People and Planet, over Profit.

Back in November when social media and inboxes globally were exploding with Black Friday offers, along with many other ethically and environmentally responsible companies, we took a stand against this day of excessive consumerism. This was when we announced that we had made a pledge with The Ethical Move to commit to not taking part in manipulative or morally dubious marketing techniques. Today I thought we’d unpack a little more about what this means for us here at The Outdoors Group.

I’d like to think that over the last decade, we’ve never engaged in such practices when it comes to marketing what our company does and what we stand for. But it may well be that we’ve done it without even thinking. Regardless, by taking this pledge, we are standing with thousands of other companies around the world against the capitalist culture that is destroying the planet and often, the well-being of the people on it.

The pledge, in it’s entirety, reads:

We put the person before the sale.

We respect you and your privacy. We will help you make the best choice for your needs, not ours.

We communicate inclusively, truthfully, and clearly.

We will not confuse you or hide information from you. We will help all audiences feel welcome.

We take responsibility for our part in changing the marketplace.

We recognise the need to break the cycle of consumerism. We will continuously review our sales and marketing to ensure they benefit the common good.

We count on you to hold us accountable. Please connect with us if you see us not honouring our pledge.

For us, this fits perfectly with our core values – to protect the planet, to promote strong communities, to provide valuable services. We don’t want to make a quick buck, we’re not interested in seeing the 0’s add up in our bank accounts. We’re interested in making the lives of the young people and adults we work with better. We’re interested in making the outdoors accessible and relevant to everyone, regardless of their background. We’re interested in proactively working to fight climate change, in whatever small way we can.

By pledging to make the move to ethical marketing, we are joining an ongoing discussion about best practice. We’ll be talking to other companies to compare practices, to discuss what methods work for the good of the customer, not just the company, to agree on what techniques we should be avoiding. Are early bird offers an ethical practice? Should we be using terminology like ‘going soon’ and ‘not many spaces left’? Are we trying to constantly sell on our social channels or are we trying to provide information and interest to those that follow us?

There’s a lot to think about, a lot to talk about and a lot to do. And we’d like you to be part of it. As it says in the pledge, we want to be held accountable. If you think we are not marketing in an ethical and responsible way, we want to know about it! We’ll be exploring this in more detail throughout the year but for now, we wanted to introduce you to the pledge and invite you to join our dialogue on how to make the move towards transparent, responsible and honest marketing.

Author: Hannah Durdin (Content Officer & Forest School Leader)

Date: Wednesday 12th January 2022

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