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How heroes

Many brands make sustainability part of what they do,
but Hero Brands go one better. They champion causes,
fighting for them like our life on this planet depends on it.






No flabby social practices or smoking factories.



This means making a mission and seeing it through.


GOOD AT inspiring others to get behind A cause

Why solve problems on your own when you can get others to join in?


Getting fighting fit is a bit like a New Year's resolution, except this is one you actually follow through with (rather than just doing the first two weeks of January).

Smoking factories, flabby material inputs and lazy processes are out. A healthy approach to your social and environmental policies is in.

Yes, it's hard work but think of it as strong abs. It's the muscular framework that will give you  the strength to go out and have a big impact on the world.

Put simply, being fighting fit is about operating your business like you intend to stay in business.

It means having a cohesive strategy in place for simultaneously achieving social, economic and environmental wealth.

It's a plan for your business, not for your sustainability manager. One that everyone understands and implements, right through from supply chain to customer. 

Get it right and it will create efficiencies and revenue, impress your shareholders, employees and customers and make your business more resilient to future challenges.

Plus, in the world of sustainability it's the cost of entry to the game. Nothing less.

Making Your Mission

Ever noticed there are no talkheroes? Only action heroes.

Heroes are defined by their actions so, to be a hero, you're going to have to do something heroic.

So what are you going to do that's meaningful? And how are you going to choose?

Your mission should be:




Or, as our friends at Futerra* put it, "easy to say and hard to do".


* Good people doing good things
** See how they're going at Solve for X
*** See Haagen Dazs'


Your biggest sin

If you have a heritage of child labour in your factories then cleaning up your act and becoming a megaphone for fair labour conditions is probably an excellent place to start. Poacher turned gamekeeper, the prodigal son and all that.

Something your expertise can be redeployed for

If you have a heritage of child labour in your factories then cleaning up your act and becoming a megaphone for fair labour conditions is probably an excellent place to start. Poacher turned gamekeeper, the prodigal son and all that.

The BIGGEST RISKS to your business

Those things that will be most fundamental to the future survival and success of your business. If, for example, you sell tuna and the survival of the tuna race is at risk, then saving that species would make a lot of sense***. If you make and sell houses and the cost of electricity is going up then heroing energy efficiency might make sense. And so on.


 Climate Change  Food Security  Transportation  tax Evasion
 Global Pollution  Trade Issues  Corporate Power Carbon Emissions 
Local Pollution  Debt   Supply Chain  Water Use
 Ecosystem Impact  Financial Crisis  Extortion  Over Population
Landscape Impact   Gun Violence  Poverty  Terrorism
 Overuse  Energy  Land Rights  War
 Waste  Privacy  Ocean Destruction  Starvation
 Animal Treatment  Work/Life Balance  Child Care  Disease
 Workers Rights  Domestic Violence  Human Rights  Lack of Education
Health Issues   Oppression  Executive Pay  Overfishing
Safety Issues  Cost of Living   Sanitation  Partisan Politics
Poor Conditions   Sea Level Rise Drought   Addiction
Corruption  Biodiversity   Forest Clearing Refugees 
 Bribery  Extreme Weather  e-Waste  Malnutrition
Stewardship   Recession  Lack of Community  Cost of Goods
 Toxics Overconsumption   Local Participation  Regulatory Failure
 Landfill  Infant Mortality  Discrimination  Cyber Security
 Packaging  Nuclear Waste  Child Labour  Weapons of Mass Destruction
 Intolerance Arms Trade  Fraud   Social Fragmentation
As you can see, there is no shortage of problems needing a hero. The rub is to choose the one (or ones) that makes the most strategic sense to your business.
Hero hint #1
The best missions solve both a social or environmental problem and a business problem too. So, they help the world and help your bottom line at the same time.
Hero hint #2
You don't have to solve just one problem. Some big companies, like Unilever, have found that three or more gives them the diversity they need to be heroes on a global scale.

unilever logo


Inspiring others to join in is all aboutgetting many
hands involved. The more the merrier, and the quicker
the fightwill be over.

Heroes understand their followers want to be heroes too, so why not let them play a part in making the world a better place?

Timberland has made it their mission to plant 5 million trees in five years. They arrange tree-planting events for their employees and encourage their customers to create events of their own. They inspire their designers to consider sustainability in their designs then educate their customers to buy them. Even their CEO blogs

about their missions and champions sustainability at worldwide events.

In doing so, Timberland helps thousands (maybe millions) of people understand what sustainability is, why it matters and how they can be a part of it. And hopefully creates a few new heroes in the process.



Hero to who? Everyone, in the right order.

Of course you'll be familiar with the concept of 'first followers' from The Lone Nut.
What? You're not?? It's brilliant. Best you take a look now:


When Unilever launched their Sustainable Living Plan in Australia, they wanted to make sure their employees heard about it first creating a shared sense of responsibility for making it happen. But how to do that?

Their internal launch campaign saw everyone in the company given a new job title, Head of Sustainability, complete with business cards, job manual and posters of employees in their new position. The campaign was backed up by 'helpful hint' stickers, a senior leadership workshop and an employee launch led by the CEO

Unilever poster 1

Unilever poster 2

The mission quest

Appalled at the consequences of his customers' plastic consumption, plastic manufacturer Paul thought it was time for change in Earthville. After reading the Hero's Handbook, he knew what to do: It was time to become Planet Paul instead of Plastic Paul and do something about this packaging problem. He decided to launch an awareness campaign that encouraged recycling.

The mission quest

People loved it, millions were reached and the citizens of Earthville celebrated the newspaper headlines: "Planet Paul Rids the World of the evil Polyethylene Monster." Until the Hero Commission set the cat among the pigeons: "Planet Paul really is Plaster Saint Paul - recycling will never solve our consumption problem because it doesn't stem the production of virgin plastic product".

What do you think?

What do you think of Paul? Big fool or guy with good intentions?

see the results

Give us your opinion