Top 10 Sustainability / CSR and Online / Social Media Marketing Trends for 2011 (Part 1: Sustainability Trends)

Top 10 Sustainability / CSR and Online / Social Media Marketing Trends for 2011 (Part 1: Sustainability Trends)

By now, you’ve probably read some marketing and sustainability trend forecasts for 2011. Why another? Because there’s not another one out there exactly like this one!

I’ve grouped the top ten trends into two broad categories: Sustainability/CSR and Online/Social Media.

Part I. Top Sustainability and CSR Trends for 2011:

1.  A re-examination of paper versus online efficiencies. Campaigns to go paperless have been so successful that most people accept as Established Fact that online communications is the greener option than paper. Not so fast! Like so many environmental issues, this one is multi-faceted.  The availability of competitively priced recycled paper stock from Forest Stewardship Councilcertified forests and both commercial and consumer access to paper recycling facilities has exploded, while the use of alternative energy still comprises just 8% of the total energy consumption in the US. Deciding which way to go– paper or online – requires ever more careful calculations.   Expect the paper industry to make this a rallying cry this year. Domtar Paper’s “Paper Because”campaign, launched at the end of 2010, is likely just the first of many such campaigns by the paper industry to increase public awareness of the environmental benefits of using paper.

2.   Increasing pressure for e-cyclers and electronics manufacturers to support the e-cycling principles espoused by the e-stewards program.Two years ago, my firm worked with a wireless company to review and implement more sustainable practices so that they could credibly market to eco-conscious consumers.   In 2009, few people were aware of the e-stewards program and the Basel Action Network, which work to ensure that e-waste doesn’t end up in landfills.  By some estimates, 70% to 80% of all used electronics parts are shipped by “recyclers” to developing nations. There, children rummage through highly toxic piles of e-waste to extract precious metals.  Thanks to increasing media attention, the pioneering work of  e-stewards, and quiet lobbying by some of the consumer electronics industry’s leaders, U.S. electronics recyclers are cleaning up their act.  A huge sign that this movement will take off in 2011 is a new Consumer Electronics Associationstatement calling for support of the e-stewards standards.

3. Water conservation, water rights and the “corporate water footprint” will assume the same prominence as the “carbon footprint.”

  • Exciting new technologies and products will help both businesses and consumers manage water consumption.
  • Expect more retailers, restaurants, and other establishments to follow MOM’s Organic Market’s lead in banning the sale of bottled water.
  • Companies that are perceived as “hoarding” finite water resources will come under increasing public scrutiny.

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The 4GreenPs Blog looks at corporate social responsibility and sustainability communications from a marketer's vantagepoint.