Reframing sustainability to get non-environmentalist fans on-side

Reframing sustainability to get non-environmentalist fans on-side

Episode #17 – Some supporters may be sceptical of a team’s environmental initiatives, but there are ways to persevere without alienating your fanbase, says Tim Kellison

“Keep the tree-hugging hippies out of the stadium!”

“Let God handle the environment.”

“I appreciate the (team’s) environmental initiatives, but I think (if you go) too far on environmental issues, things start to get political.”

These are just some of the responses provided by highly-identified fans of a well-known US sports franchise when asked about their view of the team’s environmental initiatives.

The study, conducted by Tim Kellison and Beth Cianfrone of Georgia State University, found that – unsurprisingly – fans who identified as non-environmentalists were, generally, sceptical at best and hostile at worst when it came to the team being overtly environmental in its operations and messaging.

Evidence is mounting up that being sustainable is not only good for the environment, but is also good for business. It’s now expected that high-profile businesses are environmentally and socially responsible.

But when a significant section of your loyal and high-spending consumer base (highly-identified fans) feel alienated by such messaging, how can you proceed with important environmental initiatives while causing minimum friction?

Kellison is this week’s guest, and during the episode he discusses:

– How different fans respond to their team’s environmental operations and messaging

– Why sustainability needs to be reframed for different audiences

– What teams need to do to make environmental projects more palatable for sceptical fans

Listen to the full podcast here:

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