Climate Change: Should Marketers Go on Working as if Nothing Happened

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by: Yann Gourvennec

new scientist article about global warming and its consequences in Europe is raising fears that Europe might enter a new ice age. Not much to do with Marketing and Innovation you will say. Well I think just the other way round.

It has everything to do with Marketing and Innovation. We as professionals go on working unabated and our aim is to produce riches. There is nothing wrong with this obviously – as long as it is done ethically – but what can we say about the consequences of the ‘new’ economy we are generating and its impact on the world. Indeed, we are no more guilty about this than our forefathers, and maybe less even. But what difference does it make to the world as we know it? Would we be able to pursue our activities if Europe became a mere slab of ice? Would we be able to sell more LCD screens if no electricity could be produced anymore? Could we go on with Web 2.0 if a major disaster was taking place and you could not live in your flat anymore? Surely, survival would be number one on your and everyone else’s agenda. So like it or not we are all part of it. But what can we do about this? Is it not too late anyway? If there anything we can do to change things in the short term? Or is it just a matter of waiting for scientists to be proven wrong about climate change. After all, only a few years back, when people were asking whether that particular heatwave in Europe was linked to Global Warming, the same scientists were denying the facts. It seems that they have changed their minds this time but it may change again I am sure. Come what may, should we not surmise that Marketing should also encompass such Society issues and become more caring about people and the environment? If so, will that apply to emerging countries too? After all, I saw that air transportation for passengers went up by 7% in 2005 (2 billion passengers carried i.e. up by 100 million on 2004). Should we deny the right to travel to the increasingly well off Chinese for instance, who find it possible at last to roam the world freely after so many years of oppression? Is it really fair? It seems like changing the world for anyone of us individually is an impossible task. We had better leave this to our governments, but still … maybe doing something about it could be a nice thing too, even though it looks like a daunting task for a single human being.

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