The pandemic is a driving force behind sustainable branding – Part 1

In honour of #PlasticFreeJuly, I’d like to share with you different campaigns and initiatives that focus on sustainability, and how it relates to marketing and branding material redesigns.

These are charities whose marketing and branding goals coincide with common, positive outcomes from the pandemic: people want to reduce plastic use, protect the environment and wildlife, drive less, and spend more time outdoors. These same charities also align with the #buildbackbetter government campaign goals.

Let’s first look at The National Trust.

The National Trust puts the environment at the forefront of all they do!

The National Trust understands how reducing waste significantly impacts the wildlife and environment they aim to protect, preserve and help thrive, regardless of a pandemic or not. So The National Trust started examining the materials they were using and how to reduce waste in these areas, even before the pandemic hit.

I first started seeing changes to plastic-free materials used by the National Trust via its magazine wraps and membership cards.

Since 2018, The National Trust switched to using potato starch material as a means to cover the members’ magazine issues. It was part of a vast phase out of single use plastics by the charity.

Since 2020, the membership cards were made from 100% recyclable and compostable materials. The membership cards continued to work the same as before but this meant that the National Trust changed the design layout to include further information on the card itself explaining the change and showing how these materials are recyclable.

Since the pandemic, The National Trust has taken an environmental commitment further. They believe in the UK government’s pledge to “Build Back Better.” The government has seen lockdown bring about a cut to climate change emissions and the National Trust wants to build upon this.

Committed to their purpose

So the National Trust has made a commitment to the UK public. Some of the guarantees:

  • The charity will create green corridors for people and nature near towns and cities.
  • By 2021, 50% of the charity’s energy needs will be met by renewable sources.
  • By 2030, the charity will become carbon net zero.

Through making these effective changes, The National Trust shows how on-brand every component of the organisation is. These adaptations coincide with its reducing waste goals. It complements the government’s “Build Back Better” campaign too. The conservation charity has chosen to show this through visuals, illustrations and graphics. Branding that is recognisably The National Trust. It speaks volumes to the public, benefactors and members without the need to say a word. It is easily adaptable too for social media, digital, and more.

Next week, I’ll dive into Waste Knot, a purpose-led organisation waging a war on waste from field to plate and how I developed and created a new brand design for them propelling them forward onto winning this war.

Further reading

Learn more about ‘how telling your brand story can shape the future you want to see’ in my article published with CharityComms.


Image: Marcus Platt | Unsplash

Becks Neale is a Dorset Designer & Brand Consultant, working alongside charities, community initiatives and purpose-led organisations to achieve a brand they love and live, by distilling their brand story.

Design to tell your story.

© inkshed design studio

One Response to “The pandemic is a driving force behind sustainable branding – Part 1”