Ethically-led brands: balancing what consumers want with what the world needs

28 February 2022, 07:18 AM
  • Max Spiegelberg, chief marketing peep at Greenypeeps, discusses striking the right balance
Ethically-led brands: balancing what consumers want with what the world needs

Only by placing environmental responsibility at the heart of a brand’s purpose can a brand strike the balance between product desirability and doing what’s right for the planet.

We should not have to make ethical choices everyday when buying our groceries. We’ve got enough to weigh up when we walk down the aisles… does it taste nice? is it a good price? do I need the standard size or the value pack? is it full of sugar, fat, salt (delete as appropriate)?

Layer on top whether that product is negatively impacting the planet through hazardous chemicals in production, economically exploited growers, carbon intensive practices across the supply chain, poorly considered packaging, single use plastic.

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Most people switch off.

But the environmental problem is certainly not going away. Last November, COP 26 served as a stark warning to us all that we desperately need to act now or risk losing everything. The responsibility lies with everyone but critical, meaningful action sits further up the supply chain. The buck stops with those creating the products that people consume.

So it’s up to us, the businesses and brand owners, to do the right thing. And the right thing is not simply paying lip service or making a donation to environmental causes. It’s thinking about every action, every touchpoint, every part of the supply chain. It’s considering as an organisation how to do things differently to implement systemic change through the filter of ‘is it supporting the environment?’

Greenypeeps, was established by Englishman, Ed Green and Sri Lankan, Subramaniam Eassuwaren towards the end of 2020 with the ambition to launch the world’s most sustainable tea. Almost a year later in September 2021, Greenypeeps announced their arrival with the world’s first ever carbon negative tea. It was the first tea brand to measure the carbon cost for each and every one of their teas throughout its entire lifecycle, from tea plant to tea cup all the way through to disposal. By doing this the business can evaluate which parts of the supply chain carry significant carbon costs and can establish targets and means to reduce these year on year whilst also investing in removing over twice the carbon each product emits through carbon credits.

From a consumer perspective, it’s a complicated concept and another environmental nuance to get their heads around. Greenypeeps recognises the need to distil this through a clear and simplified ‘planet positive’ message on the front of pack whilst

explaining in detail the actions the business has taken to support this on the back of pack.

Max Spiegelberg, Greenypeeps’ chief marketing peep says, “We know that consumers don’t buy sustainability per se. They are looking for pure, great quality tea. However research and current trends dictate that consumers are actively seeking products that don’t harm the planet and don’t contain nasty ingredients. If you don’t call it out, how will they know?’

It’s a fine balance. Until every business and brand is held to account and can demonstrate a net planet positive outcome for each of their products, it’s important for our customers understand the exact measures we’ve taken to get to this point.’

Greenypeeps has launched with tea ahead of plans to extend their planet positive concept into other categories. Tea is a good place to start. Simple, pure, healthy ingredients with a simple, manageable supply chain.

The team recognise that absolute transparency and honesty are key to gaining consumer trust. The brand very much wears its heart on its sleeve inviting those that are interested to access stories through their website and social platforms, about the tea they are drinking, the communities that grow the tea and the planet positive initiatives they are supporting.

Max sums it up ‘We are not going to change the world overnight but if we can set the bar by doing the right thing and prove it can be done, others businesses and brands will follow suit and with the right momentum, we can truly make a difference.’

We’ll raise our tea cups to that.

close stay up-to-date with our free newsletter | expert intel | tailored industry news | new-to-know trend analysis | sign up | speciality food daily briefing