By Grace Badger, Account Executive
A new era of sustainability is emerging, and it’s touching every corner of the world. With Australia's bushfires last month, consumers are once again reminded of the impact they have on the environment.
While corporate responsibility may take on many different forms, one thing is clear: consumers are using their spending power to effect the change they want to see.
According to a wide-reaching report from MIT Sloan Management Review, although nearly all executives (90%) believe sustainability is important, only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy in place.
In markets big and small, companies need to start responding to consumers' growing concerns. Here are the three important considerations to help companies get their sustainable marketing efforts on the right track.
1. Link Sustainability to Your Company Identity
A company with a commitment to environmental sustainability should align its brand with a purpose-driven mission. This entails more than adding something to your mission statement, or putting a blurb on your website. Patagonia is a great example of a purpose-driven brand. From the company's core, Patagonia is an activist company, devoted to environmental and social responsibility; a worthy purpose that has been well-received by the public. While many businesses focus on corporate social responsibility second, Patagonia's entire purpose and vision has been planet first, products second. By thinking about sustainability in terms of how you can be a mission with a company and not a company with a mission, will help link a company's identity with sustainability.
1. Avoid Greenwashing
The term “greenwashing” refers to making misleading sustainability claims, a practice that has prompted government action in recent years. Greenwashing typically involves exploiting marketing messages by using “green” statements to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims, and policies are environmentally friendly and therefore “better.” It is important to understand government guidelines before hopping on the “green wagon.”
2. Encourage Engagement
In late 2018, the WWF highlighted the issue of animal trafficking by creating a holographic elephant roaming around London. The interactive visual spectacle created a lot of buzz on social media, and gathered nearly 125,000 signatures for a petition to end illegal wildlife trafficking. WWF utilized a key strategy in any good marketing campaign; they provided a way for consumers to take immediate action. Encouraging engagement is one approach companies can take to link a particular cause to a company's identity.