Marketing and Comms
M&S, B&Q, Eden Project and More Helping UK Consumers 'Be the Start' of More Resourceful Living

Researchers tell us that by 2030 we will need 30% more water, 50% more energy and 50% more food to be fit for our growing population. Statistics from WWF echo this — if we continue our current rate of consumption in the United Kingdom, we will need three planets' worth of natural resources to continue this lifestyle, and five planets to continue the consumption lifestyle in the USA. Since we only have one planet, clearly something needs to change.

Throughout May, UK charity Business in the Community and its Start programme (an initiative of HRH) are engaging more than 31 brands across each of the 31 days in May to speak to consumers about sustainability with their Be the Start campaign. The theme of this week, May 6-12, is Be the Start of More Resourceful Living.

Considering our dwindling natural resources, the brands involved in this week are encouraging consumers to consider the natural resources around them and how they can be used in a more efficient way.

The Eden Project, based in Cornwall, UK, encouraged locals to get on their bikes and cycle throughout the Eden Project on Monday May 6th. Dubbed the Tour d’Eden, the initiative is to encourage people to get fit and to enjoy the beauty of the natural outdoors. Spending more time in nature increases our appreciation of it.

Calor Gas is helping rural households to become more energy efficient by launching the Calor Home Energy Check, an online tool for rural households to learn more about how they use energy and what they can do to reduce their fuel bills and live in more sustainable way.

Social enterprises Ohyo, give me tap and tapwater.org are collaborating on May 8th to encourage the public to drink tap water over bottled water, and promoting the findafountain.org website, a network of cafes, shops, restaurants and public buildings that can act as refilling stations and offering free tap water.

In partnership in Oxfam, Marks & Spencer features another One-Day Wardrobe Clearout on May 9th to encourage a shwopping revolution. Consumers are asked to clear out their closets and bring in any unwanted clothing to the store. M&S passes the clothes onto Oxfam, which resells them, and clothing that can’t be resold is made into new clothing where possible.

Water companies United Utilities and Themes Water are partnering on Friday May 10th to encourage customers to be water wise.

The week winds up with DIY retailer B&Q promoting bee-friendly gardens. The plight of bees is alarming due to the important role they play in the food chain. With increasing urbanisation and thus smaller gardens, bees have fewer and fewer places to eat. B&Q are encouraging customers to create a Bee Cafe to provide food for bees — from hanging baskets and small pots to flower beds.

The #BetheStart campaign runs throughout the month of May. Look out for the conversation on twitter at @Start_UK and @BITC1 or visit the Be the Start website.

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