Bottletop launches #TOGETHERBAND
By BEL JACOBS
It’s come a long way from making bags with recycled bottle tops in Africa. Today, on World Earth Day, ethically sussed accessories label Bottletop launches #TOGETHERBAND, a campaign that aims to build a global community of active citizens working together to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It aims to do this through a lively mix of sustainable fashion, contemporary art, music and documentary.
The UN launched the Goals or SDGs in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and make sure everyone lives in peace and prosperity. The Goals are beautiful: 17 detailed, solution-orientated documents with titles such as Gender Equality, No Poverty, Zero Hunger. The deadline for their achievement is 2030. Problem is, most people haven’t heard of them.
Cameron Saul, founder of Bottletop, wants to do something about this. Working with the UN Foundation, WWF, Project Everyone, Livia Firth’s Eco Age, Global Citizen and Founding Partner UBS, Saul’s campaign will span 17 months, counting each goal, one by one up to the UN General Assembly in 2020 - the key 10 year milestone ahead of the 2030 target date.
“The lightbulb moment was meeting Amina J Mohammed [ the now Deputy Secretary-General of the UN] in September 2015, the month that the Goals were announced,” remembers Cameron Saul, of the campaign’s genesis. “I realised that BOTTLETOP [already] addresses 12 of the Goals directly through our mission and approach as an organisation.
“We immediately thought 'how can we use sustainable design and creative culture as a vehicle to drive awareness and visibility for the Goals as that's how we have always engaged people with development issues. It was completely natural to us.”
“It's not that people have not grasped their importance yet,” says Saul, when asked why the Goals don’t get the focus they deserve. “It’s just that, in most cases, that they haven't been given the right opportunity to engage with the subject matter. Seventeen huge subject areas speaking to everything that we need to critically address as a human race is a lot to digest so we have to help people navigate them.
“Our approach is to humanise the Goals and ask people to choose the Goal that matters most, show them amazing projects working in that space and invite people to get behind it.”
Each Goal will be launch through live events around the world and a curated group of up to 100 ambassadors from across the cultural spectrum who are passionate about that Goal and will help spread the word, inspiring and educating consumers to come together and help protect our future.
At the heart of the campaign are 17 sustainably produced friendship bracelets, featuring Bottletop’s signature motif, each in the colour of the relevant goal. The bracelets are created from up-cycled ocean plastic from Costa Rica; for every #TOGETHERBAND sold, 1KG of plastic is removed from marine environments. The clasp is made from Humanium Metal - upcycled from decommissioned seized illegal firearms in Central America, helping to end armed violence and rebuild conflict-torn societies.
The making generates sustainable employment for Nepalese artisans, and 100% of the funds generated go towards projects that further the advancement of the Global Goals.
“The bracelets play an active role in spreading the word,” says Richard Curtis, Project Everyone. “The #TOGETHERBAND campaign represents the future that we’re all fighting for.”
First up, Goal 15: Life on Land. And to celebrate, Andrew Morgan, director of seminal documentary True Cost, has made a short film for #TOGETHERBAND, featuring the life and work of a wild rubber tapper in the Amazon who is creating fashion products in a sustainable way whilst protecting the rain forest. Key Life on Land ambassadors launching Goal 15: Life on Land on World Earth Day include supermodel Doutzen Kroes; actor and producer Michelle Yeoh, and Georgina Mace, Director of the UCL Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research.