ThinkOTB Agency

Ethical Marketing: Innocent Smoothies

July 18, 2013

In a world dominated by constant advertising across multiple platforms, brands are under increased pressure to promote their products responsibly. This week, we will be looking at the world of ethical marketing . A number of household brands have proved that marketing and ethics can go hand in hand. Socially responsible marketing has never been more engaging to audiences than it is today.

Today’s instalment is taking a look at Innocent Smoothies and their commitment to ethical marketing. Since their launch in 1999, Innocent have promoted themselves as a down to earth and ethical company. The company was founded by three Cambridge University graduates, who sold their smoothies at a music festival and asked the customers whether they thought the trio should quit their jobs and make smoothies. The rest, as they say, is history. Innocent has gone from strength to strength, receiving investment from a wealthy American businessman and later huge investment from Coca-Cola, who as of February 2013 owned a 90% stake in the company.

As the name would suggest, Innocent aims to use natural, healthy ingredients in their products. They espouse key values of healthy eating and sustainability. The Innocent brand itself is built on these values. They have taken a number of simple steps to ensure the company lives up to its ethical claims. Innocent ensures its ingredients are sourced from suppliers who ensure minimum standards for workers. They also work to improve their environmental credentials such as those approved by the Rainforest Alliance. As they grow, Innocent aim to continue sourcing products from a wide range of suppliers worldwide.

Innocent’s ethical marketing campaigns

The Innocent product range has expanded into other healthy eating areas including fruit juices, veg pots and squeezy fruit tubes for children. Their key company values have also grown to accommodate their expansion. Innocent now encourages healthy eating and lifestyle. They also utilise their popularity and leverage of their brand to support sustainable projects in the undeveloped world.

The Innocent Foundation, set up in 2004, aims to redistribute some of the wealth the company generates. They support rural development projects in the key countries from which Innocent sources its fruit. The main vision is to support people who are dependent on subsistence agriculture and to build a sustainable future for these communities. To this end, Innocent has committed to donating 10% of its annual profits to the Innocent Foundation. The foundation then allocates this money to a number of long-term NGO projects in developing countries. Since 2004, the Innocent Foundation has supported 37 projects and committed almost £1.3 million to community projects.

Not only that, but the company has leveraged an extra £5.8 million from grants. This funding has come from the European Union and other organisations. One of the projects they support is for the Hope for Children team in Uganda. It helps refugees who have fled civil war set up new lives in Uganda. The team also helps them to create a sustainable source of food and income for themselves. Others include supporting the work of IDE Vietnam which helps rice farming families utilise fertilisers and optimise their production. They also support the Practical Action campaign in Peru to improve forest sustainability.

Ethical business growth

The Innocent brand and its Foundation have shown phenomenal amount of business growth can be achieved through ethical marketing. This profit can then be utilised to help others who are less fortunate. The work of the Innocent Foundation has provided funding and volunteers to ensure that the countries who provide the ingredients which make the brand so successful do not suffer from their success. They also focus on long-term sustainability as opposed to short-term relief. This can provide a lasting impact for these communities. It’ll also pave the way for more ethics-driven brands in the future.

Do you want to talk about how you can make your brand more sustainable and focus on a greener future? Get in touch. Our experts are always on hand to help and love coming up with exciting socially responsible marketing campaigns.


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