We have the power to do good
There is an immense power that lies within the marketing industry that should be leveraged to act for the good of the environment and biodiversity.
We have a very powerful and influential voice, but we often forget about it as we are caught in the daily grind of achieving KPIs, delivering on an ever flowing stream of briefs, chasing awards and striving for business success on behalf of clients. However, it is crucial that we realize the extent of our influence on the world around us. The work that we create has the potential to shape culture, impact conversations, and provide people with the means to understand their surroundings.
As marketers, we can reach CEOs and board members, and our recommendations and expertise hold weight – not just in how brands are represented, but in how companies operate towards their employees and within the world. It is important that we acknowledge this power and seize the opportunity to create a positive societal impact.
Marketing’s impact on the planet
The statistics speak for themselves – eight million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every single day. To put this in perspective, that's equivalent to one garbage truck's worth of waste per minute. This is an alarming figure that highlights the urgent need for action.
While the subject of environmental degradation is not new, it has reached a critical point where words alone are no longer enough to convey the importance and urgency. As marketers, we must recognize the power that we hold and use it to drive change towards a more sustainable future. It is our responsibility to create messaging and campaigns that encourage people to take action and make conscious choices for the benefit of the environment.
The UN’s recent biodiversity conference, COP15, further emphasized the importance of the environment as a primary concern for businesses. Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) encompasses the three main types of risk that companies face. Over the past couple of years, the conversation has shifted extremely quickly from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – a general concept of doing good – to ESG, which is now a major area in which brands are being judged.
Today, companies are no longer evaluated solely based on their revenues by their boards and investors. ESG is now embedded throughout and has become a set of standards for a company's behaviour, and socially conscious investors use it to screen potential investments. As marketers, we all participate in making the brand itself be recognized as a major value generator. And just as this notion is finally being better understood, we are now in the midst of another huge and fast shift: brands being evaluated on ESG strategies.
Brands are increasingly facing pressure to act and demonstrate their commitment to ESG. Consumers are demanding that brands openly discuss their environmental impact and shift focus from what they're selling to how they're producing. They want to see pledges, concrete actions and quantified commitments, and they will hold brands accountable for these promises.
As marketers, we can expect a sharp turn in the briefs that are handed over to us. This isn't just about a special yearly push on CSR; it's about all briefs, impacting what brands say across every level and channel, regardless of the topic.
The future of marketing is not just about selling products. It's about building and promoting sustainable, socially responsible brands that have a positive impact on the planet and society. We must embrace this shift and use our power as marketers to drive positive change within our organizations and the world at large.
One priority is to challenge existing practices and promote sustainable and eco-friendly options. We have a duty to use our influence to affect environmental change. It’s our responsibility to consider the product itself, its design, packaging, launch, and impact. Below are some global examples of innovation:
- Shellmets: helmets made from discarded scallop shells.
- Great Wrap: compostable cling wrap made from potato waste.
- Kengos: shoes made of eucalyptus, natural cork and corn.
I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on how you can use your voice and power as a marketer to do good, create positive impact, and influence change, from the micro all the way to the macro. By using our influence thoughtfully and committing to excellence, we can work together to build a better future through our marketing efforts.