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Photo Credit: Ebeltoft Group

Brands are Taking Responsibility Seriously

Purpose and responsibility are paramount in the shifting set of consumer values, and define the term Activism, one of the four trends set to dominate the retail industry this year. The four trends are highlighted in depth in our book Global Retail Trends & Innovations 2019 together with a broad variety of the most innovative concepts existing globally. In addition to Activism, the three other trends covered in our book are Omniexperience, Smart Shopping and Engagement. This week we’re highlighting Activism:


Consumers care, and so should you! They care about the environment – both locally and globally – and are making socially conscious decisions now more than ever. Brands and retailers must adapt and incorporate social responsibility and sustainable practices into their brand identity to stay relevant. Consumers want to feel like they are part of something greater when buying a brand and supporting a good cause, that must go beyond simple communication.

Consumers are increasingly looking to align with brands and retailers that share their values. Activism means taking a stand on societal and political issues and being transparent on your proposition with consumers. It is about demonstrating responsibility through the entire value chain and far beyond the brand’s core products or service. Retailers hereby offer the consumer to be part of a greater purpose when buying their brand, which is increasingly important for both consumers and employees.


Ecoalf is a Spanish clothing company looking to change the customer’s perspective on fashion because there is no “Planet B”. The brand aims at doing that by offering beautiful, high-quality, timeless clothing and products while promoting consciousness of the excessive use of natural resources and waste production due to our current lifestyle.

Ecoalf has focused on changing the game since 2009 with the goal of producing clothing made with high-quality fabric obtained only from recycled materials, and with the help of R+D investments, the brand was able to develop textiles from plastic bottles, old fishing nets, used ground coffee, old tires, etc., and designed production processes for these fabrics using less natural resources and produce less CO2 emissions. Ecoalf is also behind initiatives and collaborations to promote upcycling and sustainability. Ecoalf started a project with a fishermen’s association to collect plastic waste from the ocean, and through last year alone, the company has cleaned 250 tons of plastic out of the ocean. The success of this project has spread the idea to other associations in Spain and Thailand.

Photo: Ebeltoft Group

As an expansion of brand identify, Ecoalf opened their first flagship store in Madrid, and has since expanded to Berlin.  In addition to demonstrating its products and philosophy, each store is made with reused materials and hosts events, exhibitions and screenings to promote sustainability.

More on this and other interesting topics can be found on the Ebeltoft Group site here.

For more best practice-cases, download Global Retail Trends & Innovations here

Alex Timion

Alex leads McMillanDoolittle’s global communications work and is the primary point of contact for Ebeltoft Group, McMillanDoolittle’s international partnership with over two dozen retail consulting member firms around the world. In this capacity, Alex coordinates collaborative project work, assists with original global studies, runs point on Ebeltoft Group’s annual publication Retail Innovations, and provides comprehensive event planning assistance for bi-annual international conferences. As a Senior Associate, Alex provides planning and presentation support for the company’s retail focused study tours and speaking engagements, including NRF’s Big Show.

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