According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day – this small but plentiful waste adds up and is one of the most common items found on beaches. Now, one beverage icon is joining a handful of brands in the fight against single use straws, with plans to phase out the item from its stores by 2020.
As more employees look to work at organizations that embed Purpose at their core, employee engagement around social and environmental initiatives becomes even more critical for leading brands. In fact, 71 percent of employees say they want their company to provide opportunities for them to help make a positive impact.
Americans have seen the power of their activism to enact change. From boycott hashtags, student protests and outspoken employees, consumers have been a driving force for progress on social and environmental issues. But they are not always equipped to start a direct dialogue with brands about complex issues. Oxfam recognized that issue and is arming consumers with facts to help facilitate a conversation with supermarkets around the world.
The topic of immigration proved to be a hot-button issue in early 2017 when protests broke out at airports across the country decrying the Muslim Ban. This week, the immigration policy has once again dominated the media and divided the country as stories and images of families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border surfaced. However, despite the controversy, brands were prepared to take a vocal stand and support the #FamiliesBelongTogether outcry in a variety of ways that align with their company values and missions:
I was standing in the medical container of the refugee camp in Greece where I was volunteering when all the sudden, I heard shouting and saw dozens of people running towards me. In the chaos, it was very difficult to tell what had happened and who was hurt. Two children were passed to our nurses and I could see they were severely burned. A woman was laid down at our door unconscious, a man was screaming. Someone finally translated – a gas cooker had exploded inside of a tent where a mother, father and two of their three children were sitting.
Recently, the world witnessed the power and determination of Gen Z after they inspired over 1.2 million people in over 450 rallies in the U.S. (not to mention countless rallies worldwide) to march for gun control.
Purpose isn’t just the latest marketing buzzword or moment-in-time tactic. Not only do Americans expect companies to lead with Purpose, they are ready to reward these companies in a variety of ways. In fact, companies that lead with Purpose will stand to build deeper bonds with existing consumers, expand the consumer base and enlist those brand advocates to share the brand message.
Last week, the Cone team joined more than 2,000 attendees at the Sustainable Brands conference in Vancouver for four days of conversation around “Redesigning the Good Life.” With the stunning juxtaposition of Vancouver’s blue glass skyscrapers and snowcapped mountains as a background, sustainability and social impact leaders convened to share the progress made over the past year, the challenges encountered and how we can collectively redesign a better future for all.