As marketers we all love it when a product we are promoting sells – a lot.

But how many of us stop to really think about the impact that product is having on the world - the people, the wildlife and the environment around us?

Marketing sustainability is an investment in our future


Sure, we are all aware of how we need to be mindful about the packaging we use and how it is disposed of, and there is an ever increasing amount of products across many categories that now provide natural and organic, fair trade and sustainably produced alternatives

However, as both marketers and consumers many of us are unwittingly contributing to one of the biggest environmental threats facing our planet today - unsustainable palm oil production.

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on earth, found in around half of our household products including baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, washing detergents and toothpaste.

Around 85% of all palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia contributing to deforestation, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses. Deforestation for palm oil production is also a major contributor to climate change and is leading to the extinction to some key animal species in just a few years time if we don’t do something about it now.

Over 90% of Orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, and in the past 10 years the population has decreased by 50 percent in the wild, much of this due to palm oil production.

As such, it is considered “a conservation emergency” by the UN and given we share 96.4% of our genetic makeup with the Orangutan, imagine the implications for the human race should one of our closest relatives become extinct?

So what can we do as marketers and consumers to help?

Awareness of the issue and action to ensure we move to using sustainably produced palm oil is the key. A growing number of companies have signed up to the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) but it is up to us to ensure all companies using this vegetable oil take action as soon as possible.

A friend of mine is working on the awareness side of things and has just launched a crowd funding campaign to fund the production of a TV documentary: Trans Borneo Challenge – The Battle to Save the Orangutans, which will see her journey over 900km across Borneo over 23 days in late August.

Her name is Lara Shannon, Founder of the eco-lifestyle blog Ecochick.com. A long time environmental campaigner (and yes marketer) she is seeking to create a compelling film that people can connect to and feel empowered to create change, rather than just doom and gloom.

The documentary will educate and empower the viewer to take individual action against unsustainable palm oil production and other threats, raise funds for leading orangutan conservation group, The Orangutan Project, and help put an end to one of the biggest environmental crimes threatening our planet at this time.

The more funds she raises, the bigger the awareness campaign and the more impact we can have.

If you want to be part of this journey and contribute to change you can make a donation (or become a corporate sponsor) by visiting this site.
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

1 comment

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