Bafta is axing celebrity goody bags from this weekend’s ceremony. Opting instead for gifting wallets made from recycled plastics. It’s a timely plot twist to the 2020 award season. The buzz of a new bag – the colour, the look on the arm, the cramming of essentials into one place, is the ultimate pleasure purchase. But against heightened ethical and environmental consumer standards, is it possible for a Tote to do greater good?
Step forward my latest arm candy. Made from recycled plastic and giving new life to up to 30 used water bottles. What initially looked good, turned out to be even better. The business backstory boasts B Corp certification – the Rolls Royce of responsible business, a succinct environmental ethos and revenue charity donations to match their operations. To quote a famous actress; "you had me at hello".
More of us are seeking better consumption habits and challenging business to do better. Dove’s plastic free bottles, Sainsbury’s £1bn pledge to become carbon-neutral by 2040, paid New York Times ads from business leaders championing ethical approaches. But talk must be backed up by action, facts and figures, clearly explained and open to scrutiny. The best messages ring hollow unless every interview, social campaign and staff video, reiterate a consistent approach to ethical ambitions and authentic corporate communications.
H&M was criticised for misleading marketing of its Conscious collection by Norway’s consumer watchdog who said there was "insufficient" information about the sustainable nature of the clothes. They said the portrayal breached marketing laws, glazing over specific information about the clothing’s benefits and using promotional statements that could potentially mislead buyers. Responding, H&M said the issue was not whether the products are sustainable, but that its marketing needed to be more "precise".
What businesses say and do must match and be clearly explained, or else face reputational risk and a social media storm. Get it right and you raise your game with customers, push up revenue, earn new likes and that is the ambition of any good business. Incidentally, I am waiting 8 weeks for my new bag. Totes worth the wait when it looks and feels so good.