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Will Marketing Save the World?

Posted by Tom Rawls on Apr 29, 2013
Tags: climate change news


In an interview in the guardian, a British newspaper, one of the co-founders of Method, an innovative manufacturer of sustainable cleaning products, says that it is marketers who are going to stop climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Eric Ryan, who co-founded Method a dozen years ago and recently sold the company to the Ecover, a like-mind Dutch company, is quoted as saying you cannot count on governments to solve environmental problems.

“The only way we’re going to solve sustainability is through changing consumer behavior,” Ryan says. “I kinda joke about it, [but] it’s going to be up to marketers to save the world. . . . “

Marketing is a piece of the solution. Marketers have convinced men to lime-flavored beer and women to squeeze into skinny pants. They haven’t, however, yet figured out how to influence people to buy a better society. Appealing to personal self-interest is simple compared to appealing to enlightened self-interest.

We’ve all read about the difficulties firms have convincing consumers that “green” goods are good. Mistrust and confusion deter buyers, according to studies. Is the product truly better, would-be buyers wonder? Can I believe that company is doing all it can, active consumers ask themselves?

These questions lead to the next and obvious question: Is it up to the marketers to eliminate the doubt—and meet the challenge Eric Ryan has thrown out--or does the responsibility lie with the companies themselves to cement their credibility with their choices and behavior

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