February 18, 2021

Sustainability Marketing - Guidelines for Businesses

In recent years, topics like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have become the focal point of attention. Corporate responsibility and profitability are more intertwined than ever. 

While it started as a niche for ambitious entrepreneurs, sustainability has grown into a value proposition and consumers as well as investors pay attention to what now has become best practice for a future-proof orientation of companies of all sorts.

In this blog article, we want to give you and your company some inspiration for your marketing strategy so that you can come up with an approach that is more geared towards the all-encompassing goal of sustainability.

Be aware of greenwashing and be sure to disassociate your company from it

Greenwashing is a form of marketing spin that deceptively portrays a company as environmentally friendly even though there is no proof, or respective action taken by the company to lower its environmental fallout. The practice of Greenwashing is on the rise, causing consumers to gradually confide less in green marketing and claims about the environmental impact of businesses.

Your marketing approach should consider these developments and focus on making your green marketing claims credible, by supporting them with adequate evidence. Examples could be certificates, working together with independent NGOs and establishing a conduct that bold claims go hand-in-hand with an independent validation.

This holds especially true when it comes to your supply chain and the inside of the company. Supply Chain Transparency is a great way of building trust with the consumer. Platforms like seedtrace enable your company to communicate what steps your product passes before reaching the consumer and is a perfect way of interacting with your target group. That way, you can assess the efficacy of your marketing measures using additional KPIs. Moreover, you can present your product’s journey as an additional selling point, which gives you a powerful instrument as you are using your direct impact along the supply chain as a means for the consumer to do more with a purchase than to simply acquire a product.

Investigate your supply chain

Knowing about your supply chain is also crucial for taking steps into the direction of sustainability that you can communicate with your target group. Evaluating your starting point is vital, as there are often cheap and easily implementable measures you can take immediately to support your company’s focus on sustainability. Connecting to the roots of your product also means connecting with your audience. As an additional benefit, the better you know your supply chain, the more reputational and financial risks can be avoided. Regulators crack down on companies that are associated with corrupt activities or human rights violations and lawmakers work on supply chain bills that could increase this particular risk even more. 

Additionally, you should explore opportunities along your supply chain where your business could make a positive impact on individuals and communities. Even though there might be high initial costs of e.g. establishing better working conditions, decreasing carbon dioxide emissions, or reducing inequalities, it is an important investment into your company’s future, both for internal and external reasons. Last but not least, investors think highly of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, with an ever-increasing demand for investing opportunities, because investments with positive ESG tend to outperform conventional investments. Take BlackRock as an example: Being the biggest asset management firm in the world, they have pledged to make environmental sustainability a core-goal for future investment decisions.

If you want to dive deeper into the topic, we can warmly recommend this documentary from DW that explores the credibility of the FSC certificate for logging as a starting point.

We hope that some of these tips resonated with you. Feel free to let us know on our Social Media what the problems were that you and your company ran into when turning towards sustainable marketing - we might already work on a solution!

Sources: KPMG, EY, BlackRock, DW

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