The best examples of sustainability copy to inspire your own purpose paragraphs

Sally Fox

Lumen & Fox | Brand copy for big-hearted businesses | Messaging, tone of voice, web copywriting

“It’s hard to keep apocalypse in mind, especially if you want to get out of bed in the morning”

-Zadie Smith

If you run a sustainable business or have an element of sustainability to your business, sooner or later, you’re going to want to write about your values. And you should. In the UK, 65% of shoppers stop to think about sustainability before grabbing their credit card. The trouble is, talking about sustainability isn’t easy. It can feel like treading a tightrope with the shark-infested waters of eco cliché on one side and the bed of nails that is eco preaching on the other.

So, here are my top tips for hitting the right note with your purpose paragraphs.

1. Be specific

Give us all the juicy details. Rather than just telling us you’re ‘sustainable’, tell us exactly how.

Hey Girls

Reducing waste. Disposable period products account for 200,000 tonnes of waste per year with 1.5 - 2 billion period products flushed down the toilet annualy. Commercial pads and tampons contain up to 90% plastic, meaning they will take centuries to biodegrade. We work closely with manufacturers to ensure all our products are sustainable. In 2019, we developed a range of Applicator Tampons with sugar-cane bio based applicators. In addition to our sustainable disposable products, Hey Girls also makes reusable period products - menstruation cups and resuable pads. These products have a typical life of 5 - 10 years, reducing waste and also supporting our goals to end period poverty as one purchase (or donation) lasts for several years. Download the Hey Girls 2020 - 2021 impact report.

How Hey Girls reduces period product waste


Seriously tho - how to you make it that similar to meat? So the main reason why our food is really meaty, is that we took AGES (around 1.5 years) to develop it, and it was really really really hard. We have tasted over 2,000 iterations across our 8 launch products – it’s been a long old road.In terms of texture, we take plant-based ingredients and introduce heat, pressure and water. By dialling in our recipes and our cooking techniques, we’re able to produce food with a fibrous texture – just like meat. When it comes to taste, that’s a case of breaking down exactly what it is that makes chicken or bacon smell and taste like chicken and bacon. Once you identify the constituent parts of those tastes and smells, you can try to recreate them using a lot of clever people with clever solutions that don’t involve any animals!

This’ description of how it makes its meat-free products taste and feel like meat

2. Make it personal

If you care about saving paper because you live by an ancient forest, tell us. If you donate to turtle conservation because you saw one on holiday, we’d love to know. It gives your story depth, meaning and a point of difference.

Shaina Mote

Connection to nature, simplicity of living, and a strong sense of community and place were common threads in Shaina’s upbringing in Southern California. Hailing from a family of arborists, Shaina grew up in the back seat of her father’s strawberry-colored truck where she learned the Latin names of tree specimens. Her upbringing was steeped in the soulful honesty of a small family-run business. This, paired with her mother’s passion for rescuing and naturally training horses cemented her appreciation for — and protection of nature.

Shaina Mote’s story

3. Say it your way

Skip the boring corporate language – ‘we believe’, ‘creating change’, ‘people and planet’ – and speak like you would to a friend. If it feels hackneyed or overused, find a new way to say it.

Ordinary Things

Typically, as long as you're making a positive impact, we're pretty excited to work with clients of all shapes and sizes. However, there are a few things that grind our gears (and thus would make for a terrible partnership).

The kinds of clients the Office of Ordinary Things likes to work with

Rubies in the Rubble

Condiments. But Gooder. Tasting great? Good. Fighting food waste? Gooder.

Rubies in the Rubble’s tagline

4. Be honest

It’s okay to be a work in progress. Everybody is. Talk about where you’d like to be as well as where you are right now.

Loud Bodies

Because of the way fast fashion brands have gotten consumers used to small prices and new collections released every year, people buy more and use less – while purchasing habits have drastically increased over the past decades, today 85% clothes purchased are thrown in after less than one year after purchasing.

Why Loud Bodies believe that sustainable fashion matters


Tony’s Chocolonely

What?! Modern slavery? Right now there is modern slavery on cocoa farms in West Africa. This is a result of the unequally divided cocoa chain. Tony’s Chocolonely exists to change that. Illegal child labour and modern slavery are against the law - it needs to stop.

Tony’s Chocoloney’s stance on modern slavery

5. Show don’t tell

One way to sidestep the bullshit is to show rather than tell. Don’t tell people you care about people and planet, show them by focusing your copy on actions not feelings.

Paynter Jacket Co.

Why We Make Jackets. We take iconic jacket styles and re-make them using the best materials that we can find. All of our jackets are made to order, in limited edition batches, just four times a year. It's our way of making sure we create no waste. Each jacket we make is designed by us in East London before is gets made by a small family run factory in Northern Portugal. Each one is hand numbered in the order it’s sold. Illustrated labels on the inside tell the story of that Batch, plus details that most brands would cut out.

The Paynter Jacket Co process

6. Keep it simple

Speak in plain terms your readers will understand instead of hiding behind flowery green language. Similarly, long paragraphs of text will only turn your reader off. Keep it short and digestible.

Frank And Oak

Packed with meaning. Shipping bags are a necessary part of our business. They protect your items as they make their way to your wardrobe. We are working on implementing the best solutions technology and research can provide. Here’s what we’ve achieved so far. Packaging: We’ve drastically reduced the percentage of packaging and plastic used for shipping. All of our kraft boxes and mailers are made from recycled paper and can be easily recycled. Our compostable polybags are made with a biodegradable polymer that allows microorganisms present in landfills to fully break them down. Canvas tote bags: We discourage the distribution of single-use bags in our stores by providing a purchasable and reusable tote bag option.

What Frank and Oak are doing to make their packaging more sustainable

7. Be optimistic

Talking about the planet burning and the elephants dying, whilst it might be true, is a sure-fire way to turn people off. People like to feel hopeful, optimistic. Let your copy reflect that mood.

Foraging Fox

 We know that the world over, people are looking for better... food that is made better, food that has been carefully crafted and lovingly honed so you can enjoy all the taste knowing that it is Good for you (and the little ones too).

Foraging Fox’s upbeat messaging

8. Use humour

This may not work for every brand, but if you can inject some fun into your sustainability copy, you’ll get people on side and make it more memorable.


Swedish and independent. We know how it sounds. Tall, blond, beautiful, hard to get, extremely liberal with no sense of attachment or responsibility whatsoever. Sorry to disappoint you, that's just not us, we are the other Swede - somewhat boring, super practical, painfully honest, notoriously hardworking and independent. Not because we don't want to be social but merely because we wnat to have the right to say what we think and do what we think is right. If we wanted to be one of those gigantic food corporations or have some old man behind a wooden desk in a tall building make decisions for us, we would all quit our jobs and go work for an old man behind a wooden desk in a tall building making gigantic food company decisions for us. Don't hold your breath.

Oatly’s irreverent sustainability copy

9. Make it about your customer

Rather than making it all about you, think about what benefits your actions have for your customer. Why should they care? That’s where the originality and the sustainable copy gold lies.

Third Love

gigantic food corporations or have some old man behind a wooden desk in a tall building make decisions for us, we would all quit our jobs and go work for an old man behind a wooden desk in a tall building making gigantic food company decisions for us. Don't hold your breath. Oatly's irreverent sustainability copy We've heard enough rants, chants and promises. And we still don't feel like 'our best self.' Instead of an anthem, we make stuff that makes you feel good. Let's trade bad bras, sub-par workout gear, and lackluster sleepwear for pieces that your body loves being in.

Third Love’s benefit-focused sustainability copy

10. Don’t preach

Telling your customer what they need to do and making them feel guilty? Not very appealing. Instead, keep it light and focus on the benefits.


 Keep your gear in play. Buy used, trade in and fix your gear through Worn Wear. Visit Worn Wear.

Patagonia’s no-nonsense copy for their Worn Wear program

Want me to take a look at your purpose paragraphs? Need help with your sustainability sentences? Get in touch.

Seen any great sustainability copy? I’d love to know. You’ll find me over on Twitter.

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