Can Marketing Save the Planet Ep51: Green Claims - The Challenge of Sustainable Consumption with Oliver Bealby-Wright, Consumers International

Published on: 24th February, 2023

“Marketers need to get into the nitty gritty and learn about lifecyle assessments and how they are used, their limitations and their advantages, it might seem boring - but it’s really, really important.”

In this episode, we’re joined by Oliver-Bealby-Wright, Lead, Consumers in the Energy System who formerly led Consumers International’s GreenCommerce project in 2022 on improving consumer sustainability information. Consumers International is a membership body with over 200 members across 100 countries, dedicated to defending the rights of consumers.

Oliver shares their whole systems approach, working across critical areas - considering labelling, data, the information lifecyle alongside the product lifecycle, ecommerce and the digital environment, where digital nudging can support, but also considering the risk, greenwashing and misleading claims and the role of retailers and consumers.

We cover A LOT, and Oliver shares a very comprehensive overview of the scale of the challenges, but also the scale of the opportunity.

“Marketing has a big role to play in making information ‘sing’.

All the time we bring the context back to marketing and communication, and Oliver is clear that marketing has a big part to play - but that there aren’t really any short cuts when it comes to transparency, substantiation and understanding regulation and where principles and policies are justified and where they are not. “it’s about education and upskilling - there are no short cuts.” And we couldn’t agree more.

Oliver shares that sustainable consumption is a basic right of consumers and of course, whilst consumers have an important role to play towards a fair and accountable transition to net zero, so too do retailers and so we discuss their role as gatekeepers, the challenge of compliance by design and the risks and opportunity of ecommerce, micro-targeting and personalised messaging.

When it comes to collaboration, there’s a need for many bodies and actors to be working cohesively to not only create coherent policies - but then to be translated into practice, no simple task given there is just so much room for interpretation. And that leads us to data, innovation and unusual partnerships.

“More transparency alone is not going to get us there – it’s not going to close the intention action gap, which is even more true in online shopping environments than in person. Some folks are doing interesting things, layering information in the online environment, simplifying choices along the consumer journey to avoid information overload - because when things become too complex or there’s just too much to navigate through, people switch off . And if they switch off, they’re never going to reach the important and useful information that matters.”

Trust us… there’s just so much wisdom and so many takeaways in this conversation.

Listen in for yourself, tell us what you think… share your viewpoints. We love to hear what’s landed for you - or what you agree with, disagree with.

Useful links:

If you want to get involved in the UN One Planet Network programme Oliver mentions - see here: https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/resource-efficiency/what-we-do/one-planet-network

For more about Consumers International - visit https://www.consumersinternational.org/

Connect with Oliver Bealby-Wright - https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-bealby-wright-56645b15a/

Finally, since recording CI published a few reports during the World Economic Forum - see below


You’ll find the Podcast on all the usual pod platforms - and 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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