Sustainability, sales and marketing the environment

Sustainability

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report on the threat level our planet’s fragile ecosystems now face it sent shockwaves across the world.

Uncomfortable reading, to say the least, the findings suggest that we may be far closer to catastrophe than originally believed. Twelve years, to be exact, are all that stands between us and creeping past the point of no return when it comes to global warming.

The time to act is now. And those actions need to be big.


Thankfully, though, this impending disaster is not set in stone. There are still a few hands to be dealt and dice to roll. We just need a wholesale rethink of attitudes and industrial practices alike, but more and more governments are promising to do all they can to avoid the worst case scenario.

Even many individual state administrations in the US have decided to effectively ratify the Paris Climate Accord President Donald Trump has chosen to ignore. Away from central government, they are still committed to lowering emissions in spite of the leader’s defiance.

Of course getting political support for the battle to protect the environment is only part of the story. Businesses of all sizes need to get on board themselves, and look to curb their own impact— from reducing waste heading to landfill, to lowering energy consumption, reducing journeys and improving recycling efficiency. But are these realistic goals?

Sustainability

Sustainability is not (necessarily) unprofitable

One of the false assumptions about sustainability drives is that they are incredibly expensive, and eat into valuable profits. This is a rather short-sighted perspective, though.

Smoking Gun’s recent guide to millennial marketing shows how consumers are increasingly voting with their feet in terms of what they expect from companies. More and more people have begun demanding social responsibility— including a good environmental record— before they part with cash.

Crack this and you could find yourself welcoming more customers because of your sustainable record. Just look at the recent rise in value of so-called ‘green stock’ for evidence.

That’s not all, though. According to research from Veolia, £29billion of GDP could be added to the UK economy if more businesses looked to utilise ‘circular economic solutions’. This means cutting back on the amount of byproducts they send to landfill, sourcing energy from new renewable technologies and similar policies.

Which is precisely the point. We should now be well beyond viewing the environment and economics as separate issues. We can’t afford to ignore the long-term financial benefits that stem from short-term spend. The more cash there is in the economy overall the more there is getting splashed on products or services. Including yours.

Sustainability

Sustainability is the ultimate modern marketing and PR angle

A few years back we wrote a blog post on the website greenwashing.com. If you missed it, the URL is dedicated to exposing brands that have a poor environmental record but continue to make misleading claims to the contrary.

Nothing has changed— firms still look to promote whatever sustainable credentials they can, even when they are actually causing more problems they are helping to fix. As our MD Rick Guttridge has said in his October opinion-piece, though; the truth will always out [LINK TO THIS MONTH’S OP-ED] making it difficult, if not impossible, to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes long term.

But brands that are genuinely innovating within the context of sustainability can gain plenty. Our beloved client, Silentnight, has won awards for its sustainability programme.

The firm is carbon neutral, recycles 90% of its waste materials, and has pledged to make that figure 100% in the near future. The company is also compliant with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, and uses Job Watch to save 100,000 litres of diesel each year.

Impressive, but these policies should be standard-setting rather than stand out by now. In order to truly make an impact with environmentally-friendly practices, then, the brand developed its Eco Comfort mattress layer.

Made from recyclable plastic bottles and sustainable fibres. Needless to say, BBC Breakfast couldn’t resist taking us up on the offer to visit the HQ in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, to witness first hand how the produce is made, effectively saving 150million plastic bottles from being dumped every year. The sort of publicity money really can’t buy.

Read our guide to earned media