Posted by Rob McCann, Senior Sustainability Manager, Virgin Media
Brands we love: Hubub
26 October 2020
As in-house sustainability professionals we spend a lot of time thinking about our internal programmes and where appropriate how these compare to what other brands are doing. This blog series is not about that.
We’ve ask each member of the sustainability team at Virgin Media to discuss another brand they’re loving right now, not as a benchmarking exercise, but simply highlighting other organisations doing brilliant work that they want to shout out.
This week Rob McCann, our Senior Sustainability Manager, talks to us about environmental charity Hubub and what we can take from what they do and how they do it.
Collaboration is seen as the key to unlocking innovation and driving the systemic change required to transform our economies and address the urgent environmental challenges we face. It’s often used without real examples of what this looks like in practice.
One of the organisations demonstrating how impactful collaboration can be is Hubbub, an organisation that are living and breathing collaboration in all that they do. Hubbub is a charity set up to inspire ways of living that are good for the environment. They’re having a big impact on many everyday issues; from fast fashion and food waste to plastic recycling and e-waste.
At the heart of Hubbub’s campaigns is partnerships with great brands. From Community Calling with O2 where mobile phones are donated to the digitally excluded, to the recently launched ‘most wanted’ campaign with Innocent to increase recycling in partnership Kensington and Chelsea Council. These collaborations draw the best out of Hubbub and the brands they work with.
One of the key pieces that Hubbub bring to the table is ensuring campaigns are based on research, and they place a lot of emphasis on getting out there and talking to members of the public to find out what they really think. A great example of this is the research that underpins Hubbub’s Greenprint – a manifesto recently published to encourage government to implement policies that will drive a sustainable approach to rebuilding of our economy and society. This produced great insights from the impact of the COVID pandemic, for example it showed that 90% of people have changed how they shop, eat and cook or 23% of people felt their cycling confidence had increased.
Hubbub’s approach emphasises the need to really listen to what customers and the wider public are telling you as a brand. It’s easy to make assumptions about sustainability and focus on the theory, but having a strong evidence base really needs to be at the heart of a sustainability strategy.
Painting a positive picture
There is much talk among the sustainability community about the need for more positive solution-focused story-telling on sustainability. We’ve done the job of scaring people about climate change, particularly younger generations. Now we need to tell the story of the changes that are happening and paint the picture of what a new world could look like to inspire these generations to make that change happen in the coming decades.
I think Hubbub is already doing some of this. Much of the debate about what’s needed to deliver the emissions reductions we need is positioned in a way that makes people feel that they will lose out. Stopping things that are convenient or something they enjoy. Hubbub are showcasing what a sustainable lifestyle can look like in a really positive and inspiring way.
A seed for change
I also like that Hubbub isn’t trying to solve massive problems all in one go. They look at a problem, based on research, then develop a project to show what could work on a small-scale which provides the insight and learnings for government, local authorities, civil society and companies to pick up and develop on a bigger scale. This ‘seed for change’ model allows Hubbub to develop multiple projects at the same time, making them quick to act. Projects like #LeedsByExample has since been scaled up and deployed in Edinburgh and Swansea.
And finally, all of their campaigns are presented through brilliant comms. Engaging, informative, inspiring comms. Stuff that really gets people on board and participating. But they also recognise that some brands are great at connecting with the consumer too, and can use their brand style and tone to amplify the impact of a campaign. This is evident with their partnership with Innocent and the ‘most wanted’ campaign.
At Virgin Media we take a similar approach to our sustainability work. We believe communicating sustainability should be fun, simple and without the jargon. We’ll continue to take inspiration from the work of Hubbub and their partners.
This is a four part blog series, stay tuned for next week’s addition to hear from another member of our sustainability team on the brand that’s impressing them at the moment.
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