By: Jane Swan, The Green Blue
Apparently ‘sustainability’ is going to continue to be a buzzword for many companies in 2012 according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, with firms keen to show their ethical sourcing policies and trim any excess in areas such as water, energy and waste – all good sense both environmentally and financially in these lean times.
So good news for programmes like The Green Blue, but the flip side is that also according to the CIM, the consumer – in other words, the ‘average’ boater, berth holder or club member – will grow increasingly tired of green claims in 2012. That means we’re going to have to work harder or perhaps smarter to keep the messages fresh and appealing.
Looking around the world at new ideas from other environmental boating initiatives, the headline topics are pretty standard fare: sewage, bilge and greywater discharges, oil and fuel, antifoul, cleaning and maintenance products, non native invasive species and interactions with wildlife. And generally the formats are pretty similar too – posters, newsletters, signage, presentations, boat shows and online toolkits for boats and businesses. But on closer inspection there are a few unusual tactics.
The Boating Clean and Green Campaign run by the California Department of Boating and Waterways and the California Coastal Commission deploy teams of ‘dockwalkers’ – volunteers who do as the name suggests and ‘walk the docks’ handing out leaflets, eco-kits and talking to boaters about what they can do on board.
You may experience something similar from the ‘Eco Gestes’ campaign running along the Cote d’Azur from May to August each year. Don’t be surprised if a RIB or kayak coming alongside with
a team of branded ambassadors to have a friendly chat about doing your bit on board!
And if you really want to get into the spirit, take a look at the Georgia Strait Alliance – the green boating campaign covering the stretch of water from Vancouver Island to the British Columbia mainland coast. They even have a sea shanty to get folk going when cleaning their boats, sung to the tune of ‘Drunken Sailor’.
What’s your opinion?
I’m not sure we’re quite ready to put The Green Blue to music, but it is probably a good time to check how we’re doing and where we go from here. And that’s where we need you!
Our market research in 2008 told us that over 50 percent of boaters were concerned about their impact on the environment and that they had started to think and act in a more environmentally friendly way when boating.
We know from talking to individuals, clubs and marine businesses since then that you’re still doing your bit and we’d like to think we’re playing our part, but only by hearing from you will we be able to do better. Take our 10 minute survey at www.thegreenblue.org.uk.
And, if you complete the short questionnaire by 30 March you’ll get the chance to enter a free prize draw to win two fabulous directors chairs from Reefer Sails plus a white wine hamper from the Eden Project – all sustainable of course – delivered just in time to enjoy the spring sunshine!
Read Green Focus every month in All At Sea