On Brand Activism
With Project Everyone’s Gail Gallie and Film Writer & Director Richard Curtis
In a world calling out for systematic change, Project Everyone hosted a discussion about how we can all become individual activists to support The Global Goals and build back better. Here, Gail Gallie, Project Everyone’s Co-founder, and Film Writer & Director Richard Curtis respond to your questions on brand activism.
Co-founder, Project Everyone
Writer, Director, Co-Founder of Red Nose Day and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate
What is the best form of activism? Can some activism set causes back, rather than bring progress?
Richard: All forms of activism play an important role in influencing and creating change. The most important thing is to strategise with everyone in mind. For example, If amazing change was happening at a political level, but nothing at all on a grassroots level, that wouldn't create the best possible outcome. Activists might be doing their work with the best of intentions, but are not focused on collaboration. This may not, necessarily, set causes back, but is likely to be less effective and therefore hinder progress.
Do you think that, in these financially difficult times, corporate activism will be put on the backburner?
Gail: That certainly would have been the expectation in the past. However, COVID-19 has actually exacerbated the need for companies to stand up and take a lead on societal issues as there has been increased attention paid to their reaction to the crisis. When the Black Lives Matter protests picked up that incredible momentum after George Floyd’s death, companies were quick to respond and silence became, in itself, a statement. Corporate activism is definitely on an upward trajectory, but companies must ensure they are putting in place the systemic actions in their businesses to back up their public statements or be prepared to be hit with consumer boycotts and employee walkouts.
How can we reconcile what is happening on a global level with change on an individual level, so people can feel they're making a difference?
Richard: Making a difference is not defined by how many people you impact and how global your efforts are. Something as 'small' as picking up litter from the floor and putting it in a bin can make a difference. First, you have to know and believe that you are part of something bigger and you playing your part is making a difference to the bigger picture. Thinking of your activism or your efforts in this way really helps in realising that you are making a difference and playing your part to create a better world.