Why brands need to be thinking about Sustainability as a core piece to theirbusiness and ideation process

Gone are the days where brands simply define success by their bottom line. Success in a
brand needs to extend to areas such as work conditions, supply chain efficiencies,
local/regional support, carbon impact and more. So that we not only thrive economically but
reduce the urgency concerning our planetary health and livelihood.

Back when I worked at a brand strategy incubator, Sapiens by Yuval Harari was required
reading. At the time I thought it was rather silly that a book, as good as it is, be a mandatory
read. As a lover of history, however, and someone who has day-to-day involvement with
cultural brands, I now understand why it was mandatory – the value of knowing where we
came from to proactively (and contextually) inform the way in which we should navigate
culture today.

If you’ve read Harari’s novel, you’ll know he breaks our history into three key revolutions:
The Cognitive Revolution, The Agricultural Revolution and The Scientific Revolution.

Eventually we entered the Industrial Revolution which completely changed the way in which
we interacted with food, material, products, and overall resources. This then led to what we
could consider the Technological Revolution which made our relationship with products and
resources a click of a touch phone away.

We wouldn’t know at the time, but the combination of the Industrial Revolution and the Tech
revolution would put us on a path, decades long, to produce at a rate where capital gain
trumped planetary well-being. With time, it has become not just disruptive, but catastrophic,
to our natural ecosystems that had been highly functional for centuries.

We have evolved so far in our business practices, our economies, within innovation and
advanced technologies, product development at all costs.

We now sit within a conundrum.

We became so smart and so headstrong in building a prosperous, innovative society, that
we thought we could outsmart mother nature … surpass the ecosystems that functioned well
before we ever existed.

We are finally coming to the realization that we cannot outsmart nature. In fact, we need to
respect her in order to live peacefully and prosperously.

Perhaps it’s safe to say that we are now in the beginning of a Sustainable Revolution.
So how do brands and businesses play in this Sustainable Revolution? What is their role
and how do their efforts impact the needs of our communities, economies, and the planet we
all call home?

Most brands have a public stance on their sustainability efforts and share how they offset
their emissions. Some donate, some track, some have teams working to implement longer-
term goals.

In fact, so many brands have a stance on sustainability that the term “sustainability” has
become a buzzword and the hip thing to focus on, but can we all honestly say that we are
making efforts to actually live more sustainably?

How many brands are thinking about sustainability as an integral part of their ideation and
development process prior to any product or idea going to market?

How many of these brands think about sustainability as a starting point to their business
rather than an afterthought? Or do they simply do the minimum to accomplish an “ESG
principle” defined by leadership so they can all sleep well at night because they are “eco-

Many brands offset their emissions to neutralize their carbon footprint, and while we can
applaud that, it is simply not enough to create a real tangible impact.

Brands need to be thinking about solutions at the onset of their business and creative
process, to create true systemic change that, in fact, lowers our carbon footprint from the

Brittney McDonald

And there are pockets of verticals that are taking this seriously, such as regenerative food
systems, innovative material solutions and alternative plant-based solutions. But typically,
these are hyper-focused in specific markets, where innovation is valued, and investors are
seeking the next wave of start-up success.

At BLANK we believe these types of solutions should not be limited to market, vertical or
investor-focused interest. Yes, all those aspects help, but brands, big or small, start-up and
legacy, need to be thinking about how to imbed sustainable solutions into their process from
the beginning so that the implementation becomes second nature, and in turn we are
creating systemic change in how we operate with sustainability at the forefront of our
thinking and overall success.

Business has always played a vital role in driving culture, and culture has equally informed
where business should evolve. Our businesses and brands need to reflect the cultural
urgency pertaining to sustainable solutions and the well-being of this planet.

Because, as we well know. There is no Planet B!

Brittney McDonald, the visionary behind BLANK, a versatile agency dedicated to
sustainability, founded the company with a clear mission. Her goal is to elevate innovative
sustainable solutions through creative channels, fostering consumer education and
empowerment for more responsible choices. With a decade of experience in global creative
advertising agencies and a seamless transition into the start-up realm, Brittney brings a
unique perspective. Her commitment shines through in initiatives that drive systemic impact,
be it through ground-breaking innovation or transformative shifts in mindset and behaviour.

BLANK is a multi-disciplinary agency specializing in sustainability. They support brands
and organizations in showcasing their sustainability e>orts and impact on a global
basis. In creating conversations around carbon literacy through events, marketing
campaigns and PR, they believe that the work they do assists consumers in making


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