Vivienne Westwood renews call to SWITCH to green energy with WeTransfer and Serpentine

The designer and activist joins Groundwork project to share her ecological vision to protect our Earth for tomorrow

LONDON, 23rd February 2021 - Vivienne Westwood joins WePresent, the editorial platform of WeTransfer, and Serpentine to call on the public with a new campaign to SWITCH to green energy today. SWITCH forms the second instalment of Groundwork: a creative series by WePresent that documents the behind-the-scenes research into artists’ new works for Back to Earth, Serpentine’s multi-year environmental programme.

Exclusively available on WePresent, SWITCH shares Westwood’s personal answer to ‘how can I save the environment?’ Through the power of global unity and specific actions outlined in her NO MANS LAND Manifesto, SWITCH is charged with powerful ideas and mantras that pave the way to a sustainable future. Westwood inspires all to join the global efforts for climate justice, asking us to ‘Act Fast, Slow Down, Stop Climate Change’.

Vivienne offers new hand drawn slogans, posters and cards that encapsulate the urgent need to incite change now, while bringing people together for a common cause. Read the article, view the wallpapers, use your voice, create a movement, be part of the conversation and the solution, and see what can happen after you decide to #SWITCH. 

A new iteration of Westwood’s 2017 Fashion Switch to Green campaign, which encouraged the fashion community to join her in the switch to renewable energy, SWITCH is Vivienne’s call to all industries and individuals. It arrives in the wake of recent research that found more than one billion people will be displaced or forced to endure insufferable heat by 2070, inspiring Westwood to reactivate her campaign once more.  

Serving as both artwork and environmental resource, Westwood returns the power to the people with never-before-seen drawings in her own hand. In support of the SWITCH campaign, Westwood has developed a series of iconic images on playing cards emblazoned with powerful etchings, including “what’s good for the planet is good for the economy” and “uninhabitable land”. SWITCH envisions a unified way of industries working together towards this urgent cause. On the occasion of SWITCH, Julie’s Bicycle, a partner for Serpentine’s Back to Earth project, and supporter of the SWITCH to Green Energy campaign since 2017, has produced a downloadable information sheet on why using renewable energy matters.

As part of the Groundwork series, WePresent invites the public to donate to a charity chosen by the featured artist. Westwood has chosen Cool Earth, a non-profit organisation that works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and climate change. Donations can be made via the WePresent feature and a dedicated Cool Earth wallpaper on the WeTransfer site. Every year, WeTransfer donates up to 30% of advertising real estate to raise awareness for artists, creative work and the world’s most pressing issues. As a B Corporation, WeTransfer has committed to double these donations, up to 30,000€ to all five artist charities. 

Holly Fraser, Editor-in-Chief of WePresent, said: “WePresent scours the globe for unexpected stories about creativity, and this collaboration with Vivienne Westwood is no different. Many people know Westwood as a fashion designer, but her WePresent story focuses on her legacy as an environmental activist. The SWITCH campaign is an example of how creativity can be used as a force for good in society, which WeTransfer believes is the driving force behind humankind. It likewise echoes our pledge to the planet as a Climate Neutral Certified company, paving a way towards a net zero carbon future.”

Vivienne Westwood, Designer and Activist said: “First step to save the environment: SWITCH to green energy. We must rely on cooperation and collaboration to maximize our impact and we must act now! What’s good for the planet is good for the economy.”

Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine said:

“Serpentine is delighted to continue our relationship with Vivienne Westwood as an artist and activist, which began in 2008 when she participated in our Manifesto Marathon. Her Back to Earth campaign, SWITCH, encourages disparate industries to make a collective effort to switch to green energy sources. This aim is aligned with our longstanding objective of looking beyond silos to bridge different creative disciplines. We are so glad to be working with WePresent to amplify Westwood’s Back to Earth campaign and those of the other four artists featured in the Groundwork series.” 

Each month, Groundwork reveals a digital mini-encyclopaedia documenting the creative journeys of five artists involved in the Serpentine’s multi-year Back to Earth project, including Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Vivienne Westwood, Karrabing Film Collective, Himali Singh Soin and Tabita Rezaire. WePresent and the Serpentine join forces to shine light on the rich contributions art can make to tackle the climate crisis, while encouraging observers to reflect and consider action.

SWITCH by Vivienne Westwood will be available from 23rd February 2021 exclusively on the WePresent website.

Follow Vivienne Westwood’s campaign with #SWITCH


Image sheet available here created via Paste by WeTransfer

About Vivienne Westwood 

Vivienne Westwood was born in Glossop, Derbyshire 1941 and later moved to London where she began designing in 1971 along with her then partner, Malcolm McLaren. In 1984 she launched her own fashion line and in 2006, Vivienne's contribution to British Fashion was officially recognised when she was appointed Dame of the British Empire by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Vivienne has spent many years tirelessly speaking out about the effects of climate change and over-consumption. In 2012 Vivienne inaugurated the 'Climate Revolution' at the London Paralympics closing ceremony and continues to rally charities, NGO’s and individuals to join forces and to take action against disengaged political leaders and big business. For a number of years Vivienne Westwood has actively supported, a charity that works with local communities to halt rainforest destruction

In September 2017, Vivienne Westwood, along with the British Fashion Council, and support from the London Mayor's office, launched the SWITCH to Green campaign to encourage the fashion industry to switch all UK offices and stores to a green energy supplier. 

Vivienne has written her ideas in a Manifesto called “NO MANS LAND”. Using her graphics, Vivienne has designed a set of playing cards as a cultural led-economic strategy to save the world. These campaigns and philosophies are recorded in:

About WePresent

WePresent is WeTransfer’s editorial platform, acting as the company’s cultural torchbearer and curator of creativity to 3m monthly readers. WePresent showcases the best in art, photography, music, and more, offering readers a fresh take on the magic and mystery of creative ideas. Championing diversity in everything it does, WePresent scours the globe for unexpected stories about creativity, from emerging young talent to renowned artists like Solange Knowles, Riz Ahmed, John Legend, Tyler Mitchell, Björk, FKA twigs, and Bernardine Evaristo.

 About WeTransfer

Having made its name in the game of quick and simple file-sharing, WeTransfer has grown into a collection of tools designed for and inspired by the creative process. Collect is the go-to app 4M people turn to for saving and sharing inspiration. Paste® is the collaborative presentation tool of choice for over 40,000 fast-moving teams. Paper® helps 30M minds sketch, paint, and draw on iOS. And of course there’s the original file-sharing platform, where 60 million people send over 1.5 billion files every month. Around 75% of WeTransfer users identify as creatives, and its this global community the company exists to celebrate and inspire on WePresent, WeTransfer’s editorial platform.  

As a certified B Corporation WeTransfer strives to use business as a force for good. Since the beginning WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of advertising real estate to raise awareness for artists, creative work, and the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change and gun control. This amounts to more than $300 million to date and has led to partnerships with artists and organizations like Björk, FKA twigs, Ryan McGinley, Solange Knowles, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the UN Development Program.

About the Serpentine

Championing new ideas in contemporary art since 1970, the Serpentine has presented pioneering exhibitions for half a century, from a wide range of emerging practitioners to the most internationally recognised artists of our time.

Across two sites only 5 minutes apart, in London’s Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine presents a year-round, free programme of exhibitions, architecture, education, live events and technological innovation, in the park and beyond.

Proud to maintain free access for all visitors, thanks to its unique location the Serpentine reaches an exceptionally broad audience and maintains a deep connection with its local community. 

The Serpentine’s long term environmental programme Back to Earth investigates questions like: How can art respond to the climate crisis? What can artists contribute at this moment of global emergency? Each Back to Earth project also doubles an environmental campaign, from speculative investigations on one side of the spectrum, to concrete activism on the other.  

To find out more about Back to Earth, explore campaigns from artists including Olafur EliassonMaria Theresa Alves and Judy Chicago with Jane Fonda and Swoon and look out for a major Back to Earth exhibition at the Serpentine, coming soon.

Back to Earth is curated and produced by Rebecca Lewin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jo Paton, Lucia Pietroiusti, Holly Shuttleworth and Kostas Stasinopoulos.

About Cool Earth

Cool Earth is a charity that works alongside communities to reduce deforestation and its impact on climate change. Founded in 2007, Cool Earth supports local and indigenous knowledge to develop the best ways to address threats to the forest while making communities stronger and more resilient. Protecting carbon-rich forest is key to averting climate change. Cool Earth is working to keep rainforest standing in all three global tropical biomes, including forests in Peru, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Cameroon,Mozambique, and the DRC. Cool Earth is a partner in the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative. Supported by patron Dame Vivienne Westwood and ambassadors including Gillian Burke, Jasmine Hemsley and Vianet Djenguet, Cool Earth continues to raise awareness of the importance of trees as an essential natural solution for the climate crisis.

About Julie’s Bicycle

Julie’s Bicycle is a pioneering nonprofit organisation, mobilising the arts and culture to take action on the climate and ecological crisis. Founded by the music industry in 2007, JB now works across the arts and culture, in the UK and internationally, focusing on four themes: justice and fairness; decarbonisation; nature; and circularity and a regenerative economy.

Working alongside over 2,000 organisations, NGOs and governments worldwide, Julie’s Bicycle blends cultural and environmental expertise and delivers research, training, consultancy, policy development and international advocacy. 

JB leads strategic responses from the arts and culture sector and develops resources, networks and unique methods to scale and accelerate the movement and transform the conversation. Clients and partners include: Arts Council England, Universal Music, Curzon Cinema Group, Festival Republic; National Theatre, V&A and Somerset House.