The power of choice

I see it as the responsibility of any person in a stable position to make choices that have a positive impact on the world around us, writes Riverford's film director Christian Kay.

I used to work at a London-based PR agency, making corporate videos for some of the world’s most profitable businesses.

As an edit assistant, I was in a position to observe how these films were pieced together, and I quickly learned that what the producers were required to do was to make sure that under no circumstances did these films reveal anything about the multitude of shameful sins and unethical practices that could and would give these companies a bad name.

What these films really did was reinvent the narrative of the company and direct the attention of potential customers and shareholders towards a vague notion of something positive. I seem to remember one mining company’s brag that it’s great that they kill and maim fewer employees than they used to, ‘coz safety is very important to them’.

So when tasked with creating a brand film for Riverford, I had a good long think about the story I needed to create. I spent weeks scriptwriting while staring out of the window at the fields of salad leaves growing on the hills around us, and what I realised was that I had no need to fabricate anything. I didn’t need to make a story up as Riverford has nothing to hide.

This allowed me instead to think about what it is that our customers love about us, what gets all the co-owners out of bed in the morning, and how I perceive our offering compared to mainstream supermarket empires. Positivity was flowing endlessly onto my initial book of ideas.

My conclusion? Riverford helps you to choose a path that treads lighter on the earth, it does the hard work for you, so you don’t need to decipher between genuinely good products and misleading marketing. To have that choice is a powerful thing.

Not everyone is privileged enough to have the power of choice. People’s individual socio-economic, geographic, religious or health situations, can determine their lifestyles to a certain degree.

Some of us, however, are in the fortunate position where we can put our money where our mouth is and try and change the face of consumerism. Perhaps this means making sacrifices in the way of endless product choice and substituting that for products that are kinder to our planet, the people who create them, and potentially even our own health.

I see it as the responsibility of any person in a stable position to make choices that have a positive impact on the world around us. I can afford to, and so I do, and I feel it is my part of a movement to live the values that I believe in.

I don’t buy fancy clothes or holidays abroad as I’d rather put money towards organic produce from farmers that I trust, who don’t use the typical gimmicks or distracting marketing that allow consumers to ignore the true destruction that our conventional food system relies on.

I hope this film helps people see that every choice they make is a powerful one. Turning your back on a damaging global system whose only boast is that it is cheap and convenient (although only to the end user), and aiming for a more localised, lower impact farming and retail system that is fairer to all involved, is one of the simplest and most effective ways of doing this. Rebellion has never been so easy.


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