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How to create positive environmental impact through your copy

A sea turtle swimming in clear, sun-streaked water

The words on your website are a big piece of your brand’s positive impact puzzle.

As well as calling in aligned customers and inspiring sales, great copy can effect real, lasting behaviour change within your audience.

The kind of change that sees your audience adopting new, more sustainable lifestyle habits; or choosing eco-friendlier products; or getting involved in activism. Or maybe even spreading the impact further by influencing their friends and family to make changes too.

Your copy can make a difference to the environment!

If you’re looking for fresh ways to help the planet or ocean (or any cause, for that matter) through your business, your website words are a great place to start.

Here are three ways to incorporate positive impact into your copy (plus examples for inspiration).

1. Educate your audience

You started your business because you care about the environment and making a difference.

So educate your audience and give them a reason to care too!

Your audience may have no concept of the magnitude of the issue, or even the issue itself. Explaining the situation can spark a sense of responsibility and help them make more conscious choices.

Education is a great way to add positive impact to your brand.

Copy tips: Keep it conversational, human and accessible. Make facts easier to digest by breaking them down into everyday comparisons (e.g. “One steak takes 15,500 litres of water to produce, equivalent to a whopping 50 baths!”).

Want to see examples of brands who use their copy to educate? Here are Stream2Sea, Bracenet and Waterlust.

Education example 1: Stream2Sea

A screenshot of copy from the Stream2Sea website, which reads:

Proven Safe for You and Safe for Our Waters.

Did you know an estimated 14,000 tons of chemical, non-biodegradable sunscreen are deposited into our oceans and reefs every year?

Stream2Sea is the first and the only brand that ensures that all our sunscreen and skincare are scientifically proven safe to fish, coral larvae and our bodies.

My thoughts:

I knew that normal sunscreen was bad for the ocean but I didn’t realise how much of an issue it is.

Now I’ve seen this on Stream2Sea’s website, I’ll be telling everyone I can to please stop buying chemical sunscreen.

This is a great example of using copy to educate readers in a clear, compelling and conversational way.

Education example 2: Bracenet

A section of the Bracenet website, which reads:

Save the seas. Wear a net.

Every bracenet more means a piece of ghost net less.

Every year, 640.000 tons of fishing nets are lost or dumped at sea. They lose their purpose, but not their function – and keep on fishing as they drift through the oceans. Millions of marine animals get caught in these so-called “ghost nets” and suffer a cruel death. It’s time to end this! We recover the nets and handcraft them into Bracenets in Germany, upcycling a piece of real fishing net for every product. Spread the message for the protection of the oceans: SAVE THE SEAS. WEAR A NET

My thoughts:

There are two things I like about Bracenet’s purpose-led copy here.

First, the specificity. It doesn’t just tell you that 640,000 tons of fishing net ends up in the sea each year. It digs into what happens to them (“They lose their purpose, but not their function”) and exactly how this causes a problem.

Second, the tone. The copy is clear, concise and level-headed. It is also emotionally charged. This makes the copy engaging and easy to read, while tapping deeply into its audience’s compassion towards marine animals.

It’s really effective.

Education example 3: Waterlust

A section of the Waterlust website, which reads:

Introducing our new take-back program and clothing made from recycled textiles.

According to the EPA, 87% of apparel textiles are not recycled annually in the United States, meaning millions of tons of old clothes are piled into landfills every year. This holiday shopping season, consider the impact of your purchases and shop consciously.

My thoughts:

Here’s a final example, this time from Waterlust. I like how the brand has combined education about the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill with a reminder about how readers can reduce the problem by shopping consciously.

2. Inspire people

Great copy inspires your perfect customer to move from a passive visitor to an active participant.

As we know, most for-profit brands use inspiration to sell their products and services. But it has an even deeper purpose for sustainability brands.

Your words can inspire true, lasting positive change among your audience.

It’s not about making inflated promises or painting an artificially optimistic vision of the future – this isn’t inspiring, it’s manipulative.

Inspiring is about helping people see and think differently, and showing them what’s possible so they feel driven to be involved.

Ultimately, if your audience feels inspired, they’re more likely to take purpose-aligned action. Which means a bigger positive impact for your brand!

Copy tip: Get specific. When copy is too generic, it’s easy to switch off. Specificity helps with credibility too.

Here are some examples of copy that inspires from Who Gives A Crap, Finisterre and Patagonia.

Inspiration example 1: Who Gives A Crap

A section of the Who Gives A Crap website, which reads: 

Toilets have saved more lives than any other modern invention.

Something to think about next time it's your turn to clean the bathroom.

We donate 50% of our profits to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime.

My thoughts:

Bold, concise and direct. This header from Who Gives A Crap’s impact page is inspiring because it shows readers what’s possible. It gives them a reason to care (the sanitation crisis), presents them with a simple way they can help (buying the loo roll), and cultivates hope by showing the positive change that’s already been achieved.

Inspiration example 2: Finisterre

A section of the Finisterre website, which reads:

Lived and Loved.

Because the most sustainable product is the one you already own.

My thoughts:

I love this from Finisterre. They’re not just using their copy to resonate with eco-conscious consumers. They’re using words to inspire people to think differently and repair or buy pre-loved. Pretty cool from a clothing brand! It reminds me of Patagonia’s ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ Black Friday advert for the New York Times in 2011 (see next).

Inspiration example 3: Patagonia

Patagonia’s ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ ad from The New York Times, 2011

My thoughts:

I couldn’t resist sharing this from Patagonia. The outdoor clothing brand changed the world of advertising when they printed this on Black Friday in the New York Times to launch their Common Threads Initiative. It’s an incredible example of purpose before profit and of using copy to inspire real perspective change – in this case, to reduce textile waste and encourage people to buy less and care more for what they already have, rather than buying new.

3. Make people feel involved

Everybody wants to feel part of something.

It’s a human need to ‘belong’ and feel needed.

Your copy is a perfect opportunity to craft a community of like-minded people and inspire collective action for the planet.

Building a sense of community can help people feel personally invested in your cause and feel ownership and accountability towards it, which means they are more likely to continue taking positive action – whether that’s doing a beach clean, making a personal lifestyle change, educating others or getting involved in activism.

Exactly what this looks like will be different for every brand. Think about how a sense of community would help your specific brand achieve impact for your deeper purpose, and craft your copy to achieve this.

Copy tips: Use inclusive language. Keep it uplifting. Give people clear direction on how to help.

The following examples show how Ocean Sole, Who Gives A Crap (again) and Patagonia (again) use community-harnessing copy to increase their impact.

Community example 1: Ocean Sole

A section of the Ocean Sole website, which reads:

Let's do some good together.

We turn pollution into flip flop artwork, for every $25 spent we collect and upcycle 182 lbs of ocean trash.
A section of the Ocean Sole website, which reads:

Let's save our oceans together.

Host a beach cleanup!

Our goal in 2022 is to increase our impact! In 2021, we collected over 1 million pounds of ocean trash. Your support will only further our efforts!

My thoughts:

Ocean Sole uses positive, uplifting and inclusive messaging to motivate readers to join in. I love how they open with a big action (“Let’s do some good together”) and break this down into smaller actions (doing a beach clean or buying a piece of artwork). It really empowers readers and makes it feel like, together, change can happen.

Community example 2: Who Gives A Crap

A section of the Who Gives A Crap website, which reads:

Know other do gooders?

Bring them into the fold! We always need more people to help us change the world.

My thoughts:

This copy makes readers feel like they’re being given a gold star. Who Gives A Crap does a great job of speaking to people like they’re an awesome human, so they’re more likely to spread the word to get more of that good feeling.

Community example 3: Patagonia

My thoughts:

Here’s another example of Patagonia using copy to achieve a deeper environmental purpose. This clear message not only encourages behaviour change on a personal level (“Buy Less”) but it taps into readers’ inner activists to effect change at a higher level (“Demand More”). It makes people feel part of the fight and rallies them to action.


Hopefully these three tips give you a starting point for incorporating more positive impact into your copy.

If you have any other ideas or want to chat further, feel free to DM me on Instagram. I love learning more about this stuff!

Until next time…

Keep making waves!