I’ve saved the best for last. Not only is this a major reason why “green” doesn’t sell, it’s also my favourite excuse for all of my sins against the environment.

Reason #10: Nobody else is doing anything so whatever I do won’t make any difference.

As a standalone observation, this is absolutely correct. If nobody else in the world takes any action in support of sustainability, what’s the point in me doing so? It’s such a good excuse I’ve named it the John Howard Defence, after the former Australian Prime Minister who argued that whatever cuts Australia might make in its greenhouse gas emissions wouldn’t make any difference if China and the US kept on emitting as usual. It’s a position that’s difficult to refute. Take a look at any freeway or major road at rush hour. Imagine the same thing on all the other main roads in all the cities around your country, and in all the countries around the world. Now try to convince yourself that leaving your car in the garage is going to make one scrap of difference to the future state of the planet. It’s like King Canute trying to hold back the tide. Of course, if enough people act together, big things can happen. Netherlanders built dykes which do hold back the tide, at least for now. And there are plenty of examples where individuals, communities and businesses are making noticeable differences to the state of the planet. Even China and the US are now embarking on serious efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. And if your business has a good story to tell, it’s time to…

Solution #10: Get social

There are at least two good reasons for the green marketer to embrace social media. Social media and other digital options have really shaken up the whole field of marketing. Anyone can have their own YouTube channel. Facebook has become the new battleground for companies seeking loyal followings, and some blogs rival newspapers for their breadth and reach. Twitter lets you get your message out in 140 characters or less, and Pinterest does it with pictures. Yet it still surprises me how many companies that are doing great things when it comes to sustainability are reluctant to embrace these opportunities to spread their message. Sometimes they have set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, posted a handful of items, then let the whole thing lapse. Social media is a hungry beast. It thrives on constant feeding and it needs to be approached with a well-considered strategy. It is also relatively new and constantly evolving. If you don’t have the time or skills to manage your own social media marketing, engage a suitably qualified person or company to do it for you. And then there’s the other reason for the sustainable marketer to spend some time on social media. This whole series has been about the challenges of marketing the products and services that are needed to sustain us long into the future. It’s easy to get the feeling that you are banging your head against the proverbial brick wall, and at times it can be disheartening. But social media, blogs and websites are awash with stories of people and businesses that are doing some pretty amazing things. The excuse that nobody else is doing anything is becoming less convincing. So follow the people, groups and businesses that are making a difference. Be inspired. Join them. Back to Part 5 Image: Thinkstock