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D&AD Impact Award Winners Showcase Solutions for a Safer, Fairer, More Sustainable Future

Tesco Safety Bags utilize photocatalysis to destroy toxic chemicals and renew trust in food safety in China. Image credit: Tesco

D&AD and Advertising Week have unveiled the winners of the second annual D&AD Impact Awards, which recognizes creative ideas that have made an impact and ultimately have contributed to creating a safer, more equitable and sustainable world for all. The Awards’ coveted ‘Pencils’ are given out across 12 categories aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Last week, we shared some of our favorite campaigns in the sustainability, responsible production and industry evolution categories. Below, we’re highlighting more noteworthy initiatives across the urban living, community, education, industry evolution and civic engagement groups.

Homeboy Recycling

The mission of SB Innovation Open ’13 finalist Isidore Electronics Recycling (now called Homeboy Recycling) is two-fold — recycling one of the largest waste streams in the world — e-waste — and driving down Los Angeles’s recidivism rate. Homeboy is making its mark on the emerging e-cycling landscape and doing good at the same time — the full-service electronics recycling company and social enterprise helps unlock new opportunities for those who face significant barriers to employment, particularly formerly gang-involved and incarcerated men and women, by hiring them and providing them with on-the-job training. Over the last six years, Homeboy has hired 27 formerly incarcerated people, who have recycled over 2.2 million pounds of electronics.


Meet Cubetto, a wooden robot developed by Primo Toys that is revolutionizing the concept of educational toys. Coding is a 21st century skill and Primo believes it should be introduced in the same way as reading or arithmetic, starting at the preschool level. The Montessori-approved, LOGO Turtle-inspired toy teaches kids under the age of seven the basics of computer programming without screens or literacy through storytelling and hands-on play. LEGO®-like blocks representing different actions are combined to create programs that tell Cubetto where to go. With a Kickstarter campaign and a minimal PR budget, Primo created a message that resonated with a global audience of parents and educators. The company managed to raise over $1.6 million to launch Cubetto, far exceeding its initial goal of $100,000.

Fearless Girl

“Fearless Girl,” a bronze statute positioned at eye level with Wall Street’s iconic charging bill has caused quite a stir since its installation on the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, by investment firm State Street Global Advisors. The statue intended to shed light on the need for more female leaders and inspire companies to include more women on their boards. While State Street lacks diversity on its own board, the statue has sparked an important conversation not only around female leadership, but women’s position in the workforce as a whole. The verdict? There’s still a long way to go.

Tesco Safety Bags

Following a slew of food safety scandals and a recent study by Greenpeace China that found that 90 percent of fruits and vegetables are contaminated with at least one type of pesticide, China’s trust in food safety has hit an all-time low. In a bid to improve the problem, UK grocery giant Tesco developed Safety Bags, produce bags that reduce harmful pesticide residues. The bags use photocatalysis, a proven process that eliminates toxic chemicals — including pesticides — by breaking down compounds using the power of light. By placing produce in Tesco’s Safety Bags and exposing them to light for three hours, consumers are able to enjoy fruits and vegetables as nature intended.

Footnote for the Breast

In the Arab culture, many subjects are considered taboo. Openly speaking about breast cancer is one of them. To get around this cultural taboo while reaching out to Arab women, The Classic Partnership Dubai created the Footnote for the Breast Initiative for Medcare Women and Children Hospital, a leading healthcare provider in the region.

The initiative used pebbles stamped with a simple message and placing them in women’s shoes left outside the prayer hall of mosques. When they returned after prayers, they would feel the pebble as soon as they put on their shoes. The reaction of checking the ‘lump’ found in their shoes reflects how someone would react when a lump is discovered on the breast. The initiative reached 18,628 women. 33 percent responded by calling the toll-free number listed on the pebbles and 5,290 women came along with their families and friends for checks.

Smog Free Tower

Created by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, the Smog Free Tower is an anti-pollution technology aiming to tackle China’s severe air pollution problem. The 23-foot-tall air purifier was installed in the center of Beijing in September 2016 and reportedly capable of cleaning 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour and removing up to 75 percent of two major kinds of pollutants, PM2.5 and PM10, that contribute to smog. The air treated by the purifier is redistributed in a 360-degree bubble around the tower. All of this is done with minimal electricity.

A $125,000 Kickstarter campaign helped launch a successful pilot of the technology in Rotterdam and led to an eventual agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection to build a full-scale tower to Beijing. Roosegaarde intends to bring the tower on a tour of the world to inspire other cities to take up the technology. Interestingly enough, Roosegaarde plans to fund his ambitious by selling rings and cufflinks made from the smog collected by the tower.

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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