How brands are participating in the climate strike

Unilever, Lush and Burton are among the companies that are closing stores and donating space to the cause.
ClimateCrisisWindow4

Young climate activists are likely to be front-and-centre in many discussions this week, with the Global Climate Strike set to happen on Friday.

While the major focus of the strike will be a march led by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg in New York City on Sept. 20, hundreds of strikes and other actions aimed at rallying support to fight climate change will be happening across the globe, including in nearly 100 Canadian towns and cities on Sept. 20. There will also be events on the “official” Canadian strike day next week on Sept. 27, with more events and actions in between as part of the Global Week of Climate Action.

With the climate and other environmental causes becoming more of a focus for brands, several companies have pledged their support to the strikes. But some have gone beyond boilerplate messages, instead closing their stores and finding other ways to provide support to people who want to participate in the movement.

Lush Cosmetics

All of Lush’s U.S. stores will close on Sept. 20, with Canadian stores closing on Sept. 27, covering 250 locations and 5,000 staff across North America, along with its corporate offices, manufacturing facilities and ecommerce operations.

In addition, the retailer will be spending the days following Sept. 20 during the Global Week of Climate Action, offering its window space, printed materials and social media channels to promote the message of the strikes. It has also enlisted singer and writer Aisha Fukushima to create a spoken-word poem about the climate movement, which has been turned into an animated video that will be shared online.

Lush’s other environmental efforts include growing its own ingredients in four of its own farms created from land that had previously been damaged by industrial farming and deforestation, using solar power to offset all of its energy consumption in retail, testing new carbon-capture and packaging-free products and Charity Pot, the company’s giving fund that has raised USD$36 million through customer donations (USD$12 million of which has been given to environmental justice organizations.

Burton

The snowboard and lifestyle brand will be closing its corporate offices in Canada, U.S., Europe, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia on Sept. 20, giving employees paid time off to participate in the strikes. Its owned flagship stores (including three in Quebec and one in Toronto) will remain open, but its cash registers will be closed and no products will be sold. Instead, the locations will be opened as community gathering places for those looking to participate in nearby marches, with supplies on hand to make signs. In addition, the brand will not be taking any online orders on Sept. 20, with its website instead redirecting to the Global Climate Strike website.

Burton’s environmental goals include a 20% reduction in the amount of carbon from hardgoods production by 2022 and making 100% of its softgoods through the Bluesign system (which responsibly sources materials, uses safer chemicals and produces cleaner air and water emissions).

Seventh Generation

Since the Unilever-owned natural household brand doesn’t have any stores to close, so on Sept. 20, it is donating its media platforms to supporting the climate strike.

This week, it has donated all of its national broadcast advertising space to environmental causes, working with environmental organization 350.org and agency Futerra on the spot that will air. The brand’s social and digital channels will also be free from product messaging during the week, instead focusing on telling the stories of climate groups and activists.

This year, Unilever has been enforcing the importance of its brands having a “purpose,” such as Seventh Generation’s environmental efforts. Its new CEO has said brands that do not have a purpose or positive impact on society would not have a future with the CPG giant, a commitment enforced through a global platform launched in the summer.