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Content created for Eva Air


Critics once deemed corporate social responsibility as a Trojan horse brands purely leveraged to build their reputation. However, as technology and social media gave rise to transparency, consumers began to distrust, slander and even boycott some of the most iconic brands of all time who showed streaks of inauthentic altruism.

Today’s consumer values depth of purpose, impact and authenticity above all. As generations continue to feel a responsibility to leave a positive impact on the world, they are increasingly looking to brands to help them do so.

From diversity and female empowerment, to living wages and ethical business practices, there are a variety of missions and values brands can choose to embody, but with climate change being top of mind in 2020, sustainability is one of the most important commitments a brand can make to their customers and the planet.

Consumer culture has been identified as one of the most fierce drivers of climate change, but Pinterest found that “sustainable living” has become the most searched term among Millennials and Generation Z users, up 69% from 2017.

Patagonia was one of the first brands to lead the charge in sustainable purchasing with their anti-consumerist approach to marketing. With environmental sustainability at their core, Patagonia has even ran campaigns discouraging consumers to buy their products before they consider the second hand option. Their famous don’t buy this jacketad was an active pledge to reduce consumerism and broke Black Friday headlines.

New generations of consumers are actively making more conscious purchasing decisions, so we interviewed a few of the brands that are helping to make it easier for them to do so. Hopefully these examples spark ideas and inspire change. 

By Humankind

Sustainability Mission: Create solutions to the single use plastic waste epidemic


“The conversation around single use plastic products penetrates many different industries from plastic straws to grocery bags. As a channel, Instagram embodies aesthetics and beauty, which allows people to feel more of an emotional connection to any product.

As you go about your day people are posting about how they are saving the environment, but Instagram makes the topic more engaging and like-able.”

—Brian Bushell, CEO & Co- Founder, by Humankind

Seventh Generation

Sustainability Mission: Transform the world into a healthy, sustainable & equitable place for the next seven generations


“As an industry, we’re asking people to make trade-offs to make the “right” choices - either by paying more or compromising in different ways. At Seventh Generation, we don’t want people to make those trade-offs anymore. They can have amazing products that are clean, cost-efficient and really drive the health of our planet, environment and people’s well being. We believe  in transparency and consumers having the right to know what’s in their products.”

— Hanneke Willenborg, CMO, Seventh Generation

Impossible Foods

Sustainability Mission: Make the global foods system truly sustainable by eliminating the need to make food from animals


“Today, we have this amazing awakening to the problem that we’re trying to solve, which is the contribution animal agriculture makes to the climate, biodiversity, water and land... It’s a very exciting time because the problem and the solution are coming together with the Impossible burger."

—Jessica Appelgren, VP of Communications, Impossible Foods

Kopari Beauty

Sustainability Mission: Create every product with 100% pure, organic coconut oil sustainably sourced from small family farms


“When the trend in naturals started to happen and the founders saw people cooking with coconut, they had this idea about creating a coconut based brand that was better for you.”

—Jeremy Lowenstein, CMO at Kopari Beauty


Sustainability Mission: Empower the next generation to transform fashion with second hand clothing


“Depop came at the perfect time where mobile phones and social media platforms exploded. People’s individuality is important and people want to express themselves. There was a time when the price of fashion was at the core, whereas now its value comes from the individuality and history of an object...We really value the community as empowered entrepreneurs who want to learn how to take better pictures, have better photoshoots and run a better business through our platform.”

—Yoann Pavy, the Head of Digital Marketing at Depop

Ad Council User Generated Content

Content created for Ad Council

What does this mean for you?

Sustainability does not mean a cut back in demand, sales and revenues. In fact, sustainability- marketed CPG products generated $114 billion in sales in 2018, up by 29% over 2013, and these rates of growth only continue to accelerate.

The arena for sustainability is diverse. From economic to social spheres, the future of sustainability goes beyond green, opening up the doors for many brands to authentically play their part.

The most successful brands of 2020 will have a sustainable mission at their core—and not just because they believe in the power of purpose-driven marketing, but because they truly want to embody the impact of the change they advocate.

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