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Categories: Sustainability

It’s not CSR, it’s business!

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Working with brands and their agencies on sustainability, I’ve come to realise that our biggest barrier to progress on sustainability isn’t consumer behaviour, political inertia or market structures. It’s something less complicated, more insidious and cruelly ironic. It’s the enemy within: CSR!

That loose collection of terminologies, concepts and examples that has created the illusion of a distinct discipline, detached from the cut-and-thrust of business and brand; that ominous acronym, in many circles synonymous with greenwash, which has facilitated a tick box mentality based on compliance and reputation management.

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Sustainability: lessons from public health

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Experts in public health have struggled with enabling behaviour change for years. The sustainability sector should learn what it can from their experiences. 

Consumer behaviour change is the challenge of our time. As governments and brands are beginning to realise, upstream improvements are relatively easy to make compared with the herculean task of shifting consumer behaviours downstream. While the sustainability community is just beginning to get to grips with the gravity of this challenge, our colleagues in public health have been wrestling with it for decades. Great progress has been made, but hard lessons have been learned – costly, time-consuming lessons that we can all learn from.

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The Business Case

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The need for more Considered_ creative is driven by a hard-and-fast business case. Those brands, agencies and professionals that embrace the sustainability agenda will be the ones that engage the consumers, win the clients, and secure the jobs.

Without even considering the emergence of brands and business models based on completely new economic principles (collaborative consumption, social innovation, shared value), there is a clear ripple effect in motion: consumers are changing, brands are changing, therefore the industry, the agencies, the practitioners will have to change. 

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