How do you think the pandemic has transformed attitudes towards sustainability?
Faith Robinson: In our society, the emotional side of sustainability has been sidelined – the fear about climate change, the outrage about social injustice. There’s never been space in the industry to acknowledge how that feels. But the Covid lockdown has made space in our lives physically and emotionally to hold the grief or fear, or even excitement and joy. The results of our Manifesting Utopia study showed that finding a sense of spirituality has become more important to the lives of 71% of Virtue Seekers in the past year. That’s why the time is now for creatives like us to come together.
Spirituality has historically been intrinsic to sustainability, particularly among Indigenous communities. How are you introducing it to brands in a way that is both accessible and culturally sensitive?
Claire: Indigenous cultures have always had spiritual practices because it's a way of life. In our societies, spirituality is either something you recognise or ignore. It isn’t owned by anybody; it’s a language, you either know how to speak or you don't. When it comes to brands, it depends on their level because a lot of people are scared of spirituality. But at the end of the day, it’s about human connection. They’re probably using in some way, just unconsciously. What we're doing is activating it.
You avoid the term consumers in favour of 'virtue seekers'. Why is this change in language necessary to further the sustainability movement?
Florence: I come from a brand background where the teams were split into men's, women's, this sport and that sport. And I thought: I buy these products, but I don't fit anywhere in your consumer profile. It’s so one dimensional, calling people consumers, when people do so much more than consume. To shift away from this consumer narrative, we went back to this idea of a sliding scale and came up with the term Virtue Seeker. You're either a static, steady or super seeker. We truly believe that everyone is trying to do something for the greater good – let's not see them as buying machines. It all comes back to unlearning to relearn.
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