Sustainability: It’s good for today.

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Sustainability: It’s good for today.

For me, the most memorable moment from Al Gore’s “inconvenient” truth was an image of scales with the earth on one side and a stack of gold coins on the other. The audience laughed as he sarcastically stroked his chin and posed the question: “Which is more important? Profit margins or the planet we live on?”

Al Gore’s mocking punch line is indicative of a broad public perception that sustainability is an inherent compromise for business and, by association, jobs. Unfortunately, many green marketers have privately conceded this point and simply attempt a variety of end runs and ineffective counters.

A recent chart published by American Council on Renewable Energy depicts job creation per investment dollar for various industries. While this chart does not answer certain profitability questions (there is still a lot of money to be made in natural gas and coal), it certainly does make a case for a green advantage in job creation.

This brings me to my point. Sustainability is good for America. It’s not just good for tomorrow –it’s good for today. In the recent Presidential election, we learned a couple of things about what people want – job creation and continued global leadership on the technological front. Both of these felt needs can be specifically addressed with sustainability initiatives.

Shelton Group has long trumpeted personal empowerment and cost savings as core green marketing levers. If you want behavior change, it’s about power and the pocketbook. The idea that sustainability is good for more than just the planet and has immediate, tangible benefits is a great complement to this proven way of thinking.

It’s time for “greeny-greens” to put on their pinstripe suits and start making a case for the business of sustainability. “Made in America,” green jobs and technological innovations (to name a few) are genuine marketing advantages provided by sustainability and they need to be clearly communicated in packaging and promotional material.

So, when you trumpet renewable energy, don’t just talk about carbon – talk about building the economy with technological advancements. When you promote your domestic sources, don’t just highlight reduced transportation impact – highlight the American jobs. These are concepts with broad appeal that will reach mainstream consumers and bolster your sustainable messaging.

About the Author

Matt Brass

Matt Brass

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing all campaigns and collateral. With nearly two decades of marketing design under his belt, Matt has extensive experience in design, photography and videography, as well as blogging about the latest and greatest (or worst) ad campaigns out there. He leads our team on kayaking trips, too.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.