I recently attended the Sustainable Brands conference in London and was impressed by the turnout and quality of the presentations. One of the things that was evidently clear from the presentations over the two days is the prominence of feminine values in businesses that take sustainable growth seriously.
Within my own research I have used the notion of masculine and feminine values with relation to Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. As defined by Hofstede, feminine values relate to compassion, cooperation, modesty, and quality of life compared with competitiveness, material reward, achievement, and assertiveness of masculine values. In the recent design competition that I ran, many of the successful entries managed to lower resource use in the products they designed by tying in emotional attachments – often relating the behaviour to other family members.
People are demanding more from the brands they buy from, rather than green PR stunts. People are intelligent and want businesses that are respectful, resilient and empathetic – all female values. Chip Walker introduced this ‘spendshift’ in his presentation, and businesses that are adapting to these new values are the ones gaining the most trust from customers.