Good citizenship

Everyday the media reveals more about how human activity is wreaking havoc across the planet. Consumers certainly expect ‘the big guys’ to take the lead on the big environmental issues, but feel increasingly accountable and interested in a wide array of different issues and concerns. Brands need to consider the more ‘niche’ things on the consumer radar, such as palm oil production, and protecting bee populations.

How is this sub-trend evolving?

How it was

Mainstreaming of low impact solutions that protect the environment and biodiversity.

‘Found Organic’ claims to be the first carbon neutral juice brand.

How it is

More niche issues on the consumer radar which brands need to safeguard.

Let’s Café in Taiwan allows customers to print edible pictures of themselves on cakes and cups of coffee!

How it will be

Brands required to act as ‘good citizens’ and take action outside their immediate sphere to address consumer concerns.

Food and drink brands going beyond their immediate sphere of relevance to promote good citizenship. My Refugee Friend facilitated Brazilian families inviting in refugees on Christmas eve to share a meal, stories and culture at a particularly difficult time of year.

In-market examples from around the world

What: The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Food Truck is a social enterprise working with local businesses and farmers to offer produce to asylum seekers at a 75% discount. They sell goods at a competitive price to others, and funnel the profits from general public sales back into the programme
Why: A reaction to governmental policies relating to refugees and asylum seekers, born out of the desires of Melbourne citizens to help those less fortunate than themselves.
What: A trendy cockatil bar and cafe in Paris that supports local charities (Views Guide Dogs and Respects) by donating a euro from every drink sold. The café is also entirely vegetarian once a month, doing its bit for promoting sustainable consumption.
Why: People want brands to help them contribute to societal good. By supporting local charities and promoting sustainable consumption without speaking down to patrons this bar/café is the responsible citizens people want to be themselves.
What: A new kind of gym that makes the most out of people’s physical energy – people run in groups and do physical tasks for community organisations, make cisits to isolated older people, and run missions for older people e.g. cleaning gardens
Why: Frustrated by the waste of human energy and potential in standard gyms, a group of people came together and submitted the idea to Social Innovation Camp in 2008. The national chapters now utilise their physical strength and draw mental strength to work out from the good they do for their communities.
What: US organic skincare brand owner, Tata Harper, includes honey in several products in her skincare range, generated from beekeeping on her farm in Vermont.
Why: Water scarcity is a well known but abstract, global concern. By coming together in this way, Stella Artois and water.org shed light on the more side-lined aspects, the human impacts of the water crisis.
What: US organic skincare brand owner, Tata Harper, includes honey in several products in her skincare range, generated from beekeeping on her farm in Vermont.
Why:  The use of honey not only helps bee conservation but also environmental conservation and biodiversity; bees are essential to agriculture and to thriving ecosystems.
What: 3FREUNDE is Germany’s first 100% fair trade and carbon-neutral clothing company whose business has grown significantly year-on-year.
Why: The company produces  T-shirts  printed in environmentally-friendly water-based colors and it doesn’t compromise on ethical standards or price, much to their customers’ delight.
What: London’s first electric zero-emission black cabs are now on trial in the city.

Why: They use electricity, and do not produce sound emissions, preventing people from suffering the consequences of noise and air pollution on their health.