Cannes Day 4: Can storytelling save the planet?

In the debut of the Creative Business Transformation Lions, the festival signaled a leap towards effectiveness and work truly grounded in real-life results.

The first-ever Grand Prix winner for the new award made us think about home, our planet. Carrefour recognized the uncomfortable truth about agriculture, took responsibility as part of the problem and found a compelling way to tell this story so people would listen. With a global platform called “Act For Food”, they acted to change business, services and operations. The company even lobbied (successfully) to change laws around farmer seeds. The result: growth for the business and an impressive 9% increase in stock value.

A chat between Neil Lindsay (Amazon) and Prof. Yuval Noah Harari aimed to shine a light on how stories and storytelling shaped our society. The always insightful author and professor shared some of the key concepts featured in his work. For him, humans have a unique ability: cooperate in very large numbers. At the basis of every scalable human cooperation storytelling is present (stories about god, kings, money, social movements). Harari also spoke about the difficulty of grounding good stories in the truth (as this might not be what people want to hear) and challenged companies to find a compelling way to tell that truth.

Earlier in the day, Cyrill Gutsch talked passionately about how Parley for the Oceans is partnering with brands to turn illegal fishing nets and plastic from the oceans into shoes, credit cards and beyond. He urged companies to rethink materials and design for a circular economy. The recipe for Parley for the Oceans' success? Turning the ugly truth of mass extinction due to the environmental crisis into a compelling end-to-end story that makes sense for businesses. He showed how plastic waste could become actual products to generate not only awareness but also more business – and that’s a story corporations can understand.

For Parley for the Oceans, all stakeholders in our industry hold a huge power and must advocate for change: “We are the architects of reality. It’s in our hands to design the future.” So, today, we were invited to think about the stories we want to tell. We were challenged to choose the truth and use creativity to explain it in a way people can understand and get behind. Could the power of storytelling finally make the urgency of saving our planet and its dying ecosystems digestible enough for people, politicians, and corporations? If good stories are the glue that holds humans together, it’s worth trying.

Get In Touch