2018 I saw a slightly misleading article headline stating that the French clothing brand, Lacoste, would be dropping its famous green crocodile emblem. After reading a few more lines it became clear that whilst the brand wouldn’t be completely removing its iconic logo, the French designer did have bold plans that would see the emblem replaced… at least temporarily. 

In 2018, Lacoste took a daring step and announced a new three-year partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A partnership that would see Lacoste help raise awareness for some of the most endangered animal species on the planet, but also reposition the brand as one committed to tackling climate change as well as habitat loss. 

Lacoste’s ‘Save Our Species’ campaign would see the brand’s famous green embroidered crocodile replaced by one of 10 endangered species, with the Sumatran Tiger, Cao Gibbon, and the Northern Sportive Lemur all featuring. Lacoste also announced that it would only be producing a limited number of shirts, with production numbers matching the amount of each animal left in the wild with all proceeds being donated to the preservation of the featured species.

Not only was this a bold move, but the French designer chose to do it at Paris Fashion Week of all places! 

3: Who Gives a Crap?

At number three, is a modern twist on toilet paper. I think it was 2020 when I first started seeing adverts for ‘Who Gives a Crap?’ (WGAC) and since then I have seen the company’s colourful, individually wrapped toilet rolls on bathroom shelves. My initial thoughts were “Isn’t it a bit of a time waster to individually wrap something that inevitably would only be ripped off in a hurry”. But, when I dug a bit deeper, I was impressed with not just how pun-heavy the whole business is, but also how someone had found a way to turn an everyday fairly mundane item into a force for good. 

WGAC is an Australian company that offers a subscription style service for toilet paper – yes, toilet paper. On the face of it, you might be thinking, the world has gone mad, is there anything a company will not create a monthly subscription for? However, this business really has more to it. For a start, it’s eco-friendly, it’s made from 100% recycled materials and 100% bamboo – a far more sustainable option than the usual products we flush down the toilet. More importantly, WGAC donates 50% of its profits to help build toilets for the two billion people in the developing world who don’t have access to one, helping to try and stop the almost 800 children a day who die of diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.

You could ask how WGAC toilet paper is a great marketing moment. But there’s a point at which a great product becomes an advert all within itself; a great product equals a great advert. Now every time I see one of the company’s eye-catching toilet rolls sitting on a bathroom shelf, I’m reminded that through the power of marketing, even the most mundane items can be transformed into something that has a real positive impact. 

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