Products of Change


Tue 28 Mar 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

Brand Awareness | Let's meet the B&LLAs 2023 Sustainability category finalists

A wardrobe of upcycled clothing, footwear that supports the conservation of the UK’s coastline, or plastic-free picnicware made from rice husk. This is just a pick of three from the ten-strong shortlist of finalists for the Sustainability award within this year’s Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards. An award category close to Products of Change’s heart, this year sees efforts dialled up to 11 as the 2023 B&LLAs prepares to celebrate the best and boldest in the brand and lifestyle licensing space, and that includes on the sustainability front, too. With nominations now closed for the 2023, the shortlist of finalists has been revealed. Building on both the success and popularity of the category in recent years and developed to showcase the exceptional journey the licensing industry is on when it comes to sustainable development, this year’s shortlist of Sustainability category finalists packs a mighty punch. Let’s meet them.

  1. Corona Sustainable Lifestyle Collection from Cube Partnership
October 2022 saw AB InBev, the brewing company behind the Corona brand, launch its online Corona lifestyle store to fans across Europe, in collaboration with the lifestyle retail company, Cube Partnership. A deal brokered by IMG, the lifestyle collection goes lengths to showcase the brand’s commitment to sustainability, featuring a range of organic cotton t-shirts and sweatshirts made using natural dyes and water-based prints. The collection also arrives in plastic-free packaging. “We are delighted to partner with Cube to create Corona’s first online lifestyle store. It provides the perfect launchpad to expand and diversify our consumer offerings with sustainable products that embody everything people love about the Corona brand,” said Maxime Pudzeis, head of licensing EMEA at AB InBev. “This collection reflects Corona – enjoying the simple pleasures of life without compromising the environment,” added Natalie Horne, associate vice president of licensing at IMG. “These values resonate well with today’s generation that looks beyond aesthetics and expects brands to be socially responsible.”
  1. Emma Bridgewater Rice Husk Picnicware from Elite 
An alternative to the plastic packaging and melamine kitchenware found too often in the homewares aisle, and brandishing the much-loved signature Emma Bridgewater look, Elite Tins’ rice husk kitchenware is 100% natural. The Emma Bridgewater collection is not only reusable but – come end of life – is fully compostable, taking 90 days to biodegrade once crushed and added to your at home compost heap. Elite’s naturally made rice husk products use up to 70% less CO2 compared to plastic while putting this natural, agricultural waste to use and keeping it out of the incinerator. “We are thrilled to have been selected as a finalist in the Sustainability category at this year’s Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards,” said Elite Tins’ md, James Brierley. “Elite is committed to protecting the environment for future generations so we are proud to offer a great, eco-friendly alternative to plastic packaging or melamine kitchenware. “It’s fantastic that we have been able to work with Emma Bridgewater, one of our biggest licensees, on this zero plastic collection.”
  1. Ford x Re/Done Sustainable Collection from Re/Done
Last summer, the ethical clothing brand Re/Done partnered with the car manufacturer Ford to launch a 100% sustainable collection paying homage to signature Ford vehicles including the Bronco, Mustang, and Thunderbird. 100% sustainable, you ask? The collection is made up of a series of upcycled denim jumpsuits, recycled car t-shirts, and repurposed deadstock sweatshirts. ‘We like to collaborate with the ultimate inventors – Levi’s for denim, Hanes for tees, and now, Ford for American cars. Ford is a brand that everybody around the world has a relationship with, and we are so excited to partner with them for their most innovative sustainability initiative yet,” said Re/Done’s ceo, Sean Barron in a press release at the launch of the collection. Re/Done began with the original concept of upcycling vintage Levi’s into modern fits, employing preloved raw goods to create new styles while extending the life of stagnant stock. Since its launch, Re/Done has diverted over 225,850 garments from landfills, reconstructing them into luxury collectables.
  1. National Trust AW22 Footwear Range from Moshulu 
Comprising boots, shoes, slippers, and socks, the National Trust collection is billed as footwear specialists, Moshulu’s most sustainable to date, representing “a conscious effort to raise awareness of the importance of our coastal conservation work,” says Becky Stanford, head of brand licensing for the National Trust. Developed in special collaboration with the National Trust, the collection aims to support the conservation work of the UK charity by donating a minimum of £10,000 to the coastal conservation work of the National Trust. According to the charity, each coastal mile costs the National Trust £3,000 a year to maintain, meaning consumers really can vote for the British environment with their feet. “We’re delighted to be shortlisted for the B&LLA’s 2023 Sustainability award for our AW22 footwear collaboration with footwear retailer Moshulu,” says Becky. “This collection represents a conscious effort to raise awareness of the importance of our coastal conservation work; from designs inspired by nature native to the coastline in our care to sourcing environmentally conscious materials across both product and packaging. “Using materials such as these helps to create long-lasting, high quality and eco-friendly products that combat the trend of ‘fast fashion’; where waste can often end up in landfills, waterways, and the ocean.”
  1. Natural History Stationery Range from Blueprint Collections
The Natural History Museum makes clear its mission to ‘create advocates for the planet’ by informing, inspiring, and empowering everyone to make a difference for nature and has made no bones (pun intended) about its ethos of incorporating sustainability across everything it does – including its licensed stationery partnership. And it certainly found a keen innovator in Blueprint Collection. Blueprint’s range not only embodies the Museum’s philosophy through its design but also the materials used to produce it. The range features illustrations and fascinating facts about the dinosaurs that once roamed the world millions of years ago, all with the aim of engaging and educating young minds. Its selection of notebooks, stationery sets, pencil cases, and bags feature alongside a range of colouring and activity products including make-your-own dinosaur puppets. “We have used recycled paper and kraft card throughout the range for both product and packaging with a water varnish rather than lamination to ensure it can be easily recycled after use,” said Suzanne Chater, associate director of product development at Blueprint Collections. RPET (recycled PET plastic) has been used in the manufacture of both hard plastics including pens, sharpeners, and rulers in addition to soft textiles such as pencil cases, backpacks, and trainer bags. We have also produced erasers from recycled rubber.” Such thought has gone into the design of the collection that Blueprint has even allowed for repurposing of the packaging of one of its items by integrating a board game (printed on the inside of a packaging wallet), which can be used with the contents of the set, making packaging an integral part of the product. “We really enjoyed developing this children’s collection with the Natural History Museum,” said Suzanne. “We endeavoured to incorporate sustainability at the heart of a range that is also fun, engaging, and educational.”
  1. Royal Horticultural Society ‘I Bug You’ Range from Dexham
The RHS made moves to place sustainability front and centre in the summer of 2022 with the launch of a second collection of children’s kitchenware, bakeware, and accessories all produced using recycled materials and recycled plastics. Developed by Dexam, the I Bug You collection features ladybirds, beetles, and other insects with a young audience in mind. Dexam’s RHS bags, backpacks, and aprons have all been made from recycled plastic bottles via a process that turns recovered plastic pellets into a durable and practical fibre. Cathy Snow, licensing manager at the RHS, said: “Stylish, useful, and a lot of fun, these beautifully designed aprons, lunch bags, backpacks – and so much more – are perfect for kitchens or picnics, while the wit and invention with which Dexam has employed RHS imagery will delight all ages. “All the items have been designed with the environment in mind, a key concern of the RHS. We’re thrilled to have helped to inspire these wonderful new ranges.”
  1. V&A AW22 Arts and Crafts Collection from People Tree
Made by Creative Handicrafts, a Fair Trade organisation supporting communities in Mumbai by providing regular skilled work and fair wages, the V&A Arts and Crafts collection from People Tree is pushing the envelope in textiles and fashion sustainability. Made from Tencel Lyocell, the V&A collection uses responsibly sourced botanical materials such as eucalyptus in what it describes as a ‘closed loop production method.’ Once each item of clothing reaches its end-of-life, they can, under the right setting, biodegrade in a matter of 12 weeks. People Tree’s partnership with the V&A kicked off some six years ago with the aim of making the collections found within the walls of museum accessible and available to audiences everywhere. The AW22 range features The Glendale, a nature-inspired Arts and Crafts print from the V&A archives originally created in the 1920s by artist-designer, Sidney Mawson. The finely drawn pattern reflect the Arts and Crafts movement’s interest in native British wildflowers and woodlands.
  1. Van Gogh Museum Home Fragrance from Floral Street Fragrances
A four-year partnership which started in 2021 with the launch of the perfume Sunflower Pop continued in the summer of 2022 with the introduction of two home fragrance collections, bringing to life the essence of Van Gogh’s iconic paintings Sunflowers and Almond Blossom. The vegan and sustainable Floral Street x Van Gogh Museum collection contains plant-based candles, natural vegan oil diffusers, alcohol free room fragrances and 100% plastic-free scented reeds, all wrapped in FSC certified floral packaging. “I’m honoured that floral street has been chosen as the first fragrance partner of the Van Gogh Museum. Vincent van Gogh’s citation, ‘if one truly loves nature, one finds beauty everywhere’ is what inspired me to create this sustainable scent that celebrates and respects the environment,” said Michelle Feeney, founder of Floral Street upon the launch of the partnership. “Through this collaboration, we are able to tell our story in a new way, in which the beauty of art and fragrance meet.” As a responsible, global, beauty brand, Floral Street has put sustainability at its heart from the very beginning, with vegan and cruelty-free products and packaging that is reusable, recyclable, refillable, and biodegradable.
  1. WWF Natural World Range from Carousel Calendars
Carousel Calendars’ journey of sustainable development is a well-documented one, following a company and its commitment to reducing its impact through the global Science Based Targets initiative to tackle is Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Led by Products of Change’s own Ambassador for Net Zero, Steve Plackett, the team has to date brought its Scope 1 and 2 emissions down to just 200 tonnes while it continues to improve and innovate ways to reduce Scope 3. This includes the removal of all single-use plastic from its collection of annual calendars, including those developed in partnership with the WWF. WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is the world’s leading independent conservation organisation, extending its vital work in raising awareness and funds for its global projects through its licensing and extended product programme. For all licensed products in the Natural World Range, Carousel Calendars committed to donating a minimum of £9,000 a year to the WWF charity.
  1. Natural History Museum x Dunelm Collection from Dunelm
A second appearance for licensor the Natural History Museum in the Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2023 Sustainability category, its partnership with the furniture and home experts, Dunelm is one ‘born from a shared passion of doing more to protect the planet.’ It features a collection of pieces, all of which is ‘rooted in nature.’ The Dunelm collection is designed using ethical and sustainable practices to encourage shoppers to make thoughtful choices for the future with highlights including the chic Wetlands collection to celebrate the beauty of our waterways and a Signature collection that takes inspiration from the museum’s artefacts and interiors. “It’s been such a delight to work with the wonderful team at Dunelm,” said Maxine Lister, head of licensing at The Natural History Museum. “From day one, the entire team has been truly committed to developing the most thoughtful collection that not only uses sustainable practices but also celebrates the wonders of the natural world through excellent design.” Nick Wilkinson, ceo at Dunelm, added: “[This collaboration} offers the opportunity to communicate our long-term aligned interest in achieving our climate targets as well as educating ourselves, our communities, and our customers in the process. “This is about more than simply selling great quality products – it’s about helping customers make more informed and sustainable choices.” The winner of this year’s Sustainability category will be revealed at the Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards taking place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on Thursday, 27 April. For tables and tickets for the Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2023, please contact Clare at Createvents on or call 0118 334 0085, or you can reserve and pay online at the Max Publishing Digital Box Office.