Earth Day 2022 has been and gone. Unlike some of the other big events in the calendar like Christmas, Black Friday, Valentine’s Day or Easter, this is not a day that all retailers have in their calendar for dedicated campaigns. But if you have a business that prides itself on its green credentials, then this is an essential chance to highlight this aspect of the brand identity. After all, your customers may be thinking of their own environmental impact. And even if that’s not you or your brand yet, you may be thinking about what you could do.
So what are some of those retailers doing? Let’s take a look at what some of our favourite brands did for Earth Day this year and identify some of the main strategies used.
If you work for a purpose-driven company, most likely this purpose is written through your brand identity, having been instilled by the founder or chief executive. Even if this has been developed later, then reassuring your customers that this purpose has complete support and investment from the top can be a powerful message in of itself.
It is also a chance to move away from promotional material and use this touchpoint as a brand building opportunity.
DeMellier, the British handbag retailer, used its Earth Day campaign to include a letter from its founder Mireia highlighting the brand’s sustainable and ethical manufacturing. Below the letter is an explanation of three of the key areas for the brand: ethical manufacturing, sustainable materials, and sustainable operations.
Furniture brand Graham and Green took a similar approach with a letter from the founders, but took it a step further by encouraging its staff to shut their laptops and head out to clean up their local areas.
One of the biggest positive impacts that we can all have on the environment is to re-use and recycle what we use rather than throwing it out. Not only does this prevent things from ending up in landfill, but if it reduces what we buy then it saves the energy, water and other resources that go into creating the products that we buy.
For brands, encouraging people to reduce their purchases is a balancing act. But one way to meet customers somewhere in the middle is to offer new products made by recycling old ones .
This is something that Joules does. This Earth Day it has launched its Re-Wear platform in conjunction with Reskinned to re-home or responsibly recycle pre-loved products.
However sustainable any brand is, there will still be some impact on the environment from the materials, the energy, the water or countless other parts of the production cycle. So, why not offset some of this impact by planting trees instead. As part of Ometria’s journey to be more sustainable we have planted trees to offset the carbon footprint that our platform and practices generates.
Hype. (justhype.com) have taken the opportunity that Earth Day creates to plant two trees for every order that customers make on the day. This is a fantastic way to create a promotion as part of the day that is not a discount. There is still a cost for the retailer, so there is still a impact on margins, but it’s for a much better cause.
Pangaia is synonymous with environmental concerns and so the brand uses Earth Day as an opportunity to communicate that Every Day is Earth Day. What that means is that the materials used are from more unique sources, but on top of that with every purchase a portion of the proceeds goes to the Tomorrow Tree Fund to protect and restore a million trees. Pangaia tantalises its customers by pointing out just how close the target is to being hit to encourage them to be the one to hit the target.
Astley Clarke takes a slightly different route of partnering with the World Land Trust which buys and then protects threatened land. For every purchase of an item in the Our Earth collection, a portion of the sale goes to the WLT to help protect the land.
Some retailers have sustainability woven into their very fabric – if you’ll pardon the pun. Using sustainable or organic material to make clothes or other products is fast becoming a strong way to differentiate between your brand and others who may use stitch materials.
Frugi is a kids’ clothing company that prides itself on its use of organic cotton. This is reassuring for parents who don’t want their children’s clothes to have any unnecessary chemicals on them. To promote this, the brand sent a newsletter to promote its use of organic cotton and the reasons why its clothes are made with them.
ba&sh do something similar by promoting its redesigned Teddy bag which uses Dessertio, a unique material made from cactus plants. This is part of its ongoing mission to rethink its materials throughout the whole product line, which currently makes up 65% of the range.
Anya Hindmarch has developed an interesting product – bags that compost and biodegrade when they are thrown away. On top of that, this email promotes the Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Change which Anya Hindmarch has signed up to. And to go one step further, some of the products have been made with recycled plastic bags! This email massively reinforces the brand’s green credentials, while highlighting some considerable innovations that the brand has made.
As we said in the introduction, Earth Day is not for every brand. But there’s no reason why next year couldn’t be! In this quest to think more carefully about the environment, no one is perfect, but everyone can get better. Is there something your brand can do, even if it is just for Earth Day?
Whether it’s re-thinking some of your supply chain, or the materials, or even offsetting the impact in some way, there must be an option you can take. Take it as an opportunity to build brand values with your customers, and do a little good along the way. Rather than being a cost, it can be a win-win: socially-conscious customers may be more likely to buy on that day than any other so you may even see sales increase without the cost of discounting.