Sustainability Copywriter: Curing the Contradiction
Hi, I’m a sustainability copywriter. And I’d like to tell you how copywriting goes against my nature.
I’m a graduate of USF’s Global Sustainability graduate program and am a certified practitioner of PM4SD™ (Project Manager for Sustainable Development). I love all things green, except greenwashing, and have volunteered and joined countless ‘green’ clubs, boards, memberships, and groups. And now I’m a sustainability copywriter. I kind of have this thing for making the world a better place.
the devil is in the copywriting
I believe the largest issue facing our planet is overconsumption. It isn’t just that we have too many people; it’s that we have too many people that have too much money and buy too much stuff. Now, I don’t have a problem with the rich. I don’t even think you have to be rich to buy too much stuff. And I don’t have a problem with having nice things.
I have a problem with things being sold as happiness. I have a problem with unthinking consumers believing that. And I have a problem with buying and tossing and replacing.
But here’s the conundrum. I really enjoy writing. And I actually love copywriting. Yep- that awful industry that’s selling you things you don’t need, disguised as happiness. It’s the one thing I should have a lot of contempt for, since it is the tool that convinces us to ruin our planet for a fleeting moment of contentment.
I might say it’s a love/hate thing…
consuming our way to our own demise
I just can’t come to terms with the idea of promoting products that contribute to a linear resource use system. Especially products we don’t need. Products that won’t get much use, are fun for a minute, or will be replaced with next season’s color.
I think that we forget about a product’s story. And every product has one. From the extraction of its components, to manufacture, its distribution, and then, finally, use. But that’s not all. Products have an afterlife, too. Where are your products going when you no longer see personal value in them?
Each step in this chain of consumerism is an opportunity to cut greenhouse gases, treat workers and local communities fairly, respect our natural resources, and consider future generations.
However, these opportunities are rarely taken. The most important step to corporations is when the sell their product. Concern for the negative externalities associated with getting product in the hands of end users , or what happens after its use, is not built into the traditional business model.
a sustainability copywriter is born
But there are organizations out there that want to change that. Companies that track their own emissions, and replant trees to neutralize their negative impact. Organizations that respect their employees and pay them fair wages. Businesses that replace harmful substances like plastic and toxins with natural materials. Companies that consider their products’ end of life, and build in a system to reclaim products, or only use materials that will safely break down and biodegrade. Companies that capture their waste output and treat it to be a valuable input again, using a closed loop system.
Those companies respect people. They value our planet. They consider the future.
And THOSE are the companies I can stomach writing for.
Those are the companies that let me combine my love of writing and my sustainable values into a career as a sustainability copywriter.
So, if this sounds like your brand, please reach out or find me on social media! I’d love to connect!