Actor and filmmaker Adrian Grenier and producer Peter Glatzer, co-founders of the award-winning sustainable lifestyle site SHFT.com, have announced a multi-year collaboration with automaker Ford.
As the name SHFT implies, the concept of change is important to the website. Speaking with HuffPost, Grenier explained that SHFT tries to show the public how trends in sustainability are shifting and what this means for their personal consumption choices.
"Industry is starting to shift, and they need us to help tell their story," he said. "So we're proud to be able ... to be the platform for individuals, and also companies, to show their shift."
Ford, which recently unveiled its 2012 Focus Electric, partnered with SHFT to promote its efforts to "accelerate the development of more fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles," according to a press release.
Glatzer told HuffPost that the collaboration with Ford was a "very natural fit" for SHFT. He said Ford recognized that they shared similar values, and a belief in "offering consumers options and doing it in a creative way using new media."
As part of the collaboration, SHFT is working with Ford to produce a short documentary series on sustainability and the innovators and game changers who bring about sustainable shifts. Over the next two years, Ford and SHFT also plan to be at cultural events, such as music and film festivals, promoting sustainability and positive shifts in industry and technology.
Ford's work with SHFT is also motivated by research which indicates that "nearly half of potential American car buyers" aren't aware of the differences between hybrid and electric vehicles, according to Ad Age.
Glatzer told The Hollywood Reporter that Ford's electric Focus is a good fit with SHFT not only because it's electric, but also because its interior uses recycled and sustainable materials. He said all of SHFT's partners share their "core values of sustainability, innovation, corporate responsibility and creativity."
Grenier and Glatzer stressed that SHFT isn't just a checklist for a sustainable life or a "clearinghouse of all green items," as Glatzer put it. Rather, they say, their filmmaking backgrounds have given them an appreciation for aesthetics and design which they've incorporated into SHFT.
Grenier summed up the philosophy behind SHFT and their attitude toward sustainable products and lifestyle. "It really is not about a to-do list: you can only change so many lightbulbs, you can only recycle so much," he said. "But for us, it's about taking that next step, and really participating creatively and finding solutions to help really improve your own personal quality of life. And you find that life is better when you care, life is better when you share, life is better when you aren't hurting your neighbors by the things you consume. We find that the products in a sustainable space are better made, they're highly aesthetic and beautiful and they last long and they're the type of things you want to hand down to your kids."
Glatzer said that while they try to "inspire and nudge [sustainability] gently" into pop culture, their work is also a reflection of the "sweeping changes" and the "burgeoning market [of] sustainable design."
Sherif Marakby, Ford's director of electrification programs and engineering, told HuffPost there has definitely been a market shift in the auto industry in the past decade.
He explained that shifts have happened both with consumers, who are increasingly embracing hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, and within the industry itself. He added that a big shift in the industry is that both the design and manufacturing of new automotive technology is happening here in the U.S.
Marakby has a lot of hope for the future of alternative fuel vehicles and sustainable materials in the industry. "I really and truly believe in the next five years, you're going to see a really, really big shift in the automotive industry with this technology."
Last month, SHFT and Grenier opened a pop-up shop in Los Angeles to showcase other products that fuse sustainability and design.
Be sure to check out the photos below from the New York City launch event of the Ford and SHFT collaboration on November 17.