World's biggest firms launch 'Collectively' to inspire action

A coalition of companies including Facebook, Google, Unilever, BT Group, Coca-Cola, Marks & Spencer have collaborated with non-profit groups to build a digital platform for the world's youth to inspire collective action on sustainable living.

How do we make sustainable living the new normal?

A group of the world’s biggest companies and non-profit groups are seeking to answer that with the launch of a new global platform to raise awareness and inspire youths to adopt more sustainable ways of living.

The portal, Collectively, launched on Tuesday, features stories that celebrate and connect the people, places and cutting-edge ideas that are shaping the future and creating positive change.

Sponsored by some of the world’s most recognisable names such as Unilever, BT Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Marks & Spencer and Carlsberg, Collectively was hatched following discussions at the World Economic Forum on how to encourage people act more sustainably - from buying, investing and campaigning to sharing an idea they believe in.

The initiative - developed by United Kingdom-based sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, US-based digital media firm Vice Media and social entrepreneur Purpose - will focus on providing a global stage to those who have already begun making environmentally-friendly choices.

Its creators hope the site will offer a new way for businesses to engage consumers on sustainability, and grow the global marketplace for sustainable products and services.

Other companies which have since joined the coalition include Audi, C&A (Clemens & August) Foundation, Diageo, Facebook, General Mills, Google, Havas, Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG),  Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Kingfisher, Lenovo, McDonalds, Medialink, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, Omnicom, PepsiCo, Philips, SABMiller, Salesforce, The Dow Chemical Company, Twitter and WPP Group (formerly Wire Plastics and Products).

Collectively is an exciting new opportunity to genuinely change the mood music on sustainability. Amplifying and scaling up the innovations and ideas that will shift us to a more sustainable future, now

Jonathon Porritt, founder, director and trustee of Forum for the Future

Jonathon Porritt, founder, director and trustee of Forum for the Future, who also authored The World We Made, noted that sustainability continues to suffer from an image problem despite efforts by non-government organisations, governments and businesses to promote it.

“Yet day after day the most creative minds in the world are thinking and building new solutions to the world’s most pressing problems - in a way that is simple, accessible and desirable. And more and more young people are already demanding these solutions,” said Porritt.

Will Gardner, Collectively’s chief executive officer, told Eco-Business that one of the solutions would have to begin with changing the way we think about sustainability – and make sustainable living more relevant and rewarding.

“Encouraging people to choose to live, work and play sustainably on a scale that will genuinely make a difference is one of the world’s biggest challenges. We hope to change that through Collectively. It’s a place to share stories, inspire each other and create the change we need to see in the world,” he explained.

The website will be managed by an independent editorial team and will be updated daily with inspiring stories, information and solutions that are closely relevant to the millennial generation, or those in the age group 18 to 30.

It will focus on popular topics such as fashion, food, technology, design and architecture.

“Millennials are leading the way in demanding more sustainable solutions and it’s up to organisations and companies to scale up their actions,” commented Niall Dunne, chief sustainability officer of BT Group.

“Collectively is an exciting new opportunity to genuinely change the mood music on sustainability. Amplifying and scaling up the innovations and ideas that will shift us to a more sustainable future, now,” added Porritt. 

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