Before the launch of the Journal of Marketing (JM) in 1936, scholars who were interested in marketing theory and practice had few outlets for their work other than economics journals and the Journal of Retailing, which was first published in 1925. In JM’s inaugural issue, article titles presaged many of the areas that developed over time to represent the multi-faceted marketing discipline we know today. For example, (Mcdermott, 1936) focused on consumer behavior, (Taylor, 1936) on marketing research methods, and (Lester, 1936) on changes in B2B marketing.
As was the case for marketing scholars in 1936, more general journals related to sustainability have been available for some time. However, until last year, an academic journal dedicated to sustainable marketing did not exist. I’m pleased to say that this is no longer the case. Sponsored by the Shidler College of Business (https://shidler.hawaii.edu/) and published by Luminous Insights, the Journal of Sustainable Marketing (JSM) is committed to diffusing quality research, conceptual papers, case studies, and commentaries that address critical issues in sustainable marketing.
Rarely in the history of marketing has there been a new journal that addressed a topic of such acute importance, not only to the field, but to the future of the planet. The well-respected World Resources Institute (WRI) summarized the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report by noting 5 major takeaways: 1) global warming is expected to reach 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) within 2 decades; 2) limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C will take transformational change; Levin, Waskow, & Gerholdt, 2021).
The tremendous challenges facing people around the world don’t stop with climate change. Excessive plastic and other deleterious forms of air, water, and land pollution are growing rapidly and contaminating our natural environment with increasingly dangerous levels of waste. In addition, issues of social equity, diversity, and fair trade within global supply chains have become more salient and central to consumer as well as business-to-business decision making.
Marketing scholars are in unique positions to make real differences on all three issues because so much of what happens within our field has consequences for one or more these challenges. Just consider a few of the many research, conceptual, and case-based topics that are relevant to the field of sustainable marketing and therefore, to the Journal of Sustainable Marketing:
• Designing products for ease of reuse, repair, recycling, and recovery (4R’s).
• Developing circular supply chains that facilitate 4R practices.
• Discovering ways to reduce high levels of food and other distribution, consumption, and post-consumption waste.
• Identifying effective approaches to closing the “green” consumer intention-behavior gap.
• Shifting consumer preferences for wasteful consumption practices such as purchasing fast fashion to choices that have significantly lower carbon footprints and pollution impacts.
• Providing guidance to marketing managers on ways to improve their organization’s practice and reporting of sustainable marketing.
• Assisting policymakers who are considering market-based versus legal mechanisms for increasing sustainable behaviors.
• For a full description of relevant JSM topics, please visit the following url:https://luminousinsights.net/journals/josm/about).
The early days of a new journal are always challenging. Authors are understandably concerned about the impact their work will have on the field and their careers if the journal is not yet indexed on the Web of Science and/or not on their school’s preferred journal list. However, these are not normal days and the Journal of Sustainable Marketing isn’t a typical new title. When I took on the role of Editor-in-Chief, I knew that increasing JSM’s impact on both academic and professional marketers would present difficulties. But, I came to this position out of a deep commitment to the future of a sustainable world for the next generation and the ones beyond that – to a world that allows people to have a quality of life that is similar to or hopefully better than what is possible, on average, today. Please let me share some of my personal journey to this field.
Over my long academic career in marketing, I have focused on several topics within the context of international marketing. From understanding cross-cultural differences and similarities in advertising humor to global brands and global consumer culture to healthcare consumer decision making, my interests have consistently involved comparisons of different national cultures and ethnic groups within larger national settings. For the past 15 years, I have worked with colleagues in Asia, North America, and Europe to improve the theory and practice of shared decision making between healthcare providers and healthcare consumers. It was this interest that led me to visit Chengdu University of Technology in the summer of 2018. There, I presented my latest research on the effects of cultural adaptation of healthcare decision support tools and cultural differences in healthcare consumers’ desire for family involvement in medical decisions.
At the airport on the way, a title caught my eye and I purchased the book entitled, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by (Wallace-Wells, 2019). In the evenings and early mornings, I sat on a small deck overlooking the city of Chengdu with its hustle, construction, and constantly changing weather and read Wallace-Wells’ book. Like many other people, I had read about global warming and its increasingly negative impacts on daily life, but I hadn’t thought deeply about the ways it would affect my children and grandchildren. After the book’s first sentence, which reads, “It is worse, much worse than you think,” I was hooked and I finished the book over three days between meetings and traveling. Thereafter, I decided to dedicate the rest of my academic career to doing whatever I could to help reduce the threats of global warming and other forms of pollution to future generations.
Returning to the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai‘i, I developed a new sustainable marketing course – the College’s first course focusing on marketing’s central role in implementing triple bottom line practices in businesses and other organizations. I also dove into academic research and applied managerial sources that addressed issues of specific interest to the theory and practice of sustainable marketing. Several doctoral students and I established long-term research agendas and initiated multiple projects that are currently underway. In addition, I joined colleagues in the American Marketing Association to form a new “pop up” Sustainable Marketing SIG. And, in mid-2021, I reached out to Luminous Insights, the publisher of a new journal entitled the Journal of Sustainable Marketing (JSM), to offer my assistance and support.
I am honored to now serve as the journal’s Editor-in-Chief. I’d like to tell you the reasons that I believe JSM is well-positioned to grow rapidly in stature and become a respected source of cutting-edge sustainable marketing innovation. First, one of my initial tasks as Editor-in-Chief in August, 2021 was to recruit a global team of Editorial Review Board (ERB) members, who could provide guidance and support to developing a high quality academic journal that would publish insightful empirical research, conceptual papers, and case studies that offer both theoretical advances and applied managerial guidance. I am pleased to say that almost all of the marketing discipline leaders I approached accepted ERB membership because they too realized the urgency of the challenges facing the world today and the very important role that marketing scholars must play in combatting global climate change, excessive pollution, and social inequity in supply chains.
Second, the journal’s brand name places it at the center of the field. As noted, the American Marketing Association recently approved a new Sustainable Marketing Special Interest Group, which has grown to more than 180 members in a little over a year. In addition, sustainable marketing as a major area of research and practice within the academic, corporate, and government communities is growing rapidly (White, Habib, & Hardisty, 2019). Thus, the Journal of Sustainable Marketing has a strong and “natural” brand presence in this critical area of inquiry.
Third, with Luminous Insights, the journal has a publisher that is highly motivated to increase the visibility of the journal and the work of contributing authors. Luminous Insights has already secured listings on more than a dozen scholarly indices (e.g., CiteFactor Index, Scilit Index, Google Scholar, etc.) and is actively involved in diffusing journal publications, sustainable marketing news, and general journal information through a variety of social media channels. In addition, because JSM is sponsored by the Shidler College of Business, the journal is able to offer "open access" at no charge to researchers and others who want to download published papers.
Fourth, Luminous Insights, has a very effective and active social media program. Their staff works closely with authors to increase visibility of published papers on major social media channels. The combination of "open access," multiple index listings, and proactive promotion via social media means that, despite the journal's newness, authors’ research will be seen by other researchers as well as managers and policymakers. And, if accepted, with support from the Shilder College of Business, authors will receive free copyediting assistance that goes beyond proofreading to increase readability and therefore, the impact of their work.
Fifth, in cooperation with multiple co-sponsoring business schools around the world, the journal is currently planning the first global virtual online symposium in our field entitled, Research Innovations in Sustainable Marketing (RISM). Scheduled for mid-March, 2023, RISM will run for three days for three hours each day, starting in the afternoon European time (GMT +1), which will enable scholars and practitioners from around the world to join. In addition to featuring a highly informative and respected keynote speaker as well as quality research presentation tracks, RISM will hold roundtable sessions that will connect researchers and managers with similar research interests in order to develop joint projects. This initiative will no doubt draw additional attention to the journal as the symposium reaches out to and involves co-sponsoring business schools from around the world. Please be sure to check out the RISM 2023 website, which will be up and running soon.
For all of these reasons, I am truly excited about JSM's ability to disseminate high quality scholarship and make a real difference in our world's future. I hope you will support the Journal of Sustainable Marketing by submitting your manuscripts and joining our editorial team as a reviewer. If you are able to serve as a JSM reviewer, we promise not to overload you with reviews. We will always respect your time and appreciate whatever you are able to contribute to the journal’s success in taking on today’s pressing environmental and social challenges. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the journal, please do not hesitate to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.