Execs Share Best Practices on Sustainable Marketing
Execs Share Best Practices on Sustainable Marketing
High-profile leaders at top organizations get together at the Eco:nomics conference and identify sustainable marketing best practices, what works and what doesn’t.

Provide information about a product’s environmental benefits close to the point of purchase.

The Eco:nomics Conference, one of the most popular conferences in the sustainability industry, took place last week in Santa Fe, California.

High-profile leaders from Walt Disney, RecycleBank, Yale, GE and The Climate Group, as well as Wall Street Journal’s editors, got together to talk about the real risks and opportunities in the fast-changing world of environmental capital.

One of the top topics discussed was sustainable marketing and best practices. According to this article on Environmental Leader , these were the main outcomes:

WHAT WORKS:

  • Companies should focus on improving their own energy efficiency, while emphasizing benefits to local communities. Look for the “low-hanging fruit” for a faster ROI.

  • Organizations should give customers reasons to adopt planet-responsible behaviors.

  • When it comes to sustainable marketing, provide information about a product’s environmental benefits close to the point of purchase. Make the message personal by explaining how a consumer’s purchase has direct environmental results.

  • When providing information to stakeholders, avoid a “hard sell” on environmental benefits. Instead, engage stakeholders in a dialogue.

  • In sustainable marketing, explain benefits to the environment as part of a bigger value proposition.

  • Consider how waste can be an opportunity, not a cost or liability.

  • Get a double whammy by undertaking a project that will boost productivity at the same time as cutting emissions.

  • When working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), there must be a shared understanding of the goals and constraints of a partnership, with both sides understanding and respecting the “rules of engagement.”

  • To get a project off the ground, consider new forms of financing, both public and private. For instance, it is possible to add solar panels at no upfront cost using a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Make the message personal by explaining how the purchase has direct environmental results - direct and indirect.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK:
  • Participants suggested that the government should not be put in a position “to pick winners and losers” for any technology or business process. Instead, the government should help develop technology-neutral standards.

  • Companies cannot use uncertainty over government action on climate change as an excuse to stop innovating.

  • Organizations cannot simply talk about being “green.” Sustainability must become part of a company’s DNA.

  • Avoid politicizing sustainability. Instead, explain the economics behind adopting energy efficiency and reducing environmental impacts.

  • When working with NGOs, do not strike a deal that has no substance. Be sure to carefully consider the people and resource needs of a partnership.

  • For best results when financing energy efficiency or other environmental projects, the market requires more certainty in government policy.

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