By Marina Tran-Vu, CEO & Co-Founder, EQUO –
There are some ideas that believe in order to achieve sustainability, we have to sacrifice our needs and wants.
In the early ages of sustainability, marketers believed that by promoting the ‘sustainability’ feature of a limited performing product it can incentivize consumers to ‘go green’. We were all convinced to believe that to achieve sustainability, we must do without or do with less – drive less, eat less meat, or consume less than normal.
But if years of paper straws, tofu steaks and reusable diapers have taught us anything, sometimes leading with a message of sacrifice just isn’t that enticing.
The Executive Director of the UBC Sustainability Initiative in Vancouver, John Robinson doubted this method’s effectiveness: “…the language of sacrifice and doing without is not in itself strongly motivating, especially over long periods of time”.
A different approach
And with this initial hypothesis tested over time in market, it is clear a different approach is needed.
We all know some friends who have grudgingly given up some of their hedonic choices for more sustainable options – notably vegan food.
Now, one of the trending topics on social media now includes vegan recipes that taste exactly like real meat – which proves a point: people crave the juicy, burst of flavor a good steak brings. That is why Beyond Meat – a company that produces ‘meat alternatives’ using pea protein and beet juice to recreate that juice texture of meat, chose to market their products differently.
Ethan Brown – Beyond Meat’s founder – encourages people to keep eating their favorite food, but in a more humane, sustainable way. He believes that telling people what not to eat is not a good idea, instead, we should redefine the category in a way that ‘vegan meat’ would fall under the ‘meat’ category.
Let’s look at another example, shall we?
Early fuel-efficient car advertisements focused on sacrificing safety, speed, and convenience for sustainability. However, Tesla changed the game.
It has speed, design, and everything people wanted in a car – while also being more green.
Tesla valued performance and quality the most and brought along fuel efficiency – without compromising on the things consumers care about.
Performing better with sustainability
At EQUO, we believe that sustainability should be incorporated into every aspect of the product – while marketing the product for its superior performance and convenience.
Using a straw once and throwing it away, but without the same environmental impact as plastic or paper is the basis of our values as a business – sustainable options with as little disruption to your life as possible.
It is time to shift the narrative of sacrificing to do good as the primary way to get things done sustainable.
We should instead focus on how we can improve our lives by having products that perform better while being environmentally friendly – only then will we be able to offer truly mass adopted sustainable solutions.
Sacrificing for the greater good perhaps has now become outdated as a concept.
To read all the articles on EQUO on Sustainable Vietnam, click on:
- More than just straws
- Do we have to sacrifice to be sustainable?
- Skip the lectures!
- Understand your waste – recyclable, biodegradable or compostable
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