With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
Celeb-backed environmental campaigns are often sigh-inducing displays of greenwashing, but we’re all for giving a pat on the back when things are done right. Campaigns incorporating celebrities can bring the conversation to a far wider audience — an ultimate necessity if we hope to move the needle forward on issues like climate change and ocean health. With that in mind, this week we rounded up five celebrity-backed green marketing campaigns that we can actually get behind.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio buys a racing team to spur EV adoption
Actor and longtime environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio joined forces with high-performance electric vehicle manufacturer Venturi Automobiles late last year to enter a racing team in the the new FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s first fully-electric race series. The Oscar nominee’s name generated a great deal of buzz around the series and the concept of high-performance EVs in general — which seems to be just what he and Venturi had in mind.
“The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles,” the actor said of the partnership. His Venturi car will face off against Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Racing team in September, which is a clean tech showdown we can’t wait to watch.
2. Adrian Grenier’s SHFT woos the masses with shareable media
It seems whenever an eco-minded celeb is needed for a speaking gig, whether it’s SXSWeco or Ford’s annual trends conference, Entourage star Adrian Grenier is there to foot the bill. But beyond helping companies urge average pop culture buffs to give a hoot about the environment, Grenier is making waves in the sustainable business scene in his own right. His SHFT.com multimedia project, founded with business partner Peter Glatzer, drew the attention of partners like Ford, Virgin America and Stonyfield Organic — who all view it as a high-profile means of raising awareness around environmental causes like electric vehicle adoption and food justice.
3. Pharrell Williams signs on to design shoes from ocean waste
If you haven’t heard, singer, songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams owns his own textile company (seriously). Called Bionic Yarn, the company is part of The Vortex Project, an initiative with Parley for the Oceans to turn plastic ocean debris into yarn and fabric.
Earlier this month, Williams signed a deal with clothing maker G-Star RAW to design a line of denim made from the ocean waste-derived fiber. And yesterday he announced that he’ll do the same with adidas — designing a line called Originals x Pharrell Williams set to debut this summer. While creating consumer products from ocean waste is nothing new to those familiar with sustainability, Williams’ famous name surely brings a new audience to the table — which, to drop one of the artist’s top hits, makes us pretty happy.
4. will.i.am teams up with Coke to promote recycling
Back in 2011, musical artist and producer will.i.am teamed up with The Coca-Cola Co. and other brands to launch EKOCYCLE. The stand-alone brand initiative is dedicated to helping encourage recycling behavior and sustainability among consumers, particularly youth, through “aspirational, yet attainable lifestyle products” made in part from recycled material. The line has already featured Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, New Era hats and Levi’s jeans that “close the loop” by using recycled feedstocks to create products that consumers actually want to buy.
This year the artist, Coca-Cola and Global Citizen are promoting the EKOCYCLE #ADayWithoutWaste campaign to encourage consumers to recycle and reduce household waste. Scheduled for April 9, the recycling campaign aims to inspire people to look at everyday patterns of waste consumption in an effort to make even the smallest change that will result in environmental protection. If everyone took the pledge to reduce even one piece of waste this year, imagine what we’d achieve.
5. Top names put a face on the victims of climate change
Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series set to premiere April 13 on Showtime, provides a compelling introduction to the people and places affected by climate change.
Drawing top top names like executive producer James Cameron, actresses Jessica Alba and America Ferrera, and actors Matt Damon and Harrison Ford, the series aims to put a well-known face on climate change victims — as celebrity correspondents interview everyday Americans and local NGOs. Filming locations include Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant, the Asheville Beyond Coal rally and Charlotte, N.C.
The impacts of the film are yet to be seen, but handing the mic to everyday people, who continue to struggle with the effects of climate change and pollution but are often forgotten by the media, is a great idea in our book.
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is an editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.