How does your city encourage and drive sustainability initiatives in terms of lifestyle?
Amsterdam is ranked as one of the world’s most eco-friendly cities and therefore Amsterdam literally surrounds you with initiatives and choices to make credible differences when it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle. The preferred choice of transport in our city is two-wheels and it’s obvious to see human and electric powered wheels taking more gas guzzling wheels off the city streets.If you love a morning flat-white you can easily choose no more cow barista friendly soy and plant milk options. And when dining in Amsterdam you have over 800 restaurants offering meat-free options. Moving through the city is also thirsty work and instead of buying bottled water you can easily enjoy tap water refills provided by https://join-the-pipe.org, an initiative founded in Amsterdam that is on a mission to provide clean-drinking water in Amsterdam and cities around the world. Just last weekend, DGTL Amsterdam hosted the world’s first circular music festival. Using 100% renewable energy, green transportation, plant-based menus and even offering tea made from festival urine using space technology – say what?
Are these practices carried forward into your agency?
TBWA\Neboko actively promotes two-wheel transport, supporting a bike plan for all employees to ride to and from the office. Coffee stations offer dairy free alternatives, and our lunch menu keeps improving when it comes to vegetarian options. Our building is certified by the Environmental Eco Vardis report although we haven’t ventured into recycled urine just yet.
How does living in a sustainability-supportive environment help inform your work?
I believe we are all inspired by the potential and possibility of a circular economy in the world, here in the Netherlands and Amsterdam. As global citizens we have a responsibility to better utilize the amazing resources the planet provides and protect the planet for future generations. Inspiration is everywhere and you don’t need to look too far when you see The Ocean Cleanup attacking plastic in our oceans and rivers and winning. Think what will happen if we decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and turn the balance in earth’s favor versus the current tipping point planet earth is facing.
Which brands have been helping consumers to make eco-conscious decisions in your country and what kind of messaging do they use in their campaigns?
We are incredibly lucky to partner with three of the top 10 brands in the most sustainable brands of 2022 according to Dutch consumers in the Sustainable Brand Index* which importantly awards performance over perception. The Vegetarian Butcher was voted #1. NS, the country’s rail operator was voted #6 and Albert Heijn the nation’s number one supermarket was voted #10 which is hugely inspiring for our teams to co-create campaigns with and bring to market for consumers.
The Vegetarian Butcher encourages you to Sacrifice Nothing when it comes to plant-based meat. The brand actively hacks the system providing over 36 products (and counting) for consumers to choose from including ‘Patty on the back’, ‘Little willies’, ‘Happy go clucky’ and ‘Unbelievaballs’ and this is only the beginning says The Vegetarian Butcher “Let’s make a global impact while we release animals from the food chain – welcome to the biggest food revolution of all time”.
For NS International we encourage travelers to go by train. “At 300 kilometers per hour along the traffic jam. Travel through Europe by train. How else?”
Albert Heijn recently launched vegan caviar as part of its own-brand vegan range made from seaweed which complements its extensive own-brand vegan range and only for €1.99. Albert Heijn will continue to focus on plant-based products as standard with a goal of 60% consumed proteins being plant based by 2030.
How do your city’s arts and culture inspire creativity and assist in brand communications?
Amsterdam is a living canvas of creativity and the best way to experience it is on your own feet. A city that you easily navigate and be inspired simply by moving through the canals. The city itself is made up of immigrants from all over the world with over 180 different backgrounds. The melting pot of cultures opens our perspectives on how we tackle briefs and problem solve for clients. We get insights from many corners of the world simply by being in this city.
Amsterdam also offers incredible programs dedicated to creativity including art, design, film, music, tech and theatre. Some of the best include the Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam Dance Event, The Next Web, ADCN Festival of Creativity, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and an array of impressive gig venues like Paradiso and Melkweg for the world’s best touring performers. The canal ring or the Grachtengordel is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and for good reason considering the architecture, galleries and buildings that have stood the test of time for creative minds throughout the centuries.
Do you think that the marketing industry can and should be a force for good, doing more to advance sustainability locally and globally?
Absolutely our industry can be a force for good. As strategic and creative communicators we have incredible power to inform, challenge and ultimately convince consumers there are more sustainable consumption choices in our daily lives. It’s up to each of us and our collective force to change the ratio for the better given the very real climate war we are all facing.