Tucked away in the ancient woodlands of the Forest of Dean is the Lucozade Ribena Suntory factory in Coleford employing 450 people, the vast majority of whom live and work in the local area. Every year 90% of the British blackcurrant crop arrives at the factory for processing.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory is intent on having a positive impact in the local community and sought guidance from Hubbub – this is the story of what happened.

We spent several days in the area talking to people, listening to the views of community groups and the local authority. We discovered a vibrant network of small community groups intent on preserving the beauty of the forest. Many hours were being spent on litter picks – helping safeguard wildlife and supporting the tourist industry.

There was a sense of exasperation that these litter picks are constantly needed, with groups wondering whether time could be better spent preventing litter being dropped in the first instance. This was echoed by the local authority who spend £400k a year keeping the area clean.

We discovered that litter was being dropped in roadside areas far from prying eyes, that the school runs were problematic and major public gatherings such as sponsored events also created litter. Based on these findings ‘Love Your Forest’ was born, a range of creative interventions designed to stop littering by building an even stronger community connection to the beauty of the forest.

First we highlighted there was a problem. An empty shop was rented and turned into the UK’s first litter shop. Working with creative artists ‘Dirty Beach’ litter was collected from around the forest and beautifully displayed in the shop showing people exactly what was being dropped. Crisp packets dating back 30 years were next to legal high canisters and moss filled footballs, provoking conversation and extensive media coverage.
Building on this initial interest ‘Love Your Forest’ community posters were created with photographs of local people explaining their connection and affinity with the Forest of Dean. Cigarette littering in the small towns was tackled by Hubbub’s ballot bins with changing questions relevant to the locality.

Addressing littering in more remote places was challenging. We turned to research from University of Newcastle which found whilst researching an honesty box in a canteen that people were three times more likely to put money in the box if there was a pair of eyes watching them. This led to our Communitrees project.

We asked children in the community to draw comical faces. Using recycled materials these drawings were turned into 50 faces which have been attached to trees near major littering spots within the forest. Working with the Forestry Commission we created a map taking people on a tour of the faces with a strong anti-littering message. Data collected from the installation points will indicate the impact of the campaign on local litter levels.

The school litter problem was addressed with two existing programmes. We took the ‘Litter Angel’ campaign developed by Gordon Henderson MP for schools in his constituency and delivered this in 6 primary schools in the Forest. We also partnered with Wrigley’s to involve one local secondary school by running their Bin it! programme.

The full impact of the campaign is being assessed and will be widely shared both good and bad in the next few months. What we do know is that it generated 16 broadcast features, 6 regional and 12 national pieces of national coverage including coverage of the story on the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and the Mirror.

Love Your Forest has gone a long way to support our ambition as a business to have a positive impact on the communities where our employees live work and operate. It’s been really inspiring working on a campaign that not only supports the local community but encouraged a wide variety groups to work together on a common goal. Alice Thornton-Smith, Corporate Affairs Officer at Lucozade Ribena Suntory.