Every year the in Sweden based collective meets to create a shortlist by judging nominees on principles of humanity and ethics, rather than ?nancial worth. The Brands with a Conscience list is shaped around criteria including evidence of the human implications of the brand and considering the question of whether the brand takes risks in line with its beliefs. Evaluations are made based on reputation, self-representation, history, direct experience, contacts with individuals within the organizations, media and analysts and an assessment of the expressed values of sustainability.
Stanley Moss, CEO of the Medinge Group and chairman of the initiative, called the brands: “..solid indications of the trend towards humanistic branding—this year’s list shows a renewed interest in ethical conduct, accountability and outcome. The 2008 winners remind us that at their essence, brands are for people.”
The last four years, the Medinge Group has named Brands with a Conscience, before the mass media picked up on it. This year’s mixture of companies again represents those leading the way, including some who pushed the humanist agenda for years without recognition. According to the Group especially Dame Anita Roddick should receive recognition for her lifelong contribution to fight injustices. Body and hair care brand Aveda stands out because it’s sustainability committed and regards its employees as change agents with the power to change the course of human civilization. Even though H&M is cheap and cheerful, the company has taken a leading position in crucial issues stays true to strong sustainable credentials. Chocolonely chocolate is produced 100% slave free and Happy Computers trains employees by sending them to Uganda, pro bono, to support the creation of local sustainable training centres. International Watch Co. received its nomination by working with alternative energies and cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 per cent. Celebrities like Kevin Spacey and David de Rothschild also support the Watch Company. Although we weren’t too sure about Pret a Manger, as it turns out the company is a foundation, which supports several charities and where possible only wants to work with organic and non-GM ingredients.
The Medinge Group was founded in 2002 when it first published a brand manifesto of eight statements encapsulating a vision of healthy brands for the future. Last year Medinge launched an online resource, The Journal of the Medinge Group, of papers and articles written by Medinge members.
Image: Greenpeace (H&M)