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What are you doing?

17 portrait photos, 17 ambassadors, 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Massimo Bottura, Jeremy Renner, Alexandra Cousteau, Andre Agassi and Carlo Petrini are some of the 17 sustainability ambassadors who feature in the 2018 Lavazza Calendar. The fine-art portraits, by photographer Platon, urge everyone, including citizens, institutions and businesses, to work to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

An artistic megaphone

What are you doing? The question asked by the 2018 Lavazza Calendar is direct and reminds everyone that 2030 — the date identified by the UN to make our planet more sustainable — is just around the corner.

In fact, 2030 has already arrived through Platon’s 17 portrait photos, which bring the calendar to life.

This is the first worldwide artistic megaphone for the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It narrates the SDGs through the concrete commitment of 17 sustainability ambassadors: men and women committed to turning food waste into a meal for the poorest people or a plastic bottle into a democratic light source. They’re educating children, providing job training for disadvantaged young people and marginalised women, protecting the sea and biodiversity, tackling climate change and fighting for an economy respectful of Nature and life.

‘The question posed by the title of the 2018 Lavazza Calendar is direct and deliberately provocative. ‘What are you doing?’ All of us — citizens, political and social institutions, businesses — are asked to respond and undertake to make a difference.’

Member of Lavazza’s board of directors

Platon’s 17 shots are portraits that gaze into the soul of the 17 characters, from chef Massimo Bottura to the American actor Jeremy Renner. From ocean advocate Alexandra Cousteau to Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food. From tennis champion Andre Agassi to Jeffrey Sachs, UN Network Director for Sustainable Development, through to the creator of Blue Economy Gunter Pauli and the co-founder of Rainforest Alliance Daniel Katz.

The portraits also ask each one of us the unavoidable question: ‘2030: What Are You Doing?’ They remind us that 2030 is very close, and that there is still a long uphill road to climb before the 17 goals can be achieved.

The 2018 Lavazza Calendar — a creative project by the Armando Testa agency — is thus a call to action for individuals, reminding them of our collective responsibility.

Jeffrey Sachs is the true inspiration behind the Lavazza Calendar ‘2030 What Are You Doing’. A Professor at Columbia University and special adviser to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the Sustainable Development Goals, Jeffrey Sachs pictured with his wife Sonia as sustainability ambassadors for advocating goal number 17: Partnerships for the goals.

‘All 193 United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 with the aim to steer the world away from the growing dangers of environmental destruction and instead towards a future of prosperity, health, education and peace.

‘Today, two years later, we are still far from these 17 Goals’ targets, which are certainly ambitious but achievable by 2030. Indeed, global cooperation is key as the core principles interest all of us, not just governments, but also individuals, businesses, universities and society in general.

‘The Lavazza Calendar celebrates this global commitment and reminds us what is at stake. My hope, and also my conviction, is that it will inspire a great many other people to embrace the sustainable development movement.’

Special adviser to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the Sustainable Development Goals

‘A positive revolution’

Platon is a British photographer and storyteller with Greek origins. He’s lauded worldwide as the ‘photographer of the powerful’ for having photographed some of the world’s most iconic leaders, business and tech titans and entertainment icons.

‘With the Lavazza Calendar ‘2030: What Are You Doing?’ we want to bring to light a group of cultural heroes, giving them the recognition they deserve’, Platon explained. ‘In my role as an activist and cultural provocateur, with this project I have tried to ignite a respectful debate about our moral compass, and the importance of good leadership. Because here there’s no negativity, no blame is laid, there’s just energy and passion: and so it’s a positive revolution. These are 17 extraordinary stories, which could be a source of inspiration and become the force leading a community of responsible global citizens, driven by compassion and a deep respect for service.’

Lavazza and Platon’s goal, under the creative direction of Armando Testa, was to give a face to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals and tell an exemplary story of inspiration behind each one.

‘Fine-art photography speaks out about the urgency of a universal social commitment, which no-one can ignore’, explained Michele Mariani, executive creative director of Armando Testa. ‘After Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle, Steve McCurry and so many other masters of contemporary photography, we identified the sensitivity of Platon, a storyteller and great connoisseur of the human soul, as being the right advocate to bring to life the 17 SDGs through an artistic narrative. The 26th edition of the Lavazza Calendar also marks a return, after 16 years, to black and white: a processing that becomes very modern through Platon’s lens, a direct no-frills style which portrays our characters as authentically as possible. Black and white encourages reflection, deep introspection, perfect for a universal theme such as the commitment to protect the planet’.

The 2018 Lavazza Calendar invites citizens, representatives of institutions, businesses and all parties in civil society to get to know and extend the reach of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, up to the target year of 2030. You can declare your personal commitment as a sustainability ambassador and help to spread the positive movement of responsibility on social media with the hashtag #2030whatareUdoing.

Behind the scenes at the shoot

‘The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the way to save the planet, but 2030 is fast approaching and the triggering of a positive movement of people is as urgent as ever. This is why we decided to support the UN 17 SDGs and to interpret them in an artistic way for the first time thanks to a master of contemporary photography like Platon.

‘We want to popularise the universal commitment to 2030, disseminate and raise widespread awareness of the topics and those who play a central role in achieving the SDGs. This is the only way we can mobilise people, the young most of all, to become the real game changers of the future.

‘We want to carry the message of a positive revolution, to inspire and re-awaken a sense of community, so that we can be the change we would like to see in the world.’

Member of Lavazza’s board of directors

Click here for more on the Rankin photo shoot that brought five farmers and Yeo Valleys prize-winning calf to London.

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