‘Most adults don't want to process difficult information’

In a world where greenwashing has become common in marketing, denim supplier Alberto Candiani realized the importance of communicating about sustainability in a fun and eye-catching way.
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Candiani Denim has woven sustainability and innovation into the fabric of everything it has made since it was founded in 1938. A supplier to denim brands including Levi's, Acne Studios and Nudie Jeans, the family-run business operates one of the world's most sustainable denim mills from a small town in northern Italy, and recently developed a compostable stretch denim fabric.

Alberto Candiani, the brand's fourth-generation owner, says it's important for businesses to educate customers in a sector where false claims and empty buzzwords are the norm. ‘Any statement that we make has to be scientifically proven,’ he says. This can be tricky, he explains, because while science ‘gives you safety, security and insurance, it can also be incredibly boring. The challenge is transforming science into communication.’ 

‘The formats we found most effective are infographics and short videos,’ he continues. ‘For each specific innovation, we come up with an infographic YouTube video that simplifies it. That's more superficial, but we give you the tools to investigate as deep as you want. Our sustainability report is terribly boring but, if you really want to dig into it, you [can] access very interesting data, which used to be secret. Being transparent means having to give away a little bit of your intellectual property. So, you have to be careful.’

‘It sounds a little cheesy but, to be effective with your communication, you should engage with your audience like they're between 13 and 15 years old. I believe that most adults, even the experts, don't want to process difficult information. We live in a crazy-fast world and, unless you're interested in something, everything is superficial. So, our language had to be simplified, to make science interesting.’

For our ‘25 big lessons from small business’ series, we scoured the world to find inspiring people to share the lessons they've learned from running their own companies. Click here to read the other stories.

This special feature was first published in Courier issue 45, February/March 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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