It’s no secret that the fashion industry has taken over Earth Day. Originally, April 22nd was a grassroots movement to help combat environmental pollution. Now it’s an excuse to push new collections branded as “sustainable.”
However, as the climate crisis accelerates, consumers are waking up to performative markering. Combined with regulations emerging in the UK and EU to quell greenwashing, the event will see a return to its activist roots. Retailers will have no choice but to get on board to enact real change or risk being viewed as inauthentic.
This report analyzes the key themes of Earth Day and Month campaigns and how the event shaped up for 2022.
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Though most emails were sent on Earth Day (April 22nd), mentions of the event throughout April fell 22% YoY, with retailers rethinking their strategies to avoid being viewed as performative.
Instead, a year-round approach to the event has been noted in line with the theme “Earth Day is every day.” This is evident with mentions of sustainability in emails from January to April increasing 6% YoY and retailers’ efforts to be transparent by sharing sustainable goals and milestones.
Capsule collections were introduced at River Island, Vans, Lululemon and Guess, while Selfridges, Everlane and Kohl’s promoted curated edits of eco products already ranged. Secondhand clothing saw a big push this year from Levi’s, while resale platforms promoted tips for sustainable living.
Donations were centered around combatting deforestation. Retailers need to keep in mind nonprofits that work to protect People of Color who are most at risk of the climate emergency – look to Fashion Revolution, Slow Factory, The Environmental Justice Foundation, The Solutions Project and organizations that reflect your brand’s values.
Above all, retailers need to constantly build on their sustainability efforts and use Earth Day 2023 to share progress instead of waiting for the event to do good for one day.
Invest In Our Planet
Earth Day is Every Day
L-R: Lucus Hugh UK – Apr 22, 2022 & Lemlem Email US – Apr 22, 2022
L-R: Nobodys Child Email UK – Apr 22, 2022 & The Childrens Place – Email US – April 1, 2022
Fashion Revolution Week
L-R: Mother of Pearl Email UK – Apr 18, 2022, Levi’s Email US – April 20, 2022 & Cuyana Email US – Apr 1, 2022
Extending Product Life
L-R: Splendid Email US – Apr 22, 2022, Agnès b Email UK – Apr 22, 2022 & Fleet Feet Email US – Apr 22, 2022
Eco Product Edits
Meet the Makers
Spotlight Eco Brands
L-R: Hanky Panky Email US – Apr 22, 2022, Shopbop Email UK – Apr 1, 2022 & BLEUSALT US – Apr 23, 2022
Donations & Charity Initiatives
Arbor Day Foundation
World Land Trust
One Tree Planted
Axel Arigato was the first to communicate Earth Month for 2022 on January 7th, as part of its New Year’s resolutions email underscoring its sustainability efforts. This was two weeks earlier than 2021’s first email. Other early mentions included Levi’s promoting its Vintage Project Survival collection inspired by the grassroots movement that led to the first Earth Day in 1970 on February 17th, and Nike promoting its Move to Zero initiative a month out of the event.
Earth Day on April 22nd remained the day the most emails were scheduled. However, throughout the month, mentions of the event fell 22% YoY, with greenwashing crackdowns causing retailers to avoid marketing strategies that could be seen as performative. Instead, there was more of a focus on eco communications throughout the year. Emails centered on sustainability rose 6% between January and April YoY.
“Happy Earth Day” and “Celebrate Earth Day” were the most popular email subject lines. Retailers also leveraged emails to communicate planet-friendly products and used subject lines to promote sustainable categories.
2022 email subject lines:
Apr 11 – Everlane – Your dream handbag is also Earth friendly.
Apr 22 – Salomon – Recyclable shoes for earth day
Apr 22- Pier 1 – World Earth Day Savings Up To 85%
Apr 22- Burberry – Celebrating Earth Day, Today And Beyond
Apr 22 – Free People – Mother Nature approved tees
Take note – Earth Day will fall on Sunday, April 22nd in 2023.
Tillys Email US – Apr 10, 2022
Coinciding with Earth Day, Selfridges opened a four-week pop-up in its Oxford Street store to showcase innovation and sustainable materials, with a 3D printing machine as the main attraction. On the 22nd, it sent out an email inviting customers to shop by its Project Earth categories: For Nature, For Vegans, For Animals, and For Communities.
Selfridges Email UK – Apr 22, 2022
Patagonia made no mentions of Earth Month this year, though it used the 22nd to communicate the sustainable efforts baked into its brand. Via email, it promoted its new film Newtok which raises awareness about the rising water levels that threaten to displace the Yup’ik residents in Alaska.
Patagonia Email US – Apr 22, 2022
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