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Sustainability Marketing [Selling
Posted on June 5, 2015 @ 05:35:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I was browsing some business books and came accross a textbook called Sustainability Marketing (2012) that piqued my interest.

The subtitle of the book is "A Global Perspective". The reason for this subtitle is because what it means to be sustainable varies in different parts of the world. In the Middle East sustainability tends to me more associated with passive cooling, proper architecture, renewable energy and water conservation. In South America sustainability tends to be more associated with fair trade of locally grown crops and the development of ecotourism. In Japan, before Fukushima, sustainability was more associated with sustainable innovation in technology with the Prius being a leading example. After Fukushima, conservation of water and energy and consuming less or more wisely became more associated with sustainability.

So what it means to be sustainable varies as a function of location/culture/major events/etc... Given this, you need to be attentive to the sustainability values of the population you are addressing with your marketing.

The book has a chapter on "Sustainable Consumer Behavior" which I haven't read but which strikes me initially as a paradoxical concept. It will be interesting to see how they navigate this topic. There are enough quirks involved in sustainability marketing (e.g., certifying goodness, life cycle analysis, pricing for externalities and embodied energy) that it probably justifies specialized treatment. Perhaps in the future, it will be the mainstream instead of a specialty area of marketing.

David Holmgren, co-founder of Permaculture, has a nice video on what he views as the proper strategy for changing the world for the better and it makes me wonder if he is talking about a form of sustainability marketing or a process that might benefit from sustainability marketing. Sustainability marketing is usually associated with corporate messaging whereas David is talking about a more individual bottom-up approach to becoming more sustainable so there are differences. His preferred approach to increasing sustainability utilizes two Permaculture principles in particular - Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback and Use Small and Slow Solutions which I discussed in my last blog.

Sustainability marketing is also referred to as "Green Marketing" (although the authors claim it is different) which you can read more about at the Green Marketing Wikipedia page.

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