What is sustainable marketing?

Sustainable marketing, is a term which I believe is going to be used more often over the next year or so. The COP summit in Glasgow in November 2021, has certainly raised awareness of the environment and what needs to change. Driven by the consumer demand and legislation, businesses are going to need to change their approach, customers will choose brands with a strong CSR policy. So what do we mean by sustainable marketing? Smart Insights define sustainable marketing as:

“Sustainable marketing is the promotion of environmental and socially responsible products, practices, and brand values. If you’ve ever spent a little bit more on something because you know it was locally sourced or 100% recyclable, you’ve experienced sustainable marketing.”

This makes sense and I know personally, where I can I proactively support those environmentally minded businesses, regardless of size. It is important though to ensure you get the policies right before you start to promote and it through your marketing. There will be nothing more damaging than a marketing campaign which promotes an environmentally friendly product, for consumers to realise it is untrue.

The Lego Group are a great example of how to embrace the sustainable approach to their business. In their environmental policy, here, they state what they are aiming for and it goes right the way across their business from the materials the bricks are made of, recycling through to distribution. Often a sustainable approach is a long term strategy, not something which is for a short term campaign. Lego announced here their approach over the next 12yrs, to deliver their ambitions defined in their environmental policy.

What are the key principles of sustainable marketing?

There are five key principles to consider when setting up a sustainable marketing approach:

  1. Customer orientated marketing: The organisation should put the customer at the heart of what they do, rather than being driven by the business objectives or revenue ambitions.
  2. Customer value marketing: ensuring that however the business develops their products or service, the customer continues to see the value in what is provided. For example, customers might pay a little more for a sustainable t-shirt, but perhaps not double.
  3. Innovative marketing: Continue to strive to do things differently, better and achieve more.
  4. Sense of mission marketing: The business should define their long term sustainable policy (as per Lego above) and aim to work towards this.

What are the benefits of sustainable marketing?

Taking a sustainable approach to your business can be relevant to all organisations, regardless of size. There are many benefits to taking a sustainable marketing approach, which we observe below:

  • Because it is the right thing to do!
  • Aligns to consumer and employee values.
  • It will hopefully save budgets, by repurposing and reinvesting in processes, making them more efficient.
  • It can help an organisation to creative a competitive advantage vs their competitors.
  • Scarcity of materials is forcing companies to look for alternative solutions.
  • Governmental policy and legislation are coming in response to the COP summit and the global ambition to try to reverse the effects of global warming.

Other examples of global brands who are embracing the sustainable environmental approach to their businesses include: Patagonia (clothing company), Ikea, New Belgian Brewing Company and Nike.

If you would like some help in reviewing your sustainable approach to your marketing, please get in touch to arrange a no obligation discovery call.

Source: Blog: Totem Pool

Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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