The Museum of Brands, sponsored by Tesco, considers sustainability

If you want to transport yourself for a while, nostalgia is safer and more ethical than narcotics.

Robert Opie’s Museum of Brands is one of the best places. You can spend the entire day snaking past the cabinets in what is actually a very small and cave-like space. When I went, the first part of the exhibition contained branded goods and packaging arranged decade by decade, and the later cases are brand by brand. It is a fantasticly evocative place, and a very penetrating social history, through the lens of consumption, of industrialised, globalising Britain.

Today I received an exciting email, further indication that the environmentalist turn-around may be underway. Tesco is sponsoring a couple of exhibitions:

“Packaging a Sustainable Future
31st March – 29th November 2009

Packaging has become one of the hottest environmental issues in recent years. From being an apparently innocuous and functional part of a product it has been transformed into a controversial component of the marketing process – one which is increasingly required to justify its existence. The nation’s favourite brands have risen to the challenge, rethinking and revolutionising the way products are presented. This new exhibition, sponsored by Tesco, explains the importance of packaging, how it has developed over the years and how manufacturers, retailers and designers are working together to adopt a more environmentally-friendly approach.”


“Waste Not, Want Not
22nd January – 29th November 2009

During WWII Britain had to economise on raw materials, save on energy and salvage scarce commodities, encouraged by a powerful propaganda machine. Whether the message was to grow your own vegetables, make do and mend, or recycle paper, uppermost in everyone’s mind was the need to be sparing in the use of meagre resources. While few may now remember those years of rationing and blackouts, the lessons from the past can teach us how to make better use of limited resources today. This exhibition is part of the museum’s new initiative ‘Packaging our Sustainable Future’, sponsored by Tesco.”

More on the Museum of Brands site.

I try to avoid shopping at Tesco though – it has a very low Ethiscore (you have to be a subscriber to view the table, which I am) of 0.5. More on Ethiscore in due course – search for Israel and you get a page on boycotting Israeli goods, beginning with the confounded and ethically disorientated Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Search for states which have poorer polity and human rights records and there’s nothing. Ethiscore, in other words, has fallen foul of bias.


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