Sandra Stewart | June 13, 2015
Sexy and sustainability — two words that go together like fun and root canal. Sustainability is a lot of things, but for most of us, sexy isn’t one of them. That needs to change.
Polls consistently find that people want products and services to have sustainable attributes, and they plan to buy them. Just as consistently, actual purchases don’t match up with stated intentions. There are plenty of reasons for this disconnect, ranging from how much people know to how much people care. But marketing is surely part of the problem, and it may be the easiest part to address.
Marketers typically present sustainability in do-the-right-thing terms, as an afterthought or not at all (figuring, it’s not a motivator, so let’s not talk about it). Those approaches aren’t doing the job: If decades of id-targeted advertising have taught us anything, it’s that virtue doesn’t sell. And if we don’t talk about sustainability, we can’t get people to buy into it — unconscious sustainable purchases are not going to accelerate the shift to a new economy.