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How authentic is a brand gift without a purpose?

Posted on Sep 03, 2019 by Rachel  | Comments (0)

This week Cadbury's launches the 'wordless' Dairy Milk chocolate bar as part of their partnership with Age UK to combat loneliness in the UK. The story they are seeking to change is an important one: 'There's a crisis in the UK. 1.4 million older people struggle with loneliness. 225,000 older people often go a whole week without speaking to anyone. Age UK is working with Cadbury over the next year to bring the plight of lonely older people to the attention of the nation and do something about it.'

It's an extremely noble thing to shine a light on the plight of isolation and loneliness prevalent in our ageing population - and I hope it brings much-needed attention to this worthy cause. 

But... at the same time it's made me ask the question: 'How authentic is a brand gift without a purpose?'

After all, Cadbury's is already being called out as a hypocrite for a couple of reasons.

Firstly because, in spite of making £185 million in profit last year, Cadbury's parent company, Mondelez, paid absolutely zero UK corporation tax? Money that could, arguably, be put towards better social care for the elderly, young and everyone in between. Especially in light of the prolonged period of austerity we are experiencing at the moment. 

Then there's the environmental impact of their products. 

According to Greenpeace, Cadbury's parent company is one of the world's biggest purchasers of palm oil that goes into its chocolate bars, Oreo biscuits and Ritz Crackers. Did you know that between 2015 and 2017, 22 of its palm oil suppliers cleared 70,000 hectares of rainforest?

Nope. Neither did I. 

Kiki Taufik, head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesia forests campaign, said: “It’s outrageous that despite promising to clean up its palm oil almost 10 years ago, Mondelez is still trading with forest destroyers. Palm oil can be made without destroying forests, yet our investigation discovered that Mondelez suppliers are still trashing forests and wrecking orangutan habitat, pushing these beautiful and intelligent creatures to the brink of extinction. They’re literally dying for a biscuit.”

Dying for a biscuit. 

Think about that.

So while the idea of a brand gift is a kind and worthy one, unconscious behaviours in other areas of the business are not. 

Which brings me back to the question: how authentic is a brand gift without a purpose?

Isn't it time companies like Cadbury's reset their values and purpose now to consider the planet, its people, the animal kingdom and society at large? Just like they used to when they were a British owned Quaker company and built  Bournville in Birmingham for their workers. When every decision they made, every word they wrote, every bar they manufactured and maybe even every tax return they completed came more from the heart. Back when they lived and breathed an authentic set of values and had a clear purpose.

At the end of the day I am in no doubt that Cadbury's and its people are trying to do something positive. But while their parent company continues to operate in a grossly irresponsible manner the wordless Dairy Milk will fail to silence its naysayers. 

An organisation's purpose and values should run from the top of it's tree right through to its foundations. They form the heart and soul of a company and should drive EVERYTHING it does. Only then will people see and feel its authenticity on every level.   

 

Sources: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/palm-oil-oreo-cadbury-linked-destruction-orangutan-habitat/
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cadbury-chocolate-mondelez-no-corporation-tax-paid-uk-profit-a8578951.html 

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