University of Hertfordshire student, Ellie Welsh, benefits from close relationship with Cawleys, the university’s recycling and waste management provider, by securing an environmental marketing internship
Here, Ellie talks about her interest in sustainable living and the role of her generation in protecting the planet – and how she combines her interests and professional skills by working in the waste management and recycling industry.
Due to increased corporate transparency and social media activity, there are many examples of businesses and their stakeholders suffering due to the perception of potentially unethical practices.
In my final year at university, I focused largely on environmental and ethical concerns within marketing, and this created a greater awareness of the pressing issues that companies often face. As I became increasingly interested in the dynamic between sustainability and marketing, I chose to work in an industry which could help to reduce the risk of any negative impact that our consumption-focused society and environmental issues might have on businesses and brands.
It’s worth noting that consumers are often quite distant from the consequences of their own environmental damage – even with the best intentions, many have no access to the information they would need to make an accurate informed choice of their own. Nevertheless, sustainability is one of the key trends shaping marketing today and thus, forms a central pillar in business strategy. Cawleys provides schemes which allow firms to deal with those major ethical practices which have also become important topics of interest to consumers.
In response to a shift in consumer awareness, Cawleys offers an engaging, in-depth education programme which urges consumers and employees to adopt a reduce, re-use and recycle mentality. Cawleys does this by educating organisations how to reduce and recycle waste in a business environment. This type of outreach can have the power to help global societies make the transition to a more authentic sustainability.
I’m certainly believe that the next generation will be more considered in their consumer choices. Many university and college environments encourage an environmentally focused consumer awareness, and many have enabled student-led volunteer groups, which promote sustainable lifestyles by engaging, educating and influencing others. Similar to my experience interning with Cawleys, professional partnerships can also help students forge a direct link with industries which co-operate in services which enable sustainable living – Cawleys is a great model example of that.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is supporting on site engagement days known as 'Small Action Big Impact' events. This involves visiting clients’ premises to engage with staff and customers and highlight the benefits of taking a more sustainable approach to waste. Focused on Cawleys’ Small Action Big Impact campaign, these awareness days promote different monthly themes such as plastic recycling, re-use and reduction, food waste, coffee cups and many other sustainability topics. The objective is to help people reduce the amount of waste they produce by asking them to pledge to avoid such things as single-use plastic and to segregate and recycle as much as possible.
Although the Millennial generation is not as wasteful in terms of plastics and rubbish as previous generations, I do think there is a double standard where fashion is concerned. Here is where Millennial's tend to fall down in terms of sustainability.
‘Fast Fashion’ results in a huge amount of over-consumption because the garments are so disposable. Fast fashion brands speedily replicate celebrity endorsed designs sold through digital marketing. It’s so easy and cheap that fashion consumers buy more than they need, which results in vast amounts of fashion waste heading landfill.
It is certainly claimed that millennial's are more interested in sustainability, but sales figures show that they continue to seek out the latest style replicas from fast inexpensive fashions brands – so I think this should be the next area for promoted campaigns, after the national success we’ve seen around plastic straws and bags for life. There’s still so much more we can work on!