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Brands must stop accusing each other of greenwash to make sustainability marketing events work, says Branded boss

Jasper Donat, Branded

Donat: ‘Industry events require the industry to behave as an industry, not have a go at each other’

Events on brands embracing environmental sustainability can only work if the industry supports companies that tell stories about their progress, not accuses them of greenwash, the head of events company Branded said today.

Talking to Mumbrella in Singapore today, where air quality has deteriorated dramatically as a result of forest land burning in Indonesia, Jasper Donat, Branded’s CEO, was asked why there were so few sustainability marketing events in Asia.

“I’d like to see more [green marketing events],” said Donat. “But the industry has to stop taking pot shots at each other to make it work. Industry events require the industry to behave as an industry, not have a go at each other.”

Branded co-ran the green marketing event Green Works with Campaign Asia publisher Haymarket in 2008, with the former GM of environmental affairs and loyalty chief at Cathay Pacific, Dominic Purvis, among the speakers. But the media and marketing sector has seen few if any events around sustainability since, which Donat conceded there was a need for.

“The challenge with environmental events is that as soon as someone stands on a podium and talks about what they’ve done good, everyone finds nine reasons why they’re not,” he said.

“And that’s a real shame. Because you do need these events to create an industry to create a ground swell [around sustainability].”

Donat’s comments come in the run-up to his company’s All That Matters event in September, which will see Branded merge its entertainment events into one for the first time, timed around the Singapore Formula 1 race.

Among the major themes for the event this year will be the rise of China in sport and entertainment, female leadership and startups.

On bringing what used to be separate events for music, sport and digital together, Donat said: “There are definitely too many events [in the media and marketing space], and there are two ways to go. One is scale, one is exclusive.”

We had three scale events [Music Matters, Digital Matters and Sports Matters] with very similar content strands and common elements editorially. But music is entertainment, sport is entertainment and digital entertainment is entertainment now. So, we thought let’s try it [pool the three elements together].”

Donat is targeting an attendance of 2,000 people for the event from 12-15 September at Marina Bay Sands, with speakers including the heads of China’s QQ Music and Le Sports, live music mogul Arthur Fogel and marketers such as StarHub CMO Howie Lau, Adrian Toy of Puma and Andy Lykens from Netflix.

New this year is an event aimed at empowering teenage girls called “It’s a girl thing”, and the introduction of a Marketing Matters stream, in collaboration with the World Federation of Advertisers.

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