Mark Cridge is the global managing director of Isobar
Mark Cridge is the global managing director of Isobar
A view from Mark Cridge

Mark Cridge: A brand can only truly be green if its consumers are too

I love fresh orange juice. The fresher, the better. While I don't go as far as squeezing my own oranges every morning along with a warm croissant, I can easily get through a carton a day - the smooth version, of course, not the one with the bits in it.

It has, however, been playing on my mind recently that shifting all that heavy liquid around the world in planes can't be the smartest thing to do. I wasn't worried about it, as such; it was more a nagging itch at the back of my brain suggesting that something wasn't quite right.

So when I was confronted with a big, black footprint on the side of my last purchase, it gave me a bit of a kick up the proverbial. There, in unequivocal language, I learned that each glass of my lovely orange nectar was producing around 400g of carbon emissions per serving. That's at least a whopping 1.2kg per carton, more than its own weight in emissions every single time. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a shockingly large amount, especially if, at my current rate of consumption, I'm kicking out about a third-of-a-tonne of carbon a year just for a sweet treat with breakfast.

Of course, I have other choices. The label helpfully pointed out that by moving to the "from concentrate" juice, I could reduce things down to a more manageable 150g per serving. Let's be honest, though, it's just not the same - too bitter and syrupy. Instead, perhaps, I should consider switching to the delights of pressed English apple juice, freely available, just as tasty and surely not as heavy an impact. Or, of course, if I could show a little more willpower, I could just drink a little bit less.

This time around, to my modest shame, after pausing for thought in the checkout queue, I still went ahead and bought the fresh stuff. When faced with the same choice again in the future, I'm pretty sure I'll select an alternative. The question is: will I have the willpower to act?

Our imperative has moved from selling more stuff to more people, which was pretty much the lot of indiscriminate broadcast media, to selling more stuff to the right people through careful targeting and digital media. The challenge today is to sell a lot less stuff to just the right people and that will involve a lot more than just providing a lower-impact alternative further down the aisle.

I'd like nothing more than to believe that all we need to do is provide enough information to let people make the smarter choice. However, from my own behaviour, even when presented with the facts, it is clear that consumer choice alone won't be enough.

At some point, we need to recognise that our industry does not play a passive role. At some point, we need to make our own individual choices about which products we help to advertise. At some point, we need to choose to sell a bit less.

Mark Cridge is the global managing director of Isobar