For a while now I’ve been writing about the growing power of social movements and the futility of pushing back against them if you’re in the business sector or public office. To those who claim that it’s impossible to align with grassroots people power, I give you the recent climate change campaign initiatives rolled out by IKEA and Ben and Jerry’s (Unilever).
Both brands have decided to step forth and position themselves on climate change, an issue that is thorny for many businesses but is currently mobilizing the largest number of global grassroots networks in the history of cause campaigning.
Ben and Jerry’s: Join the Climate Movement!
The company, now a division of Unilever, is not only educating its clients about the dangers of climate change through videos such as the one below, it is actively calling on them to petition world leaders to commit to ambitious targets (100% Clean Energy by 2050). On its corporate website, It urges visitors sign an embedded petition from Avaaz.org to this effect.
What’s more, Ben and Jerry’s is regularly advocating positions that most businesses would steer well clear of. To wit, their statements against coal mining near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and against the Trans Pacific Partnership on trade agreement.
IKEA’s one billion euro climate pledge
IKEA has been investing in a reduced environmental footprint for some time now but the scale of its recent commitment to fight climate change has caught observers by surprise. Already strongly positioned in the We Mean Business coalition, which rallies the world’s corporations to take decisive steps to reduce their climate impacts, IKEA has announced it will dedicate 1 billion Euros towards clean energy projects.
600 million of this sum will pay for solar and wind installations on its own properties, greening the company’s energy supply. More impressively, a full 400 million € will be invested in clean energy projects that are located in the developing world. IKEA thus visibly embraces the concept of climate justice through which the world’s wealthy (and historically the largest emitters) are morally obliged to help reduce emissions in poorer countries.
For more on this, see this great summary in Fast Company.