The fact is that this is a world facing issues so dire, unmanageable and unpalatable that it is easy to let them slip into the background… Click…While we get distracted by other issues like a little Global Financial Crisis and the pursuit of the Green Dollar.So that’s what today is all about. Finding out what you can do to help your companies sustain themselves by being smarter, more innovative, and more green.
The standards and expectations we set as marketers today, determine the quality of life for future generations. The lives we choose to lead today determine the legacy we leave for our children and their children.If we continue to drive home the message that we measure success in life by the size of our car and home, by the things we own, then we are in desperate trouble.So my role here today is to be an advocate for the companies and people who buy your products and services. I have been talking to them pretty much solidly for the past year about what they actually think about all this environmental stuff and I know you want to understand how to meet your boss’s demands for more growth while being aware that limitless growth is impossible – the resources we are drawing on are not infinite.
I like the Terra Choice version I came across last year. Apparently we range from Righteous And Willing Nature Unspoiling Total Zealots, through to the rather harshly named Stubborn Comatose Undereducated Mainstream.
The LOHAS work has also added to the knowledge base..From the 16% apparently unconcerned about the environment and society to those living a life of health and sustainability
It wouldn’t be complete without a matrix. This time its attitude v behaviour
… or a matrix on action by agreement
Scientists have found there is actually a bit of green in all of us! (Not really… But this is a good illustration of how consumers really are. We (mostly) all want to be green but we need help to activate our “green centre”. Its not our fault that we are convenience seeking, cost conscious beings. That’s what we’ve been taught to be! This is the challenge AND opportunity for manufacturers, retailers, government, industry bodies and NGOs alike. To help us mere mortal consumers to activate this green centre. It is possible. We will see in this study how manufacturers do it time and again. We will see how retailers shape our demand with intelligent ranging and merchandising. And we will see how retailers here and abroad are moving on a path which leads us slowly towards a greener future.
And the size of that gap surprised us all..93% Think a retailers effort to reduce their environmental impact is important. And consumers don’t draw such a clear distinction between retailers and their suppliers as we do.84% are concerned by the impact their purchasing decisions have on the world80% are thinking about environmental issues when they are shopping(by the way 80% also know what an environmental or green product is..)50%
There is a green shopper in all of usLet’s face it; nobody (well, nearly nobody) enjoys destroying the natural systems that sustain us. It’s just that other considerations like convenience, trust, cost, lack knowledge or understanding often get in the way. Shoppers are concerned. In this study, only 6% of respondents were “not at all” concerned about the impact their purchasing decisions were having on the world. When the decision is (on the surface) easy – like buying free-range eggs, or toilet paper with high recycled content, or detergents which seemingly do less harm to our waterways – then consumers readily select the greener option.Whose responsibility?The bigger question is: whose responsibility is it to activate, steer, guide, cajole and generally help consumers make better decisions? Is it no one’s responsibility? Is it everyone’s? The answer is not a simple one, and some commentators suggest that this is exactly the kind of complex problem we have governments for. There is no question that manufacturers are faced with a massive opportunity to take a leadership position and many are trying. In the rush we are seeing too many “under supported overclaims” which, instead of creating a wave of green support, are slowly building the level of cynicism to the point where 27% of respondents reported being “not at all likely” to believe on pack environmental claims and only 15% being “very likely” to believe them. Clearly the jury is out on that issue.Gruen us GreenVictor Gruen, back in the 40’s pioneered intentional design features to help us shop “better”. The way we are enabled to shop by intuition is referred to as the Gruen Effect or the Gruen Transfer. It’s why IKEA is a maze of household joy. It’s why the milk is at the back of the store. It’s why shopping centres are destinations for shopping recreation. It’s how we shifted consumer behaviour from conscious, considered choice about what we need, to unconscious desire for what feels good to have. Increasingly, what feels good to have is a better choice for planet and society. A more sustainable choice. This is the opportunity for the ethical retailer. Gruen us to products which we believe are a better choice. Migrate us away from excess packaging. Migrate us away from less sustainable options. Migrate us towards ethical choices. Migrate us towards sustainable options. You’ve done it for free range eggs and we feel good about shopping at your store because of that.Retailers in the UK have really made a name for themselves with their sustainability initiatives. But it’s not without its problems. In a competitive environment the approach of each retailer has not been well coordinated, resulting in what has been described as a mish-mash approach. What can we do in this country to overcome that?A coordinated approachThere is only one answer to the dilemma of creating a more sustainable food and grocery industry. The time is upon us for manufacturers, retailers, industry bodies, government and NGOs to coordinate their efforts to harness the latent green potential in the vast majority of consumers. They are crying out for a standard they can believe in. But it’s not just a certification standard that’s required, although that seems a likely place to start. The answer requires cross-sectoral participation, new levels of innovation and ingenuity, more research and support for industry transformation. No individual retailer, manufacturer, industry body or NGO can do this on their own. Significant resources and time commitment are required to help close the gap between the 84% of consumers who are concerned about the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions and the 13% who actually buy a green product each time they shop. Those companies that lead in this coordinated approach are set to become (or secure their existingpositions as) the leaders of the future.To paraphrase Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby in the April 2010 edition of Harvard Business Review:“The key to becoming a contemporary corporate leader is to take on the responsibilities for the impacts you have on the world for which you are not called to account.”This is the enormous challenge and unmatched opportunity for the Australian food and grocery industry.
The challenge for you...<br />What will you do to inspire change tomorrow?<br />What will you do to inspire change by the end of the month?<br />What will you do to inspire change in 2011?<br />140<br />