Open Menu

Credit: Luke Chueh

Inspiration

Campaigns that inspire and excite us from around the web. Some we’ve worked on… some we wish we’d worked on.

Credit: CNN
Never-ending Storm Brewing

The varying and extreme weather events which have taken place this year are a stark reminder to everyone of an issue that is all too easily ignored.  From Heatwave Lucifer in the Northern Hemisphere, to the four major Hurricanes - Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria - in the Southern Hemisphere, the results of these events have brought back to light the importance of climate change as a global phenomenon that affects everyone.

In addition, due to the level of destruction inflicted on urban areas caught in the Hurricanes path, another concern which is often neglected in the West has resurfaced: refugees.  In this case more specifically: environmental refugees (also known as environmental migrant, climate refugee or climate migrant)

The term “environmental refugee” was devised to refer to people who are forced to leave their homes, temporarily or permanently, due to a marked environmental disruption, either natural or man-made, that can either jeopardise their existence and/or seriously affect the quality of their life.

In 2016, there were 31.1 million new internal displacements, according to figures released by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.  From this number, 24.2 million displacements were caused by disasters, and 6.9 million displacements were caused by conflict and violence.

And while the terms “economic migrant” (which describes those seeking to pursue work in other countries) and “refugee” (which describes those seeking refuge from war, conflict and persecution) are legally recognised, the term “environmental refugee” is not.  Rarely are the voices of refugees heard, but it seems this is even more the case for environmental refugees.

In 2015, a man’s request to be recognised as the world’s first climate refugee was denied, and he was deported back to his home country.  The man was from Kiribati, an island in the Central Pacific, whose 94,000 inhabitants risk being totally submerged by 2070, due to rising sea water.  The island’s government has proposed a gradual resettlement program, which would see the population relocate to neighbouring islands, such as New Zealand.

While it is easy to recognise people in need of temporary or permanent relocation due to a natural fast occurring disaster, such as a landslide, tsunami or hurricane, slower or long-term afflicting disasters, such as desertification, submersion or drought aren’t so straightforward.  In developing countries, climate often causes a vicious circle of events.

For example, long-term drought can cause repeated crop failures, which in turn deepens poverty in communities that can already be marginalised and harassed by their state.  When Somalis migrated to Kenyan refugee camps following periods of drought which caused widespread famine, they cited livelihood as their prime reason for seeking refuge.

And while the land may become increasingly arid, the atmosphere is becoming increasingly humid.  Warmer air can hold more water, for every degree Celsius that the temperature rises, the air can hold seven per cent more water.

According to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the region of the Atlantic sea surface had temperatures above average by 0.5•C to 1•C.  The high temperatures cause hurricanes to store more water, which would explain the 50 inches (1.23 metres) of rain dropped by Hurricane Harvey over Houston.

This hurricane season saw the evacuation of over 6.3 million people in Florida.  It also caused widespread destruction, mainly on the Caribbean Islands.  On the islands of St Martin and St Barthelemy, it is estimated that 6 out of 10 homes are inhabitable.  In Barbuda 95% of the buildings are damaged.  Hurricane Harvey has caused up to £68bn costs of damage, and Hurricane Irma has caused £7.6bn of damage in the Caribbean alone.

While we often discuss the economic strain caused by any refugee searching to better their lives, it is clear to see that we have no one else to blame but ourselves at the cost of destruction after a natural disaster. Climate change is a global concern that affects all of us, whether directly or indirectly.

We witnessed first hand how the Syrian conflict in the Middle East rippled over the rest of the world.  It is becoming increasingly important that we recognise the effects of climate change and how it affects everyone globally.  Especially those already seeking help seeking to be recognised in the form of environmental refugees.

Partnerships with Power

The partnership between a brand and a recognizable face is now, more than ever, essential in communication. In a world in which our eyes are dazzled by incessant images; scrolling half-heartedly through Instagram, flashing past your ascent to street level on the tube and sneakily sliding into your peripheral vision from cookie-driven targeted marketing online.

Images are everywhere. They are brighter, bolder and more exciting than ever, the once fantastical whiff of moving advertising lining our high streets and station-boards is now a reality. With so many images, our brains - weary and overloaded - cannot process them. Our reactions to images, branding and advertising are dulled. We scroll past, click away and fast forward. 

Which is why, known names are needed. Only familiarity and piqued interest through story and partnership is essential to ensure that general face-blindness does not lead to brand-blindness.

Attaching purpose to a brand is becoming more and more common, not only from an increasingly selective consumer but also for businesses who are building their brand increasingly around socially minded and sustainable ideas. This enables a depth of narrative, now essential, for marketing to swim against such a strong stream of competitors and become a hook in a competitive market.  

It is no mistake that companies such as Unilever with products centered around sustainable and socially-minded goals are performing twice as well as similar products which are not. With an astute consumer in a new world, aware more than ever of supply chains, the social and environmental costs of our global market, consumers are aware of their choice to choose a brand which aligns with their beliefs, a USP with a ‘doing good’ impetus is needed to ensure USP beyond performance. 

Disrupter brands are growing at phenomenal rates and are more accessible and available to huge numbers of people than ever before, and their ‘purpose’ is often a determining factor in their success. And with a proliferation of options, of choice, brands need to answer the question of ‘Why this brand? For the potential consumer. Providing a service or product is no longer enough, a reason to establish a connection to the brand is needed for a consumer to engage. Disrupter brands are now challenger brands, with purpose baked into their DNA and securing throngs of new consumers for whom this USP is what makes is stands out from legions of alternatives.

 Companies like Unilever, IKEA and Seventh Generation are doing a fantastic job of pushing their brands into purpose - but their agencies also need to be [fit for 'purpose']. The ways in which ‘doing good’ when integral to a brands DNA, has hugely positive effects are numerous; from strengthening the brand story, engaging employees, creating ties with the community, and connecting with target audiences. 

That cannot be assumed by a pitch, it can only be delivered by the emotional intelligence and experience of the individuals and team running an account. What these trends show with companies such as Toms shoes or Innocent is that purpose is from the inside out, it can strengthen and engage consumers to employees but it should be buttressed and nurtured by an agency with core principles similar to CF&CO who understand and believe in the power of purpose.

Gender Treachery

I first read the expression ‘gender treachery’ a week ago, having been so blown away by the series The Handmaid’s Tale, I read a number of articles and reviews, in one of which it was used.

As many, I studied The Handmaid's Tale at school and found it haunting and left me curious – was it fact or fiction? A path we could somehow accidentally slip onto or a road some were already treading somewhere in the world?

For those not familiar with it, it is set in near present day (although written in the 1980’s, the TV series brings the viewer up to present day). It is split between a democratic society and one of religious and sexually bias extremism. Brought on by environmental changes of our own doing, the ‘present day’ is one where infertility is prevelant and therefore fertile women become a dehumanized resourse.

The series is captivating with each scene set in the dystopian state of ‘Gilead’ created as a stunning tableaux – be it stark and sterile or claustrophobic, austere and detailed, the colours and engulfing back drops, right down to the choreography.

It is this visual feast, which enables you to become drawn in, whilst remaining safe from the horrors which play out. The flashbacks to a soft-lit, life-filled, chaotic, comtemporary world stand in stark opposition as the ‘before’, only ever mentioned in nervous whispers.

Many have debated on social and traditional media whether this is a feminist work. It is generally regarded as such, with many identifying it as (perhaps ironically) seminal in their journey to becoming feminists. However, what is very apparent in this work, is not so much the way the men treat the women – Virgins and Whores – but how the women treat each other.

Whilst it can be argued that the men have imposed the religious laws, from chosen passages of the bible’s Old Testament – it is men who stand guard with threatening rifles, it is men who are given full financial power – and it is set out as a patriarchal society – it is the women who are so cruel to the other women.

Whether it is the FGM, the taking of other’s children, the cruel and often violent hierarchy, the torture, the rape, the stoning – in this series, these are all women at the hands of women – occasionally using men as the conduits.  At one point it is made clear that most of the laws have been created by a woman – a woman who believes god is on her side and women should not control their own money because it encourages them to strive for education and academia instead of focusing on the god-given role of child bearing – a role, as a baren woman she embraces through cruel imposition on those who are fertile.

Having previously worked at Amnesty International and having openly wept at the general treachery and cruelty humans impose on each other, nothing in this series is made up – it is simply out of context – and not gender specific.

So is it a feminist work?

I think so – I think we have been fooled into thinking that feminism is only about sticking it to the man, as opposed to empowering the sisterhood.

I believe that, for all the critisms I heard about the Women’s Marches (about them not having a single theme, about the futility of them etc) they spoke loud and clear to this need to counter ‘gender treachery’ as well as sexism and injustice - and stand together. Together in gratitude for those who have made progress through which we and society benefits, together against oppression and injustice and together in the hope that in so doing, those men and women who would step over or on an individual - repressing, torturing, gaining from others loss - should see that in oppressing a group of individuals, you create a unity by which they become defined – and eventually empowered.

As they might say in the series… Stone drop bitches, the new mic drop.

Conspiracy of Silence

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is happening today in Britain. Not far away in other countries and places, but here and it is closer than you realise. It is happening to girls in our communities, it has happened to women you sit next to on the bus and pass at the supermarket and it is happening to girls your child goes to school with.

July marks what is referred to as “cutting season” when young girls, on their summer break from school, are taken out of the country ostensibly to visit friends and family abroad and are subjected to the mutilation of their genitals. Often it is performed by intimate family members.

The government have introduced mandatory reporting for healthcare professionals and teachers; airport staff are on currently on high alert for warning signs of the danger that faces unknowing young girls. But it is still happening. And in many places communities refuse to acknowledge it is even happening, creating a conspiracy of silence which only fails, young, frightened, vulnerable girls subjected to unimaginable agony. 

 Every hour a woman in England attends a medical appointment where FGM is identified. The life-long and sometimes life-endangering effects of FGM are sadly all too familiar for healthcare professionals who treat FGM survivors for complications over their life course especially during pregnancy. And beyond physical treatment, funded services to support women with psychological and psychosexual counselling are needed to help FGM survivors manage the effects of physical and psychological trauma in their day-to-day lives. 

 As the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan recently disclosed; half of all reported FGM cases in the UK are from London. Reporting in itself is only a small part of a very complicated picture. The stigma is so widespread that many survivors will not use the term Female Genital Mutilation. 

 The #C_ntTouchThis event at KOKO Camden marked the launch the charity Global Comfort in partnership with ActionAid UK, The Global Campaign to End FGM and many others. It saw the start of what needs to happen, discussion, a gathering of professionals and young men and women, a celebration of music and people and a commitment to push through change by raising awareness and driving action. 

 #C_ntTouchThis was held in London, a city of 8.7 million, where a disproportionate number of FGM cases are seen. FGM is in desperate need of being propelled into the mainstream. No longer a peripheral ‘difficult’ issue, greeted with sympathy and a wince of pain and then forgotten. 

It affects too many women to be, as Cathy Newman remarked, put in a box labelled “women’s issues” or to be the preserve of healthcare professionals or survivors of FGM. 

It is a global problem, there are 200 million women and girls who have been subjected to FGM; with numbers as large as these, the scale and urgency of the problem and the failing of government and communities to safeguard young girls is overwhelming.

 BBC 1 radio DJ Clara Amfo acknowledged at the #C_ntTouchThis event, the men in the room's passion and dedication for change. Which highlighted the combined effort desired from from both men and women to end FGM to protect mothers, sisters, aunties, friends and partners. When celebrated musicians such as Little Simz, Tawiah and Afronaut Zu come together it is proof that passion and commitment to ideas and causes are not mutually exclusive to a profession or gender. 

FGM is not an issue for one group in society to tackle, it is child abuse and the base-less mutilation of a human beings body. It falls on all of us to make sure every child grows up with the knowledge of their fundamental rights and ownership over their own body. We all must champion girls who are voiceless, to develop and spread the conversation- rather than shying away from it- acknowledging the extreme damage that can be caused and to spark change from within the family itself. 

Corporate Manslaughter- Grenfell- symbolically the Titanic of our time

I took my 10 year old son to sort, load and stack donations for the victims of Grenfell Tower. We have been there since Wednesday evening in schools, community centers and places of worship that have rallied for their neighbors. As we looked around it was neighbours and local residents, including the matriarchs who as expert Notting Hill Carnival organisers mobilized and systematized seamlessly the many pairs of hands that wanted to put their shoulders behind the wheel to help get supplies to the people whose homes and lives were destroyed by the fire.

I was brought to live in Notting Hill by my single mother in 1979. She still lives in the same small flat – she is a writer, an art dealer, a romantic, a bohemian and decided on Notting Hill at a time it was considered dangerous – but she loved the architecture and Portobello Road and the characters she came across, who became true friends. As the only child of a Jewish Immigrant and a hippy, growing up with a single mother, in an area known (at the time) for its crack dens and riots, I would say I have been very lucky.

In that small flat, we saw Carnivals come and go, we watched friends move closer, only to move away. The communal gardens which used to be packed full of kids and families when I was growing up, now stand empty, as do the houses around them, as people go off to houses in the countryside for the weekend or places in more appealing seasonal sun.

The fire that consumed Grenfell tower is a scandal and the start of many tough questions. Scotland Yard have opened a criminal inquiry and Theresa may has announced a public inquiry. To Britain’s shame, in Germany which has the strictest fire regulations especially for its many ex-soviet tower blocks in Europe, the head of Frankfurt fire service has said he is appalled by the fire.  He went on to say that such a fire could not have happened in Germany, as the types of cladding used at Grenfell Tower is restricted in Germany to buildings of 22 meters to match the reach of fire brigades ladders.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the wealthiest borough in the UK, residents of Grenfell Tower saw their homes and possessions disappear in moments in the same borough that a single dwelling terraced house can cost £4.3 million.  As one woman exclaimed in despair on the radio “I mean, this is Notting Hill” these failings are unforgivable for the local council especially after a £8.7 million refurbishment last year. There have already been concerns that this will lead to the demolishment of the tower and surrounding tower blocks to make way for yet more gentrification and developers. As local residents are pushed out and out-priced, developers and speculative buyers mean that house prices have gone up to astronomical rates, and according to their 2013/17 housing strategy the borough is selling off council housing to fund right-to-buy schemes to discount housing, adding to the dwindling of social housing stock in the area. What happens then to people and their homes?  With the soaring list of people from Grenfell urgently needing accommodation, there are reports that people are being moved out of the borough and even out of London for accommodation.

The area has irrevocably changed. I have moved from Notting Hill but at the end of my time, the road I had rented on for so many years became a developer’s war zone. Every morning, digging and beeping trucks, estate agents posting endless gifts and letters through the door. Which heralded the start of change, at first, one multi-family dwelling was turned into a multi-million pound single family dwelling, then another one, and then four at once. Growing up with someone who had a tendency to look back the past, I was eager to look forward to embrace change; and if gentrification meant the council planting flower beds or repairing windows then I would be happy. But instead, a community has been alienated to the point of shunting them off and up into death traps if they wish to stay in the area. An area that became a sought after place to live because of its residents and the vibrant culture they created. Places like Portobello Road and events such as Notting Hill Carnival; which is the product of a community coming together in celebration to run a beautiful carnival, now one of the largest annual street festivals in the world.

The probable destruction of Grenfell after the fire leaves the surviving residents in limbo and uncertainty, not even given the guarantee that they will be rehoused in their borough. Again, the richest and most affluent borough in the United Kingdom.

This is heart-breaking because it spells out the destruction of the only positive thing that has emerged from this awful event: the community that came together to help each other. It was a community that came to each other’s aid. Local mosques, churches and temples that opened their doors. Al Manaar mosque tweeted: "anyone of any faith or no faith is welcome to walk in and have some rest, sleep, and or have some water and food". Local people from the area, from outside the area and even outside London have been helping for days, donating, volunteering and unloading the vans of supplies donated. Local restaurants and businesses have donated time and supplies, people donated so much that on the same day as the fire the council ran out of space in which to store it.

From speaking to the surviving residents, who camped out on mats on these last few balmy summer evenings under the Westway, offers from residents to have them stay in spare rooms or sofas where refused. Why? Because of the fear that if they did they would be taken off the councils list for immediate rehousing. Notting Hill has had slum landlords such as Peter Rachman who ignored tenant’s complaints and their worries for their own and their families safety. We are complacent about the past and its distance. Grenfell is our contemporary Titanic of modern social and housing policy, the warnings were ignored and for those unlucky enough to not be able to afford a first class berth, we have our own modern steel grates that damn the poorest among us in a ship that was not fit for purpose.

It is essential that all the surviving residents from a horrific ordeal are rehoused locally in the area, to preserve the community, a community which has shared, given and provided for each other in a time of desperate sadness.

 

Vote, Vote and Vote again!

One of the reasons put forward by the Huffington Post for the vast disparity in projections for the UK General Election today is voter turnout among the under 24s. How the 18-24 vote is factored in creates a wealth of polls, from YouGov’s 3 point lead of the Conservatives to ICM's 12% Conservative lead.  Policy editor Chris Cook explained on Newsnight the guestimating that comes into play when pollsters account for each age group when predicting results, using the example that a poll from Survation with a 6 point lead for the Conservatives assumes that more than 80% of under 24s go out and vote today, while ICM's 12 point lead for Conservatives assumes there will be a 40% turnout among the 24s.

3 million people have registered to vote since when the election was called on the 18th April to 22nd May and a record number of young people have registered to vote in this election, a million of under 25s to be exact. And while traditional doom and gloom wisdom is that 'the young don't vote' if they do today, they could have a huge impact. In a two party race to 10 Downing Street, 18-24s could have the deciding vote. 

The Labour party has traditionally relied upon a large turn-out from the young and under Corbyn in particular, the popularity of Labour has soared. Whether it is the ‘fresh-face's’ pictured at Labour rally's in East London on the news in recent weeks or the huge number of students who, in light of tuition fee manifesto promises, are intending to vote Labour there is no doubt that large swathes of the urban vote and students are backing Jeremy Corbyn. However, historically the voter turn-out does not bode well for a game-changing result for Labour. In 2015, the turnout amongst 18-24 year olds was 43%, compared to 1992 in John Major's victory over Neil Kinnock at 63%. There has been a steady and steep decline in young people voting for years, and the reason given to broadcasters on the news is usually the same, "Voting doesn't make a difference" "I don't like elections or politics" "I haven't followed it very well". Comparing these comments with the frenzied fervour of the young people at Labour rallies seems at odds. It shows that 18-24's if they wanted to could make a sizeable difference in politics and political elections (irrespective of their political leanings), the turnout rate of over 65's at 80% dwarfs 2015's 43% under 24 turnout. 

Why is there this discrepancy in voting? That the over 65s, for the most part, unquestioningly go to the ballot box to have their say in comparison to their grandchildren and children must be down to their attitude to voting. As post-war baby boomers they have a water-tight resolve in the democratic process of voting, they have witnessed the turbulent elections of the 1970's, and saw their parents voting in 1945 for a new world order of hope and opportunity after the calamitous events of the Second World War. And yet, some 18-24 year olds- so often reminded of their good fortune by their grandparents- choose to disenfranchise themselves with ‘what-is-the-point apathy’. This is at odds with many of their peers who have been energised by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party promises many of which are aimed at the young. 

We are in desperate need of political education within schools, as part of the curriculum's Citizenship modules. To discuss the electoral process and inspire debate and engagement at an earlier age, rather than expecting 18 year olds to independently become interested and see politics as directly influencing their choices in life, which clearly hasn't happened. To instead, remind young people that when the times comes, their vote will matter. Surely we want our young people to revel in the process of voting, a hard one right and sure-fire way to make the establishment listen, and the only way to ensure that local and country-wide politicians know how they stand on issues as well as the changes they want to see in their communities?

As no matter how much you earn, or where you live your vote is counted with the same value as a media mogul or party faithful. So vote, vote and vote again!

 

 

 

 

Operation missing vote

The UK general election is on Thursday, and with surprise polls showing the Tory lead narrowing to a slim margin, the trillion-dollar-bigger-than-any-deficit-question is: who are you going to vote for? The politicians and parties seeking election are all trying to persuade us that they- not the others- will make our lives better after June 8th. But who exactly are they trying to persuade? 

Operation Black Vote have continued their successful 2015 campaign with public figures such as David Harewood, Tinie Tempah and Ade Adepitan photographed with their skin painted white with the words: “If you don’t register to vote and vote, you drain the colour from all of our British institutions.” This year Riz Ahmed and Jamal Edwards have supported the campaign which features short films to tackle the low rates of BME black and minority ethnic voters in comparison to white voters in Britain and also to inspire young people in all communities, to create change and get involved in their communities and society.

The work of the campaign is reminding a swathe of potential voters of the impact their vote can have. A recent reoccurring motif has been people saying they don’t relate to their politicians; they see them as distant figures not bothered by the electorates problems but occupied by infighting and point-scoring amongst themselves. The apathy that has gripped many voters with the turnout at the 2015 election at 66.1%, suggests a feeling of individuals disbelief that their vote will make a difference. For the controversial June 8th General Election, Operation Black Vote have found that 45 of the 50 most marginal seats have a minority ethnic population bigger than the majority of the winning party. There are many hotly contested seats in the UK that could be decided by BME voters. Indeed, in London, 5 of the constituencies with no Black, Asian or minority ethnic candidates, have a population of more than 50% BAME. BAME voters can hold MPs accountable to specific issues which might have been ignored as MPs desperately try and carry-favour with voters who traditionally have higher turn-out rates. 

People are inspired, energised and engaged in this election to an extent that while relatively common place in the US has possibly not been seen in the UK before. Not only is Operation Black Vote mobilizing black and ethnic minority voters to make sure politicians are listening to their specific concerns for their communities but many young voters and public figures have been at the heart of the political conversation. The trending hashtag #Grime4Corbyn is described on Twitter as celebrating young people’s voices, and young musicians such as JME, Novelist, Akala and Stormzy have been vocal in their support for Jeremy Corbyn. Boy Better Know’s JME met with Jeremy Corbyn to talk about his policies and explain why so many young people don’t vote, directly bringing a generations feelings of mistrust in the establishment to a party leader. The #Grime4Corbyn campaign also released free tickets to a secret event of Grime artists, with registering to vote the only criteria to get on the list, as part of three events over the weekend. The phenomenal reach of young, talented Grime artists as spokespersons for a large number of young people who have never felt that voting would make a difference, is important for our political discourse as it draws together worlds which people see as dissimilar but live together. 

Grime artists are creating cutting edge music whose influence has spread across the world and their engagement proposes a bright future for young and often BME voters. Artists such as JME and Stormzy are creative leaders who are looked up to and respected and care about the changes they see in their communities. The amusing videothat puts Jeremy Corbyn face on Stormzy music video is good natured fun but also expresses the socially aware and political nature of Grime that comments on the world and society and around it; and the artists’s comments about Corbyn and ethnic minorities show his political engagement. 

This almost grass roots movement is part of the drive that Operation Black Vote is creating, that is reminding large portions of the electorate how powerful their voices are. Politics is not separate from us, it decides how, where and even for how long we live, it sets the parameters of the civic society we all live in. Operation Black Vote and young artists are saying loudly, that it is impossible today, -as Britain heads into a new post-Brexit future and politicians decide which and how many government services we can expect to depend on- to not stand up and have a voice. Communities are all facing a brave new world, and it is political art forms, campaigns and debates that illuminate the ideological clashes happening today in the UK and inspire people to vote. Communities need to go forward on June 8th to have their say to make sure, in the words of Operation Black Vote they are properly “represented in Parliament or in any corridors of power”.

When will it start raining women?

With the news that in 100 constituencies across UK have no female candidates for the June 8th general election and that 7.3 million male and female voters have no option to vote for a female candidate, we should all be concerned. 

Despite recent increases in female candidates seen in the 2015 general election, parties are still not doing well. Labour is in the lead with 256 female candidates out of 631. While many will decry this as inversely prejudiced, the argument that- why should a capable man be pushed out of the job to make way for a less qualified woman? - doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s not about pushing men out of jobs, but encouraging women to apply, women and girls who unknowingly ‘opt themselves out’ of roles they could be suited for. 

The issue is not about the capability of male candidates, many male MP’s are passionate about their role as an advocate for groups and individuals, championing the causes of their constituents. The real issue is that government is an elected body which is meant to act on behalf of the population and logically this means that the structure of government should reflect the make-up of its constituents. 

As the country is split into 50/50 male and female ratio it surely follows that the government should also comprise of a 50/50 gender balance. The dialogue around this issue is often lost to scaremongering and fear, of ‘booting out men’. Instead this issues needs to be more accurately framed as a question, why are women not putting themselves forward as MPs? Why do more young men than young women say: I am going to stand as my local MP? 

There is a huge number of women working in the charity sector, in campaigns and groups that directly lobby and pressure government and policy making. Politicians such as the Education Secretary and Women and Equalities minister Justine Greening and 50:50 Parliament campaign are worried that gender parity in Parliament will stagnate at 30%. They say it is female potential candidates who agonise over whether they are entirely suitable or capable for the job, suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’.

50:50’s #AskHerToStand campaign wants to harness our role as well, we need to encourage the inspirational women around us to stand. Rather than it taking six people to suggest to a woman she should stand before she considers it, we need girls growing up and saying I want to enact change in my community, I am going to stand as an MP to do it. 

One of problems with a stagnating 30% gender balance in parliament is that many young women don’t grow up thinking they could or should be in politics- and they probably don’t realise they have made this decision; they instead think that its ‘not the job for them’. And yet, the same women flock to other fields to change politics and make a difference to political issues, in campaigning, charities, think tanks and activist groups. We need more women standing, as a fair representation of this country, for a government that reflects the people. 

Diversity - "Like A Joke"

Diversity and the lack of it, is a problem that has dogged much conversation in the past years. The Oscars last year were marred by the lack of diverse actors nominated for the highest accolade in film. It was said at the time that the nominations simply reflected the best films and actors of that year: that it was not the attitude of the academy but representative of the films that were being made. There is no lack of talent across actors, this must be a structural problem then, that the people who decide whether or not a film gets made are saying yes to certain films, films they think audiences wish to see. This last year has seen an explosion of films being made with diverse casts telling varied stories, showing an appreciation for the need for cinema to deal with the infinite variety of human experience. Moonlight, which follows a man at three stages of his life and looks at masculinity, queer sexuality racial identity and how they intersect; Lion, an adopted boys search for his biological family in India and Hidden Figures about African American mathematicians at NASA who helped launch John Glen into space are fantastic indicators of a concerted effort for mainstream cinema not to be focused on predominately white and male central characters.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs President of Academy of Motion Picture spoke this year about the steps that have been taken to diversify the Oscar judges and combat 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy; 683 new academy members (46% were women and 41% people of colour), who vote for each award category signalling a change in previous academy trends. Famous tests such as The Bechdel Test popularised by Alison Bechdel whose criteria set out that a film must fit three criteria to: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. Many surprising films fail the test including: The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Original Stars Wars Trilogy and Avatar which show the disparity in which men and women are treated in film. Cate Blanchett memorably called to account those that believe films about women are niche experiences, when winning an Oscar for her lead role in Blue Jasmine, saying “Audiences want to see” films with a female protagonist about women and that “in fact they earn money.” Oscar winner Octavia Spencer who is once again nominated, this time for her role in Hidden Figures this year has spoken of the importance of people of colour in mainstream films and how the increasingly diverse casts such as Star Wars show a move in the right direction. If change is happening it is happening slowly and will it last?

Diversity is not just a problem for Hollywood, ensuring diversity across many industries is proving a tough problem to tackle, it must be, as despite companies and business leaders such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft declaring their commitment to change and improving the variety of bright candidates they hire, results have not been seen. A recent report from Facebook showed that their targets for improving race and gender diversity have not been met. This begs the question: What are companies doing wrong to stop them hiring best and diverse workforce? A well-worn response from companies is that their ‘Pipeline’ (their source of candidates that they interview) do not reflect the diverse population. Studies suggest that this excuse is just that, an excuse. Gary S. May has cited that a possible reason is that large tech companies are recruiting from the same traditional universities such as Berkley and Stanford which have a smaller pool of diverse graduates in the fields they want. Gary S. May. May is Dean of the college of engineering at Georgia Tech which has the largest number of black engineering graduates than any other institution in the USA. A solution then could be, going beyond their traditional ways of recruiting candidates, visiting and maintaining a presence at colleges with a traditionally more diverse student body, The IB Times reports that African-Americans earned 4.4% of master’s degrees in engineering and 3.6% of engineering PhDs in 2014, according to the American Society for Engineering Education, which means a pool of nearly 5,000 each year.

Indeed, a disparity in the number of men and women who code is also often cited as a problem for women not being recruited in Silicon Valley. Tech giants are purportedly investing huge amounts to encourage girls and women to starts coding and great websites exist such as codecademy.com which mean people can teach themselves to code online for free. However, while many women feel their lack of coding experience might hold them back, many top executives in Silicon Valley don’t have coding experience, a study featured in Forbes found that 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product engineering at 502 technologies companies, “only 37% held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and just 2% held them in mathematics. Evidently, experience in coding does not stop anyone starting a company, and even in tech companies coding for a product would be slice of the whole business.

A variety of educational backgrounds are needed at these companies, David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group has stated that humanities teach problem-solving skills that enable students to stand out among their peers and to achieve success in the business world, through the analytic nature of the humanities. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube and SVP at Google, studied history and literature before going on to receive her master’s in economics, Google’s 16th hire she was “responsible for 87% of the company’s $50 billion revenue in 2012. There are unfortunately endless account of wide ranging sexism in the workplace faced by women in Silicon Valley, from casual misogyny to sexist jokes. Sexual discrimination cases have been launched in recent years, Ellen Pao ex-CEO of Reddit filed against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with allegations that female colleagues were not included at important client dinners because ‘they kill the buzz’ (Pao resigned as CEO of Reddit after a torrent of online abuse after she tackled hate speech and revenge porn on the infamous site). Despite initiatives to include women in leadership across companies, a co-founder of Tinder Whitney Woolfe was harassed by a fellow co-founder she had had a relationship with, who alongside other sexist and racist comments allegedly said that having a woman on the board (unlike Facebook or google) made them look “like a joke”.

The important step to expand membership of the Academy to reflect the population is good for Hollywood, when films highlight stories and perspectives different from our own they can have a huge impact on our own attitude to issues as an audience. In a bizarre twist this year, after a concerted drive to include more diverse talent in film, the controversial Trump Administrations Travel ban on several Muslim majority countries has caused nominees such as the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi of the nominated film The Salesman to vow to not attend the ceremony (if he can even travel to it). Film has an enviable power to reach mass audiences and consider issues such as injustice, race, gender, sexuality and societal constraints across the world in a unique way. It can often be the starting point for widespread engagement in an issue, Loving nominated at the Oscar could be the first time many young audience members learned the ugly truth of banned interracial marriages in the 1960’s in the USA, films such as I Daniel Bake (The Cannes Palme d'Or winner although absent from Oscar best film list) focusing on a carpenter who because of illness is forced to navigate the labyrinth process of claiming welfare in Britain today are invitations to become engaged in an issue. Films like these can have an impact, they can shake people out of their own personal experiences and allow viewers to bear witness to the lives of others who they pass on the high street each day. Loach wants to inspire anger and action, particularly to challenge ingrained stereotypes and those who are complacent about life in modern Britain and the stigmatisation of ordinary people who have borne the brunt of austerity. Loach’s television play, Cathy Come Home in 1969 caused public outcry when it appeared on British television screens, parliament was forced to discuss issues surrounding homelessness in Britain. Films such as Moonlight which deal with a central character who as young black man is navigating not only societies limiting stereotype of being a young black man in the United States of America but his sexuality identify as a black man who is gay. What other similar and complex portrayals of a young boys’ journey into manhood do we have? Steven W Thrasher has praised Moonlight as, “it tells the story of ambiguous sexuality, it does so with unambiguous blackness and without shame.” It does not let the story be taken over by a white-gaze, it tells a story that is invisible in the lexicon of mainstream culture and lets it be told by its characters. Films like this are needed to promote a wider platform in film and culture that allows different perspectives and stories to be told, for the benefit of audiences themselves; people want to see this film, to see a representation of themselves or others, and while it is a shame that it is first film of its kind to consider in such a complex and thoughtful way, black male sexuality and identity, it cannot be the last.

With the exciting and diverse films nominated for Oscars this year, will this trend in film last? Is it a response to last year’s criticism or is it a change for good? Achieving diversity in Hollywood and in business is hard, it’s a sensitive topic that although people wish to engage with, some are reticent for fear of causing offence by saying the wrong thing. We need a wide and concerted effort to increase diversity which necessitates an inclusive dialogue which will make sure that talented individuals who represent a certain minority never feel that they are seen by their colleagues as tokens. Change is still not easy, Michaela Coel writing in The Guardian, pointed out that while the Netflix drama Orange is The New Black gave audiences complex portrayals of black characters, it disappointingly avoided developing Asian characters, TV, film and The Oscars need to go further. The Grammy’s last week saw Adele declare in her winning speech despite her gratitude that she really thought that Beyonce’s “monumental” Lemonade album should have won album of the year, in the words of Coel, this was “a frank admission of privilege” and draws attention to the fact that an astounding 10 black artists since the Grammys were created in 1959 have won the award. The Brits this week saw artists such as Skepta and Stormzy lose out on prizes despite the incendiary impact they are having of music in Britain and internationally. Indeed, it took Kanye West in 2015 to even invite Grime artists to the Brits in 2015, when he asked them to join him on stage. These are artists who are central to the music industry, influencing not only listeners but the makers of music (many of whom have won Brits). Adele should be praised for using her winning speech to acknowledge there is a problem, and as a white woman saying that she believed Beyoncé deserved the award more than she did for her work. On the long road to ensure diversity is commonplace we need allies to support fellow artists and colleagues and we need to ensure that art forms such as films keep us watching, listening and sharing portrayals of diversity, with characters at their centre who are able to tell their story with agency and without censure.

Plastic, not so Fantastic!

The durability of plastic is something most people are aware of, that plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to degrade is a well-known slice of environmentally-minded trivia. The scale of our use of plastic is perhaps not so well known, over 300 million tonnes of plastic are created each year with half of that used for single-use products with the majority having an approximate 12-minute life span. In the UK, since the introduction of the plastic bag charge of 5p there has been a colossal reduction in the number of plastic bags used in supermarkets, the first six months of the scheme saw a staggering drop from 7 billion to 500 million bags. This is a sobering fact when we bear in mind that 6 billion plastic bags are approximately equivalent to the weight of 300 Blue Whales, 300,000 Sea Turtles or 3 million Pelicans.

The presence of plastic not just in our daily lives as consumers of throw-away products, but washed up on beaches, with environmental and biological devastating consequences, particularly as this plastic is increasingly ending up in our own bodies is an issue impossible to ignore. Indeed, the earth’s oceans will have more plastic than fish in the next 30 years, according to a January report published by the World Economic Forum and Professor Tamara Galloway of Exeter University, quotes research estimating that people who consume seafood will ingest about 11,000 plastic particles a year. One-third of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems, and a large percentage of that plastic eventually ends up in the oceans. The ramifications of the vast quantities being made and disposed of and the subsequent ingesting of plastic not just by animals but by humans as well needs to be highlighted to emphasise that this is an issue that not only affects marine life but is affecting all of our lives.

Deposit Return Schemes have proved incredibly successful in combating plastic waste in Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Germany. In Germany after the scheme was introduced in 2003, customers deposited liquid packaging and received 25 cents for each item, the results show that 98.5% of refillable bottles are returned by customers. This approach is needed to address the huge amount of plastic made and consumed each year, while glass bottle recycling is fairly common place, plastic bottles are still left to wash up on shores around the world. This overlooks how useful such a scheme could be, these single uses plastic bottle could in fact be cleaned and reused by companies many time over, an attractive possibility as making plastic form oil is an energy exhaustive process.

Sky News are spearheading a campaign to address the huge amounts of plastic being disposed of in the sea and the catastrophic effects to marine life and humans alike. Prince Charles is backing Sky News’s campaign praising the awareness it will raise for ‘one of the most troubling environmental trends’ that we face today. According to Sky News, Norway have the most effective Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and the attitude is described by Simen Knudsen of Nordic Ocean Watch, as "People (in Norway) understand they are borrowing the bottle but buying the contents.” This Norwegian attitude is not unrealistic, it was the status quo decades ago before synthetic plastic was readily available and conquered every supermarket aisle. Not long ago glass bottles for milk were rinsed and refilled; now in some supermarkets bananas and oranges peeled of their natural skin are wrapped in plastic. For many busy shoppers who have little time and are buying food for a large family, running into a supermarket and finding only one option means that they buy said option not through collusion but convenience. This behavioural change for consumers is not a sacrifice but allows customers a choice that is often not provided. This attitude and expectation shift needs to be addressed, the Norwegian example shows how people can still live in the same way and buy the same products with small collaborative steps from governments and providers that facilitates stewardship and responsible choices into their daily lives.

However, it is large corporations who are reluctant to see this kind of change, documents revealed from Coca-Cola show that they are opposing the Scottish governments plan to implement a bottle return system even meeting with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to make their opposition clear. Documents reveal that Coca-Cola have created a risk matrix which targets EU bottle deposit schemes for ‘fight-back’(Sky News). The scheme could be beneficial for consumers, an added charge of 22p to the bottle would be given back to customers for each bottle they ‘banked’ at a Deposit Return station. This scheme has increased plastic bottle recycling in Germany to 98% and is beneficial to customers who are rewarded for collecting their own and others bottles for recycling. Change is needed, it is an attitudes shift on an individual scale that has seen the use of plastic bags increase by 20 times in the last 50 years and the production of plastic is expected to increase by at least 1.12 billion tons by 2050.

Small change can have widespread impact; it is up to us to decide whether it will be a positive or a negative one. The Return Deposit Scheme in Norway has been welcomed by people, customers have pointed out the incentivising aspect of the bottle-in money-out system, over a year for instance, a family can receive thousands of Kroner in return for depositing all their bottles. This demonstrates that reducing waste in small steps is possible, leading to enormous change and that it can be achieved with a positive impact on consumers who take the time to recycle. In a 2015 report to the Securities and Exchange Commission in America it was revealed that Coca-Cola’s opposition to Return Deposit Scheme on a large scale in their major markets “could affect our costs, which could reduce our profitability.’ The hypocrisy of large companies encouraging consumers to recycle while resisting projects that can have a meaningful impact is the crux of a problem, offloading responsibility factionalizes and hinders solutions. Norway have shown how it can be done, the entire production process needs to be considered, businesses need to make products for consumers to use and dispose of, it cannot be a one handed effort. There are benefits for businesses, the form of plastic known as PET found in the bottles is valuable, why waste plastic when existing plastic can be used? Businesses need not to stagnate but accept that their production line needs to adapt to our collective need to recycle and reduce. Consumer led change, enabled by a government would force businesses to bring recycling and environmentally sustainable policies to the core of their business model.

Prince Charles has been an ardent campaigner for environmental concerns and his backing of Sky News' Ocean Rescue campaign citing it as a major problem for humans and ocean life is timely, documentaries such as A Plastic Ocean are speaking up about. Prince Charles has spoken of the small person-by-person changes that have been seen in countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden and the huge difference they make and thus the absurdity of not implementing schemes such as these. Plastic is a synthetic material and recent research has detailed the adverse effects on humans from the harmful chemicals found in plastics such as BPA, repeatedly boiling, scrubbing and washing baby bottles can release these chemicals which alter the function of the endocrine system by mimicking the role of the body's natural hormones. Plastic in the ocean doesn’t just effect fish it affects us all. Plastic in the sea becomes a sponge, soaking up harmful chemicals, such as industrial chemicals, PCBs, pesticides and DDT which stick to them and end up in marine food webs. Right at the bottom of the food chain plastic is present, in the most polluted places in the ocean, the mass of plastic exceeds the amount of plankton six times over. Therefore, for us at the top of the food chain we are unintentionally consuming the plastic that we dump into the ocean. This is a problem that needs an international response, a recent report from The Ocean Conservancy has shown that countries such as China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines who are dealing with rapid industrialisation are struggling to keep up with waste disposal and over half of the plastic in the ocean is from these countries. This is a man-made problem that needs a man made solution one that sees a collective shift in attitudes and responsibility from business, government and consumers. Countries have shown us all how this can be possible and it is up to us to follow their example.

As only five percent of plastics are effectively recycled despite the huge amounts being made it follows that we now are faced with a huge excess that is affecting our oceans, land and ourselves. Prince Charles’s comment on Sky News was an entreaty to remember that almost all the plastic that humans have ever produced is still here on earth in one form or another and will remains so for possibly thousands of years. The documentary A Plastic Ocean is raising awareness, inspiring action and is to be released on Netflix later this year, reaching a larger audience and adding to the movement that has begun. No one is unconnected from plastic, we use plastic products daily, plastic washes up on our beaches and swirls around our oceans changing the composition of water habitats, we bury plastic under our feet and increasingly we are ingesting plastic. Decisive and whole-hearted change is needed and it is up to us to make it happen. 

Solidarity: When 1 March Became 616

“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

Women’s March on Washington, 2017

On Saturday 21st January 2017, in cities across the world, men and women will make their way to designated public spaces, jostle, raise placards with brightly coloured slogans and exchange their motivations for taking part. These people have been inspired by a rally in the US which has caught like wildfire and spread to a network of sister marches across the world in solidarity.

This global response germinated from The ‘Women’s March on Washington,’ a demonstration scheduled for the day after President Donald Trump’s public inauguration in the political epicenter of the USA, Washington DC. A march of this magnitude, across this diversity of issues has never happened before,” said Kaylin Whittingham, President of The Association of Black Women Attorneys in US. “We all have to stand together as a force no one can ignore.” Starting a conversation is a top priority, the march is part of the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. The aim is an inclusive one, to give voice to the many different identities that exist in the US and their concerns and fears that in the future their rights will be curtailed. The location of Washington is important, the heartland of US government has played host to a litany of the most important demonstrations for civil rights and freedoms in America’s history. The march in Washington already has 200 partners from associations and charities illustrating the diverse nature of the protest. The purpose of the march is clear- to send a bold message to the new government on its first day in office, and to the rest of the world, “that women's rights are human rights.”

The Women’s March On London beginning at Grosvenor Square at 12pm on Saturday is one of 616 solidarity marches across the world. In London partnerships include, the Women’s Equality Party, Amnesty International, Unite the Union, The Equality Trust, and Scientists for EU. The leader of the Women’s Equality party in the UK, Sophie Walker, will give a speech when the march reaches Trafalgar square emphasizing the importance for men and women to remain resilient against all kinds of discrimination and uncertainty as the UK and the US head into new political eras. The march is intended to be a frame for all different types of issues, Trump, reproductive rights, the cutting of government funding in areas such as domestic abuse support (which disproportionately affects women), employee rights, action in Syria and the list goes on…

It has been hailed as ‘the end to couch potato politics,’ a revolt against growing apathy and the ease of re-tweeting political statements from the sofa. Barack Obama recently spoke of the danger of living in our own bubbles, surrounding ourselves with people who share our opinions online and in real life, this was seen on an unprecedented scale during the divisive campaigns of Brexit and the US presidential election. Not being able to discuss with other people who have opinions we find challenging has caused deep divisions in society and hinders solution finding. A growing trend in politics is the alienation of two extremes, where a differing view from our own is too threatening for us and we disengage. This needs to be changed, Vanessa Redgrave once shared advice she had received; to never expect anyone to think the way that you do. The fact that this is a pluralist march welcomes a new age of political activism, allowing and accepting the many different groups and issues in our society today that affect us all differently.

The march has endeavored to embrace intersectional feminism, acknowledging the different barriers to women based on their race, sexuality and socio-economic power. The diverse organizers in the US include Tamika Mallory, a gun control campaigner and board member of the Gathering for Justice, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and Carmen Perez, executive director of the Gathering for Justice. The organizers dedication to inclusivity and intersectionality hits a tone needed today and this will be mirrored at the 616 solidarity marches. The march should be lauded for encouraging advocacy and the need for us all to be allies for each other, championing causes that are important, but might not directly affect us.

There has been some friction to this event, it is important that men as well as women are welcome at all the marches going on around the world. The many men who are taking part are champions of equality across gender, race and sexual identity as well as advocates of mothers, sisters, daughters and partners and this is central to the organizers belief about the collective and collaborative nature of this protest. This may have started with one woman in Hawaii messaging forty girlfriends but it has grown, spurred on by the many groups of people around the world who were looking for a collective and inclusive movement to express their concerns. This is not a women’s event, it is an event about issues that affect human beings, supporting the fact that protesting for equality for others does not infringe upon your own rights, but strengthens everyone’s. When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie described her brother Kene as “the best feminist she knew”, she described her definition of Feminism as: “a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” Rallying together with partners, families’ friends and children to state loudly that inequalities exist and that moving forward together as a united force committed to advocacy and change is a powerful statement.

Organizers in the US have been clear that the march is not just about Trump, “We’re not targeting Trump specifically. It’s much more about being proactive about women’s rights”. The risk to services such as Planned Parenthood from Trump is particularly troublesome in the US. Planned Parenthood provide a vast number of Cervical cancer screenings to many of the poorest women in the US which according to US department of Health and Human Services NIH, Cervical Cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting US women. Abortion care grabs angry headlines and followers, but Planned Parenthood is also the largest supplier of sex education in the US, providing contraception and sexual health screenings to men and women. America’s 45th President’s infamous comments about women, which include jokes about grabbing women’s genitals have shaken America and the rest of the world. Trump’s comments are seen by many as being symptomatic of a wider and more pernicious misogynist culture. It has many labels, recent press in the UK has spoken about the rise of ‘lad culture’ amongst teenagers and young adults. Whether on a university campus or at a Global Superpowers’ press conference, the acceptability of casually condensing a woman’s value to the extent in which she is sexually desirable to a heterosexual male, normalizes the wider problems and inequalities faced by women.

Governments have a long way to go to address structural inequalities faced by women, many services facing women including healthcare, reproductive rights and government initiatives that predominately affect women have been slashed. This begs a question: how do our governments and communities value the life of their female citizens? The issues that will be raised in 616 locations across the globe including Iceland, Iran and Saudia Arabia will be varied and specific to localized concerns and yet under the banner of a global movement of women and men who are determined to make sure that their, and others voices will all be raised in solidarity.

The march in Washington can be described as a movement, it has linked people from corners of the world as well as people ideologically miles apart in same country, who can despite their different beliefs, come together under a banner. It works because it harnesses a shared similarity: of being discontent at the status quo as a frame in which people are allowed to talk about their dissimilar causes. This inclusive attitude should be celebrated, embracing our different ethnicities, identities and challenges. ‘Women’s issues’ are human issues affecting half the population of the world. It is a sobering reminder to governments around the world that half of their populations, their partners and allies are demanding a concerted effort to address inequality and to listen.

Artworks selected from artist contributions are available to download and print here.

Branded Purpose

Predicting the future can be a risky business. 2016 witnessed a myriad of surprises, sensations and shocks as once impossibilities became realities. Change in 2016 was seismic, elections, war, policy making have all played out to split audiences across the world and in 2016 we let everyone else know exactly what we thought about it by posting, tweeting and creating content in response. Despite so many dissimilar voices and opinions out there, what we expect of the businesses we buy products from seems to be a unifying force in a fractious world. The increased demand for businesses to have a positive and meaningful impact on social and environmental issues is something that is heartily welcomed into 2017.

Improving the societies and communities in which businesses operate in is no longer an option for a handful of trailblazing businesses; more than ever in 2017 it will be a necessity for businesses to sell, operate and to employ the brightest people. The studies over the last few years have been numerous and the findings all bellow of rousing movement, a 2015 Study by Cone Communications stated that a staggering 91% of global consumers expect companies to address social and environmental issues as well as make profit. The influence of the millennial generation who now at 18-34 make up a large portion of the workforce will be a catalyst to this growing trend. In an uncertain world the power of large businesses, their scope and financial reach is needed and will be harnessed.

CEO’s of big business are leading the way with social and environmental initiatives, Howard Schultz of ‘Starbucks’ has pledged to hire 100,000 18-24 year olds by 2018, tackling widespread youth unemployment who face barriers to jobs and education. The Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed 33,000 people across strata of society in 22 countries. Remarkably Edelman’s findings show that while 2016 saw the shattering of trust in traditional institutions such as governments, trust in CEO’s in fact grew globally by 49% over five years. Businesses have a golden opportunity to bridge the chasm of scepticism and the friction at the centre of the widening gap between the richest and the poorest in the world today. Businesses are taking note, Kirk Olson of Horizon Media has pointed out that brands are taking these philanthropic values and “baking them into their corporate identities.” No longer an offshoot, causes and giving are entwined in a brands story and consciousness. Unilever’s 'One Rinse is Enough' campaign helped to alleviate water scarcity in Brazil; by not shying away from their role as a major washing powder seller in a country stricken by water crisis, the campaign asked each customer to make a small change which minimised water consumption in the homes of millions. Businesses are being forced to address the intersection between their products and social and environmental issues whilst still making a profit, this chimes with many customers’ belief that businesses should place an equal weight on society’s and their own interests.

Business giants such as ‘Unilever’ have shown how profitable ‘doing good’ can be, and profit is indeed part of the plan, with studies showing that consumers would be prepared to spend more if they knew that their money was contributing to a positive impact on environmental issues. Paul Polman has set out clear objectives to achieve a host of sustainability and environmental goals for ‘Unilever’. Initiatives such as responsibly sourcing and aligning with charities can bestow a huge amount of positive press on businesses, astronomically raising reputations, and opening the door to new spheres of customers as 84% of people say they seek out responsible products wherever possible. Engaging customers in these projects is fundamental for business as over ½ of customers would not believe that businesses’ were ‘doing good’ unless they were told. ‘Doing good’ is a lucrative business, it was estimated in 2014 that brands who let their consumers know about their sustainability efforts receive five times the revenue of those that didn’t. A challenge for business lies in the fact that evidence suggests that traditional forms of advertising are not the best way to let customers know what they are doing; the direct voice of brands is still treated cautiously. The difficulty of delivering a message with an authenticity that consumers can believe without suspecting conflict is a struggle for brands. Trends show that many are attempting to counter this by focusing on sensitive social issues, as well as engaging people with a personal interest in their campaigns. Increasingly interactive campaigns such as Hellman’s ‘Grow With US’ used interactive technology to let customers see the journey ‘from field to plate’ of their tomato’s highlighting their sustainability efforts and letting consumers see daily life on the tomato farm. Cameras on tomato pickers hats enabled customers to pick tomato’s alongside workers and fun was injected by voting for music to help the tomato’s grow. In a world were authenticity is often decried as dead, a manufactured experience gave viewers an image of authenticity as tomato’s grew far away under the sun.

A well-founded criticism that tarnishes the lustre of corporate do-gooding is that it is done to gain influence or dominate a market. An academic study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggested that alcohol companies in the UK where donating large amounts of money to charity to gain influence in government and influence policy. On a global scale, foundations run by those in or close to government have received criticism for donations suspected of being made to exert political influence. This is a gloomy reality but one that comes with a warning.

Global consumers are more savvy than ever before, better connected and tap happy on their smartphones, ready to share, condemn and praise. 90% of people when asked, said they would boycott a brand they found to be engaging in deceptive or irresponsible practices. The fact that 29 % of people researched a company’s activities before buying an item in 2013 suggests that the astute consumer is on the rise as customers set out to be sure of a company’s commitment to responsible behaviour right down the supply chain. Customer cynicism has been noted. Extensive publishing by businesses is now the norm, backed up by colourful charts and bold percentages made into art by graphic design departments and White Papers are placed prominently on websites to be accessed by all. Publishing to scrutiny has followed the demand for transparency from customers. This makes underhanded dealings hazardous, as consumers question exactly how businesses have spent their money and the results of their social impact and charitable activities.

As we enter into this new year it is important to remember how consumers, particularly young consumers, are changing the way companies construct their marketing campaigns. The Journal of Consumer Research’s term the ‘benevolent halo effect’ describes how customers are attracted to brands who give to charities and causes. However, the same customers respond badly to being told about it through traditional advertising methods. The creative challenge is for brands to implement non-traditional forms of advertising to highlight their work on social and environmental projects to a growing number of millennial consumers who engage with technology and social media platforms daily, seamlessly and at an extent never seen before. An astounding nine in ten millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause. The future is giving. Brands must make good causes the heart of their messaging to succeed with a new generation of buyers. David Yurman’s ‘The Gift of Love and Light’ campaign was designed to build a brand image through the lens of giving and therefore attract millennial customers. And the strategy was to target millennial behaviour, specifically their use of smartphones. The campaign partnered with Natalia Vodianova’s crowd funding app Elbi which harnesses the principal of social sharing to promote micro-donations to various causes. Gold dust for a millennial generation sceptical of big charitable institutions and the cult of the individual was also satisfied as the app enables a diverse public to tailor their donations to causes closest to their heart. That 62% of millennials would happily take a reduced salary to work for a responsible company is evidence of a growing revolution. The Ben and Jerry’s foundation supports grassroots activism and aims to give back to the Vermont community and interestingly this is done by the people who work for Ben and Jerry. Their aim to is to engage their own employees in social change, grants are reviewed by committees of employees who directly impact small community projects. This approach responds to employees’ desire for direct involvement in philanthropy and the value it can add to jobs, it reveals how employers can improve their attractiveness to a workforce and employee satisfaction who see philanthropic work as a cornerstone of business.

In a world where one disgruntled consumer can publically name and shame a business on a platform such as Twitter to a cool 317 million monthly users, doing ‘half-hearted’ good is not an option. Customers are more informed, connected and vocal than ever. The opportunity for business to address social and environmental issues, contributing to the communities in which they operate is an exciting one and many companies are leading the way. Corporate Social Responsibility projects are needed more than ever to gain consumer trust, to gain access to an ever more discerning consumer wallet and increasingly to even engage consumers at all. Dan Pallotta’s TedTalk watched by over four million people discusses how our traditional notions about how charities should operate and spend their money in fact does a disservice to the causes they endeavor to support. The disparate ways in which we think about businesses and charities needs to be explored as well as the effect we want them to have on the world. Pallotta’s points offer a starting point for a dialogue between businesses and charities to exchange radical ideas, knowledge and skills to create and empower solutions to environmental and social problems faced by humans across the world. Campaigns that can exist under the umbrella of a brand and also form part of the wider network of social and environmental projects to address the shared problems of the world is a charged brief for businesses in 2017. It is an opportunity to drive forward bold, creative and innovative change and a necessity to prosper as a business in a socially and environmentally minded global community.

References:

Brandshare: Edelman’s Annual Consumer Marketing Study, 2014

Catalist study: Revelations at the Register, 2014

Cone Communications Digital Activism Study, 2014

Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 2015

Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 2015

Cone Communications Social Impact Study, The Next Cause Evolutions (US survey), 2013

Financial Times Special Report: Luxury brands add value with charity partnerships, 2014 https://www.ft.com/content/51eec732-696d-11e3-aba3-00144feabdc0

Horizon Media's ‘Finger on the Pulse’ study (Forbes), 2014

Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, 2015

Nielsen’s Global Report on Corporate Social Responsibility, ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’ 2014

The Edelman Trust Barometer, 2016

The Edelman GoodPurpose Study, 2012

5 Trends in cause Marketing- Cause Marketing Forum for Forbes, 2014

https://mic.com/articles/122132/the-ceo-of-starbucks-just-launched-an-initiative-to-help-100-000-millennials-find-a-job#.okC2zMj5Z

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/12/alcohol-firms-funding-charities-study

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/money-began-to-rain-on-trudeau-foundation-once-justin-took-over-liberals-analysis-shows

http://theconversation.com/political-csr-why-companies-and-foreign-governments-give-to-foundations-like-clintons-37876

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/business/media/advertising-david-yurman-philanthropy-crowdfunding.html?_r=0•%20http://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/jewellery/article/bulgari-save-the-children-charity-jewellery/

One Sweet World

At a time of political and social un-rest, we are humbled by brands that are taking positive steps to instil calm and understanding into their audiences. 

Ben & Jerry's 'One Sweet World' campaign is the result of the brand's concern over the dominant messaging we see in society today about division. By creating this short piece, Ben & Jerry's are trying to amplify a message of unity and love using the thing they know best... ice cream! 

Enjoy East Coneville! 

One Step Further

In a new video called ‘One Step Further’, PETA Germany has teamed up with musician Moby, a vegan and dedicated supporter of animal rights, to create a powerful and thought-provoking visual piece aiming to persuade viewers to go vegan. In the video, PETA references the compassion expressed by humankind throughout history and our capacity to inspire change, advocating the belief that, as human beings, we should extend our love and compassion not just towards other humans but to all living and sentient things. PETA’s motto, ‘Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or abuse in any way’ is evoked in this video, made all the more moving when expressed in tandem with Moby’s emotive song ‘Everlong’. 

Respect My Vote!

Actress Keke Palmer has joined the Respect my Vote! campaign; an initiative aiming to encourage young people and people of colour to implement change in their communities through voting. In the run up to the US Presidential Election in November which will see Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton face Republican candidate Donald Trump, a new GenForward poll has shown that just 28% of young adults believe that the two major parties do a good job of representing the American people. We love the fact that young celebrities such as Keke who have such a widespread influence are showing young people and minorities that, through the banishment of their political apathy, they are capable of enacting change in their political system to obtain the representation and involvement in politics that they deserve.

Sea Change. Be Change.

Do you ever think about just how much you are buying and throwing away every day? For those of us who wear make up, when you finish that last bit in the tube do you think twice before throwing it away and buying another? 

5Gyres is a nonprofit that organises plastic pollution research expeditions at sea with the vision of witnessing plastic pollution decline until it is no longer found in the world’s oceans - their mission is to engage people in design and policy solutions to end the global health crisis of plastic pollution. 

The work that the team at 5Gyres are doing to reduce the astronomical amount of waste being thrown into the oceans is of huge importance. Its imperative that we all understand the global impact that plastic pollution has and the need to employ strategies that work alongside bringing up our children to understand how new materials and products can be better engaged and cleaned up properly.  

For more information and crazy facts, please take a look here.

Growing up Gazan - The Story of Farah

It’s almost impossible to comprehend the idea of being 17-years old and already having lived through 3 wars. Farah Baker is from the Gaza Strip and has helped to document the devastation caused from the conflict in the area last year. 

Farah had to use her family’s electricity generator in order to stay connected with the outside world. This world, that was so drastically different from her reality but that she could communicate with and document her true story. 

You can see more of her story here.

Shine a Light this Ramadan

What a moving piece of work from our friends at Don't Panic for the international humanitarian aid charity, Human Appeal - UK.  'Shine a Light' is a short film exploring the causes of child mortality around the world through the use of shadow sculpture. 

This piece asks it's viewers to not only understand the scale of the issues being depicted but to understand that 'with the right approach, and with enough people willing to do something about it, every single one of those deaths is preventable'. 

This film was launched to coincide with the start of Ramadan in June as it is an important time of charitable giving and contribution to global society in the hope that muslims and the wider global community will shine a light.

Muzoon - A 16-year Old Champion for Education

"Its the only way you can understand the world.
Its the only way you can function in the world.
Its the only way that you can actually be a member of society and not a burden to it."

What amazing words from Muzoon, at 16-year old Syrian refugee living in a camp in Jordan - this video explains the story of a girl determined to ensure that education remains an absolute priority despite all the odds.

Learn about the courageous boundaries that Muzoon is pushing through to try and encourage Syrian parents within her camp to see the importance of sending their little girls to school instead of into young marriages and their boys to gain an education as opposed to working so early.

Enzo Cilenti tandems up Mont Ventoux

On the 20th June, the fantastic Enzo Cilenti will be cycling with his father Peter, up Mont Ventoux, one of the Tour de France’s race defining mountains to raise money for Parkinson’s UK

Not only is this one of the most difficult mountains to climb in all of France, but they are going to do it from all 3 sides, in just 1 day... On a tandem bike! The distance up the mountain is roughly 130km of peddling and 4443m of climbing, which is more climbing in one day than it is from base camp to the summit of Everest.

What makes this already incredible challenge even more astonishing is that Enzo’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012. He refuses to let the disease define him and not only won’t let it stop him from doing what he used to, but going even further if it means it can help others. 

This is such an incredible feat, raising money for such a deserving cause. Every hour someone in the UK is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and there are currently 127,000 people living with it in the UK alone. Parkinson’s UK help fund research to help people and their families living with Parkinson’s and to find a cure. 

We wish Enzo and Peter the best of luck, we are sure they will be fantastic!!

If you would like to donate to Parkinson’s UK in support of this challenge, Enzo and Peters Just Giving link can be found here.

It’s not the foxes who are sly

Here at Chloe Franses & Co you know we love innovative, creative campaigns and ‘The Sly Ones’  from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) ticks all the boxes. 

By depicting fox-like hunters as the ‘sly ones’ and inverting the idea of foxes as sly, the campaign aims to highlight that 10 years since the ban on hunting with hounds, foxes are still being hunted, despite the 80% of the public who support the ban. 

The campaign has sparked controversy, with pro-hunting campaign group the Countryside Alliance stating that the IFAW has resorted to “bigotry and stereotypes” and local newspapers asking readers whether the campaign is crude or clever. Yet, these polls proved the majority in favour of the campaign and the UK Regional Director of IFAW saying, “the honest truth is this isn’t about class – it is simply about abiding by a law which was put in place to protect our native British wildlife – a law, just like any law, that must be abided by and respected by all.”

We think this is an incredibly clever and on-point campaign and you can read more about it here

A Shred of Decency

On Friday 22nd May, Ireland will become the first country in the world to have a referendum on Marriage Equality. 

This is pretty groundbreaking as other countries have introduced it by legislation, but the Irish will be the first people to actually vote on it themselves. 

In the lead up to it, we have seen some pretty inspiring, and emotional campaigns for the Yes vote, and we wanted to share a couple with you lovely people. 

The first of those comes from an ad agency in Ireland, Rothco who created ‘A Shred of Decency’. In the run up to the referendum, some very negative campaign literature emerged and Rothco decided to team up with Daintree Paper and turn the offending material into beautiful confetti, which they sold in support of Marriage Equality. 

This is an incredibly creative way to fundraise, and an inspiring idea to help turn something negative into something positive. Unfortunately all their confetti is now sold out but you can read all about it here

We also love the short film from the BeLonG To lead coalition, calling on everyone to talk to their family and friends about why marriage equality is so important and to work for a Yes vote, which you can see to the left. 

Patriarchy Is Killing Our Planet

"The systemic marginalization and repression of women in not an accidental feature of our civilizational crisis. It is inherently bound up with our male-dominated system of violence toward the natural world as a whole."

We think this article by Nafeez Ahmed is a fantastic piece, explaining that the global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule as are integral to man's violent exploitation of Earth and her resources. 

He argues that the fight to save the Earth must begin with the empowerment of women, and that means ending our complicity in their oppression, and servitude. 

We highly recommend that you take a look at this incredibly insightful piece!

 

 

 

Join the Pink Army!

We are loving this new ad from Cancer Research UK getting people geared up for the 2015 Race for Life!

"Did you really think we'd do nothing? That we'd follow you in to the night?"

Sign up here!

 

REBELS WITH A CAUSE - The Mazda Community

"Rebels with a Cause" is a Mazda community based online, aimed at people who think differently and challenge convention in order to make things better. 

Becoming a part of this community enables the subscriber to check out ongoing projects and get involved in causes they believe in, share ideas and get support for personal projects. 

We think this is a great way of making your voice heard and sharing your ideas with like-minded individuals. 

The way we think about charity is dead wrong!

An insightful and educational speech about social innovation and social entrepreneurialism today - This Ted Talk is well worth watching!

Dan Pallotta discusses the double standard surrounding charity and nonprofits who are rewarded for how little they spend as opposed to what they achieve. Focussed around the inability of the not-for-profit sector to “wrestle” any kind of market share away from the for-profit sector because of the discrimination that surrounds rewarding charities for their big goals and ultimately, big accomplishments. 

Smart investment in fundraising increases growth of the cause itself and this talk explains what happens when you confuse morality with frugality. 

“The next time you’re looking at a charity, don’t ask about the rate of their overhead, ask about the scale of their dreams!”

It's Time To #EvenItUp

Ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Oxfam have published new research stating that the wealthiest 1% of the population will soon own more than the rest of the world's population, likely by 2016. With the world’s 80 richest people having the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.

Oxfam is calling on governments to adopt a seven-point plan to tackle inequality, including a clampdown on tax evasion by companies and the move towards a living wage for all workers.

Inequality is growing and affecting us all.It is time to #EvenItUp

Greenpeace are calling on Lego to block Shell

LEGO has recently released a new Arctic play set for children, educating them about the sparkling expanse of ice and sea. However, this is in stark contrast to the fact that LEGO has done a deal with Shell, helping the oil giant clean up its image as one of the world’s most dangerous Arctic drillers.

Shell wants to take advantage of the melting ice to drill for more of the fuels that caused the melting in the first place. But scientists say an oil spill there would be impossible to clean up, devastating the Arctic’s unique wildlife.

Greenpeace have said that in order to keep its Arctic scheme alive, Shell has done a deal with LEGO, the world’s favourite toy company to get people on side. But LEGO has built its brand on its continued promise of leaving a better world for children. And by teaming up with Shell it’s letting kids down.

Greenpeace are fighting to protect the Arctic because global warming is perhaps the biggest threat facing all children around the world. They are calling on LEGO to block Shell and are asking people across the world to stand up for Arctic protection with them.

You can sign the petition here.

Positive Luxury and Song Saa Private Island

Here at Chloe Franses & Co we love to see organisations striving to make a difference in the world.

One of those organisations is Positive Luxury. A global award-winning membership programme that awards the Butterfly Mark to brands and companies that are taking positive steps towards putting sustainability at the heart of what they do. Their vision is that luxury is not simply a matter of monetary value; it is defined by those high-quality products that generate the most benefit to all involved in their production and trade. From Louis Vuitton to Belvedere Vodka, every brand featured has been awarded with the trust mark for their efforts towards minimising their environmental impact whilst maximising their social impact.

One that we are particularly drawn to is Song Saa private island. Cambodia’s luxury resort situated on the Koh Rong Archipelago provides a world class experience for guests while at the same time offers guests the opportunity to experience the work of its environmental preservation and the support of local communities which is central to Song Saa’s ethical charter. Song Saa’s aspiration is to continue to evolve as an example of how a sustainable, ethical and nurturing approach to development can achieve multiple benefits – for people and the natural environment – while also providing a world class experience for guests from all over the world.

Looks pretty good to us!

Be #LikeAGirl

We are really impressed with Always’ new advert which documents stereotypes of doing something ‘like a girl’.

The phrase is frequently used to signify something bad and can have a profound effect on girl’s confidence. Always are trying to turn this around and show young girls that acting ‘like a girl’ is a great thing and something to be proud of.

We couldn’t agree more and are definitely in the agreed mindset that acting #LikeAGirl is a definitely a good way to go!

shop for good. make a difference

Here at Chloe Franses & Co we love creative, innovative enterprises and MyGoodness does not disappoint!

MyGoodness is the first online luxury destination where your shopping can actually make a difference. For every time you shop with them, a donation will be made to a particular charity, which in turn, helps to positively impact the lives of people around the world.

The founders believe in supporting social change and the Buy To Give movement which is all about incorporating philanthropy into your daily lives by making giving back simple, fun and impactful. Launching only 5 months ago they have provided a platform offering an easy way to give to great causes.

Chickenshed, Aides, Reach to Teach and Friends of the Elderly are just a few of the great causes that they support through their shop. We love this Megaphone by en&is with donations going to Chickenshed!

Robin Hood Tax - Not Complicated. Just Brilliant

Four years ago, a global campaign for the Robin Hood Tax was launched and this week, the tiny tax that could do so much good is on the verge of becoming a reality: France, Germany and nine other European countries are about to introduce it.

The idea is that a tiny tax on all bank transactions that don’t include members of the public (shares, bonds, derivative transactions) could raise billions of pounds to tackle poverty and climate change around the world as well as giving a vital boost to the NHS, our schools, and the fight against child poverty in the UK.

Bill Nighy has backed the campaign since its inception and in an article for the Guardian he explains how far the campaign has come in four years and how important it is to support it.

Eleven European countries – including Germany, France, Italy and Spain – are currently negotiating such a tax, with the latest round of talks taking place this week. The UK government not only opposes such suggestions but is actually going to the European court of justice in order that the City of London be exempt.

With decisions on a European Financial Transaction Tax just days away, it’s never been more important to be one in a million. Sign the Robin Hood Tax petition and spread the word that a small tax on the banks could make the world of difference to the poor and the planet.

Take a look at the short film directed by Richard Curtis with Bill Nighy from 2010 when the campaign was launched and then the sequel (left), Future News, in which Bill is joined by Andrew Lincoln and Clémence Poésy. The film projects what the situation might be like 10 years from now.

the most important sexy model video ever

Save the Children have made another incredibly powerful video showing models trying to make poverty sexy.

Almost 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die each day, mostly from preventable causes.

Talking about mothers and babies struggling to survive during war and disaster isn’t sexy, but it is still an extremely important issue that deserves our attention.

Save the Children want to get people’s attention and encourage them to act. The have released the video to coincide with Save The Children’s 15th annual issue of State of the World’s Mothers report. This identifies where mothers and children fare best in the world, and where they face the greatest hardships.

What to watch: No fire zone

We wanted to share with you the exceptional documentary that has got everyone talking!

Prime Minister, David Cameron called ‘No Fire Zone’ one of the most chilling documentaries he’d ever watched. Countries on the UN Human Rights Council changed their votes after watching it. Time Out gave it five stars and described it as “essential viewing” The Pulitzer Center said it was “beautifully crafted and heart-wrenching”. Empire said “It’s vitally important this feature reaches the widest possible audience”.

Want to know what all the fuss is about? Then click here to download a special Channel Four app to watch the film in full.

Made by the team behind the Nobel Prize Nominated ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, ‘No Fire Zone’ tells the story of the final months of the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009. The UN now estimates up to 40 thousand possibly even 70 thousand civilians were massacred mainly as a result of Government shelling. So far no one has been held accountable. Narrated by British actor Rufus Sewell the film features the extraordinary personal stories of a small group of characters and also some of the most dramatic and disturbing video evidence ever recorded.

As the UK and Canada join the calls for an independent international investigation to be agreed at the UN Human Rights Council in March, the team are looking for new partners, new funders and new voices to join the campaign for justice and to ensure these promises are delivered. They can be contacted via callum@outsidertv.co.uk

No Fire Zone is backed by Channel 4, BRITDOC, The Bertha Foundation, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Stichting Democratie en Media, and WorldView as well as NGOs including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Follow the campaign on @NoFireZoneMovie or by going to their website.

Seth Rogen Speaks to US Senate Subcommittee

Here at Chloe Franses & Co we love to see celebrities passionately supporting causes that are truly close to their hearts.

Seth Rogen recently visited Capitol Hill to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease. He gave an incredibly powerful speech to a US Senate subcommittee that was passionate and touching, with a dose of humour, and as such, was incredibly inspiring.

Seth talked about his mother-in-law’s struggles with the disease and how we need to raise awareness and increase funding for a disease that affects so many people. To get the balance between speaking to politicians, and being funny and engaging must be rather difficult but we think Seth mastered it perfectly. T

ake a look at his speech below and see what you think.

1 is 2 many

The White House has just released their second PSA about sexual assault as part of the Obama administration’s 1 is 2 Many campaign. The PSA features many notable faces including Daniel Craig, Benicio del Toro and Steve Carell, as well as the President and Vice President.

While significant progress has been made in reducing violence against women, there is still a long way to go.

Joe Biden, the Vice President of America has spent the last 24 years committed to reducing violence against women. He has focused specifically on strengthening efforts to reduce dating violence against students, teens, and young women aged 16 – 24 as young women in this age group face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault.

In January 2014, the Vice President joined President Obama when he created the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. By targeting the importance of changing attitudes that lead to violence and educating the public on the realities of abuse, the Vice President is leading the way in an effort to stop this violence before it begins.

MakeGood Festival

Here at Chloe Franses & Co we love to share with you not only fantastic, innovative charity campaigns, but also great projects that inspire creativity and inspiration.

The Makegood Festival is exactly that. A festival of culture, creativity and entrepreneurship. Between 30 May – 1 June 2014 at Old Selfridges Hotel, London, Makegood hosts an indie pop-up market of over 200 brand new creative businesses from up and coming fashion labels to craft food and alternative lifestyle companies.

The festival provides the School for Creative Startups an opportunity to celebrate their students and the culmination of a year of training and hard work and provides us with the opportunity to invest in new businesses and be inspired by creatives. Alongside the stalls, Makegood will also host a series of fascinating talks and debates from a line up of the world’s most interesting creative minds including Cath Kidson, Doug Richard from Dragon’s Den and Jason Bradbury from the Gadget Show. A double thumbs up from us!

we are silent

April 17th marks the day of the #WeAreSilent social media campaign, launched by The Malala Fund in association with Free the Children.

With the help of some famous faces (Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Hudson, Clive Owen, Selena Gomez and Seth Rogen to name a few), Malala Yousafzai has created a PSA to tell her story and promote the right of all children, particularly girls, to an education.

The campaign aims to encourage young people to stand up for those who are voiceless by posting pictures of themselves with their fingers over their lips in a ‘shushing’ motion on April 17.

Will you join them and stand up for the children around the world who are denied the right to an education?

A Wild Summer

Project Wild Thing is a fantastic film led movement to get more kids (and their folks!) outside and reconnecting with nature. In the past few months they have grown to a community of thousands of people and organisations who all believe in building a future where hanging out in nature and roaming outdoors is valued at least as much as technology and getting ahead. Now they want to mobilise their networks and communities to get out there and be the change by embarking on a Wild Summer by getting your kids and yourselves out in the open air, and they are inviting everyone to get involved!

To kickstart this on April 25th/26th they are hosting a Swarm – a two day creative collaboration event in Bristol to help create tools and ideas to help The Wild Network grow and get more kids re-connecting with nature out on the streets and in communities across the land. They are seeking a diverse mix of brilliant makers, designers, do-ers and developers, wild folks and nature geeks, to come together and work rapidly to develop ideas against a number of challenge areas.

Do you think you belong with Nature’s Marketing department? If so, take a look on their website for more info on the swarm and how to get involved!

Who Is Dayani Cristal?

Here at Chloe Franses & Co we love a great documentary and Who Is Dayani Cristal? ticks all the boxes!

After being screened at festivals across the world it is finally coming to the UK! Who Is Dayani Cristal? tells the story of one migrant who found himself in that deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story.

It is officially released in cinemas today and we couldn’t recommend it more!

do a doodle. make a difference

This Friday 7th March is National Doodle Day in support of Epilepsy Action!

We think National Doodle Day is a great fundraising event to support the 600,000 people in the UK living with epilepsy. You can get involved either by submitting your own doodle and/or bidding on your favourite celebrity doodle!

Numerous celebrities have got involved this year and on 7th March you will get a chance to bid for your favourite doodles in an online, 10 day e-Bay auction. The auction lot includes doodles from Bill Nighy, Eddie Redmayne, Jon Snow, Joanna Lumley, Margaret Atwood, Ranulph Fiennes and Manolo Blahnik. You can take a look at all their doodles here!

If you are feeling inspired you can also do a doodle yourself of whatever you like. Simply download a doodle card, get scribbling and send it in to them with a suggested donation of £1 and you will also be entered into the National Doodle Day competition!

A fantastic reason to get creative!

Fairtrade fortnight: make bananas fair

Today launches the official start of Fairtrade Fortnight (24 February – 9 March) and the first day of the new campaign, Make Bananas Fair.

The Fairtrade Foundation, who aim to protect farmers in developing countries, are calling on the government to intervene in the banana price war in supermarkets and are asking the UK public for their help.

Fairtrade bananas first appeared on our shelves 13 years ago and today 1.2 billion bananas are being sold as Fairtrade in the UK each year which is the equivalent of one in three bananas. However, in the past 10 years, UK supermarkets have almost halved the shelf price of loose bananas to just 11p even though the cost of producing bananas has doubled. Bananas are now bought and sold so cheaply in the UK that many of the farmers and workers who grow them are being trapped in poverty. Many banana farmers and workers still can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families, or provide the basics such as education or healthcare.

During Fairtrade Fortnight the foundation are asking you and your friends and family to sign a petition calling on Vince Cable to urgently investigate unfair supermarket pricing practices. More information can be found here.

“We must act now to deliver a fair deal to all banana farmers and workers. Together we can make bananas fair.”

UNICef tap project

How long can you go without your phone?

UNICEF have launched a brilliant campaign that challenges you to go without your phone to help children in need of clean water – are you up for it?

For every ten minutes you don’t touch your phone, UNICEF’s sponsor Giorgio Armani Fragrances will fund one day of clean water for a child in need. It’s that simple.

768 million people around the world do not have safe, clean water to drink and 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a proper toilet which can prove lethal. Every day, 1,400 children die from diseases directly linked to unsafe water or a lack of basic sanitation facilities. UNICEF works in more than 100 countries to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Whether by restoring access to clean water after a disaster or promoting safe hygiene practices in schools and communities, UNICEF is on the ground helping children in need.

If you are up for the challenge visit uniceftapproject.org on your phone and see how long you can go without it!

Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) for reprieve

The rapper and actor, Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def volunteered to be force-fed to highlight the plight of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay during the Ramadan fast.

The video, made with human rights group Reprieve, came as Barack Obama was urged to scrap his government’s policy of force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners during the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan, which begins on Monday.

Source: Metro

create your own personalised soup cans with heinz!

We are loving Heinz’s “Get Well” soup campaign in partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation.

This fantastic campaign allows you to personalise your own tin of Heinz Tomato or Chicken Soup that you can then send to cheer up a loved one.

£1 from every tin of soup will go towards the Starlight Storytellers initiative, which raises money to provide entertainment for sick children in hospital.

A lovely pick me up this winter!

Hangout comedy club - Comic Relief

Comic Relief have created a clever way to catch some Edinburgh Fringe comedians from the comfort of your computer, as well as raise money to help eradicate poverty: Hangout Comedy Club. Grab a free seat, heckle the comedian live through your webcam and microphone, and at the end of the show the laughometer will gauge how much you enjoyed the show and suggest a donation to Comic Relief.

We love that Comic Relief are using Google’s technology to bring an intimate comedy club experience, and are employing a familiar give-what-you-feel-it-was-worth model that street performers have been using for years.

Katherine Ryan launched the first show at 8pm on Thursday 8th August. Joey Page, Stephen Bailey and Flange Krammer, as well as the charity’s pick of the Fringe line-up will feature on Hangout Comedy Club over the coming weeks.

i am bradley manning

We think June’s video campaign from #iambradleymanning really works. Nothing – not even the huge names and personalities lending their support – gets in the way of the central message: a fair trial and an end to unjust confinement for whistleblower Bradley Manning.

Neither does the video sacrifice detail, with just under 5 minutes of commentary and opinion on Bradley Manning’s actions and the “aiding the enemy” charge brought against him. Watch Russell Brand, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Roger Waters, Oliver Stone, Alice Walker, and many more besides in the video.

mary's meals - delivering food and hope

There are around 300 million chronically hungry children in the world, and of them, around 57 million are also out of school.

Mary’s Meals is an international movement that provides a daily meal in a place of education for children in communities where poverty and hunger prevent them from gaining an education.

By providing one good meal a day to hungry, impoverished children, Mary’s Meals are providing children with the nourishment and energy they need to learn, which can be their escape route out of poverty in later life.

The average cost to feed a child for a whole year is £10.70 and Mary’s Meals are ensuring that over 800,000 children are receiving a daily meal in school.

Take a look at the video below to see Gerard Butler visiting children in Liberia where less than half of them attend school and there are huge problems with malnutrition.

You can also watch Child 31 here – a powerful documentary film which tells the story of Mary’s Meals, following the founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow to Malawi, India, and Kenya and gives you a glimpse of his simple, yet ground-breaking approach that aims to lift the developing world out of poverty.

Eddie Izzard visits syrian refugee camp for unicef

Writer and comedian, Eddie Izzard, is a celebrity ambassador and philanthropist who we have the utmost respect for as a paragon for celebrity and charity collaboration – he tirelessly campaigns for numerous causes and charities. Recently Eddie travelled to the Domiz camp for Syrian refugees in northern Iraq as a UNICEF ambassador to report on the refugee crisis.

He said of the experience: “I’ve heard refugee children in Iraq tell how they fled horrific violence and how they lost loved ones, their homes and their schools. They arrived here with only their clothes on their back. The plight of refugee children in Iraq has so far been a hidden and unreported crisis, but it desperately needs attention.”

UNICEF continues to deliver essential aid to children both in Syria and the surrounding countries. They urgently need more funds to help bridge the funding gap – please support them here.

M&C Saatchi & Mindfull

M&C Saatchi have created a beautiful illustrative campaign for the new children’s bullying charity, Mindfull, which launched by the Beat Bullying group last week. The new charity is a brilliant new service for 11-17 year olds, providing support, information and advice about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and the ability to speak to peers anonymously about their worries.

The campaign includes a 30 second animated advert directed by th1ng’s Will Barras and Shay Hamias and visualises anxieties that young people can experience – such as depression, anger, body image problems and loss of control. This emotive film distorts and morphs an animated head illustrating the changing emotions and troubles of teenagers.

Alongside this TV ad, M&C Saatchi commisioned artists to create illustrated graphic print adverts. Orlando Warner, associate creative director at M&C Saatchi said of this decision, ”The reason we went for an animated/illustrative approach is because it’s a visually interesting way to bring to life the emotions we feel. Animation allowed us to be more metaphorical about feelings.”

More than 40 artists’ interpreted how they imaged having a ‘full mind’ would feel. The illustrations will be exhibited and sold in October to coincide with World Mental Health Day on 10th October, with profits going towards MindFull’s work.

Every Child needs a family - unicef

Many children are left without a father or a mother due to the political conflicts all over the world. This is especially poignant now with the horrors in Syria.

UNICEF Croatia and Digitel produced the poster Dolls for a UNICEF project, the aim of which is to promote and improve forms of family-type care for children lacking proper parental care.

The campaign is still going strong now.

The Click Design Consultants for new national trust signage

We love it when charities go outside their comfort zones and use quirky innovative campaigns – especially ones which grab attention and draw in new followers and fans.

This is exactly what the National Trust have done with their new signage campaign created by award-winning creative agency The Click Design Consultants.

Although an incredible institution that protects our heritage for generations to come, it sadly has a stuffy old-fogey reputation with younger audiences. This campaign, titled ‘Nature’s Playground’, is designed to entice all visitors – young and old – to explore, enjoy, savour and touch. A series of nine signs were created to be put around National Trust properties which at first glance look like warnings or reprimands whereas on closer inspection they encourage exactly the opposite.

The inclusion of a hashtag (#NaturesPlayground) on the signs encourages visitors to engage immediately with National Trust social media sites, share their experiences and post pictures of their visit. This co-incides neatly with the new ‘Special Places Project’ App National Trust have on their Facebook page which allows users to share their special Place – somewhere that has significant memories for them and not necessarily protected by National Trust – and discover other users special places.

Chime for Change

“None of us can move forward if half of us are held back”

Chime for Change is a community of people working to promote education, health and justice for every girl, every woman, everywhere. It’s great to see a campaign that actively engages younger audiences in women’s rights issues, and one that so expertly utilises online networks.

This campaign is working with three key advocates to ‘Chime for Change’. Each advocate has a team, and supports one of the pillars of the campaign. Beyonce wants to see a world where every woman has access to the health care she needs. Frida Giannina wants to see a world where every girl has the right to go to school. Salma Hayek Pinault wants to see a world where girls and women are protected and given equal opportunity.

These teams innovatively engage their audiences with a little a healthy competitiveness – all for a good cause of course! Chime for Change Live will take place this summer in London (we are very exited about this here at Chloe Franses & Co!). The lineup looks amazing, staring Beyonce, Florence and The Machine and Jennifer Lopez. Kudos to Timberland and John Legend who are also performing, this is an important issue for the guys too, and it’s great to see their support!

Bottletop Foundation

A campaign we love this week has a little twist … we’re marvelling at the Bottletop Foundation. Bottletop is a luxury bag and accessory company, its production team are based in Salvador, Northeast Brazil.

Yet again this week news channels have reported on unacceptable working conditions for people employed by some of the UK’s most popular brands. So we wanted to share an example of a company that delivers not only in creating a beautiful product and a forward thinking business model, but that also delivers fair working conditions and a measurable social impact. Find out more about the production of Bottletop products here.

Bottletop work with their production team of female artisans, providing them with the opportunity to support themselves and their families. Further to this the foundation uses contemporary art and music to raise funds and awareness for education projects focused on teenage health issues such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. They support over 35,000 young people each year, not only in Salvador but worldwide.

Why do they do it? They give us some stats. Five young people are infected with HIV every minute. Over 80% of young people worldwide are unable to correctly identify methods of contraception. Teenage pregnancy is the leading cause of death amongst young women.

Their Mission: “The Bottletop Foundation sets out to empower young people; to protect themselves, their families, their communities and the environment”. We salute you Bottletop; a viable business model, fair working conditions, wide reaching education projects with long term impact – and a great product.

Yes their bags are totally beautiful. The design is exceptional, and quality flawless. One of our favs below, the Tatiana Black. Bottletop proclaim that they are, ‘dedicated to design, craftsmanship and culture’ – we wholeheartedly agree. Their website is a pleasure to look through too. Take a peek.

Change.org - the worlds petition platform. what will you change?

Change.org; An impressive platform that shares campaigns and calls-to-action from around the world.

The website came to our attention this week following the widespread media coverage of the gang rape and murder of a 23 year old medical student in New Delhi.

‘Following her death, thousands of Indians lit candles, held prayer meetings and marched through various cities and towns, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, on Saturday night to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women’ The Guardian, read more …

Change.org is sharing a petition by the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.

‘Violence against women needs to stop. This gang rape in Delhi has been a heinous and dastardly crime and it needs to be treated as such. Women as equal citizens of the country need equal rights to a safe environment’ Women’s Studies Research Centre.

Their petition states that this incident is part of the continuum of violence millions of Indian women face every day, they demand justice and legal reforms. Read more …

To sign their petition to Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi and Sushil Kumar Shinde, Home Minister of Delhi, click here.

Back Britain's Charities

According to the UK Giving report 2012, which measures individual philanthropy in the UK, fewer people are giving to charity and those that do are giving less. This has resulted in a £2.3 billion fall in total donations in the last year. This together with the cuts in public spending, spells bad news for charities.

This financial pressure has resulted in charities using up their limited cash reserves, reducing their services and in cases, winding-up their operations totally – which, if widespread, would be disastrous as the majority of these charities provide vital services to the most vulnerable people in our society.

But never fear - a new campaign led by National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), with support from Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) has been launched today 13th November to ensure that the vital work of charities is not compromised by the worrying fall in giving. It is called Back Britain’s Charities.

Back Britain’s Charities campaign is calling for: 1) People to support charities through regular giving, regardless of how much time or money they can give 2) The Government to modernise and promote Gift Aid and payroll giving so donations go further 3) The Government to ensure that public bodies do not cut funding for charities disproportionately when making spending reductions 4) Business to support charities either through donations, or through practical means 5) Charities to work together with the Government to modernise and improve fundraising and enhance their impact, so that every pound given goes further towards helping beneficiaries

We hope that the fall in donations isn’t as bad as the report suggests and that conditions improve soon for charities so they can keep providing invaluable services to the public. If neither of these materialise, then we really hope that this campaign is successful and achieves it’s aims.

CoppaFeel! - Coppa Feel in the shower

As we are half way through Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to bring to your attention the wonderfully simple and cheeky campaign from the CoppaFeel! crew - Coppafeel in the shower : ”Shampoo. Condition. Coppafeel. Rinse. Job done.”

The campaign is aimed at 18 to 30 years, encouraging them to check their breasts as part of their daily routine. CoppaFeel!’s mission is to stamp out late detection and misdiagnosis of breast cancer by ensuring that everyone knows the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and have the confidence to seek medical referral if they detect changes. Founder and C.E.O, Kristin Hallenga says: ”People have lots of excuses not to check, so we wanted to make it easy for them and thought that suggesting they do it while taking a shower would help.” The campaign was successfully launched this summer in a boob-shaped tent at nine top UK festivals including V Festival and Bestival, with a potential reach of almost 600,000 people. Festival-goers and celebrities, including the DJ MistaJam, Ben Howard and Maverick Sabre had photos taken in a green-screen shower booth holding different shower-themed props and messages on speech bubbles.

CoppaFeel! have created shower-themed temporary tattoos – yellow ducks were particularly popular – and waterproof stickers listing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. These were distributed at the festivals together with cotton wristbands that had a “check your boobs” reminder on them.

CoppaFeel’s festival activity was followed by the Uni Boob Team campaign being launched by Fearne Cotton and taken to 36 universities nationwide with the same shower message. With collaboration from Liberty Living, Unite, the University of the Arts London and the Student Housing Company, just under 69,000 student showers will be equipped with the waterproof shower hangers highlighting the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

We think this campaign is fresh and youthful, with a new take on communicating a familiar message – and it just proves that sometimes being immature pays off!

Small Steps Project - Celebrity Shoe Auction

As the old saying goes, you have to spend a day in someone else’s shoes fully understand them. How about spending the day in Kate Moss’s shoes? Or Keira Knightley? Well now you can!

The Small Steps Project has organised a Celebrity Shoe Auction charity fundraiser, where some of the most famous names have signed and donated their own shoes to help raise money for the Small Steps Project, a humanitarian organisation dedicated to supporting the thousands of children that live and work on rubbish dumps around the world.

All the money raised will go towards paying for thousands of shoes for barefoot children, towards helping support and run outreach projects, and to delivering medical and educational care to the children on a regular basis. It will also fund sustainable shelters where the children will be fed, cleaned and looked after.

So far the shoes you could walk in are a pair of red and Perspex Issa heels donated by actress Keira Knightley, a pair of Giorgio Armani heels worn by Gemma Arterton, a pair of black strappy heels from Sienna Miller, a pair of silver Celtic knot sandals donated by Joanna Lumley, black pointy stilettos from Kate Moss and two pairs of men’s loafers designed and worn by Paul Smith.

The auction will take place on Thursday 11th October at the members club Jalouse in central London. Tickets include a cocktail and champagne drinks reception, the celebrity shoe auction, a photography exhibition, a short film screening to highlight the work Small Steps Project do abd entry to the after party. Tickets are £30 and can be purchased here.

barnardo's fostering and adoption week

January 13th – 19th is Barnardo’s Fostering & Adoption Week, an annual campaign to help recruit more foster carers and adoptive parents in the UK.

This year their ‘Create my Memories’ campaign is encouraging people to reflect on their own childhood memories and consider whether they would be willing to foster a child, particularly those aged 10 and above.

A number of celebrities have shown their support for this incredibly important campaign including Barnardo’s Ambassador Nicola Roberts, Vice President Bruce Oldfield and Actor Peter Capaldi. You can see what all of their favourite childhood memories are in the film below.

The number of children in the care system in the UK has risen to a staggering 90,000 and Barnardo’s is now urgently seeking 8,600 new foster carers to help these children have care and stability and provide them with the happy childhood they deserve.

Other famous faces including Dame Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, Amanda Holden and Twiggy have shared pictures of their favourite childhood memories – can you guess who is who correctly?

wateraid - pump up the volume

The international charity, WaterAid has created a music video, Pump Up The Volume, to promote its latest campaign before this year’s Glastonbury and throughout the festival site, to continue their ongoing successful partnership.

The Pump Up The Volume campaign is calling for world leaders to commit to safe water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere by 2030. World leaders will be meeting in New York in September 2013 at the UN General Assembly to start the process of deciding what will replace the Millennium Development Goals. WaterAid have created a petition for supporters of this concept to sign (and pump up the volume on the cause), aiming to reach at least 30,000 signatures before the meeting to ensure that the campaign is taken seriously. WaterAid campaigner Rebecca Owen said: “The film is a light-hearted way to let people know that everyone can get involved in making a noise to show world leaders that we care, and that we want them to commit to helping everyone on the planet get safe water and sanitation by 2030.” The video features people dancing in a warehouse with as a car with people pretending to be world leaders arrives. The world leaders are infected by the spirit of the pump up the volume campaign message and start breakdancing too. Or in real life, listen to the campaigners and commit to safe water and sanitation for everyone, everywhere by 2030. Let’s hope that David Cameron doesn’t follow suit and crack out his moves at the General Assembly. For more information please see WaterAid’s website.

oxfam - in my place

Oxfam GB have teamed up with old friends Coldplay to create the new crowd-sourced In My Place Film. “A pioneering film project. Inspired by Coldplay. Starring You. Dedicated to people affected by the injustice of land grabs”

The film features people doing ordinary things out of place, echoing the displacement of land grabs. The film was masterfully created by Coldplay’s music video director Mat Whitecross, to an exclusive version Coldplay’s In My Place.

The injustice of land grabs bought together Coldplay, Mat Whitecross and all of the wonderful people who contributed their videos. This is their call to action:

“The World Bank influences how land is bought and sold on a global scale. It has the power to step in and play a vital role in stopping land injustice. Now, just before their Spring meetings, tell the @WorldBank to make good on its word. Let them know the world is watching”.