Ahead of WFA Global Marketer Week in Istanbul, we asked three thought-leaders for their views on how to achieve the holy grail of sustainable growth
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Global Marketer Week 2023 will explore the seminal conundrum of how brands can play a meaningful role in driving positive change while delivering on bottom line growth.
Ahead of the event in Istanbul, we asked several sustainability experts for their views. This second article in the series features Duncan Meisel (Clean Creatives), Charlie Thompson (Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership) and Corporate Reputation Management Expert, Miguel Veiga-Pestana. See what others had to say here.
Duncan Meisel, Executive Director, Clean Creatives
“The first key to achieving sustainable growth is to understand that it is not a purity test. We are facing an urgent problem that you can break down into actionable steps, like any other problem. The worst thing you can do is give up because it feels too big. We need everyone.
The second key is to collaborate. Outside experts and environmental organizations have unique knowledge that can be powerful when you listen and invite them in to help shape your strategy. They can help you identify problems that may not be obvious in your day-to-day, so you can prepare for the future.
The last key is to think about your leverage, as well as your footprint. Our business environment is heavily skewed towards polluters. Brands have relationships with agencies, banks, and associations that can be leveraged to level the playing field for sustainable practices. For example: asking your ad and PR agencies to not work for high-carbon clients can make it harder for polluters to make greenwashed claims that create cynicism or confusion for consumers."
Charlie Thompson, Director, Commercial Reach & Influence at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
“All living things grow, but in nature, this growth occurs within the boundaries of its environment. Our economy has outgrown the limits of our natural world. It is using resources faster than nature can replenish them, and polluting and wasting in ways and volumes that nature cannot absorb. The continued growth of this economic system will destroy its environment and the other living things that depend on it.
Our linear methods of production and consumption, and financial models that serve the few, are incompatible with a sustainable future. The IPCC tells us that containing global warming to 1.5C requires urgent action to transform the current economic system. We cannot consume our way through the economic transformation that’s needed.
We need growth in economic accountability, transparency, innovation and leadership; in more sustainable social norms and the narratives that shape them; in businesses and brands that thrive through meeting society’s needs in sustainable ways. Importantly, we need growth in action from marketing, media and creative industries to influence and drive the psychological and physical changes needed across the business ecosystem and society, to alter our course."
Miguel Veiga-Pestana, Corporate Reputation Management Expert
“It is not an over exaggeration to say that marketeers are key to saving the planet. We simply can’t do it without you. The stakes could not be higher.
We have fewer than seven years to halve carbon emissions and to bring the over-consumption of resources within planetary boundaries. Failure is not an option if we truly aspire to build a more sustainable and inclusive world. Doing so means fundamentally re-inventing marketing. To create more closed loop business models that raise awareness and understanding as well as incentivise those who buy brands to do so more sustainably.
No small feat but as we know every challenge is also an opportunity. Those companies and brands that authentically embrace and integrate sustainability into their core strategies will be rewarded by shareholders and stakeholders alike. More importantly they will be making a positive impact and helping dent the curve. So now is an opportune moment to discuss the practical steps and actions required to accelerate the pace of change. To reinject some optimism and dynamism and a sense of the art of the possible."
Charlie Thompson and Miguel Veiga-Pestana will both be on stage during WFA Global Maketer Week 2023, which takes places from 25 to 28 April in Istanbul. To join the conversation, book your seat here.