Consumers must be responsible for limiting their own exposure to toxins in the environment, and by doing so collectively drive the market to produce safe products without known toxins. Isn’t it time that the cancer conversation become proactive and preventative instead of reactionary?
SIGG, Johnson and Johnson, Campbell
One example is the enormous backlash against SIGG bottles after announcing that their bottles did in fact contain a BPA based internal lining (Time Oct 2009).
When US parents purchasing Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo found out it was a different formula than the EU version, their outcry and subsequent media attention prompted immediate moves by the company to alter the US version (Parents Nov 2011).
Most recently, Campbell’s soup also announced a shift away from cans with BPA lining to alternatives (Forbes March 2012).
All these moves largely came via public concern about chemical issues and are great examples of how social media plays an important role in mitigating change on consumer products.
ThinkBaby and Thinksport
The two companies were created over 5 years ago in response to the growing concern of chemicals leaching from consumer products- specifically those found in baby bottles and feeding sets, water bottles, and sunscreens. Over the course of several years, the company has been a pivotal entity in bringing change through offering safe, sustainable and highly functional alternatives. Their leadership on chemical issues such as Bisphenol-A, phthalates, PVC, PET, and has led consumers and retailers to pay more and more attention to them.
Kevin Brodwick the founder of Thinkbaby and Thinksport said:
“When we build products, we are firm believers in the Precautionary Principle. We don’t jump on a material because it is free of one harmful ingredient. There is too much potential to land on something equally harmful.”, “Companies should be responsible for extensive research and testing of products. We also advocate transparency in materials used. This level of dedication of preserving the planet while also making sustainable products has been the constant focus of a company we greatly admire and emulate – Patagonia.”
Collaborative process and pro-activeness
It’s a collaborative process of multiple stakeholders that push the industry and products one step further, time over time. The other thing that social media is establishing is pro-activeness, instead of reactiveness, being a more open, likeable and ethical business.
Due to its transparancy, organizations are being forced to be better, to be more sustainable and so forth, and not just better IF the matter becomes public. The brand is what the public think it is, and the public knows almost real-time what is happening and organizations should ask themselves the question Paul Polman (CEO of Unilever) once posed, “If social media can topple a government in three months, how long would it take to bring down a brand?”
Image source: Trusting life all around the world