Why the sustainability industry needs to engage Latinos

When I turn on the tube to Telemundo or flip the radio dial to my local Spanish-language station, many times it’s as if I’ve been transported to the twilight zone, crossing over to another dimension of time and space -- especially when it comes to green business. While I’ve encountered sustainability campaigns (think Coca-Cola’s Arctic Home and General Electric’s Ecomagination) in mainstream, English-language media, I haven’t seen such campaigns shared across Spanish-language stations. 

This isn’t because Latinos in the United States don’t care about sustainability. It’s because companies are not making a concerted effort to speak to Latinos with their sustainability messaging. And this means their messages are not being heard by the fastest-growing demographic in the nation -- and an increasingly relevant consumer market. 

Over the past weeks, many have been talking about the rise of Latinos’ influence in this country -- from political pundits (left and right) to the media. (Side note: a study recently released by Conill, a Saatchi & Saatchi-owned Hispanic advertising agency, highlights the many ways Latinos influence American culture, too.) Yet, this conversation has not spilled over to the world of green business.

Why aren’t green businesses talking about how to engage a population that is projected to grow 167 percent and constitute one-third of the U.S. population by 2050?

I recently wrote a report released by Saatchi & Saatchi S that explores why this might be the case.The report, The Myth of the Sleeping Giant: Why Latinos are the Fastest Growing Segment the Sustainability Industry has (N)ever Seen, uncovers the untapped potential of the U.S. Latino market in sustainable business and provides insights on how to engage this increasingly influential demographic. Some highlights from the report follow.

Today, 16 percent of our nation’s population and one in five children is Latino. By 2050, two in five children will be of Latin American origin, according to some projections. While much of the business world has taken note of this significant trend, increasing advertising dollars to target this market, the same cannot be said of corporate efforts to engage Latinos around environmental sustainability.

Next page: The myth of the sleeping giant