Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Turn the Tide

I have posted before about how small steps to change the way we live and the things we buy can make amazing things happen. It’s the principle on which we launched Saatchi & Saatchi S last year. Here’s a fantastic example to illuminate the principle.

If everyone in the United States turned to cold with Tide Coldwater for their laundry, the savings in total U.S. energy consumption would be a massive three percent according to BusinessWeek.

That is a truly extraordinary effect with great results for us as individuals (savings of up to $73* per year on a household’s energy bill) and as a society. I believe that practical and inclusive examples like this will do more to change behavior than clubbing people over the head with global statistics and messages of gloom. As the economy gets tougher, sustainability initiatives are often early casualties. It’s not that companies dump them, it’s just that they get fewer resources, less attention, less focus, less love. The result is inevitable. They start to wilt and once the business media starts writing headlines full of green fatigue, green overload, etc., sustainability starts to feel like yesterday’s news. All the passion is directed at the immediate trauma of the global economic melt-down.

Sustainability has to be sustainable which is why Saatchi & Saatchi has headed from Green to True Blue. Sustainability has to be more than a corporate commitment to environmental principles for a year or two. It has to be a transformation. I believe that Saatchi & Saatchi’s commitment to small steps focused on personal action is Blue. That Walmart’s focus on associate action is Blue. That Toyota’s hybrid technology is Blue. That thousands of other diverse and committed projects initiated by companies are Blue. And finally, that Tide Coldwater is Blue. It’s an irresistible drawcard for action inspired by emotion.

*Based on conversion from warm/cold to cold/cold for all loads in a vertical axis washing machine with an electric water heater set at 140F

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