Action: Write to your favorite brands

Recently we posted an action on our Instagram to write to your favorite brands that are still using plastic and ask them what they’re doing about it – and what their roadmap to eliminating it is as they’ll lose you (and others) as a customer. We’ve written countless of these emails so to make this easier for you (as per a suggestion from one of our awesome followers) here are a couple of templates we’ve used & some tips.

You can use these and tweak them for whatever your cause! Whether it’s plastics, palm oil or something else. Go for it! Got an interesting response or found out something new? We’d love to hear about it. Message us on the ‘gram!

We’ve always received a reponse (which is excellent) but it’s important to also follow up on that and push the brand when you feel they’re being evasive (big brands with communication departments tend to do this). You won’t always get a satisfactory response but know that your message does chalk up as a point for the brand and note to them (just like calling your local members of government does) and sometimes you learn something surprising too – like we recently did in an example below.

Tips for your message

 

  1. Personalize your email as much as you can. Show you’ve been a loyal customer or passionate about a product. State what you like, what you’ve appreciated they’ve been working on, something good they’ve implemented and then get to it.
  2. Write why you care / why you’re doing what you’re doing – everyone will have angles that are most important to them and it works if that shines through. If it’s the killer whales, or the orangutans, or your children, the forests, the coral reefs or the world in general – give your why. It will also give people a tangible visual they can they about to relate back to the problem.
  3. Outline the question/s they need to address for you. Simply starting your frustration creates a ‘real-human’ note for the brand, but having to acknowledge and step through their process creates action and accountability. We need a lot more of both.
  4. Messages through social media may work better for bigger companies. They usually have staff manning their Facebook & Twitter channels – give them a message there. For conglomerates and monopolies (looking at you supermarkets) we’ve found they respond there and rarely ever to email (if you even find the right place to send that email!)
  5. Follow up! If they haven’t responded within a week, send a follow-up. If they still haven’t responded, get on their social and in their comment streams and DMs. Once they’ve responded and you’ve thanked them, decide on a length of time you think is suitable and pop it in your calendar to follow up on their response. Have they implemented their goals? Have you noticed anything? Can you congratulate them on anything or does it now need to be made very clear they are severely under-performing in this and you will no longer, or have already stopped, being a customer?
  6. Make an assessment on your tone and what you expect from the business. If they’re a really small business (say, under 5 staff and/or under 1million in revenue per year) give them a bit of a break (unless it’s of course glaringly obvious what they’re doing and they’re being eco-douches). We absolutely want all businesses to be eco-friendly & ethical but a lot don’t know, a lot can’t make it work financially and if you’re a small business you barely have time to run the thing let alone invest time, resources & money into the sustainability of your products (big hugs and love for the businesses who pursue this right out of the gates). A lot of them will already have mapped out in their heads how they’re going to improve product cycle by product cycle – it’s more of a waiting-for-the-funds issue and they’ll happily advise you on the planned changes. Decide if you need to educate them at all potentially, link out to any resources, and if it’s a smaller business ask if you can help them out! Maybe you even have a connection that they could benefit from. Also if you continue ordering, state you will only if they do X to improve. Often it’s the packaging so at checkout write a note that it’s not to be wrapped in plastic for example. The more we all do of this, the more all businesses, including tiny ones, will have to fix the problem. At the end of they’re day all businesses still exist to make money and that should not come at the detriment to the planet and we should all come together to work on a better resourcing system. It’s important for them to know their customers require better solutions or they won’t have a business to run at all. 
  7. Should you name & shame on the socials? We wouldn’t for small businesses (unless the response is atrocious) but for big business, wait for your response and then make a call. Also check the context – is there a campaign on around it at the moment? Big businesses absolutely do respond to public pressure so use your platform & influence (no matter how small or big) to pressure them and make your point heard. Big businesses benefit tremendously off of the environment, off us as the consumers and off the government – there should be a significant amount of corporate and social responsibility exerted on them for this. It’s also important to remember that in the end these businesses are run by humans, not an abstract legal concept. Human beings with kids (mostly) at that, and largely with egos and the desire to make more. That can all be appealed to in order to craft a more sustainable world.
  8. Don’t let them get away with vague bullshit. We all know these responses. They come from monotonous comms & PR departments whose job is simply to answer the customer service tickets to meet their KPIs. Supermarkets are the absolute worst for this and it’s unforgivable. It isn’t helping anyone and it’s a complete waste of time. Keep pressing them (a supermarket did eventually just stop replying to us and never did answer the question they skilfully evaded each time). If we all did this, a very loud noise of action would be registered by the inundated comms team which would go up the chain to execs. As much as you can, stop buying from businesses who don’t give a crap like this. 

Remember, outside of voting, how you spend your money is your biggest political act, and can affect enormous change in line with your values.

Email Template #1

Dear team,

I’m writing to you in regards to your  _____________ (i.e. plastic packaging).

I absolutely love your brand however I have been consciously reducing my  _____________ (i.e. plastics) and striving for less-waste in order to protect our environment, animals and selves.

Ideally I’d like to continue _____________ (how you use their product i.e. using your deodorant, drinking your tea, buying your hampers) but I would like to know the following:

  1. Do you have a roadmap in place for eliminating  _____________ (i.e. plastics) in your product?
  2. What do you currently propose customers do with the packaging / product waste created? Do you have a scheme in place that we can utilize to be more responsible with our consuming?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you so much,
__________ (your name)

Email Template #2

When there are fairly obvious alternatives, similar products on the market being eco-conscious (so you have an option to defect to them so to speak).

Dear team,

I’m writing to you in regards to your _____________ (i.e. plastic packaging).

I absolutely love your brand however I have been consciously reducing my  _____________ (i.e. plastics) and striving for less-waste in order to protect our environment, animals and selves.

There are other alternative brands on the market that have found methods to implement recyclable/compostables/reusable (pick one) _____________ (i.e. packaging) in their product. By way of example, _____________ (brand name)  and _____________ (brand name) were able to achieve this. I don’t want to switch over at all, but I’ll need to if you’re unable to eliminate your  _____________ (i.e. plastics) so I can respect the environmental responsibility we all have.

  1. Do you have a roadmap in place for eliminating your  _____________ (i.e. plastics) in the product?
  2. What do you currently propose customers do with the packaging / product waste created? Do you have a scheme in place that we can utilize?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you so much,
__________ (your name)

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We’re a small team dedicated to creating small changes, with big impact. And have a little bit of fun along the way. We’re passionate about the environment & equality. We want to educate and advocate as much as possible. We make thoughtful, high-quality goods. We believe we are all peers and learning through this together. We thank you for being in this with us.