How Brands Are Committing to Real Change for Earth Day 2021

CVS, Silk and Stonyfield Organic are among the companies taking steps toward sustainability

Stonyfield Organic commits to converting some of the country's biggest parks to organic fields by halting the use of harmful pesticides.
Stonyfield Organic

Last year, many brands were tasked with addressing both Earth Day and the critical state of the pandemic, resulting in messages that encouraged consumers to observe the holiday from the safety of their homes.

While the pandemic is far from over, the rollout of vaccines and signs of life slowly returning to some semblance of normality, this year’s crop of holiday initiatives are not only calling for serious action, but also offering tools to make such actions easier.

The encouragement arrives not a moment too soon. Today, President Joe Biden announced a pledge to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions up to 52% by 2030. Similarly aggressive responses to climate change underscore a few of the below initiatives, with brands working to reduce waste and single-use plastic by the pound.

Stonyfield Organic

Per yogurt company Stonyfield Organic, 65% of 670,000 public fields are sprayed with harmful pesticides. In response to this, the brand announced its goal to convert some of the world’s most famous parks—like Central Park and Chicago’s Grant Park—into organic grounds by 2025. The move is part of its StonyFIELDS #PlayFree initiative.  

Lavazza and Pantone Color Institute

Coffee brand Lavazza worked with agency We Are Social and the Pantone Color Institute to develop “The Vanishing Color” in honor of South America’s endangered Amazon Rainforest.

Created to raise awareness of the brand’s three-year reforestation project involving 800 indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon, the announcement of the color will be followed later this year by more initiatives aimed at supporting the program and larger efforts against deforestation.

Free The Ocean

Free the Ocean

Who doesn’t love a little trash TV? Free The Ocean is using Earth Day to put a new, sobering spin on the term by offering stark images of the 8 million tons of plastic that have been dumped into the oceans. To access Trash TV, viewers must head to FTO’s website and answer an easy trivia question. Those who answer correctly can view the first episode, which is dedicated to Earth Day.

Each answered trivia question and every view of Trash TV will equate to one piece of plastic removed from the ocean, according to FTO, as ad revenue from the site will directly fund Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and The Ocean Cleanup.

Allbirds

Allbirds

New Zealand-American footwear company Allbirds is publicly calling on its direct competitors to be more transparent about their carbon emissions by releasing a third party-verified carbon footprint calculator.

The call was featured in an ad was released in Sunday’s edition of The New York Times and in additional newspapers globally, naming major fashion tentpoles like Nike, The North Face, and Lululemon. The company also drafted a petition for consumers to sign, which asks the fashion industry to add carbon footprint labels to all of its products—a change that Allbirds implemented itself last year.

This effort marks the launch of the brand’s Free the Footprint website, which houses the assessment tools, the petition, and an outline of its sustainability practices.

Science Moms and Potential Energy Coalition

Science Moms/Potential Energy Coalition

Science Moms, a new educational group consisting of climate scientists who also happen to be mothers, released a short film titled “Outside Voices.” The film urges mothers to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives and express their concerns regarding climate change. In this instance, the “outside voice” is strongly encouraged.

The short is one component of a three-part climate education initiative created in partnership with nonprofit Potential Energy Coalition. In addition to “Outside Voices,” the campaign includes voice-activated Instagram filters and another short, By the Time.

Silk

Silk

Want to help the planet, but find the conversation surrounding climate change stressful? Silk is offering free climate counseling sessions with expert Dr. Debbie Sturm to help allay climate anxiety. Users can sign up for a 45-minute group session in which Dr. Sturm will offer insight and tips on eco-anxiety and how to convert that into action. You can learn more on Silk’s Climate Warriors site.

The initiative is part of a notable trend this year of plant-based food brands helping lead the conversations around sustainability issues on Earth Day.

Spalding/Ol’ Dirty Planters

Ol’ Dirty Planters/Spalding

Sporting goods mainstay Spalding teamed up with small Black-owned business Ol’ Dirty Planters to create limited edition planters made from upcycled basketballs.

Established in quarantine by plant lovers and Wu-Tang fans Karissa Allen and Justin Cox, the L.A.-based company brings new life to retired game balls to offer a sustainable and fashionable option for local horticulturalists. For Earth Day, the small company is dropping 20 planters on its site while Spalding releases four limited edition upcycled NBA official game ball planters created by Ol’ Dirty Planters to Spalding MVP Members.

CVS

CVS

CVS announced that it plans to halt the sale of single-use plastic straws, all plastic cutlery, and all Styrofoam cups, plates and bowls by June 2021. The company will offer more sustainable options in their place, such as straws made with cornstarch, paper and silicone, bamboo or birchwood cutlery, compostable plates and bowls and biodegradable foam cups.

In addition, CVS has converted pharmacy bags to an unbleached paper bag made of 90% recycled content and joined the How2Recycle, a program promoting a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public.

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