Sustainability and social justice for the win!

Sustainability and social justice for the win!

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When we’re feeling down about the Trump administration’s attacks on environmental protections, civil rights, and human decency, we look for bright spots. Increasingly, we see companies stepping up to provide those glimmers of hope. When the U.S. announced plans to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, companies stood up and committed to the We’re Still In campaign. This year’s Super Bowl commercials were a welcome surprise in regard to the leadership role companies are ready and willing to take on the issues that are important to us – including social justice, equity, and environmental sustainability.

The commercials that jumped out most came from T-Mobile and Coca-Cola.

T-Mobile delivered a commercial featuring brand-new babies and a message that we come into the world as equals, free of preconceived notions. These babies will grow up to love whom they choose, be paid equally for their work, and achieve their potential, regardless of their starting point. While shareholders have been harping on companies about pay equity for years now, it was pretty exciting to see a company use its biggest advertising platform to promote pay equity. Maybe it’s an indication that #timesup for pay discrimination – or at least that one large communications company has been paying attention to the work shareholder advocates are doing on this issue.

Coca-Cola also used its time to promote a message of diversity and inclusion. Using a number of pronouns and highlighting people of different races, genders, and ages, it professed the value of individuality and being unique. It was an inclusive message aimed at debunking stereotypes – an important message and one not heard often enough in commercials.

There were a host of other commercials that highlighted positive social and environmental messages too. Groupon harped on the value of shopping local. Stella Artois (part of AB InBev) used its platform to promote and fundraise for water.org.

In an era of deregulation, it is on companies (sometimes at the nudging of shareholders) to step up and be leaders on so many environmental and social issues. Many of this year’s Super Bowl commercials gave us reason to think that some companies are rising to the occasion and bringing the American public along with them. So thank you, T-Mobile, Groupon, Coca Cola, AB InBev. We see you using your voice to raise the profile of some of the most important issues of the day, and we thank you.

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