Oomph Seminar at Donington Park – Hitting the mainstreamFebruary 2nd, 2012
The Oomph Seminar this time was framed by Vivian Partnership’s recent White Paper: Sustainability in UK Retail. At the beginning of the seminar the participants were asked to remember the prosperous days of 2007, when sustainability was prominent and in particular retailers were leading the way with Plan A and talk of a revolution in green consumption by Sir Terry Leahy, then CEO of Tesco. Overall the agenda was being set by the Stern Report and An Inconvenient Truth.
With this background in mind, the White Paper investigated what has happened to the revolution, why has it failed to materialise and what lessons can be learned for all, not only by retailers?
The recent government launch of Green Deal provided a surprising topic for early conversation. It focussed on how DECC’s Greg Barker and Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud had said that the Deal should be promoted by the home makeover message rather than climate change and environmental issues, which was met with some surprise. This illustrated a key theme that would be returned to later in the seminar – which is for the majority, rational fact based messages do not drive behaviour. Green Deal, it seems, is being sold in this way, steering around hackneyed saving the planet messages. No one, however, could actually pinpoint the compelling consumer proposition behind the Deal. Time will tell whether this progressive initiative is adopted or rejected.
Compared with 2007, in 2012 times are harder and everyone agreed that the world is more uncertain and in many ways more complex. This uncertainty is often generated by a lack of direction and consistency from government, for example the recent furore over the Feed in Tariff.
At the centre of the White Paper and the discussion today was the fact that the population is split into three segments: deep greens, light greens and green rejecters. This distribution hasn’t changed significantly in the past 20 years and yet the vast majority of marketing and communications has been directed at the deep green segment with the aim to expand that share, but has sat firmly at 15% only.
To make meaningful progress we must create messages and describe benefits for the light green majority, which most agree is about 70% of the population. This segmentation was a surprise to some at the seminar but everyone concluded that this approach was fundamental in a wide range of sectors as well as internally when engaging with colleagues.
A key revelation for many present is that first behaviour must be changed then attitudes will follow. This is the reverse of accepted wisdom and the approach of environmentalists over the past 20 years. Providing the right personal propositions and the right infrastructure will create and establish behaviours in the light green segment.
As an example to demonstrate this concept we discussed the reasons behind why domestic recycling rates have been dramatically improved since the introduction of kerbside collection and bins for segregation. The current government proposal to return to weekly mixed collections was agreed as another example of inconsistency, a lack of leadership and a retrograde step in achieving greater sustainability.
We introduced five mainstreaming components that were isolated in the White Paper for the Retail Sector. All of which translated readily into other commercial sectors and the public sector. These insights could provide valuable elements in delivering successful sustainable development in whatever you do.
In conclusion, we exploded five myths and stated five truths of sustainable behaviours that will be useful in future considerations of the mainstreaming topic.
The green gap is real – most people have real concerns but do not act on them
People embrace the green movement if they are presented with the facts.
Decisions are predominantly based on emotion, supported/justified by rational reasoning
Green = lower quality
Target messages at light greens for maximum effect
Aim to grow the deep green segment
Change behaviour and attitudes will follow
Change attitudes and behaviour will follow
Freedom is good
Choice is good
Finally, many thanks to Donington Park for providing a memorable venue in Race Control above the pit lane and finishing straight on the circuit – today had a lot of oomph in many more ways than one.
Leave a Reply
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- Carbon Labelling
- Climate Change
- Communications blog
- Emotional selling
- Environmental management system
- Oomph Seminars
- Renewable Energy communication
- Sustainability Pathfinder model
It is fantastic to leave a seminar feeling inspired and full of practical ideas. Thursday’s oomph seminar did exactly that, Ben and Dan are naturals at putting an audience at ease which meant real participation from the group. As environmental professionals often form a one person team, it is fantastic to share a room with like minded individuals from local businesses who have faced and tackled similar challenges and can offer insight and advice. Eagerly anticipating the next installment of Oomph!
Nicola Duffy, Environmental Co-ordinator at Highcross, Leicester
Thank you both for inviting us to today’s Oomph seminar. From our point of view, we found the stimulus material and subsequent debate insightful from a sustainability perspective, but also in a wider context applicable to the successful deployment of general business initiatives.
Participant at Oomph Seminar 30 June 2011
Really enjoyed this morning. I have attended very few seminars over the past two years simple because they are all too similar, often the the same speakers and follow the same theme. Today was most importantly enjoyable, interesting and got the brain cells working. I like small groups with variety of people and backgrounds.
Participant at first Oomph Seminar 30 June 2011