This week a newspaper article on “Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change”, a book on climate change by two Indian authors caught my attention. Newspapers wrote about the book because the two Indian authors suggest giving more of leadership and responsibility in climate change to emerging markets and developing countries. But this is not what caught my eye. The authors’ approach underlines what we have discussed in class, as they suggest a transmission in global climate politics from emission reduction to technology generation.
The last lecture was about how to tackle socio-ecological problems. The driving forces of socio-ecological problems on a macro-level are characterized by the human impact on the environment as the product of affluence, population and technology. In order to reduce impact respectively to keep the impact at an acceptable level sustainability marketing aims at improving technology, as population growth and affluence level are very hard to change. This aspect is also highlighted in “Greenprint”: Forcing emission restrictions on developing countries will limit their affluence level, not gaining the “rudiments of modernity”. The authors deduce that the emphasis must be technology generation allowing greater consumption and production possibilities while respecting the global emissions budget.
In class, we assessed technology by the improvement of energy efficiency and the introduction of renewable energies on a micro-level. We used the impact matrix to find the stages in product lifecycles which have the biggest impact on environment. For me, the most interesting step was to come up with strategies how to reduce the impact level of problematic stages, which then lead to decreased impact on the macro-level.
I was also surprised how this tool fits into the process of traditional marketing: Consumer-oriented marketing focuses on aligning products with customers’ needs and wants, which is accomplished amongst others by conjoint analyses, quality function deployment etc. In this context, the impact matrix adds a new dimension. As sustainability marketing adds sustainable relationships with the social and natural environment to the traditional marketing perspective, the impact matrix is a tool to put this into practice.
But how to induce companies all over the world to imply sustainable aspects in their strategies? The authors of “Greenprint” see the initiation of technology generation on a macro-level, i.e. global politics, in order to induce the micro-level to dedicate resources to technology development.