Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No Doubt

On Friday, The Greenery spoke on a  panel at Columbia University's Green Marketing Conference alongside keynote speakers like Greenery Lab expert John Grant, author of The Green Marketing Manifesto, and Andrew Winston, author of Green to Gold.
For us, the most sobering moment in this well-run event came when Winston asked the audience to raise their hands depending on whether they believe that a) 'the vast majority of scientists are in agreement that climate change is man made' or b) 'there is still significant disagreement about whether climate change is man made' (I am misquoting him here, but this is the general drift). Now, you'd think you'd be able to call how a room full of Ivy-League MBAs in one of the most liberal cities in America would vote. But no, votes were split about 50/50.

We found this deeply troubling. Fortunately, as Winston pointed out, and as jives with our client experience, the vast majority of influential corporate leaders are now in camp a). They understand that the scientific debate is over and now is the time for action.

But this small, elite sample of 200 or so reminded us of the challenges we still face in communucating with the broader public about climate change, sustainability, green.

And it reminded us of a point of view the Greenery likes to share with our clients, which is this: Now is not the time to be led by your consumers, but to lead them. Brands have the opportunity - or the obligation - to make sustainability personally relevant, to show consumers how going green can also help them better meet their needs. Help them see that 'greener' can mean healthier, safer, tastier, cooler, more economical, more efficient, better. We believe the current harsh conditions - the severe economic downturn coupled with our planet's worsening condition - present an opportunity for greatness. And as we've said before, that would be a terrible thing to waste.

No comments: