12 min

17 photographic portraits, 17 ambassadors, 17 sustainable development goals: the Lavazza Calendar becomes an artistic megaphone for the UN challenge to protect the planet by 2030.



Milan, 29 November 2017 - What are you doing? The question we are asked by the 2018 Lavazza Calendar is direct and minces no words. It reverberates powerfully in the United Nations 193 member states. This question reminds everyone that 2030 — the date identified by the UN to make our planet more sustainable — is just around the corner. Indeed, 2030 has provocatively already arrived in Platon’s 17 photographic portraits which bring to life “2030: What Are You Doing?”: the new Lavazza Calendar 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, educating children, providing job training for disadvantaged young people and marginalized women, protecting the sea and biodiversity, tackling climate change and fighting for an economy respectful of nature and life.


What are you doing? 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, on to the creator of Blue Economy Gunter Pauli and the co-founder of Rainforest Alliance Daniel Katz. Platon’s 17 photographic shots are portraits that gaze into the soul of the 17 characters and into each one of us asking the unavoidable question “2030: What Are You Doing?” They remind us that 2030 is very close, whilst 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 firstly to individual and then collective responsibility.

“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. The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the way to go to save the planet, but 2030 is fast approaching and the triggering of a virtuous contamination of people is as urgent as ever,” commented Francesca Lavazza, Member of the Company’s Board of Directors. “This is why we decided to support the UN 17 SDGs and to interpret them in an art form for the first time thanks to a master of contemporary photography like Platon. We want to popularize 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 mobilize 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.”


Jeffrey Sachs is the true inspiration behind the Lavazza Calendar “2030 What Are You Doing”. A Professor at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the Sustainable Development Goals, Jeffrey Sachs is one of the sustainability ambassadors, portrayed by Platon together with his wife Sonia as advocates of Goal number 17: Partnerships for the goals“All 193 United Nations member states” explained Sachs, “adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, with the aim of steering the world a long way away from the growing dangers of environmental destruction and towards a future that could be one of prosperity, health, education and peace. Today, two years later, we are still a very long way away from the target of these 17 Goals, which are certainly ambitious but achievable by 2030: the key is global cooperation, the core principle that interests all of us, not just governments, but also individuals, businesses, universities and other parties in civil society. The Lavazza Calendar celebrates this global commitment and reminds us what is at stake. My hope, and also my conviction, is that it can inspire a great many other people to embrace the sustainable development cause.” 



What are you doing? The provocative question of the 2018 Lavazza Calendar hits you square in the eyes and penetrates the conscience, uncomfortable and direct, thanks to the distorting lens of Platon, a British photographer and storyteller with Greek origins, lauded worldwide as the “photographer of the powerful” for having portrayed and captured the soul and the humanity of the world’s most influential leaders, business and tech titans and entertainment icons. “With the Lavazza Calendar ‘2030: What Are You Doing?’ we want to put under the spotlight a new group of cultural heroes, giving them all the authority they deserve,” recounted Platon. “In my role as cultural provocateur, with this project I have tried to ignite a respectful debate about 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.”

Giving a face to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals and telling an exemplary story of inspiration for each Goal: this is the great challenge that Lavazza wanted to embark on with Platon under the creative direction of Armando Testa“After three years of photographs of Earth Defenders — the modern heroes committed to feeding the planet in a fair and sustainable way in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia — fine-art photography speaks out about the urgency of a universal social commitment, which no-one can ignore. 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 for providing an artistic narration of the 17 SDGs. 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,” added Michele Mariani, Executive Creative Director, Armando Testa.



The 2018 Lavazza Calendar (which can be browsed online at 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. It is possible to declare one’s personal commitment as a sustainability ambassador and help to spread the positive ‘contagion’ of responsibility on social media with the hashtag #2030whatareUdoing.


#2030whatareUdoing @Lavazza