How Sustainable Marketing Can Improve Your Business
With a global shift towards sustainability, there is a new focus on ethical business practices and the importance of owning the impacts of your business. This shift can be partly attributed to a sincere recognition that sustainability, responsibility and transparency are worthy values, as well as the fact that green businesses tend to perform well financially. Sustainable marketing or ‘green marketing’ is a tactic where your business’ ethical and environmental efforts, such as waste management and energy regeneration, are used in promotional and marketing practices. Becoming a more sustainable business has tremendous value in its own right and can be recognised to raise brand approval, attract top talent and even drive more sales. Sustainable marketing highlights a business’ efforts to become more socially and environmentally sustainable. With consumer behaviour constantly shifting, learn how sustainability has become a key factor for consumers in Australia and around the world.
Sustainable marketing strategies to drive business outcomes
The first step in utilising sustainable marketing is to have ethical business practices in place. This requires businesses to look inside their business and around for opportunities, as well as look ahead to make responsible, long-term financial decisions. When looking inside, businesses should look to operate with transparency, collaboration and respect for all individuals in their organisation. Whereas when looking around, the environment and how operations impact the wider global community should be considered and explored. These sustainable efforts can then be integrated into marketing messaging as a unique selling point.
How does sustainable marketing impact business performance?
When promoting your business’ sustainability efforts, there are measurable performance benchmarks that can be enhanced. Deloitte released a study in June 2020 which examines how and why businesses should insert sustainability into the foundation of their business strategy.
This report outlines key business outcomes aligned to sustainable marketing tactics.
1. Consumers: improve branding and customer loyalty
Businesses can market their sustainable policies to improve brand perception. 77% of customers are inclined to purchase from a company that has implemented Corporate Social Responsibility policies, highlighting and proving the attention consumers have towards sustainability practices.
2. Investors: attract new investment through sustainable marketing
This focus extends to shareholders and key stakeholders wanting to invest in sustainable business. The United States is the leading global economic market, demonstrating a 42% growth in sustainably invested assets between 2018 and 2020.
3. Employees: attract and retain workers who value sustainability
Another key group of people impacted by sustainable marketing is employees. Sustainability comes into play when attracting and retaining the top talent. Companies that value and promote sustainability experience a 25% to 50% decrease in staff turnover, with a 13% increase in overall staff productivity.
Whether the messaging is directed towards employees or the outside world, applying sustainable marketing can improve brand perception and influence important stakeholders. Green marketing focuses on sustainability to enhance customer, shareholder and employee relationships.
Businesses using sustainable marketing
Bank Australia has implemented sustainability into their business model and applied it in their marketing strategy. In addition to a dedicated section of Responsible Banking on their website, Bank Australia has also released a social media campaign with the hashtag #TapForGood to further emphasise their commitment to clean money principles. This campaign was implemented to encourage people to think about how their everyday financial decisions can impact sustainability around the world.
With a history of great pride in their automotive safety features, Volvo has now extended their safety outlook to include how safe their business is to the environment. With a business goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040, Volvo has released a campaign showcasing switching their range of cars to electric. They have merged their business direction with sustainable values and are now marketing to their target customers through sustainability focussed advertisements.
Patagonia has a dedicated section on their website to outline its social and sustainability efforts. They offer information on their supply chain, workers compensation and energy carbon footprint. In an effort to minimise waste in fashion, Patagonia created a marketing campaign around a new collection of clothing made entirely of used materials. Their campaign included messaging to ‘buy less, demand more’, and calls for consumers to continue demanding high standards of sustainability across the fashion industry.
While sustainable marketing has risen to great popularity, it’s important for businesses to be authentic. A part of ethical practices is transparency, which includes both the good and the bad. There is a risk when businesses over-promote their sustainability initiatives while underreporting their negative impacts.This can lead to “green washing”, where a business may focus on environmental practices while leaving out their polluting production process, leading to consumer skepticism. Striking a truthful and data-backed balance between marketing and authenticity will help you execute your sustainable marketing strategies without misleading customers.
Transform your brand into a beacon of sustainability
Visionary leaders see markets moving towards sustainability as a priority and want to future-proof their fields by setting benchmarks and raising industry standards. Understand how to lift your business’ marketing strategies and merge sustainability with profit through Griffith University’s online Master of Business Administration. This MBA program teaches skills through a unique sustainability lens to upskill students on how to succeed within the sustainable business landscape. The program offers a ‘Marketing for a Better World’ course covering how to take your product to market in a responsible and sustainable way. Join Griffith to become a change leader and take your organisation into a new era of sustainable marketing and business operations.