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Spare Me The Details

Spare Me The Details

So you’re a brand marketer with a powerful new sustainability message. You’re going to detail every bit of it for your consumer base, correct?

Not so fast.

“Twenty three percent of your target audience wants to know the whole story, but 54% wants the abridged version,” according to Aimee Heilbrunn, shown at left, who is president and co-founder, Ecoscene, an online consumer resource for reviews of eco-friendly products and services.

Heilbrunn spoke as part of a panel on the next steps in sustainability.

“Have 10 second, 30 second, and 60 second pitches for how you market your company,” she advised.

While Heilbrunn’s suggestion creates more work for marketers, the upside is probably worth it, based on data she relayed about consumer purchases.

“Four out of five people say they are still buying green products and services in this recession, despite the higher costs,” Heilbrunn said.

Kathy Larson, vice president of Sustainability, Frontier Natural Products Co-op, tried to empower suppliers and retailers toward action despite the complicated nature of sustainability and all its facets.

“You are all more expert in sustainability than you think,” she said. “If you’ve been in this industry for a while, you’ve probably been doing sustainability for some time even if you didn’t know it.”

Other panelists were Ellen Feeney, vice president of Responsible Livelihood, White Wave, and Sylvia Tawse, founder, Fresh Ideas Group.

The panelists and audience collaborated on identifying important next steps for sustainability, many of which were simultaneously jotted down on a large pad on stage.

Some of these steps were

• Tailoring initiatives to specific industries rather than trying to build uniform templates.

• Improving collaboration across the food industry.

• Designing products and processes upfront for sustainability, rather than considering it after the fact.

• Determining where each company has the best shot at making a difference, whether agriculture, packaging, sourcing or some other aspect.