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Ian Yolles

Ian Yolles is a veritable giant in the field of eco-capitalism, having worked with a multitude of brands to help increase their value through environmentally and socially beneficial initiatives.


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Ian Yolles
“Given the pace of change from a sustainability, digital, social network and technology perspective, it will be interesting to see how we express the brand experience one, two and three years from now.”

​Ian Yolles is pointing Recyclebank in a more social direction, a process he believes is made easier by rapidly evolving communication technologies. “Social networks weren’t as ubiquitous and widely adopted in 2005 as they are today — Twitter wasn’t even around!” Ian exclaims. Ian endorses the Internet for its real-word applications — the digital boost to the “social dimension” — which he says enables “stronger emphasis on building an audience online with the intention of stimulating real world, offline actions at the local level.” The rapid evolution of sustainability, digital communications and technology is something that energizes the marketing veteran, who says, “Things are tilting in our favor in terms of the potential for us to have meaningful impact.”

Meaningful impact is what ties Ian’s vast professional experience together; he’s headed marketing at sustainable apparel brands Nau and Patagonia, served as director of social inventions for The Body Shop, and director of brand marketing at Nike. In addition to his current role as Recyclebank’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Ian also heads their Sustainability Advisory Council and is a prolific public speaker on the convergence of environmental issues and business, which he says has become a more mainstream goal.

“Don’t get me wrong, we have a long way to go if we’re going to successfully transition to a more sustainable future, so speed and scale are hugely important… In our case, one of the key ingredients that helps us be relevant to a broad audience is the idea of offering a financial incentive to reward people for doing the right thing. That inherently speaks to a broad cross section of people.”

Ian finds Recyclebank’s “story engages [people] and provokes their curiosity. I suspect the reason is fundamentally twofold. First and foremost, the idea of creating a brand that is focused on helping individuals and communities transition towards a more sustainable future is deeply relevant from a cultural point of view. The second reason is because Recyclebank is built on a very unusual win-win-win proposition. Individuals, municipal governments, our partner corporate sponsors, local businesses and Recyclebank all win—both economically and environmentally which is counter to the dominant historical paradigm which suggested the economy and the environment are diametrically opposed to one another.”