The word ‘green’ has lost its association with grassy meadows for a while now, having rebranded itself firmly to join the ranks of words such as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’. And thus, the phrase “green marketing” has to do with marketing a product as pro-Planet Earth. It is a necessary update in a world of increasing consumption, with brands scrambling to out-do one another. But as it is, not all brands are created equal, and thus, their roles and responsibilities in this collective journey varies strongly.
Economists have long subscribed to a three-sector-model; a theory which states, any economy can be divided into three sectors – the extraction of raw materials (primary), manufacturing (secondary), and service industries that facilitate transport, distribution and sale of goods produced in the secondary sector (tertiary).
By default, the tertiary sector is primarily sustained by the utilisation of the resources produced by the first two sectors, with key supplies being human capital and manual labour. Unlike the first two sectors, agents of the tertiary markets can wipe their hands clean of the direct responsibility of harvesting resources and thereby destabilising the planet as a whole. With the exception of some industries such as hospitality and aviation, most industries in the service sector such as teaching, consulting, marketing and banking are simply not on the green radar.
So, what is the role of these companies in our collective climate struggle? To sit back and relax? We would strongly suggest otherwise. Instead, take advantage of not having to bear an inherent guilt towards contributing towards direct air, water, land or all three types of pollution and strongly advocate for greener business practices.
Multi-billion-dollar consulting agency McKinsey & Company seems to have got that cue – reporting 95% of their global electricity consumption is now from renewable sources, along with plans to reach net-zero climate impact by 2030. McKinsey has even addressed the industry’s generally nasty reputation for high airline miles and committed to investing in carbon-reduction projects certified to international standards.
McKinsey is a corporate giant, with far more expendable resources to invest towards the aforementioned causes – so let’s shift the dialogue to a more microscopic level. Our own 20 month old brand consulting firm (the one whose website you are currently on) has already declined projects from a number of fast fashion startups in the country. With a coincidental shared philosophy of sustainability across the employees and the brand as a whole – it felt dubious to help promote products that weren’t conscious enough. Now, should we decide to promote this business decision of ours, not only will we be showcasing our moral ground to our stakeholders, there is also a greater chance that a brand selling eco-responsible products will be more inclined toward working with us over our competitors.
With further scrutiny into the tertiary sector, it is absolutely evident that green-consciousness is not limited to an enterprise or a business; it is just as relevant for a us, especially a personal brand. When a personality organically embraces sustainable living, it inspires personal responsibility. And with greater reach, the emphasis on green causes can be better enforced. Of course, there is a pragmatic (selfish) scope to this angle too – green marketing is well received, it’s hip and happening right now. With emphasis on green marketing, your personal brand would get better reception from a wider audience.
So be it for philosophical, existential, or fiscal reasons – personal brands need to make green marketing an organic part of their life. And if you are a part of the tertiary sector, don’t be cynical or indifferent to the climate struggle; take a stand and get on the right side of history. We aren’t experts on heralding green causes, but we are passionate towards the pursuit of a better, greener tomorrow. And to all who need to hear it, let’s shout it from the rooftops:
CHANGE CAN START SMALL.