The best social impact news this week

Authors: Liam Clifford, Zoe Dawson, Kate Savin
  • Posted on: May 11, 2021

This week is Mental Health Week in the UK, so we decided to leave behind any negativity and share some of our favourite stories from the world of social impact. This week, we’re highlighting cheaper meat-free options, Unilever’s plan for climate action and an excellent campaign about ovarian cancer.

| NAILED IT: Co-op makes alt-meat affordable

The Co-op announced last week it would be slashing the prices of its Gro vegan range to make each product no more expensive than their meat and dairy equivalents. Part of its 2040 net zero emissions plan, the move should remove a crucial barrier to people choosing vegan alternatives and reduce emissions caused by the meat industry in the process.

If other supermarkets follow suit, alt-meat price parity could see a huge shift in our buying habits. The government’s Behaviour Insights Team concluded in their 2020 report ‘A Menu for Change’ that price is one of the three main factors that influences what food people buy.

But according to a recent survey, up to two thirds of alt-meat products are more expensive than the animal equivalent. Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen Range products come in at a whopping 61% more expensive on average than non-vegan equivalents per serving. 

There’s little chance of Brits choosing alt-meat en masse when it’s so costly, but the market for vegan products is only getting bigger. A record 500,000 people took part in Veganuary last year, and the sale of alt-meat burgers and sausages is expected to increase by 50% over the next five years. 

More climate-conscious policies announced by the Co-op are an intention to sell exclusively carbon neutral own brand food and drink by 2025, make its fleet of 200 home delivery vehicles electric, and cut packaging. If they stick to these goals, and the other major supermarkets also enact similar carbon-cutting policies, we may yet see one of the UK’s biggest causes of climate change drop off in the next couple of decades.

| ALSO NAILED IT: Unilever takes aim at meaningful climate action

In more good news for retail, British consumer goods giant Unilever just announced that shareholders have overwhelmingly voted in favour of their newly unveiled climate action strategy.

While many a business is talking shop about their climate change initiatives, what’s refreshing about Unilever’s proposal is that instead of the usual airy-fairy promises we tend to see corporate behemoths come out with, it actually seems to have a distinct game plan. The strategy breaks down short and mid-term policies, plans for financing these changes, and provides a clear roadmap for people to follow. Unilever reports that as much as 99% of the shareholders who voted were in favour of their plan to reach net zero emissions by 2039.

This shift is significant. Having a major market leader like Unilever committed to more tangible changes may have a ripple effect in the sector, leading others to follow suit, in one of the world’s most climate-destructive industries. Either way, the overwhelming vote of confidence in the plan from shareholders goes to show that when the promises aren’t just a few words on a slide deck, people will get behind them.

(And if you fancy some light reading, you can find their full strategy here.)

| NAILED IT AGAIN: Fancy the pants off Ovarian Cancer Action’s new campaign

On Saturday 8th May it was World Ovarian Cancer day, a day to raise awareness of a serious, life-threatening disease and to pose in your knickers on Instagram.

Well, at least that’s the call to action for Ovarian Cancer Action’s #poseinmypants campaign, which launched on social media over the weekend. 

The campaign is partnering with influencers to showcase a range of underwear embroidered with gorgeous illustrations of the female reproductive system with ovaries replaced by bombs and grenades. These show the powerful juxtaposition that while the ovaries can create life, ovarian cancer can be life-taking. In fact, a woman dies from ovarian cancer every 2 hours in the UK. 

The imagery is powerful, but so is the idea to put it on pants and post it to female influencers. When so much of awareness raising communications from charities pull on your heartstrings, it makes a refreshing and memorable change to see something bold, confident and dare we say it…. fun!

Jemma Burgess, one of the creatives behind the campaign told us “We wanted to use a trend on social media that was already empowering, women posing with their natural bodies and being proud of them. Hooking onto that to talk about such an important and serious subject felt like it could inspire a conversation and empower people to actually take action.”

There’s no news yet on whether the pants are available to buy, but fingers crossed. Find out more about ovarian cancer, its signs and treatment at