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Earth Day Roundup

Sunday is Earth Day, an opportunity for brands to connect with eco-minded consumers, contribute to worthy causes and show off their environmental achievements. Below is just a sampling of the activities and promotions underway this year.

Grocery chain Safeway formed a partnership with the Go Green Initiative to launch the first annual Go Green Glogster Earth Day contest. Students will be asked to investigate the sustainability of the food, water, or energy system in their community, and express their findings through videos, podcasts, blogs, music and photos compiled in a glog. For the food system, students will examine the availability of locally grown and organic food in their neighborhood; food safety procedures at their local grocer; and the impact that higher fuel prices will have on the price of food where they live. Safeway is providing an organic garden to a winning school; a full-service, all natural BBQ for a winning class; and five $100 cash prizes to winning students.

Retail outlet Target plans to celebrate Earth Day by distributing 1.5 million reusable bags. In addition, Target will offer customers more than $50 in savings on sustainable products throughout April in stores and via a limited-time website. Target also is urging customers to visit the company’s Recyclebank page throughout the month. Target’s partnership with Recyclebank includes two online gaming modules that offer rewards an tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Separate from Target, Recyclebank is launching a new nationwide, interactive game to celebrate the steps people in cities and countries around the world are taking to be more sustainable. The Passport for the Planet challenge takes participants on a virtual trip through four global regions to learn interesting sustainable facts from around the world and encourages them to make similar eco-friendly choices in their own communities. Throughout the game, members have chances to earn Recyclebank Points and be entered to win one of 180 prizes, including a four-night stay at the eco-friendly Plantation on Crystal River outside of Tampa, Fla., a GE Hybrid Water Heater, and $1,000 in cash.

Online discounter Groupon is launching Groupon Grassroots as a new way to promote local causes. The company has partnered on the project with CrowdRise, a company co-founded by actor Edward Norton, who is also an United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. Groupon Grassroots aims to attract support for small projects such as donating to plant a community garden or repair a neighborhood playground. To commemorate Earth Day, Groupon Grassroots will host 50 environmental campaigns and kick off each with a $1,000 grant.

Lighting company Philips will begin selling its most technologically advanced LED bulb on Earth Day. The bulb was the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition. The 10-watt bulb replaces typical 60-watt incandescent bulbs. It retails for roughly $50, but Philips has partnered with over 280 utility companies across the country to ensure rebates are available on the bulb and expects more than 230 additional utilities to join the program in June when the product is expected to achieve Energy Star qualification.

Caribou Coffee Company will continue its tradition of offering free coffee to all customers who bring in a reusable mug on Earth Day. Caribou Coffee recently announced that it is the first major U.S. coffeehouse retailer to source all coffees and espresso from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.

The Coca-Cola Company is partnering with River Network to donate more than 1,000 syrup drums for reuse as rain barrels in communities all across the country. In addition, the cola company is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the installation of five natural gas hydrogen fuel-cell servers at its beverage production facility in American Canyon, Calif. The installation expands Coke’s relationship with Bloom Energy, which makes the solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). Fuel cells already provide low-emissions electricity at Coke facilities in New York, Connecticut and California.

Toshiba is sponsoring a full slate of events as part of Earth Day New York. The roster of events includes informative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education panels and a special showcase for the creativity and imagination of local students, who will present their award-winning eco-related projects.

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters are partnering with the non-profit Earth Day Network to help spread the green message to fans worldwide. The Globetrotters will use a special green Earth Day Ball for their youth clinics in Beijing, China, next month, and a public service announcement featuring members of the team will air in arenas for the remainder of the Harlem Globetrotters’ 2012 World Tour.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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