Global mining company Sandvik’s recycling program for worn-out drilling tools was struggling. Despite the urgency, only one in three customers signed up. To increase participation, Stendahls flipped the decision process and included recycling with all sales, making opt-out the only option. As a result, the campaign became a giant call to inaction. To fully convey the calming benefits of participating in the program, the initiative was launched in an hour-long guided meditation video. The initiative not only drastically increased participation overnight, but also proved that sometimes, doing nothing can be the best way to make a difference.
“Call to inaction” skyrockets participation in Sandvik’s recycling program
In a bid to save a rare mineral from depletion, creative agency Stendahls had Sandvik, a key supplier in the
global mining business, create the world’s first opt-out carbide recycling program. The initiative shows that
sometimes, doing nothing can be the best way to make a difference.
Tungsten, a rare mineral used in electric vehicles and smartphones, is expected to run out within 40 to 100 years. Global mining supplier Sandvik launched a free recycling program in 2013, aimed at recycling used tools that contain tungsten, but despite the urgency, only one in three customers joined.
“Sandvik asked us to increase participation in the program. Their sustainability goal is to collect 90 percent of used drill bits by 2025. That’s in two years, and today they only collect 30 percent. That made it clear that we had to make a big impact, and we had to do it fast”, says Karin Engdahl, Client Service Director at Stendahls.
To increase participation, Gothenburg-based creative agency Stendahls took an unconventional approach: instead of asking customers to opt into the program, recycling was included with all sales. Simply put, all customers had to do to make a difference was nothing. Aptly titled ‘The Calmness of Recycling’, the campaign took the form of an hour-long guided meditation film celebrating inaction, complete with mesmerizing visuals and a soothing voiceover, offering the hardworking mining community a moment to relax while learning about how their tools would be recycled.
“Most sustainability initiatives tell you to do more of this, less of that, and that it should have happened yesterday. In this case, we
achieved our goals immediately and were able to offer a relaxing and enlightening moment instead. A slow format that produced a very quick result, you could say,” says Oscar Livh, Copywriter at Stendahls.
Deploying an opt-out only program may seem dramatic, but the response from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Being part of the recycling program is not only a good decision for the environment. It also offers a sense of calm about doing the right thing, something that the campaign manifests”, says Petter Bengtsson, Head of Marketing and Communications, Sandvik Rock Tools Division. The opt-out initiative not only drastically increased participation overnight, but also raised awareness of the alarming shortage of tungsten and the importance of conserving it. Sandvik is now on track to meet its goal of collecting 90 percent of worn-out tools by 2025.
Petter Bengtsson, Head of Marketing and Communications, Sandvik Rock Tools Division
Anna Lindberg, Project Manager Marketing and Communications, Sandvik Rock Tools Division
Karin Engdahl, Client Service Director
Håkan Hermansson, Client Director
Mimi Svensson, Project Manager
Tomas Amneskog, Creative Director
Emelie Jonson, Art Director
Josefin Fridlund, Art Director
Oscar Livh, Copywriter
Jimmy Svensson, Content Producer
Peter Anderson, PR
Ricky Vazquez, PR
Stygn production, video
Marcel Pabst, photo