Sustainability used to have a perception problem.

Concerns about the environment used to be what sensible people did. It was about wearing hemp, switching off the lights when you left the room and washing out jam jars before you put them in your recycling bin. Sustainability was about doing the right thing irrespective of personal appearance or product performance: Frankly, it used to be a bit clunky and uncool to care about sustainability and the environment.

But what if there was another way? What if a brand could make sustainability cool, performance driven and even desirable?

Enter Chilly’s; the fashionable water bottle brand that has seemingly landed on office desks across the country overnight.

Founded by two entrepreneurs (James Butterfield and Tim Bouscarle) who tired of the Shoreditch digital marketing rat race, Chilly’s offer a range of slick-looking metallic water bottles that use “double wall vacuum insulation” technology to keep water cool for up to 24 hours and hot drinks warm for 12. They see design as key to their success: “our goal is to make products people love so much they don’t want to use single use stuff anymore” said Mr Butterfield.

Chilly’s have made water bottles desirable, not just functional. They look great, and they work well. You’re more likely to have your Chilly’s bottle with you and want to fill it up, rather than the manky old plastic one you accidently warped out of shape during a dishwasher hot wash.

Pret A Manger, the premium sandwich chain not known to miss a trick when it comes to sustainability, have spotted an opportunity to reinforce their environmental credentials and collaborate with the start-up. In an effort to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they use in stores, Pret have launched with Chilly’s its own range of water bottles, designed in keeping with Pret’s iconic food imagery, for £25 a pop.

If you want to get consumers to change their behaviour for the better, sometimes the carrot is better than the stick. Who would have thought a thermos flask might well become the darling of the sustainability world?

BY ENGINEER Irina Ikonsky

irina.ikonsky@thevalueengineers.com