10/01/2014 | Gary Hartley | Transport, Products and technology | electric cars, Formula E, green celebrities, green marketing, green-tech, Leonardo DiCaprio, market disruption, marketing, receycling, Upcycling, waste, Will.i.am
Lots of celebrities claim ‘green credentials’ – but it seems like a few are going beyond lip-service in a bid for tangible change.
Take Black Eyed Peas founder Will.i.am – who is the current director of innovation at Intel as well as maintaining a pop career. He’s on a mission to turn marketing into genuine community change, tackle the planned obsolescence of technologies, and engage brands with his Ekocycle concept, as opposed to the general trend of brands approaching celebs to push units of their latest products off the shelves. A little of his rationale:
The reason why a city doesn't recycle is because people don't see waste as a commodity. They see waste as waste... with the technology we have today it's only waste because we waste the opportunity to turn it into something else. So let's not recycle, let's upcycle. "Let's make plastic a verb...take a plastic bottle. Before it was plastic it was oil, before it was oil it was a living creature. Therefore it's not plastic at all. Plastic is a process, it's like a continuous reformation and transformation of an object.”
It may be that if popular public figures see their role as more market-stimulators for low-carbon technologies rather than examples to follow in our everyday lives, there will be less reason for cynicism from a public who are almost inevitably going to compare their own resources with those of a celebrity and raise an eyebrow.
The same logic applies for actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is entering a team in the first Formula E electric motor racing championship. His Venturi team are joining famous names from Formula 1 like Renault and McLaren, as well as Michelin, Virgin and others. The idea will see teams entering cars designed to the same specifications in the first year, then beyond that, something of an ‘arms race’ for efficiency and speed will begin. The aim of the series of races is as an advert for electric vehicle potential. Formula E boss Alejandro Agag says:
Having people like him (DiCaprio) and Richard Branson - global ambassadors for the environment - is a privilege for our Championship and will greatly help us to spread the use of electric cars in cities around the planet."
These examples certainly make for intriguing uses of privileged positions, and it will be interesting to see if they really do impact on sustainable market disruption.