In a country where environmental awareness is not a priority for many, Russia has an extremely low battery recycling rate of just 1.5%. So, in 2017, Duracell, one of the leading battery manufacturers in the world, decided to take the lead in setting up some recycling infrastructure across Russia. When the company realized that there was no system in place for disposing of or recycling used batteries, Duracell took it upon itself to establish one.
Setting up the country’s first-ever battery-recycling infrastructure would be an impossible task without careful coordination between a wide range of stakeholders and raising awareness among consumers. PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies was given the challenge of facilitating a largescale project in order to help protect the environment and make Russia a more eco-friendly place to live.
We suggested an integrated communications strategy, which included:
- Signing an agreement with a recycling plant. We moved the launch event from Moscow (where the majority of journalists and government officials are) to the industrial city of Chelyabinsk (where the Megapolisresource plant is) in order to emphasize just how efficient the factory is in its recycling processes.
- Organizing a road show. We encouraged retailers, officials, NGOs and activists to get involved in the recycling initiative by presenting the project to the Retail Companies Association. As a result, three major Russian retailers joined the campaign: Lenta, OBI and METRO. The first recycling boxes were shipped to retail chains immediately after the agreements were signed.
- Launching infrastructure for battery collection. After the first 80 boxes were installed, we arranged a press conference with one of Russia’s leading news agencies to maximize media coverage. This resulted in 100+ articles across both federal and regional media outlets.
- Organizing Duracell Battery Recycling Week in Russian cities. We managed to gain support from local authorities and install Duracell containers in five city centers across Russia where NGO presence is strongest, covering a total population of 5+ million with the help of various activists. We also engaged local officials, activists, the media, as well as social media influencers who spurred public discussions online. The results exceeded all expectations: we collected ten times as many batteries as we’d expected!
- Duracell’s initiative was recognized by both the business and green communities, receiving two awards: a Kommersant.Initiatives award (organized by a leading Russian business daily); and Green Awards (organized by environmental activists) without having self-nominated.
- In just one week, 37 tons of batteries were collected, constituting 11% of all batteries recycled in Russia in 2017.
- Total estimated media reach: 210 million.
- Total estimated social media reach: 200 000 followers in just one week.
- 250 articles in media mentioned the initiative.
- 19 green influencers were engaged at no additional cost to support the initiative.
- In 2019, PBN H+K received a prestigious Sabre Award in the Public Education category for this campaign.