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APN goes green with new sustainability-focused magazine

As consumers gravitate towards environmentally and socially responsible products, brands are ramping up their efforts to show their green stripes, and APN has joined the fray by launching Element, an insert magazine with a sustainability bent.

At a time when consumers are increasingly gravitating towards environmentally and socially responsible products, brands are ramping up their efforts to show their green stripes. Some of them are legit and based around a very real desire to create a better world, while many others appear to be indulging in a spot of greenwashing.

But whatever the motivation, it’s a reaction to a definite and growing consumer trend and APN has responded with Element, “the country’s largest mass-reach social marketing magazine”.

The recession certainly put the brakes on the green movement, as price became a major driver of purchasing decisions.

But the planets appear to be aligning in this space once again and words like ethical, sustainable and natural are becoming increasingly important, at least among certain, usually wealthier, demographics.

For example, according to the latest Shape NZ Fairfax Business and Consumer survey, more than two-thirds of shoppers would ditch their favourite brand if it did wrong by people or the environment and “the most powerful spenders are among the most ready to switch suppliers”.

“Our goal with Element is to design a social marketing brand that will help change people’s behaviour,” says co-founder and brand manager Gavin Healy, who was hired as sales manager by HB Media in 2008 for the launch of Good, a magazine with a similar modus operandi.

“Sustainability isn’t just about buying organic carrots at the farmer’s market or saving the planet. It’s about creating a healthy environment for ourselves and our families.”

The magazine will be inserted once a month on a Monday and will cover global and local stories on health, business and community, with a focus on sustainable living and ethical business. Its launch is being backed up by a radio campaign from DraftFCB running on Auckland and Waikato stations as well as online and print ads created by the Herald’s in-house creative team running across APN assets.

“As well as targeting the household shopper, Element is also aimed at businesses and politicians. When you get that whole spectrum of readers, that’s when you can really promote change. Our research shows that over 90 percent of Kiwis want a more sustainable lifestyle, but only 30 percent spend time exploring how to do this. There’s a real opportunity to grow this sector.

 “Element will give readers the tools they need to make that change, provide insight into global issues, and show businesses how they can improve their triple bottom line. It’ll get readers really engaged and inspire them to help make New Zealand the world’s healthiest, most liveable country.”

The magazine will be edited by James Russell, who has a background in science and environmental reporting and has worked for APN New Zealand in a number of editorial positions.

It will also include articles from contributors from New Zealand and around the world, including former Prime Minister Helen Clark, food author Natalie Oldfield, and syndicated content from British newspapers the Observer, the Guardian and the Independent.

“We see Element as a real opportunity to provide our readers with new and interesting content on such an important topic,” says Chris Jagusch, general manager of The New Zealand Herald and Herald on Sunday.

“Feedback from our reader focus groups was very positive. The publication also works from a commercial stand-point, so we’re pleased to be the first in New Zealand to open up this market to a mass audience.”