Sustainability Now’s strategy for voluntary adoption of the sustainability principles uses the well-established technique of social marketing. Accordingly, the target audience is sub-divided into 5 groups:
- Innovators: The pioneers who are actively working at creating solutions, new technologies and new processes to address the issue of sustainability. The main communication issue for this group is of maintenance and keeping information up-to-date.
- Early adopters: Those who are already integrating the concept of sustainability in their activities. This group bridges the so-called “chiasm” or knowledge gap between innovations and leading edge discoveries and their applications. This is an area where good and progressive engineers thrive.
- Early majority: A larger group of people who are generally agree with the concept of sustainability but find it difficult to apply it to their businesses, profession or activities. The main communication issue here is to overcome real aor percived barriers (time, access to knowledge, $). The sustainability primer, currently developed by APEGBC, is targeting to address the concerns of this group.
- Late majority: Another large group that will simply follow the former group. A common objection from this group is: Sustainability is for me because […] ( for example I am a structural engineer and my only function is to calculate structures). Programs that raise awareness and explain why sustainability is relevant, best address the concerns of this particular group. For example, explaining the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and the production of construction material may show to a structural engineer that indeed his professional decision, in determining type and quantity of material is linked to climate change. Once understood the relevancy, the next question from this group is: How to? and it joins the early majority group.
- Laggards: The ones against. A smaller group unconvinced, and often unwilling to change their mind. In marketing, this group is generally considered as a lost cause not worth of spending time and resources. In governmental program, this group will typically comply through laws and regulations rather than voluntary compliance.