Episode 64

Being Sustainable - A re-commerce revolution and personal journey rethinking consumption with Simon Garnett

Published on: 7th September, 2023

“Being sustainable is a story of assumed negatives, but it’s actually a story of discovered positives.”

We were joined in this episode by Simon Garnett who has been on a personal journey with consumption, one which he started when he realised his own habits were unhealthy, a journey he continues and has taken into his professional life as well.

Simon shares with us the moment he decided to reappraise his consumption with ‘new’ and how after a year it moved to him reappraising his consumption overall. Simon explains, whenever he tells anyone his story he gets asked two questions “after a year of not consuming, what was the first things you bought and, what did you miss?” These questions only made it clearer for Simon that, “the engagement with this story, the engagement with the concept of not buying new, is absolutely, integrally rooted in a concept of loss. But, from his perspective and experience it was the total opposite, and as the headline to this episode highlights, “It’s a story of assumed negatives, which is actually a story of discovered positives.”

We go on to explore the tensions that exist once you embark on a more sustainable way of living and the challenge of taking what you’ve learned to influence others at scale. Simon explains that he wants to create meaning around consumption and highlight that is isn’t about success and it definitely shouldn’t be viewed as inconvenient if you decide to cut down or buy second-hand. For Simon, marketing has been primarily about “driving consumption of new, and consumption of new is what equals success.”  Sustainability is often associated with having less, or being told you can’t have something and Simon acknowledges that the message we need to consume less is a strong one, but given how much we waste, how can that be a loss if we don’t even use what we do buy. 

Michelle shares a recent room refurbishment, something she found incredibly creative, down to the paint which she got through the sharing app, Olio. Through this journey Michelle discovered a number of services she didn’t know existed and that sense of not just taking the convenient route brought a deeper feeling of fulfilment. However, she points out the reason she hadn’t heard of these services, is because they are not being talked about enough. There are so many stories not yet being told.

Simon worries that the sense of “build it and they will come” risks relying on platforms and infrastructure to deliver and make re-commerce successful with a great user experience but it’s not, it’s about the stories we need to be telling. Simon explains, “what we’re competing with is not just inconvenience, but decades of messaging that new equals success and second hand is a bit dirty and undesirable.” Marketing has such an important role, and Simon believes we can rewrite the story.

There are many discovered benefits to sustainable living. What is your experience? Tune in and listen to this episode and make it a personal objective to share your personal stories and experiences, after all, we all need to be shouting louder when it comes to the benefits.

And to join the Re-commerce Revolution LinkedIn group Simon mentions - the link is here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14191082/


You’ll find the Podcast on all the usual pod platforms - and also on The Global Player and via The Marketing Society. If you love it, do share it and spread the word. Talking about climate change and the role we play is one of the most important things we can do. So join the conversation. We’re all in this together.

Our podcasts are recorded purely via online conferencing platforms, we apologise for any minor sound quality issues.

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The Marketing Society podcast
The Marketing Society is a progressive global community of senior marketers. Our purpose is to empower our members to be brave leaders. Since 1959, we have grown into an influential network of 2500 members.
The Marketing Society is a progressive global community of senior marketers. Our purpose is to empower our members to be brave leaders. Since 1959, we have grown into an influential network of more than 2650+ members across our global hubs: London, Scotland, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE and New York. Our members are mostly senior clients (over seventy per cent) from brands such as ASOS, Barclays, IBM, Disney, HSBC, Mars, Samsung, Unilever and Vodafone.

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