Why is the advertising sector needed to promote sustainable consumption?

As an essential link between producers and consumers, the advertising sector - i.e. companies, advertising agencies and media - has indeed a significant influence on consumption. Therefore, taking advantage of the communication skills and creative talent of the profession would help shift consumption patterns to make them more sustainable.

How can the advertising sector help promote sustainability?

  • advertising agencies can influence the communication strategies of their clients by stressing the advantages a product, a service or an action could present as regards sustainable consumption;

  • the media could favour the development of broadcasts and articles aimed at informing the public on these issues;

  • stakeholders should focus on environmental management and ensure that their practices move towards energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction. In business relations, they could provide incentives to partners, suppliers and subcontractors who follow similar management practices.

What could the advertising industry gain from joining in?

  • As regards companies, offering greener products and services to the market can notably enhance brand image, increase market share and spur innovation. Promoting green marketing and communicating on the assets of a product or a service as regards sustainable consumption offer opportunities for creating business value, since consumers become more and more aware of the environmental impacts related to the consumption of specific products.

  • For advertising agencies, new business opportunities could appear with the development of messages related to sustainable consumption issues. Governments, NGOs and international organisations increasingly communicate on environmental issues like energy savings, water use or waste recycling, but also on social issues such as child labour, human rights or, more generally, on quality of life. All these topics are related to sustainable consumption and should be taken into account by the advertising agencies if they do not want to miss future expanding markets.