Magazine article Marketing

Brand Builders: Future Forests

Magazine article Marketing

Brand Builders: Future Forests

Article excerpt

The climate protection company is making a commercial success of being environmentally aware, writes Ben Bold.

It is not every day that one receives a letter from Brad Pitt, but that is exactly what happened to Future Forests founder Dan Morrell earlier this year. The envelope contained a cheque for dollars 10,000 and a letter informing Morrell that the Hollywood star wanted to become a 'CarbonNeutral citizen'.

Pitt is just one of a raft of celebrities keen to work with climate protection business Future Forest, which aims to combat global pollution. The organisation's other supporters include famous names as diverse as Kevin Keegan, Lord Bath and rock band Foo Fighters.

Aside from superstars, consumers in the UK and overseas are becoming more familiar with the term CarbonNeutral, which was coined and trademarked by Morrell and Future Forests co-founder Sue Welland. Although it has yet to be included in the Oxford English Dictionary, Morrell is optimistic.

'How great it is to have trademarked something that is part of the English language,' he says.

The term is based on an equation that calculates how an individual or a business can offset the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by their activities.

The words are intended to act as a powerful reminder that society must strike a balance between mass-consumerism and responsible living.

Future Forests works with a number of businesses to help them to measure, then offset the greenhouse gases that they produce. 'If they do not have their climate-change litigation sorted out, they will be valued on the stock market as a future liability,' Morrell says.

Honda, for example, gives car buyers a pack explaining that a Future Forests tree has been planted for them (allowing for three months' CarbonNeutral driving). Other Future Forests corporate clients include Avis and DHL.

As awareness of Future Forests and CarbonNeutral grows, so it is hoped the case for consumers to choose environmentally responsible companies, over those not addressing global concerns, will strengthen. This month the company began its first integrated campaign by partnering with Radio Taxis Group's fleet of London cabs (Marketing, 2 March).

The idea for Future Forests sprang from unusual ground. In the mid-90s, Morrell was working in the music business, sourcing tracks for TV ads and synchronising the airing of the commercial with the single's release.

In 1996, while backstage at Glastonbury chatting to former-Clash frontman Joe Strummer, Morrell's lifelong ambition to improve the environment came to fruition.

'Joe and I were watching these trucks and vans arriving and talking about the greenhouse gases they must be creating on tours,' he explains. …

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