The once niche sector known as sustainable marketing has reached mainstream recognition with resiliency over the past 10 years. The concept of sustainable marketing, unlike traditional or mainstream marketing practices, “doesn’t prioritize profit over the planet or other social causes. Instead, it’s trying to achieve sustainable profit within the limits of our planet and society” (Klint).
Sustainability is no longer a trend that can be overlooked. According to IBM, 8 in 10 consumers care about sustainability. Despite the economic volatility of the pandemic, sustainability is at an all-time high with 73% of consumers desiring to be more sustainable in the next 12 months (The Drum). Randi Kronthal-Sacco, senior scholar of marketing and corporate outreach at NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, states, “Sustainably marketed products did, in fact, survive the pandemic, and they thrived in many instances.” These goods outperformed their conventional counterparts across 36 categories in 2020, according to a report conducted between IRI and NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business. In addition to the growing market for sustainability, product resiliency is also due to its inelasticity. Sustainable products are less sensitive to price fluctuations than conventional fast-moving consumer goods, which are currently contending with rising inflation (Marketing Dive).
While 70% of consumers are willing to pay a premium price for sustainable products, according to IBM, there are still many barriers in the way. Brands can work to remove barriers by “helping facilitate sustainable purchasing decisions by making products that meet sustainable standards and designing these products to be easy, efficient and desirable to purchase.” The Drum states, “Clearly, sustainability is no longer just a “nice to have”. It’s an absolute must for any brand that wants to stay relevant, win new customers and drive loyalty.” Julian Douglas, author of The Drum, asks, “If our primary objective is to drive consumption, then does that mean our very existence is at odds with a sustainable life? Or can we instead be a catalyst for more sustainable behavior and action?” For the latter to be true, advertising and marketing must play a crucial role in convincing people of the need and desire to change, and most importantly, showing them how to make the changes toward a more sustainable way of living.