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Baby steps: Bambino Mio is guiding all parents towards changing nappies for good

Single-use, so-called “disposable” nappies are an environmental disaster, so Bambino Mio is providing an alternative.

Bambino Mio won ‘Best in Brand Purpose’ at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose, with its plan to change nappies for good. Seeking to make ‘niche’ reusable nappies commercially and socially accepted, it is the only reusable brand of its kind to scale its business globally – with its mission of sustainability front and center. Here, get behind the scenes of this winning entry.

Bambino Mio’s objective has always been to change nappies for good and make reusable nappies commercially and socially accepted and available worldwide. We’re committed to raising awareness of the numerous benefits that reusable nappies have on our environment, finances, and baby’s health, by educating consumers, retailers, governments and policy makers on the positive impact that switching to reusables can bring. Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the environmental footprint associated with nappy usage worldwide and promote reusable nappies as part of a shift to a truly circular economy.

Why?

Single-use “disposable” nappies are an environmental disaster, consuming vast quantities of raw materials, whilst generating huge amounts of carbon emissions during their lifecycle, and are extremely difficult to recycle. Globally, we throw away 90 billion nappies a year! When dumped in landfill, one nappy can take 500 years to break down, and when incinerated or openly dumped/burned (the primary means of disposal for 1/3 of world’s population) they contribute to climate change and air pollution.

We’ve always been at the forefront of offering alternatives to single-use products within the baby change-time space and have played a key role in driving growth of the reusable nappy product category worldwide.

Purpose

We believe not only in nappies that feel good, but nappies that do good too. We’re committed to protecting our planet, campaigning for change and giving back to the world around us. Taking our mission to the next level we recently hired a Head of Purpose with a background in campaigning against single-use plastics in the NGO sector. The Purpose team work alongside Marketing to drive our values through three main outputs:

1. Protecting our Planet: Sustainability is at the root of our products. We manufacture responsibly, make products designed to last and live by our reduce.reuse.relove pillars. But nobody’s perfect so we’re constantly monitoring, reporting and improving.

2. Campaigning for Change: At the forefront of changing the conversation. We work collaboratively with NGOs, local/national governments, and policymakers worldwide to create change. We’re proud to lead the Nappy Alliance, be a member of The Green Alliance Business Circle, and a signatory to The Better Business Act.

3. Giving Back: We believe our company has a social purpose so we support local and worldwide organizations to give back to the world.

Local Community – In the home of Bambino Mio HQ, Northamptonshire (UK), we've launched a fund in partnership with Northamptonshire Community Foundation to support local projects and causes that help people and communities in our county who need it most.

Global Citizenship – We support worldwide organizations to help reduce single-use nappy pollution and empower communities to develop sustainable local business.

Marketing

Changing shopper behavior means consumers are more aware of environmental issues than ever before. However, becoming a parent can negatively impact eco behaviors, and an increase in environmental awareness and a move away from single-use consumption doesn’t directly translate to a switch to reusable nappies. Our marketing concentrates on understanding the consumer journey, barriers to use and behaviors associated with each step of the journey; from awareness, consideration through to post-conversion.

Our comprehensive marketing strategy has played a vital role in driving category awareness. Built to engage, educate, convert and retain, the creation and targeted output of high quality, educational and thought-provoking content, shared across social media channels, via email automation and through robust PR and Influencer partnerships has increased category and brand awareness, encouraging wider adoption of reusable products.

Bambino Mio aren’t only executing marketing strategies internationally, we’re an international company taking a market specific approach. In Northamptonshire we have team members who are nationals from key markets, providing insights, culture and language, to ensure a thorough understanding of audiences to localize our strategy and support customers in the right way.

As well as through our own channels and selling D2C, we have important retailer partnerships. Our retail distribution helps increase brand awareness, customer acquisition and adds a layer of trust to a niche product category. Most importantly, it serves as helping to “normalize” the product category when positioned on shelf next to its single-use counterparts. We work closely with retailers (Aldi, Asda, Auchan, Coles, dm-drogerie markt, Intermarchè, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco & many more) to make it easy to enter this product category, ensure products are well received and ultimately help create behavioral change.

Results

As we’ve expanded our purpose-led work over the last year, we’ve become an even more influential voice in high caliber conversations around the circular economy. Recent successes;

Campaigning for Change

  • The UN Environment Programme’s Life Cycle Initiative recently produced a report on the environmental impacts of single-use nappies and alternatives. Our Head of Purpose was one of five people invited to review the report, and our Vanuatu report was mentioned as a key reference. Demonstrating that our work is capturing attention of the likes of the UN Environment Programme - the world’s leading and most credible environmental organization!
  • During Reusable Nappy Week 2021 we collaborated with Zero Waste Europe and the global Break Free From Plastic NGO coalition to raise awareness of the problems associated with single-use nappies by creating eye-catching infographics that were shared across social media platforms by NGOs, local government organizations, and politicians, reaching millions of people worldwide.
  • Through the Nappy Alliance (Chaired by our Founder & MD, Guy Schanschieff) we secured a meeting with Minister for Domestic Environment Rebecca Pow, who welcomed our idea for a national reusable nappy incentive scheme to help families meet initial upfront cost of purchasing reusables. We’ve committed to fund the proposed 50% discounts offered through the scheme alongside other industry members.

Giving Back

The Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu recently discovered that single-use nappies make up the largest component of their waste stream. The Vanuatu government have been bold in their efforts to ban many single-use plastic items so when we heard that disposable nappies were on the list with no alternative in place for Ni-Vanuatu parents, we felt compelled to help. Last year we partnered with a Vanuatu-based social enterprise, Mamma’s Laef to help support them to become a local manufacturer of reusable nappies by providing tools, finance and expertise to:

  • Reduce single-use nappy waste
  • Build a reusable nappy manufacturing sector
  • Create jobs, upskill communities and increase employment of women
  • Enable socio-economic empowerment of communities

Bambino Mio gains no profit from products produced by Mamma’s Laef. We worked closely with the social enterprise to undertake a community trial of the locally made reusable nappies, and led on the production of a report presented to the Vanuatu Department of Industry.

This is the first time that market research about reusables has been undertaken in Vanuatu. The results are extremely encouraging and will be used to inform Vanuatu Government policy and the social enterprises’ business development. We continue to support Mamma’s Laef in scaling up their production to become the solution to the single-use nappy ban in Vanuatu.

Building on this, we’re working with Engineers Without Borders Australia (NGO) to develop an approach that can support local organizations throughout the Pacific in developing and scaling up their own reusable nappy businesses – again with no commercial benefit. Progressing conversations to replicate the Vanuatu project (interest already expressed in Fiji and the Maldives, and developing links in South Africa, Indonesia, Kenya, and the Caribbean) and are ready to assist governments looking to introduce reusables because we believe that we are in a unique position to offer expertise to those wishing to move to sustainable nappies.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose. To find out more, including which competitions are currently open for entry, visit The Drum Awards website.

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