(The following post was originally published on Marketing Magazine’s Marketing Blogged blog. It has also been posted on Linguabrand’s Science and Learning section, among a highly flattering group. This is a delayed cross-posting.)
Expanding the definition and remit of sustainable marketing
When initially introduced to c-suites and boards, the allure of sustainability was that it made a certain brutal business common sense. Performance driven business leaders don’t have to love trees to understand that ignoring environmental impact will eventually kill their business: Materials and fuels will get more expensive, regulations will bear down on them and other forms of public scrutiny will become increasingly unforgiving.
Over the years, the remit of business sustainability has expanded from environmental responsibility to include other economic, social and almost any other aspect of responsible long-term resource management and social stewardship.
However, sustainable marketing has so far remained focused on the environmental aspect. It largely stands for paper sources, non-toxic inks, recycling, etc.
This is an oversight as it’s clear a large part of marketing’s impact on our society is not physical. I would like to challenge this narrow view of sustainable marketing by suggesting that just like businesses increasingly look beyond the environmental impact of resource management, marketing should do the same.
The two new elements I would like to introduce into the definition of sustainable marketing are the cognitive and the cultural aspects. Continue reading