Is it time to rethink how sustainability is visually marketed?

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Are pictures of distressed polar bears, raging wildfires or wind turbines the most impactful way for businesses to convey the importance of environmental sustainability? It is a question that has long challenged green marketers and campaigners, and photography provider iStock reckons it may have identified some answers.

In the two years since the pandemic struck, the company has been carefully tracking consumer attitudes towards the sustainability-themed images it licenses through its Visual GPS platform, which combines insights from a trove of search and download data with extensive image testing and surveys in more than two dozen countries.

Jacqueline Bourke, head of creative insights at iStock, tells BusinessGreen the exercise has indicated that images that showcase people taking small actions to tackle their emissions footprint have the most potential to drive positive outcomes for the planet. “Through the Visual GPS research that we’ve done on a consistent basis every four months over two years, we have really begun to see that what the British consumer in particular is looking towards brands to educate them on the simple, practical actions that they can take in their everyday life that will lead to a better impact on the planet,” she explained. Read more…