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Steven Reilly

Published on

September 8, 2021


marketing, sustainability

Right now, it feels like we are at a tipping point of significant change. Across the world we are seeing that it is no longer enough to just talk about sustainability. Measurable actions need to be put in place to drive change and protect the future of our planet and the people living in it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sustainable marketing emphasizes an organization’s environmental commitments.
  • Authenticity is crucial; greenwashing risks damaging brand reputation.
  • Effective sustainable marketing involves setting achievable goals and involving consumers.
  • Transparency, gradual changes, and integrity are essential for successful sustainability initiatives.

For marketers, this shift means that traditional marketing is no longer a viable option. Brands need to seriously consider their sustainable marketing strategy. While we are seeing a growing number of organisations increasing their sustainability initiatives, many are struggling to authentically communicate their progress. Brands also need to challenge themselves to set suitably ambitious strategies and goals to keep pace with customer and stakeholder expectations.

What is Sustainable Marketing? 

Sustainable marketing involves the promotion of an organisation’s key sustainability targets and commitments to reducing the environmental impact of its operations. Among society there is a growing expectation that businesses must take measurable action when it comes to sustainability. As such, businesses must take actions to minimise any detrimental impact on the natural environment. Sustainable marketing doesn’t prioritise profit over the planet, the focus is on promoting sustainable approaches and pushing others to do the same. This type of activity not only benefits the environment, but also results in a loyal customer base and a respected brand identity when you get it right.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sustainable Marketing

In recent years, many organisations have announced climate pledges, environmental goals, social responsibility initiatives and other corporate social responsibility plans with the hope of attracting customers and creating a positive reputation around their brand. While it may seem tempting to jump the gun, if sustainable initiatives are not implemented authentically and diligently, the fallout can be severe. Businesses need to carefully deploy effective sustainability communications if they want their actions to be recognised positively.

Always be truthful in your marketing efforts, as those organisations that don’t practice what they preach risk being labelled as dishonest. Consumers crave authenticity and honesty from the brands they support and will call out companies whose business practices don’t match their green marketing messages.

Here are some thought starters on how to communicate sustainability goals authentically.

A business employing sustainable practices should:  

  • Set achievable goals
  • Be transparent in their marketing communication
  • Involve consumers in their sustainability practices
  • Use sustainable suppliers
  • Use digital channels to reduce waste
  • Get certified by sustainability organisations
  • Establish a task force dedicated to sustainability efforts
  • Integrate sustainability into their culture and identity

A business employing sustainable practices should not:  

  • Disguise non-impactful actions as sustainability initiatives. Be truthful.
  • Implement sustainability initiatives without a plan
  • Make too many changes too soon. Start with small, achievable actions
  • Go back on their sustainable commitments

Find out more about sustainable marketing and how TEAM LEWIS can work with you to craft your campaign messaging and set sustainable goals here.

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