What we will cover
The following information will help you understand the nature of sustainable marketing, how it works, and why it might be beneficial to your company as well as your customers.
How We Define Sustainability
At its core, sustainability is about regeneration. It’s the ability for our planet to renew itself and support future generations.
Despite the impact of climate change and world-renowned supporters like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, it has taken a long time to get on the corporate agenda, in 2022 it finally now has more prominence than ever before.
Why Sustainability Matters
There is data to suggest that we have less than 100 harvests left before our glorious green earth resembles something akin to a post-apocalyptic Mad Max backdrop. Which seems unfathomable now as we enjoy a summer experiencing the hottest weather ever recorded in the UK.
“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”
But it feels like the time where there was any doubt to the data is long past, and we need to act before the opportunity to do anything is also long gone.
There are obviously some key players contributing to climate change, but we can all do more, even just a little. Individually we understand the benefit of recycling, buying local, and even the joy of growing our own veg. But in our experience, that message hasn’t quite spread to businesses, despite the fact it could be beneficial for both attracting and retaining customers.
How to implement sustainability into your business?
Corporate responsibility for climate change operates at a much higher level than most small businesses need to supposedly worry about, however, there is an increasing desire for smaller businesses to do more and we are finally seeing some government-backed initiatives to help raise awareness.
The SME climate hub has about 3000 businesses signed up at the time of writing. You can make the commitment by doing the same.
Vu has taken the step to try to understand our carbon footprint and aim to be Net Zero by 2025, this isn’t just about offsetting carbon, we want to challenge ourselves to make some positive changes.
There are a host of consultants and organisations out there, we had a fabulous experience with Gillian Alker at AMP Clean Energy and have enjoyed working with PlanetMark – see which fits your ethos and budget and remember the old adage “what gets measured gets managed”.
We have also set up the Positive Nature Network, a network inspired by the positive solutions we already have today that can inspire people to bring new ideas into their organisations. It is also a community of businesses that can align with other organisations on their sustainable values and create their own green supply chain.
Sustainable Marketing agencies like Vu work with clients to establish an environmental action plan for their brand, communicate these messages in a meaningful way to both internal and external stakeholders, and look to build connections in order to become more sustainable marketers themselves.
How sustainability benefits your business as well as your customers
A sustainable marketing approach can have many benefits for your business. Not only can it help you to be more environmentally friendly, but it can help you to connect with consumers who are interested in sustainable and socially responsible products and practices.
Customers who buy on values don’t shop on price, so if you get the message right you could unearth a whole audience of customers ready to pay a premium for your greener solution.
Large organisations with corporate responsibilities or environmental policies are now scouring through their supply chains looking to partner with organisations that can accurately document their carbon impact. In a crowded marketplace, your competitors may be behind the trend and you could be a rung up the ladder in pitching for large contracts.
And let’s not forget the bit that should go without saying, sustainability can benefit your bottom line by reducing costs and increasing efficiency as well as contributing to the regeneration of our planet.
Be wary of Greenwashing
Sustainable marketing strives to build and maintain long-term relationships with all stakeholders by regenerating resources instead of depleting them.
A sustainable marketing agency can provide insights and advice on how to best connect with your target audience in an ethical and responsible way. However, some companies have used the term sustainable as a form of marketing itself, using these terms and taking little or no action has been dubbed “greenwashing”.
This is obviously misleading and unethical, good sustainable marketing agencies will always be transparent about their clients’ practices and be happy to share in their journey towards progress.
This is one of the reasons we moved our hosting to 100% renewable energy servers recognised by the green web foundation, and created a specific regeneration marketing workshop.
5 Tips on how to get started with sustainable marketing
Sustainable marketing is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for business. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
- Do your research. Understand what sustainable marketing is and what it involves. This will help you make informed decisions about which practices to implement.
- Identify your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your sustainable marketing efforts? Keep this target market in mind as you develop your strategy.
- Don’t limit your ambition. Workshop ideas around what would be done in an ideal world and see what can be brought in future product or service developments.
- Set goals for what you want to achieve and measure progress. Share them with the team, create policies and procedures and offer rewards for positive actions toward them.
- Shop Green. Surround yourself with green focussed organisations and buy from them where possible. Nothing demonstrates your values more honestly than spending your time and money.
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