Chapter 13: Sustainable development, a new source of inspiration for marketing innovation? Focus on five major trends and one innovative project in customer relationship marketing
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Even though US (United States) policies adopted by the Obama administration have helped stimulate international momentum for sustainable development, the number of companies that are clearly positioned in this fast-growing market remains limited. Is this out of timidity? Fear of diving into a realm that will be difficult to control or overly regulated? Is there incompatibility with certain sectors (i.e. luxury products) and their underlying theme that is contrary to the pleasure principle? Despite this hesitation, a recent study conducted by LinkedIn (2009) pointed out the extent to which individuals are attentive to this issue and underlined the pessimistic image they have of the actions taken by companies in this regard. It is no longer a question of imagining ‘greenwashing’ initiatives of questionable durability, but rather of rethinking our business models from A to Z. The objective of this chapter is to present five paths developed by Ipsos as part of its Trend Observer research program, plus one specific case study. These elements do not address the difficult question of rebuilding our economic models but rather show that concrete actions are possible and have already been taken by large international groups under the condition that they completely rethink their visions about the future (Prahalad, 2006; Friedman, 2007; Elkington and Hartigan, 2008). They shed some light on possible opportunities for development in the realm of sustainable innovation.

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