Sustainability needs selling, says report

Published:  23 June, 2010

LONDON: A report on The Commercial Value of Sustainability, launched last night by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG) at an event co-hosted by the Institute for Sustainability, put the spotlight very clearly on marketers to sell the concept of sustainability to the householder.

Author of the report, independent sustainability consultant Jeremy Sumeray, summarised his findings by saying: “the legislative framework in terms of regulation and incentives is in place and manufacturers have responded with huge innovation to develop solutions for sustainable development. The yawning gap now is in marketing the concept of sustainability to the customer – developing an environment in which sustainable technology is attractive and aspirational for homeowners.”

The research project involved trade associations, manufacturers and consumer representatives and highlighted the huge potential for sustainable technology. It also revealed considerable frustration at the lack of knowledge and understanding within the consumer market of the benefits that sustainable technology can bring.

Ian Exall, chairman of CIMCIG echoed the sentiments: “This report highlights just how big a task the marketing industry has. It is a real hearts and minds exercise that will both make or break our commitments to carbon reduction and provide huge commercial opportunities for UK industry.”

Neil Johnston of the Institute for Sustainability supported the argument by drawing parallels with the double glazing industry. “When double glazing arrived in the seventies it was an entirely new concept. A lot of extremely clever marketing made it a huge industry. If we had similar imagination and commitment today we could develop an equally impressive demand that would start to have a real impact on our carbon targets.”

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