Sustainable Road Trip to Sustainable BrandsThe energy of the conference is appreciably higher today, as this is technically the first day of the conference. (Yesterday was ‘pre-conference’ events). In the big room, Jacqui Ottman (one of Unicycle Creative’s earliest associates and inspirations) started as the keynote speaker and MC. Her straightforward tenets and no-nonsense delivery come from 20+ years in a market space most of us are just dipping our toes into.

She worked through the last green wave in 1992 and one of her main concerns is that we will greenwash and green-fatigue our customers to the point where the green revolution could come to a grinding halt. And this time, it could take more than 15 years to re-start it. That’s 15 years the planet does not have.

So here are some of her basic rules. Read and learn:

1. Focus on primary benefits, not just green messaging.
Skip the babies, kill the daisies and pulverize the planets. Consumers are tired of trite green imagery.

2. Transparency. Give people the info.
Timberland labels are a great example. Their ‘EcoMetrics’ labels allow people to clearly link carbon with consumption.

3. Start from the inside out
Build your sustainability initiatives on who you already are. Homework: research HSBC No Small Change campaign, or GE Ecomagination.

Think like a beer marketer on new years eve.
On promoting sustainability for the future, Jacqui says we have to promote responsible consumption.Tell your customers how to use products effectively, create products that last longer and have higher value and  ultimately, buy less stuff. Companies must create new business models, invent new products, materials and technologies.

But perhaps more importantly, we pioneers have an opportunity and an obligation to include product stewardship in the process.

Next, some speakers and companies that profess to do just that.


One in a series of articles on Lorne’s Sustainable Journey to the Sustainable Brands 08 Conference in Monterey CA. Click here for the full list of sessions, or here for the ‘Fear & Loathing’ road trip journals.


Previous: «
Next: »