2. A new narrative – how CSOs can work with our cultural values

Many communication strategies aimed at achieving more helpful individual behaviour for social or environmental matters are in fact appealing to materialistic values dominant in today’s society. Whilst using a marketing approach – by for example appealing to people’s status – can encourage people to buy greener products and services, it can in turn reinforce materialistic values. However, greener products are an insufficient response to an environmental crisis that is deeply rooted in the system. Therefore green marketing approaches conflict with the need for an expression of more intrinsic values to achieve the commitment and action for deeper systemic changes and the required shifts in life styles.

CSOs have a real opportunity to work towards a shift in cultural values if they consistently appeal to non-materialistic values and avoid activating materialistic ones. This will require a broad collaboration of CSOs across the range of different CSO constituencies that all work with a new narrative aligned with the principles of the Great Transition. The wellbeing of society, global empathy and a sense of interdependence with the natural environment are essential elements of the new narrative.

As this body of research is sincerely considered, the thinking needs to be integrated in CSO strategies across the board, ranging from communication strategies (what and how we communicate) as well as policy development (creating policy feedbacks on values)…

A new narrative is a key leverage point for more effective CSO strategies: Read more.


A New Narrative

Tim Kasser speaking about values

Further Readings
A New Enlightenment? - Robert Louden (2007)
A Time for Strategy - Chris Rose (2008)