This paper is a first step in examining the role of natural burial grounds as an initiative of sustainability in body disposal and funeral practice. It looks at the motivations of those who currently own or operate a natural burial ground in Great Britain and the focus of their activities in marketing the concept and their sites. Natural burial speaks to the concerns of sustainability–environmental, social and economic–because it offers a less-damaging alternative to that of conventional funerals, which use chemicals and energy, waste non-renewable resources and convert the biodegradable components of the body into harmful emissions. Natural burial grounds were conceived in the early 1990s as a benign alternative to conventional burial as they prohibit embalmed bodies and restrict coffins to those made from renewable and biodegradable materials. Natural burial has a long way to go to achieve broad acceptance as it represents only a tiny percentage of all body disposals. Thus, this paper examines operators’ use of marketing and their attitudes towards profitability. The findings suggest their motivations are more altruistic than commercial which may impede the longer-term viability of this important initiative.
|Keywords:||Sustainability, Natural Burial Grounds, Body Disposal, Funerals, Motivations, Marketing|
Lecturer, Public Communication, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia