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The Future of Brand Activism: Amsterdam


Last week we had the pleasure of taking our Beyond Brand Purpose: The Future of Brand Activism insight report and event series to The Hoxton Amsterdam.

TCO’s Head of Insight Helen Job presented new and exclusive insights from the ‘Beyond Brand Purpose: The Future of Brand Activism’ report and was joined by brilliant line up of panelists:


The report was the focus of a discussion where Helen shared her key findings and strategic recommendations:

"Brand activism is not something to be ignored, or to be worried about in some imagined future. The future is now. The rules of the relationship between people, product and the planet are being completely re-written. If brands don’t get onboard with this, they risk vilification, or even obsolescence. Our report is an essential read, detailing how in identifying a core brand purpose and reason to believe, brands and companies at large can make strategic decisions that align with their values and still effect positive change.”

Moderated by TCO Account Director, Stefanie Sword-Williams, our panellists discussed how brands can embrace activism in different ways from improving supply chains to galvanising industries to do better together. We explored a range of themes throughout the event, here are some highlights from each of our panelists:

What trips people up is that raising social consciousness around an issue is actually doing social sustainability, it doesn’t mean shit if you just talk about it. You have to put money in, you have to drive impact. Consciously thinking what is it that’s core to your brand and how can you invest in that to drive some sort of systemic change. Most of the bigger issues we have right now are marathons not sprints, as brands we can make some incremental shift in what the issue is, but we have to come together as broader communities. The brand is not the hero, as a brand you can enable heroes, either through your supply chain or the factories you work with, you can enable your consumers, your employees which is also something people often forget. - Lisa Hogg, TOMS EMEA Marketing Director

We decided to focus on collaboration. Everything we do is a collaboration and if we decide we want to produce our denim without creating waste, we do realise it’s never going to happen if we just do it ourselves. We can only reinvent the wheel if we co-create, if we share our knowledge, push our competitors, invite others and collaborate in equal ways. - Sofie Schop, G-Star Raw Sustainability Manager

We created ‘Bridge the gap’ which connects running crews from all over the world and then I decided I wanted to educate kids on how to become more confident in themselves through running. As the CEO of Patta, I will make time to go into schools, uplift their spirits and it’s important for those kids to see me there. When I was younger I didn’t have mentors, now I want to see kids do even better than me. It’s about building a better place in the long run, because it’s not a sprint, it’s a long marathon. If you do something for the community they will look at you and think “wow” and then it will become a snowball effect. If you don’t do anything nothing will happen. - Edson Sebajo, Patta

The problem I have with the word brand activism is that the word ‘brand’ is in it, because if you are genuinely intrinsically motivated brand that wants to change something in the world, it’s about activism and supporting actions that can have true impact. It’s not about putting your brand name on it, you can support it and it can be part of a movement but it shouldn’t be about you, it’s about the others and the world. - Pascal Van Ham, Tony’s Chocolonely Head of Marketing

Our next event will be taking place at The Hoxton Williamsburg in New York, if you are interested in finding out more about our first report - Beyond Brand Purpose: The Future of Brand Activism please contact