On Wednesday, Unilever chose Universal Children's Day to launch the latest phase of their work to integrate the creation of a better world into their marketing. At a time when the world's politicians are winding up in Warsaw after another round of failing to do anything significant about climate change, it is wonderful to see one of our largest corporations taking unilateral action in such committed fashion.
I believe the answer is simple to identify, but deeply difficult to resolve. It lies in the fact that the dominant metaphor for the role of the individual in society today is that of the Consumer; and that while we talk to ourselves as Consumers, we simply will never solve climate change. Here are the four reasons why not.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a buzzword for companies since the turn of the 21st century, particularly from 2010 onwards. However, the dynamics of CSR have changed during this period, due to the growth of new communication tools and new areas of operation. This has resulted in CSR developing a new set of parameters.
The Myanmar launch presents Coca Cola with an interesting challenge. Here is a market that not only has no idea what Coke tastes like (sweet, fizzy, vaguely fruity) but one without any previous exposure to advertising either. I've no doubt that Coke will succeed, but I think the manner in which it will how achieve that success is very interesting.
One of the traditional barriers to online shopping has been the fact that consumers like to hold items in their hands and examine the quality up close. Clever technologies, such as the Retina screen of the iPad, are helping the most innovative in the industry to experiment with things like textured screens to emulate the feel of items.
Imaging sitting with friends on a relaxed night out and asking if any of them want to keep working until they're 70: there will be a purveying glumness and descent into depression at the thought. However, this is the reality facing many people today in the UK, with statistics showing that less than half the population (48%) are actively saving for retirement.
Some have suggested a consumer boycott of Bangladeshi garments at these retailers, but a boycott could be counter-productive because doing so could jeopardise the job security of the garment workers. The best course of action is to put consumer pressure on Primark. We can't shift our society's addiction to cheap fashion overnight, but we can insist that as the buyers, Primark must put pressure on their supply chain to adhere to the basic tenets of a safe working environment.