In an ordinary week, Seventh Generation’s TV ads involve Maya Rudolph hawking its laundry detergent or recycled toilet paper (and singing about why trees shouldn’t die to wipe your butt). For the week of September 16, leading up to the Global Climate Strike on September 20—when millions of people may walk out of work and school to demand climate action—the company will donate its six-figure ad buy to the Youth Climate Movement instead.
“We just got really inspired by the Youth Climate Movement and them raising their voices and the amount of attention that they’re bringing for urgent action now,” says Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation. “And as we listen to the voices of the next generation, what’s been very clear to us is that we need to take action. The IPCC report has been very clear. We have now about 11 years before we see irreversible damage to the environment. And it’s really our job to take action and to move other businesses to move ourselves to move politicians to take real and meaningful action.”
The company, known for its environmental work, is already working on climate change internally with a science-based target to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It’s reformulating products, including making laundry detergent ultraconcentrated so it takes less fuel to ship. Because most of the emissions from its products come from customers using them (most of the carbon footprint of laundry detergent comes from the washer and dryer), it’s also advocating for cities to move to renewable electricity. But it saw the need to also support broader action. The nonprofit 350.org will be deciding how to make use of the airtime, with the agency Futerra and director Rankin donating their time to make new commercials about the strike.
Seventh Generation will also close on September 20 for the strike—giving employees in 30 countries the day off to participate—as well as devote its social media for the week to messaging about the Global Climate Strike rather than its own products. The company is also hoping that others decide both to shut down for the day and take the step to donate airtime. “We think other businesses should find their ways how they can amplify the voice of the Youth Climate Movement and really ensure that the message is heard . . . double down on their own commitments to take action themselves and to encourage lawmakers to act on this as well,” says Bergstein.