Collectively, major brands unite for sustainability

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Image from Collectively promo.
Image from Collectively promo.

The group, which includes Coca-Cola, Facebook, PepsiCo and Dow Chemical, hopes to change popular conceptions that the planet is "f*cked."

Unilever, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Google, and Marks & Spencer are among 29 major brands coming together to create a new "sustainable living platform" called Collectively, which claims it will challenge the belief that the planet is "f*cked."

The digital platform, which launched Tuesday, is a website that "celebrates" and "connects" cutting-edge ideas that are shaping the future sustainably. It aims to "inspire" and accelerate sustainable living by showcasing the work individuals and organisations are doing to operate in a more sustainable way. It will also promote initiatives of the brands involved.

On its home page, Collectively says it has launched because: "Today's media is obsessed with fear-mongering tactics, and a pervasive pessimism that would have us all believing that 'everything is f*cked, and it's all our fault,' which has had the undesirable effect of making people feel alienated and ineffectual, unable to figure out what they can do to alter the current path we're on."

There are 29 companies signed up to the project including BT, Carlsberg, Diageo, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, PepsiCo, The Dow Chemical Company and Twitter.

The concept was born out of discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year and presents a "unique" approach to the way businesses engage consumers on sustainability, according to a statement by Collectively.

"What makes Collectively unique is the first-of-its-kind coalition that sits behind it," said Unilever CMO Keith Weed. "Some of the world’s leading brands and multinational companies – many of who are usually keen competitors – have put aside their differences in recognition of the fact this is an issue that demands collective action."

Collectively will be updated daily by an "independent editorial team" with stories, information and "solutions" from the worlds of fashion, food, design, architecture and technology. The organisers claim it will only feature "highly engaging stories" with the "potential to create positive change".

Will Gardner, VP of global marketing projects at Unilever, who has been appointed chief executive of Collectively, told Marketing: "The challenge is both an environmental and a social one – the world’s systems are approaching capacity and there are a number of very urgent global and local issues that need to be addressed.

"There’s been a lot of progress but little progress when it comes to engaging the majority and making them feel social living is important."

He added that while Collectively had not been designed to be "judgmental" on the sustainability records of the companies involved, the group had appointed an independent editorial committee of young people, journalists and sustainability experts that would ensure the "highest level of integrity" and quality of content.

It would also not be "dull" or "politicised", he said. "It’s not a classic green media channel", he continued, stressing that most of the content would be "nothing to do with brands".

The platform would be promoted on social media and through brand channels.

This article first appeard on marketingmagazine.co.uk.

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