02 June 2020

Two researchers and teachers at Linköping University have written the first Swedish textbook that links marketing and sustainability. The book criticises to a certain extent the course literature that currently dominates education in marketing.

Hugo Guyader in Zoommeeting.
Hugo Guyader, one of the authors of the new textbook.

Sustainable perspectives

The new book, Marketing & Sustainability (Studentlitteratur), by Hugo Guyader and Mikael Ottosson from Linköping University and Anders Parment from Stockholm University updates the current material used to teach marketing. Fundamental knowledge in traditional marketing is supplemented with material on the circular economy, the sharing economy, and sustainability.

The concept of “greenwashing” is discussed in depth. This is the technique used by a company to give a distorted image of products that are harmful to the environment. The terms used may be, for example, “eco-friendly” to describe cars or “green” to describe washing powder.

Mikael Ottosson in Zoommeeting.Mikael Ottosson.

“The concept of sustainability affects marketing in many ways. There is a large demand, both from students and companies, for more sustainable perspectives in this field”, says Mikael Ottosson.

Marketing & Sustainability is primarily intended to supplement the traditional course literature, in particular the classic Swedish textbook Marknadsföring: teori, strategi och praktik by Philip Kotler. Of the 500 pages in this book, sustainability is mentioned on only a handful. The new book is also a criticism, at least indirectly, of the older teaching materials.

More than just selling

Good marketing does not mean – or should not mean – trying to sell as much as possible to as many people as possible.

“This is a fairly conservative field, and we are trying to bring new and critical perspectives. Sustainable marketing is not about hawking goods, but about creating long-term benefit and solving real problems for customers”, says Mikael Ottosson.

Cover Marketing & Sustainability.

The new textbook was published at the beginning of March and is already being used at LiU and Stockholm University. Several other universities have expressed an interest in using it.

Both of you are active researchers and teachers. Is writing textbooks an obvious next step for you?

“Writing scholarly articles may be a better strategy for advancing one’s career! But it’s fun to write course literature and it’s a great feeling when it’s used in teaching. You get direct feedback from the students. My research is in this field, and I was very happy when I was invited to participate”, says Hugo Guyader.

Mikael Ottosson, who also writes other textbooks, says that this is a “loss-making business”, both with respect to time and money.

“But,” he continues, “it’s a way for me to give something back to society. And it’s great to be able to reach more readers and hear their response. The number of people who read a scholarly article is normally quite small.”

Translated by George Farrants