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The government of Cape Verde partnered with the Ministerio da Economia Maritima to serve restaurant diners plastic garbage removed from the sea. Instead of receiving what they wanted to eat, the diners were served what marine life eats – plastic. The stunt was timed with World Oceans Day on June 8th, to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean.

This campaign was sent in by our Portugal-based tw:in member Pedro Gaspar Fernandes, who shared his perspective: “The campaign had a fresh approach – the fact that this was pulled off by a governmental institution stood out to me. But, also, so did the reaction from the locals that seemed to have a lack of knowledge (and possibly concern) about the whole ocean pollution issue.”

This example should provoke you to think about your response to one of today’s biggest environmental issues. Consumer awareness around the impact of plastic has surged in the past 12 months. Barely a day passes without brands, governments, the media and entrepreneurs taking action. Just recently we’ve seen Chile banning plastic bags at retail, Dutch supermarket Ektoplaza launching its first ‘plastic-free’ aisle with over 700 items, Bon Appetit in the US is banning straws and stirrers from its 1,000-plus outlets, and National Geographic’s multi-year Planet or Plastic initiative. The list is endless…

But the bigger picture is that this a classic example of how trends emerge! Customer expectations will increase with every awareness-raising initiative. So why wait? Indeed, trend-driven innovators will be asking themselves the question: “how can we set expectations, rather than try to catch up with them?”

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