Bags4Good was created to combat single use plastic bags, offering an alternative that is economically viable and reusable. The bags are also used as a mechanism to raise funds for environmental and social causes by offering the consumer a way to champion a cause by buying a bag.
Bags4Good reports and informs on the various causes championed by the bags sold at Woolworths.
The primary drivers of sustainability – commerce, community, culture and conservation, are inextricably linked. Bags4Good works at the intersection where the objectives, interventions and outcomes are discussed as a business, and where commerce and consumers invest with the idea of being able to see the change. While compassion is the starting point of most intervention processes, innovation and intelligence need to follow, or a ‘feel good’ feeling and very little real change will result.
It all began when Woolworths Holdings – the upmarket food, home wares and textile retail chain in South Africa, announced a corporate mission to embark on a “Good Business Journey”. This commitment included a pledge to dramatically reduce the chain’s output of single-use plastic bags, offered for sale to consumers at till points.
In the absence of any motivating messaging to consumers to re-use plastic bags, or provide their own shopping bags, Bags4Good proposed a turn key project to Woolworths; produce attractive, reusable bags that would engage consumers in the themes behind the company’s Good Business Journey mission. A guide to identifying sustainable fish varieties lead the way (SASSI), followed by the transformative lifecycle of plastic bottles, how to be water-wise in a home and the meaning of ‘farming for the future’, among others. The project has delivered more than reusable shopping bags; a social enterprise project was developed to manufacture the bags. As demand for the bags steadily increased, Bags4Good’s design approach moved to test consumers’ response to supporting causes. Through a premium on the price of a cause-themed bag, consumers were also able to to invest more than interest in the cause.
Bags4Good initiated a collaboration with Woolworths and WWF South Africa for the first ‘Rhino Bag’. With the overwhelming response from consumers, we realised that taking sustainability issues ‘to the street’ was the route to mobilising an army of supporters, very quickly! 90,000 supporters, in fact, who together raised R900 000 over five months….all through buying a reusable shopping bag. The reason is as simple as the gesture – buying a shopping bag turned consumers from supporters of conservation, to anti-rhino poaching activists.
To date, Bags4Good has become an active communication and donor channel for initiatives ranging from endangered species conservation, to maxillofacial surgery for children, energy and water conservation.
As consumers and commercial donors become more engaged in issues of sustainability, they’re also changing their call for organisations from ‘…do something!’ to ‘…are you succeeding?’, demanding an ongoing conversation on the development and progress of initiatives. In response, Bags4Good has introduced a QR (Quick Response) code and url on each shopper that responds on any smart phone. The QR code directs the user to a dedicated web site that delivers a snap shot of the project’s objectives, and through the course of implementation of the donated funds, to reportage of progress on the project.
Wild About Elephants, QR code and unique URL
• Broader issues of sustainability are no longer only a corporate, government or NGO responsibility
• Bags4Good deliver broader sustainability challenges to consumer environments
• Bags4Good’s track record of creating powerful consumer messaging through a new, proven communication channel
Download a QR Code Reader here