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Earth Day 2022: Communication strategies

Earth from space
Louis Reed/Unsplash
Apr 22, 2022 By WGSN Insider

As we celebrate the 52nd annual Earth Day, brands and organisations should note that it’s not about one-off marketing stunts, but rather a chance to spotlight their long-term climate commitments.

The climate crisis is top of mind for many consumers, with Google searches for “impact of climate change” reaching a new high in 2021. Meta also highlighted #CarbonNeutral, #Sustainability and #ClimateChange as the top three hashtags Millennials and Gen Z use to drive environmental conversation on its platforms.

As explored in Marketing Forecast 2022, brands are starting to lean into ‘greenvertising’, and will increasingly upskill their marketing departments to transform them into sustainability experts who can effectively communicate the brand’s ethos to consumers. 

While Earth Day welcomes more sustainability-focused messaging than other times of the year, organisations should note that sustainable messaging needs to be woven into the business. It also has to be backed by tangible goals, transparent information and a clear action plan.

Brands have evolved Earth Day into a month-long launchpad for environmentally friendly products, services and communications. WGSN explores key communication strategies that brands are employing to celebrate the planet.

IRL activations

Across the globe, brands hosted in-person events to help foster a sense of community, bringing together people who care deeply about sustainability and want to fight climate change.

In Los Angeles, outdoor label Arc’teryx partnered with nature adventure collective Usal to host a series of community-led events. With the aim to “cultivate connection to our natural world through shared tools and guidance”, they hosted a foraging hike, a geology hike and an outdoor gear swap

Mushroom in forest
Egor Kamelev/Pexels

On a global scale, IHG rolled out bookable initiatives for guests across its various hotel and resort properties . According to the hotel group’s survey, 82% of its global audience place an importance on selecting a hotel that operates responsibly. 

At its InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, visitors are able to book coral cutting and propagation sessions, while its voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley in Australia lets guests attend interactive farming experiences, which include learning about bees, the use of solar panels and how the hotel uses recycled water for its plants.

Back to basics: recycling

According to JUV, 83% of Gen Z recycled and 60% purchased secondhand items in 2021. This Earth Day, brands such as Nike, Merrell and thredUP launched recycling initiatives to reuse and upcycle old materials to create new products sustainably.

Workers collecting trash

Nike launched the Move to Zero initiative across its brick and mortar stores and digital platforms. As the company aims to create zero-carbon and zero-waste products by 2025, it launched a collection of shoes made from at least 50% recycled materials and held in-store activations where consumers could recycle and refurbish old shoes.

Outdoor brand Merrell announced its long-term sustainability initiative to help achieve its goal to only use recycled, organic or renewable materials by 2025. Its recycling and resale programme, ReTread, encourages consumers to return used shoes to be restored and then resold or used as new material for new product development.

If you’re a WGSN subscriber, read on in Earth Day 2022: Communication Strategies. Live now on the site.

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