Sustianable Brands London 2013

Joseph Maduma
November 27th 2013
SB London 2
KoAnn, Founder of Sustainable Brands, introducing this year's London conference

Well it is that time of year again, conference season is well and truly upon us and Good Design has been busy clocking up the hours to bring you the highlights of this year’s biggest and best talks in the worlds of sustainable design, brands and communication.

Kicking off with Sustainable Brands London, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to help out a good friend and fellow sustainability creative Thomas Kolster at this year’s expo. Thomas is author of Goodvertising and the stand focused on his new initiative, Where Good Grows. Where Good Grows is an excellent initiative, archiving the best sustainability communication campaigns in the world and allowing them to be re-used to create more good on a larger scale. It was an honour to be a Where Good Grows ambassador at this year’s SB London and help spread the word.  If you are not already familiar with WGG, don’t worry, it’s the first one up in our highlights list this year, so read on!

As always there was plenty of creative inspiration to be had at SB London in the form of revolutionary sustainable design start-ups such as Gravity Light and Fairphone, emotionally engaging campaigns from Rainforest Alliance and Chipotle and ground-breaking future thinking from Dragon Rouge. Here are Good Designs highlights of this years conference…

Where Good Grows

In a world facing massive change, we need to take drastic measures. A lot of the issues at hand from water scarcity to poverty are bigger than any one company, non-profit or foundation alone can address . We can solve these pressing problems by sharing ideas that really work.

WhereGoodGrows (WGG) is more than just a name: it encapsulates a mission statement. WGG believe that if we all share communication solutions for good we can accelerate innovation and ultimately do greater good for people, the planet and business. They are a for-profit company and that’s important to them. They want to prove that doing good is good for business.

WGG aim not only to inspire communications professionals and brands around the world, but more importantly share tangible results and what really works. Think… if a campaign in Africa for HIV prevention really worked and saved thousands of lives, why not use that very same campaign in India? That’s why they want to challenge the old concept of copyright and ask you to share your work with their voluntary Right To Recycle License, so others faced with the same challenges can recreate campaigns with a local spin; only then can we truly scale world changing ideas and make a genuine difference.

Gravity Light

The problem of bringing light to remote parts of the developing world has been tackled in the past with everything from solar-powered lamps to wind-up devices and rechargeable batteries, all of which require relatively expensive kit or physical effort by the user.

GravityLight was developed by Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves and is simply charged by a bag that is filled with around 9kg of material and hung from a cord below the light. As the bag descends, a series of gears inside the device translates this weight into energy, providing 30 minutes of light for just a 3 second decent!  The light strength can be adjusted, from strong lighting needed for working to a low-level glow for living.

The project originally emerged from a brief by charity Solar Aid to come up with a low-cost light source as an alternative to the ubiquitous kerosene lamps that provide the main source of light across the developing world, but which come with a huge set of health problems.

The World Bank estimates that 780 million women and children around the world inhale a volume of smoke from kerosene lamps equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes a day – leading to the statistic that 60% of female lung-cancer victims in developing nations are non-smokers. The fumes also cause eye infections and cataracts, while 2.5 million people per year suffer severe burns from kerosene lamps in India alone. It also comes with a huge financial burden: the cost of kerosene for lighting alone can account for 20% of household income.

Chipotle: Scarecrow

Chipoltle have followed up their Cannes Grand Prix winning, stop motion film ‘Back to the Start’ with an epic CGI animation ‘ The Scarecrow’.

The advert takes a pop at other fast food chains informing consumers about how they are operating, while at the same time subtly hinting that Chipotle’s processes are more sustainable. It embodies the brand’s longstanding belief in Food with Integrity and is putting out the message: this is how other restaurants should be doing it.

Created by Moonbot Studios who created the Oscar-winning short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, Chipotle’s dystopian video about food processing gone too far has already clocked up nearly 9 million YouTube views since Sept. 11, and an accompanying mobile game, which Moonbot helped create, passed the 500,000 downloads mark.

The Rainforest Alliance: The Man Behind Your Chocolate

Ever wondered who grows the cocoa in your chocolate bar stamped with the Rainforest Alliance Certified(TM) seal? Farmers like Adrien Kouadio, a man who nurtures his land, leads his community…and lives for football.

Through this lovely short film, film and animation studio Nice and Serious have dropped the facts and figures in favour of an authentic piece of story telling that speaks to the viewer on an emotional level and creates a genuine connection with the Rainforest Alliance brand.


Fairphone is a social enterprise with the aim of developing a smartphone designed and produced with minimal harm to people and planet. The company is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and is supported by the Waag Society, a foundation that aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, art and culture. The main motivation for founding Fairphone was to develop a mobile device which does not contain conflict minerals (which in smartphones are typically gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten) and with fair labour conditions for the workforce along the supply chain.

Family Of the Future

2030 will be markedly different from today – how will brands remain relevant and continue to delight people?

Dragon Rouge has created the families of the future – a new approach to segmentation – considering groups of people, rather than just individuals. They’ve based the families on six forces that are impacting the shape and nature of family life. The families provide an insight into the decision-making units of tomorrow, the ones that brands will need to interact with and inspire.

They give us a sneak preview of the way we might live in 2030 and offer brands the opportunity to respond to upcoming needs and challenges.

Read more about the families of the future.

Innocent: Big Knit

As many as 24,000 older people die needlessly because of the cold every winter. Many others spend their time lonely and isolated, unable to heat their homes and struggling to get out and about.

So ten years ago Innocent had an idea. They asked some older people, and some younger people, to knit little woolly hats. They put those hats on their smoothies, and for each one sold they made a donation to Age UK.

For each behatted smoothie bottle they sell, they give 25p to Age UK to spend on things like hot water bottles, blankets, hot meals and social gatherings. Many older people also knit hats themselves through knitting groups organised by Age UK. The impact of the knitting groups is incredible and for some, they’re a real lifeline.

This year, thanks to the ad above, over 1.5 million hats were knitted and submitted.