Inspiring a Sustainable World through Peer-to-Peer Media
How can brands inspire change in consumer behavior?
“Changing the world has to be fun – otherwise no one will do it” – Alex Bogusky
Bogusky, founder of the always-praised ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and founder of COMMON and the Fearless revolution, spoke during a Sustainable Industries Economic Forum about the sustainability of our planet, its communities and the need for change. He was joined by fellow industry influencers like Bonnie Nixon, executive director of The Sustainability Consortium, and the founders of consulting firm BBMG. His entire presentation was written on cardboard – an awesome way to start a discussion around sustainability!
One of the most prevalent issues discussed in Bogusky’s talk was the fact that an entire industry has been created because we all have too much stuff (think mini-storage): sustainability. “How do we have more when expansion is a physical impossibility?” said Bogusky. The need for collaborative consumption seems obvious, and we’re already making strides in the right direction with car sharing, but there is a need for further integration of these business models.
After the usual networking and business card trading, I asked myself, what does the future of sustainability look like to me? It’s the need for sustainability as a decision making process, rather than an afterthought. Social, economic and environmental sustainability are all interconnected, not in some cosmic way, but literally connected at every turn. I like to imagine that everyone could consider the sustainability of their actions every day, whether it’s the length of a shower, using a water bottle rather than disposable cups, buying energy efficient products and turning off the lights and unplugging appliances when leaving home, walking to work, or buying locally grown produce.
All of these actions are connected to the ecosystem of sustainability: buying from local grocers ensures local economic sustainability for small business owners and reduces the carbon footprint that coincides with the transport of goods; re-usable water bottles, walking/riding a bike/taking public transit and recycling/composting all contribute to the environmental sustainability of society. By participating in these actions of sustainability, individuals contribute to the social sustainability of their community.
All that said, one of the most pressing problems in the energy and sustainability industries today is the need for consumer education. I think Bogusky has the right idea in making it fun for consumers, but the challenge for companies is in how to best reach their target audiences and inspire them to change.
According to Bogusky, last year half of all media consumed was peer-to-peer media. In that case, if communities spent more time educating each other about new collaborative consumption opportunities, the sustainability of every day actions and new energy efficient solutions, the entire community could improve.
Companies in the industry should consider the former; starting the right discussion among consumers can spur massive adoption and change. But this brings on the next set of questions: Where do these conversations happen? Which social media channels are best? More to come on that – stay tuned to Hypertext!