When Yael Aflalo, founder of buzzy fashion retailer Reformation, experienced first-hand the scale of Chinese pollution, she made a decision. Today, her company has a near-religious focus on reducing waste by incorporating sustainable practices throughout its supply chain.
Unilever asks a heavy question—"Why bring a child into this world?"—in a four-minute video touting Project Sunlight, its new global sustainability initiative. The consumer-goods titan created the short film in collaboration with acclaimed director Errol Morris and many of the same folks from Ogilvy's South American office who created the award-winning "Real Beauty Sketches" for Unilever's Dove brand. Actually, this is a film within film, as real expectant parents share their hopes and fears about the world their kids will inherit. They also react as they watch a movie that mixes footage of violence and despair with hopeful messages about the future. The tone is emotional, but positive, backed by a pensive piano cover of The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" "Your child could have more possibilities of having a healthier heart than any living person today—and the same chance of a broken heart," the narrator says. "No one can escape that. … And by the time they find the right person, our children will have better chances of meeting their great-grandchildren than we ever did."
Levi’s boasts of designer jeans made out of used plastic bottles. Nike tempts runners with knitted sneakers that it claims cut manufacturing waste by 88 percent. These products may be the tip of a marketing iceberg, as new research shows a growing pool of global consumers are demanding that mainstream brands be sustainable.