Coke and Unilever call for collaboration over sustainability

Coca-Cola, Fairtrade and Unilever are calling for more collaboration between businesses and environmental groups to prove that sustainable business practices can be commercially viable.

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Speaking at an event hosted by environmental group GlobalCool, Unilever global external affairs director Thomas Lingard says: “We have to take responsibility for making the sustainability message more appealing, but Unilever alone can’t fix climate change – there has to be collaboration.”

He adds: “Brand directors know what they can expect in terms of uplift from traditional messaging and marketing channels but there isn’t yet enough knowledge about the consumer reaction to sustainable campaigns.”

Brands were also told that they must change the way they encourage people to consume less, reduce their energy use and cut carbon emissions because these messages are still reaching only a small percentage of consumers.

Coca-Cola customer sustainability director Jake Backus says brands have a huge role to play in getting the message across to consumers but that brands such as Coke, haven’t made it “cool” yet.

He adds: “We have to make sustainability look like something consumers want. It shouldn’t be a CSR activity, it should be brand-led. I want to get to the point where buying Coca-Cola is a positive act for good in the world but we need hooks to make the business believe it on a commercial level and prove that it creates shareholder value.”

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