Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 14.39.09[2]Sustainability and Social Marketing at the European Public Health Conference, 14-17 October 2015, Milan, Italy

Reflections and relevance to ESMA by L. Suzanne Suggs, ESMA co-founder and Board Member.

Sustainability was a central theme of the recent European Public Health Conference: “Health in Europe – from global to local policies, methods and practices” held in Milan Italy last month. It was not only focused on health, but also the environmental consequences of our actions to achieve health, wealth and prosperity.  Among the many excellent and inspiring keynotes and research presentations, a few stood out as particularly relevant to the ESMA community.

  • Sir Anthony Haines gave an amazing keynote on “planetary health” and showed how we can and need to advance human health while not compromising the environment.
  • Prof. Tim Lang gave a keynote about sustainable food and food policies.
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) held excellent sessions on vaccination behaviours (where social marketing was promoted as the strategy for increasing vaccination uptake) and communicating well with policy makers.

I also attended a pre-conference session on sustainable nutrition, with excellent talks about food waste and food sharing; sustainable diets and food choices, and the role restaurants play in sustainable food consumption. In this session, I presented a social marketing project about reducing waste from PET bottles by switching to tap water using sustainable refillable water bottles. The project, called “Tap it up”, is a community-based social marketing project designed by a group of master students and myself. I introduced social marketing and showed how a relatively simple, low cost, yet very strategic, social marketing project can have a positive impact on health, wealth and environment. To learn more, go to or