Knowing our planet is on the brink of breaking down isn’t new information anymore. The effects of the Industrial Revolution have caught up with us through current affairs. Articles about scientific articles about climate change, its causes and effects have crept up in daily news feed.
Consequently, since we all inhabit this planet and as humanity as a whole; wish to continue to exist; the topic of sustainability has entered our conversation as well. Companies and our long-continued harmful practices are being called out by scientists as the threat of annihilation is closing in.
Greenwashing happens when a company uses excessive tones of green to paint the product as biodegradable, environment-friendly or sustainable than it actually is. Sometimes, the product is downright harmful. Greenwashing in advertisements looks like presenting a product as a by-product of only natural ingredients despite being a painfully obvious product of industrial manufacturing.
Consumers, Companies and Sustainability
The switch to sustainability has caught up in informal conversations as well. According to the world economic forum, many consumers believe brands bear as much responsibility for positive change as governments and that businesses must commit to protecting nature and natural systems.
Since the prospect of death is completely involved with the idea of the planet collapsing; this is probably why companies have opted to listen to the advice and criticisms provided by environmentalists and scientists to change their way. Whether or not the commitment is absolute; changes in beliefs and appearances are to be noted.
Promises to become sustainable
In an ad titled “A climate change promise from Apple”; they use a baby as a portrayal of future generations; while the voice of the narrator is presented as Apple’s.
The ad strikes a tone of serenity and seriousness with the blue colour palette, background noise and videography of the sleeping baby. All of these characteristics would make the video sound serious and make Apple more agreeable in the eyes of the viewer.
While assuming the role of a guardian to the child, Apple promises that by 2030 all Apple’s products would be carbon neutral.
Often in discussions about climate change, the safe and comfortable existence of future generations is brought up. Hence, the personification of the future generations works well here.
In another ad tackling the same topic, Apple produced a fast-paced, slightly perplexing video of how they plan to tackle the carbon neutrality of their products from manufacturing to ongoing use till 2030.
With sustainability ads, corporations tend not to adopt a typical narration style and a utopian view of the world; since this shallowness is immediately called out by the audience. These would always seem too good to be true. In those cases, documentary-style ads like Nike’s “Space Hippies: The Nike sneakers are trash” look more appealing and natural.
Nike hammers the point of climate change and the importance of sustainability from the forefront; clasping fear around it very well, and the changes “we” would need to make to ensure our survival. They describe their shifts in operations to make the world a better place.
Starting with the basics of how the idea of manufacturing came about to changes that had to be made in the factories that manufactured it. Simultaneously and covertly, the working conditions of employees in their factories are also addressed.
Ultimately the product they released is the one whose one half; when considered by weight; is made by recycled products.
Colgate recently launched a 100% recyclable toothpaste tubes in India for its Active Salt and VedShakti variants as a part of sustainability commitments.
According to Colgate-Palmolive India’s Managing Director Ram Raghavan “Our desire to reimagine a healthier future for the people we serve and for our planet remains our number one priority. With this category-leading initiative, along with our consumers and our nation, our planet will also have a future to smile about. We hope that all toothpaste manufacturers will meet recycling standards for their tubes in order to maximize the positive impact it can have on all of us.”
Corporations’ vs Individuals
The shift towards sustainability is taking baby steps in our societies as well. Start-ups and businesses have developed around the idea of sustainability by manufacturing their own line of everyday recyclable products.
In a bid to make a change in the existing system; while these start-ups are an excellent encouragement; true change can only be made by mega-giant corporations and governments, who hold keys to the bigger system.