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It feels strange that the last lecture is already over. It all went so quickly that I didn’t have time to realize the things learnt. Like someone already mentioned, the change was bigger than I thought. Before the course I wouldn’t have got irritated when seeing those H&M Conscious Collection ads all over the city – or maybe I wouldn’t have even noticed them – but now I feel like telling the fellow people at the bus stop the real truth about the collection’s sustainability. I also learnt that H&M isn’t that bad, but the way they marketed the campaign was questionable.

So thank you for the great course, I didn’t exactly know what to expect beforehand, but now I feel like being a lot wiser when it comes to sustainability marketing and consumption. It got me thinking about my own consumption habits once again but I guess I still won’t stop flying, but now I know more ways how to reduce my ecological footprint otherwise. Regarding the marketing part, one thing that stuck to my mind was TerraChoice’s 7 sins of greenwashing. When I googled the subject, I ran into this article that put the 7 sins in a different light. The author says that TerraChoice’s report may be as much of a greenwash as the products and companies it is criticizing – and there are a lot of those as 95% of the products failed the test in 2010, so almost everyone according to TerraChoice is a sinner. The author ends up by stating that:

“I wouldn’t blame shoppers for ending up more confused and cynical than ever. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some companies thinking about touting their green innovations and achievements decide to go back into their shells, keeping mum. And that would be the biggest sin of all.”

So even when we try to do good in terms of sustainability marketing, there can be dark sides to it as well. But still, it’s better to do something than to do nothing – and being too green is way better than not being green at all. So let’s stay green no matter what!

Start-up companies are once again oh-so-trendy… Of course they aren’t a new phenomenon, for example in the late 1990s the Internet bubble brought up lots of start-ups, but during the past few years they have very strongly come to the limelight again. There are even TV shows like Dragons’ Den (Leijonanluola in Finnish) featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to secure investment finance from selected venture capitalists.

I ran across an article from last year about Envia Systems, a start-up based in East Bay, USA, that had crushed the record for energy density of a rechargeable Li-ion battery for electric cars at 400Wh/kg. It got me thinking about the role of start-ups in moving the world toward sustainability. Maybe part of the answer to the current problems lies within the start-up culture? Start-ups are not so much constrained with the pressures that bigger companies have (like making stable profits and having to continuously improve its performance), and their business ideas are usually very innovative – so why not sustainably innovative as well.

I googled “sustainable start-ups” and was a bit disappointed to find out that for example the venture capital for clean technology plummeted in 2012 and is expected to continue decreasing this year, too. However, after reading about successful sustainable start-ups of different kinds, I’m sure at least on a more minor scale change is very much possible and more importantly already made. Here’s one example:

First of all I want to thank the lecturers for the very inspiring first lecture! I was excited about this course already beforehand, and now my excitement rose to another level.

As I mentioned during the lecture, I’m majoring in accounting and since I have been working just in financial accounting departments, marketing is something I haven’t come across with that much. The ‘Introduction to Marketing’ course is basically all I know, and I think in it’s an advantage in this case: I don’t know the ‘dark side’ of marketing that well, so I’m all open to deepen my understanding on marketing starting from a sustainable point of view.

This is my fourth and thus final course on Creative Sustainability, so sustainability itself isn’t new to be, and it’s a somewhat familiar subject also when considering my studies in accounting. I did my bachelor’s thesis on CSR reporting in Finland and in Denmark, and at that point I kind of thought that reporting was the ultimate way of proving that the companies are acting responsibly. But then I started studying Creative Sustainability and my opinion changed when learning more about issues like window dressing and greenwashing. I realized that CSR reporting can actually be part of that ‘dark side’ of marketing. It’s not necessarily done for responsibilities’ and sustainability’s sake, but just to make it look like the companies’ are acting in the ‘right’ way.

The unsustainability of marketing is much more talked about than the other side, so I’m happy to take this course to discuss it in a more positive tone and to learn how to do it differently. Looking forward to the coming lectures…