Many consumers are showing increasingly positive attitudes toward sustainability—and these attitudes are changing some people’s behavior. While some are choosing brands they view as more sustainable, others are changing their behavior more radically. Some advocates of sustainability encourage people to practice the “5 Rs of sustainability”: (1) refuse—stop buying stuff; (2) reduce overall consumption; (3) reuse—choose reusable, not disposable, products; (4) repurpose—use product packaging, for example, for some other purpose; and (5) recycle. While most of us are familiar with the last R, the other 4 Rs are moving from fringe behaviors to being increasingly common. This may have implications for marketing managers: greater practicing of the 5 Rs may lead consumers to buy less stuff and to be more selective in what they buy.
This might be another way to foster debate around marketing for a better world (#M4BW). While a brand like Patagonia, which positions itself as extremely environmentally-friendly, might be able to get away with an advertising campaign like its “Don’t Buy This Jacket” from a few years ago, can other brands promote reduced consumption? This certainly puts #M4BW to the test and may be worth a classroom debate.