Turn your minds back to the early 1950’s… or at least imagine. The sound of Elvis pulsating through radios, propelling its listeners with its wildly kinetic rhythm. An obsession had been born, a new way of life had emerged. Rock ‘n’ roll, baby.

But let’s be honest, rock ‘n’ roll is dead and it’s not going to be your avenue to marketing success – In case you hadn’t heard, humanity has awakened and is actually aligning its preferences to socially optimal outcomes, aka going green!

Now get this: 66% of global respondents are willing to pay more for products from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. Going green sells.

Gone are the days of Nike sweatshops, Volkswagen’s car emissions fraud and Coca-Cola’s (short-lived) Life. Fortunately for the environment and society, a new era of green is headed for our stores.

From threat to thread

German sportswear giant, Adidas, said that by 2024, they are committed to transitioning to recycled plastics only. This pledge towards sustainable operations involves eliminating most of its virgin plastics (polyester) in their offices, warehouses, retail stores and distribution centres – saving around 40 tonnes of plastic a year. This is equivalent to the weight of over 130 green sea turtles.

The global retailer is well on their way, proving companies can adopt sustainable manufacturing practices at scale, in their partnership with Parley for the Oceans. Parley is an organization raising awareness about marine plastic pollution.

The duo has been working together since 2015, and with their most recent collaboration in unveiling the UltrasBOOST Parley and UltraBOOST X – It’s estimated each pair prevents approximately 11 plastic bottles from the possibility of entering our ocean.

The label isn’t the only global brand dedicated to decreasing its plastic use. Recently, Starbucks announced it would be removing plastic straws from all of its stores, while LEGO is now making new toys from sustainable, plant-based plastic.


Lacoste has also recently joined the list of progressive companies by raising awareness on the fight for wildlife conservation worldwide. The iconic crocodile has been replaced by a limited-edition polo collection showcasing our 10 most endangered species. This would be the first change of its iconic logo since the brand’s inception in 1933.

From the Burmese roofed turtle to the Anegada ground Iguana, each one is limited to the remaining population size — less than thirty in the case of the Vaquita porpoise. Further, all proceeds from their sale will go to help IUCN’s conservation programs.

The initiative was supported by a branded hashtag #saveourspecies, enabling the French retailer to connect with a more targeted audience interested in making a difference rather than simply a collector’s item.

Sustainable fashion is cool

Further, eco-conscious retailing has evidently become more visible and almost expected amongst bigger brands, though it’s those smaller retailers geared towards sustainable practice who are experiencing significant growth.

French brand VEJA has created ‘the most ethical sneaker’ around. The 14-year-old brand offers not only clean lines and a minimalist design but materials that are entirely traceable.

‘The beginning of VEJA was to change every step of the production chain, from the raw materials to the stores,’ recall founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion.

It takes about 15 plastic bottles to create a pair of VEJA sneakers, an upcycling process that also includes vegetable tanned leathers, organic and Fairtrade cotton, wild rubber, jute, and hemp.

Interestingly, it’s becoming clearer that global brands feel personally accountable to address social and environmental issues. The ability to bridge the gap between giving back to society and corporate gain as always been the issue. For companies to successfully utilise socially responsible actions they should focus on giving back and let visibility and marketability organically follow, as in the cases for Adidas, Lacoste, and VEJA.

So all in all, I think its time we whip out an old Elvis vinyl and start dancing to the new age melody of rock ‘n’ roll: going green and saving the world.

Author Robert Joannides

Robert is a Junior Strategist at RetailOasis

More posts by Robert Joannides

Join the discussion 2 Comments

Leave a Reply