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Three green leaves forming a circle on a pink background. Blog post: Environmental social media campaigns

Get Inspired by These Winning Environmental Social Media Campaigns

Nick Rogers

Apr 8, 2018

Some brands take a stand, publicly stating their brand values and detailed how this impacted their brand's public perception. In our current social zeitgeist, the political is often personal and consumers want brands to have the same values as they do. Here are five examples of environmental brands that are winning with their social media accounts, let's see what marketing teams can learn from them.

Social media isn’t just a place for animal videos, funny memes, and clever social media campaigns.

Today, social media is the perfect global platform for brands and businesses to raise awareness (and money) for causes that affect millions of people around the world.

One of the most important causes? Our environment.

With a growing interest surrounding brands that take their earthly responsibility seriously, we thought it would be the optimal time to break down the 5 best environmental campaigns on social media in recent history. Even if your company doesn't play in this space, the creativity deployed by the brands highlighted can still spark ideas for your own marketing department.

Let’s do this!

6 Best Environmental Campaigns on Social Media

1. J.J. Watt: Hurricane Harvey Fundraiser

Hurricane Harvey was one of the costliest environmental disasters to ever hit the United States. In total, damages were estimated at nearly $200 billion dollars.

Volunteers and organizations from around the world rallied behind the victims of this tragic event. One of those volunteers was NFL superstar J.J. Watt and he contributed in a huge way.

Watt launched a fund on to start raising money across social media on August 26th, 2017 with an initial goal of $200,000. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that he might have underestimated people’s willingness to help those in need.

In total, Watt raised an astonishing $37,068,102, which is more than 185X his initial goal. Not surprisingly, J.J. Watt was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in early 2018 for his humanitarian efforts.

2. Patagonia: Black Friday Donation

The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has been at the forefront of environmental activism since the company’s 1973 founding.

In 2016, Patagonia announced that it would donate 100% of its Black Friday sales to organizations that benefit the environment. Social media caught word and it spread like wildfire – this tweet receiving nearly 1,000% greater engagement rate than others on their profile:

After projecting that it would hit $2 million in sales, the company was shocked to discover that it sold more than $10 million worth of merchandise. Social media was a big force in getting the word out about their Black Friday campaign.

Patagonia explained that the campaign allowed them to help “hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations” which is a win by many different measures.

3. Apple: “Earth – Shot on iPhone” Video

It’s hard for brands to stay completely removed from politics when the environment is involved.

In the wake of the U.S. administration’s decision to back out of the Paris environmental agreement, Apple decided it would write a “love letter” to the Earth.

Earth – Shot on iPhone captures how beautiful our planet is through the lens of everyday users. Written and narrated by Carl Sagan, the YouTube video serves as a powerful reminder of just how much we have to lose.

The fact we only have one planet “underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another,” Sagan says, “and to preserve, and cherish, the only home we’ve ever known.”

4. NASA: #AdoptThePlanet

Earth Day, the day set aside each year to celebrate our planet and bring attention to the natural world, is the perfect opportunity to launch an environmental campaign on social media.

In 2017, NASA invited people to “adopt” a portion of Earth’s surface with their #AdoptThePlanet campaign.

When all was said and done, not only did NASA go through all 64,000 locations more than once, they also helped to educate millions of people around the world with their integrated website and social media campaign approach.

5. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): #EndangeredEmoji

WWF is on a mission to build a future in which people live in harmony with the earth and with nature. As one of the world’s leading independent conservation body, WWF runs several global campaigns focused on making a big impact.

One of my favorite WWF social media campaigns was called #EndangeredEmoji. Their genius use of emoji on social media helped to raise awareness for endangered animals around the world.

You probably use animal emoji every day in your texts with friends and posts on social media. WWF made it so that you could use emojis to support a good cause.

Every time a user tweeted an animal emoji seen above, WWF tracked its usage and added a small monetary amount for an optional donation at the end of each month.

During the two-month campaign period, WWF received 59,618 signups while gaining global press coverage and influencer attention. A massive win for their brand.

Reading Tip: Learn How Meltwater Helped Track Earth Hour, the World’s Largest Grassroots Movement

6. School Strike for Climate

The school strike for climate, also known variously as Fridays for Future (FFF), Youth for Climate, Climate Strike or Youth Strike for Climate, is an international movement. The movement, which is leveraged by a number of brands including Lush and Patagonia, encourages school students to participate in demonstrations each Friday to demand action from political leaders around climate change. 

Publicity and widespread organising began after Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, staged a protest in August 2018 outside the Swedish parliament, holding a sign that read "Skolstrejk för klimatet" / "School strike for climate. A global strike on 15 March 2019 gathered more than one million strikers and a further 2200 strikes were organised in 125 countries.

While this wasn't necessarily a brand campaign, brands are still benefiting from aligning their values with a topical event. Lush temporarily closed its 250 stores in the United States and Canada in solidarity. “As a business with deep roots in environmental activism, giving our thousands of staff the time to get out there and demand bold action is a no brainer,” said North America CEO and president Mark Wolverton in a brand statement. “We all share this planet, so we need to band together to sound the alarm and show our politicians that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. Climate crisis won’t wait, and neither will we.”

Changing the World One Post at a Time

It’s not enough to simply post content on social media anymore.

Customers and social media users have much more control over your brand’s success than ever before.

Changing the World One Post at a Time

It’s not enough to simply post content on social media anymore.

Customers and social media users have much more control over your brand’s success than ever before.

In order to thrive in a global market, your brand story must personally impact customers. It must resonate emotionally while constantly striving to physically make the world a better place.

That’s why studying these environmental social media campaigns can teach us so many great lessons about turning ideas into movements.