This is the 5th episode from Richard Askam’s ‘hand’ and this is particularly interesting for many reasons. It’s even interesting for reasons we couldn’t predict. One of the most important subjects of the time is the environment. EU couldn’t reach an agreement for binding goals in 2050. The US will not ratify the Paris treaty – and at the same time, global warming seems to be more and more evident. Storms, melting the ice, of course,​ seems distant in relation to your favorite print film channel.

However, Richard Askam speculates over The Environment and what drives the discussion. A VERY good discussion and of course, you should participate in it!

Hi, it’s Richard Askam. I’ve just been asked a really interesting question actually and I don’t know whether there is an answer. So I’m going to try and talk about all of the answers to that question. And in doing so there may well be answers that I don’t necessarily agree with, but they will be the ones that you hear more readily from a variety of people. And we were talking about the environment and is it being used as a marketing tool by businesses? And to a certain extent I think it is in various industries. The plastic industry is a prime example of that, and especially with the recycled plastic packaging world.

The day before an episode of David Attenborough’s latest series about the planet was aired, not one business was talking about the need to reduce plastic consumption. The day after, everyone was. So at that point you could say that information is driving marketing rather than marketing driving information. The tail was wagging the dog, to use an old expression. And as such, that that has become a huge topic, a huge debate now, especially in the UK, but across Europe really, about the levels of plastic that’s used in packaging and by us as consumers. And do we really need it? And of course we don’t. And why don’t we use this and why shouldn’t we used that? And I guess that’s what you call evolution, because one of the things that I said earlier on was climate change, which undoubtedly is a massive problem for our planet, has always been there. But it’s only because we’ve become more capable of measuring it that it’s become more of a hot topic to discuss. Climate change was as relevant for the cave men in prehistoric times as it was for us now, but they had no way of measuring it.

So is the environment leading the marketing or is the marketing leading the environmental view? I don’t know is the answer to that. I don’t know whether there is a clear yes or no. I don’t actually think there is a clear answer on the topic, but it’s rather interesting to consider the number of businesses that lead with environmental aspects to their products compared to those that don’t. And I think that’s where the biggest shift has come, because we as consumers are expecting to see now a little bit more attention paid, a little bit more thought given to the impact that what we do has on the environment. And let’s not forget that all CEOs and COOs and print managers and operational people and our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and daughters and sons. So their investment in the planet is way bigger than their investment in their business because ultimately that’s where we’re going to spend the rest of our days living on this planet. Unless we get into space. We’ll save that for another debate.

Yeah, I don’t have an answer. What I can see is both sides and I think anything that draws attention to the environmental plight of the planet is good. If that’s being used for altruistic purposes, fantastic. If it’s being used for business purposes, fantastic. As long as it’s being drawn to the attention of everybody, then on that basis, I think it’s a good thing.