menu

Creative Activism & The 3 Types Of Green Brand

Creative Activism & The 3 Types Of Green Brand
Design

creative activismApril’s Creative Review is a special issue devoted to sustainability. For it, the publisher asked Sara Rich, editor of worldchanging.com, to explain how their readers can help genuinely green businesses to thrive.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 27 march 2007

April’s Creative Review is a special issue devoted to sustainability. For it, the publisher asked Sara Rich, editor of worldchanging.com, to explain how their readers can help genuinely green businesses to thrive. Here’s a (rather long) extract here:

Conscious consumers in the modern marketplace rarely face an either/or proposition. Gone are the days of choosing between pleasure and principle. Gone is the sacrifice of flavour, colour and style in the name of environmental responsibility. With the likely exception of toilet paper (which it seems still cannot be made both recycled and soft), many of our everyday items can now be found in a luxurious shade of green. Savvy advocates of sustainability know that business is not the enemy of the good…

In fact, business can be a vehicle for doing better in the world, and making a comfortable living with a guilt-free conscience as well. But in an increasingly crowded green business sphere, knowing who’s authentic presents a challenge. The responsibility for giving not-so-sustainable products a green face – as well as for making truly green products as desirable as their counterparts – lies entirely in the hands of designers, as the make-up artists and storytellers for brands. In a consumer culture teeming with excess and endlessly driving our desire for more stuff, designers become responsible, too, for reconsidering how we engage with products, and how we might transform the consumers’ motivation from quantity to quality, and from singular to whole systems thinking.

There are three primary categories into which green-oriented brands fall. The best of them don’t craft their identity around sustainability. Their social and environmental characteristics tend to show up as if they are a given in the bigger picture of a current, cutting-edge brand; because the reality is that a lack of awareness around these issues equates to a lack of viability in the twenty-first century. A second category comprises campaigns that do direct their messaging squarely on green, but intentionally incorporate an urban edge and a modern aesthetic in order to combat the stereotype of something four decades too tired. Finally, there are those brands that aggressively present an “eco” image as a way to capitalise on the green consumer movement without matching their practices to their pretence. This “greenwashing” trend has fairly well permeated the industry and it’s now up to consumers to develop a radar for spotting duplicitous brands. As a New York Times article on greenwashing put it, “When a trend starts to show success, it’s a design pile-up…[But] merely dressing up the package is not enough. There is value in telling a story, but it must be true.” Companies whose story is real, compelling, and smartly designed are the ones who are starting to shine.

Then there is another category, which transcends or stands peripheral to the others, and may represent the direction green consumption is headed. It’s design for the elimination of excess – dematerialisation – in which user experience takes precedence over acquiring more things. Product service systems, or service designs, reconceive goods as functions and permit users to obtain access to the outcome yielded by a product without actually owning it, meaning each of us needs to consume less in order to get the same result. The concept has taken hold well in the UK – perhaps better than anywhere else in the world – where sharing of commodities such as cars, office space and power tools has become relatively commonplace.

…Brands can design all manner of slick packaging and alluring ads, but in order to achieve credibility, they have to deliver transparency with every product and interaction. The conscious consumer wants to know what’s in her cake before she eats it. Creatives and designers face the challenge of telling the true story behind a brand in a way that’s sincere, engaging and reassuring so that green business can thrive and the bar can keep rising on what sustainability means in the market.

Read. Buy. Learn. Change: Creative Activism

Also, while we’re on the subject, check out Russell Davies compelling thoughts on whether we can “create a minimal-impact version of consumer society that’s attractive enough that the developing world will want to adopt it as a vision for their future (assuming they don’t come up with something better)?”

Design
Trending

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Work
Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

Advertising Today

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Culture Today

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Mario Schlosser

Health Insurance, Data, Technology

Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

Automotive Yesterday

Reserve Your Parking Spot Before You Even Get Behind The Wheel

A new Ford app allows drivers to select and arrange for a space in a garage to be available at the end of their journey, so they can travel worry-free

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Work Yesterday

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Desk Is Becoming An Ecosystem Of Satellite Workstations

Our Future of Work vision is an app that frees employees from the tyranny of a static desk

Food Yesterday

A Tiny Amount Of This Powder Could Block All The Bitterness In Food

A new substance made from mushrooms can bond with taste receptors on your tongue to overcome unpleasant flavors

Asia Yesterday

Whimsical Dental Clinic Design Aims To Calm Patient Fears

Cheerful colors and a nod to the comforts of home are design elements tactfully aimed to help people relax

No search results found.