Ottman Urges Industry to Move Sustainability Forward – SB’11 KIckoff Speech

kristy Sustainability News


Jacquelyn Ottman Challenges Industry to Take the Reins in Moving Sustainability Forward in Consumer Sector, Declares Greenwash a Mere Symptom of Real Problem in Opening Keynote at Sustainable Brands ’11

(Monterey, CA, June 7, 2011) Acclaimed green marketing expert Jacquie Ottman got the attention of hundreds of Sustainable Brands ’11 attendees tonight when she opened the conference by asserting, “Greenwash is not the real problem holding consumers back from getting more involved in sustainability.” She went on to illustrate how greenwash is merely a symptom of the real problem – which is an immature industry ‘eco-system’. “The ‘eco-system’ of stakeholders that supports us is not broken … it just hasn’t matured around us. We have marketers who are inadvertently greenwashing because they don’t know better and claims are not being enforced by government or retailers.”

Ottman, author of the recently released The New Rules of Green Marketing, challenged the audience with specific steps to build the holistic support it needs from retailers, government, and especially consumers in moving sustainability forward. Reflecting insights from her book, Ottman stated the required steps are:

Marketers who are more knowledgeable about the technical subtleties of greening one’s processes and products;
Retailers and government who can enforce the FTC Green Guides and ensure that claims made on products and packages at the shelf are not misleading;
Industry self-regulation, via bodies such as the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau;
Products that address all life cycle stages;
Products that can sell themselves without the use of clichéd imagery and green claims; and
Engaged consumers who can make more informed choices among competing “green” and “brown” products and who can share responsibility for impacts during product use, after-use (recycling, reuse), and disposal.
Ottman also offered several success strategies for engaging consumers, among them:

Provide easily understood feedback (e.g., Toyota Prius dashboard);
Peer pressure (e.g., comparative electricity usage and “smiley faces” on utility bills);
Visualize life cycle impacts;
Provide total life cycle costs (e.g., the new fuel economy labels that include fuel costs in addition to greenhouse gas and smog ratings);
Make the learning process fun, (e.g., the quizzes and games offered by RecycleBank).
“Research shows consumers are ready and willing to do more about sustainability, but they don’t know how, Ottman concluded, “So let’s teach them!” A broader view of her presentation is available in a downloadable ‘green paper’ entitled “Moving Sustainability Forward: A Road Map for Consumer Marketers”.

About Jacquie Ottman:

Considered the nation’s foremost expert on green marketing, Ottman is a sought-after speaker and author of four books on green marketing. Her newest book is The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools, and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding (Greenleaf Publishing/Berrett-Koehler, 2011). It is being hailed as “The New Green Marketing Bible” and “a must read for all marketers.” Get the book here with 40% discount (offer ends 30 June 2011) (North American customers please order from here; offer does not apply).

After spending over a decade in major NYC advertising agencies learning the marketing ropes from the likes of Procter & Gamble and Ralston Purina, in 1989, Ottman founded the New York City-based J. Ottman Consulting, Inc. and pioneered green marketing. Her goal: apply her finely-honed consumer packaged goods skills, her creative bent for dreaming up new products, and her strategic instincts to the solving the toughest issues involved in meeting consumers’ needs sustainably. Over the past 23 years, she and her team have helped more than 60 Fortune 500 businesses and various U.S. government labeling programs (including U.S. EPA’s Energy Star and the USDA’s new Certified Biobased label), develop concepts for exciting new products, and create strategies for reaching green consumers, while minimizing the risk of backlash.

For more information, contact
Susan Ditz, PR for J. Ottman Consulting, Inc.
[email protected]