When we think about sustainability, we don’t automatically associate marketing as being problematic. But like many industries today, being educated on how to better care for the environment will always be useful. For our Christmas 2022 campaign, we’ve created our own version of the 12 days of Christmas. Plinkfizz is proud to present 12 ways of making marketing sustainable!
1: The environmental impact of advertising
Quoted by John Sterman, Professor of Management at MIT Sloan School of Management. “By encouraging unnecessary consumption, advertising harms our ability to create a sustainable world,”. In-house marketing teams are the perfect example of this issue. They will promote campaigns for organisations because they are on trend. However, sometimes these campaigns are responsible for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.
2: The triple bottom line model
The triple bottom line model is a great way to analyse your sustainability efforts. The model is designed for companies to evaluate their performance based on social, environmental and financial factors. Sustainable marketing focuses on improving these.
The social bottom line can be increased by having fair and beneficial labour practices and through corporate community involvement. This can also be measured by the impact of your business activities on the local economy.
The environmental bottom line analyses the approach of how business’ consume sustainability. Controlling this part of the model means managing, monitoring and reporting your consumption and waste.
The financial bottom line refers to capital and is measured by how much the business strengthens the economy, as it contributes to the overall health of its local community. A question you should ask your business is ‘do you choose materials that are economically a good investment?’ or ‘do you buy cheaper products that create issues in other areas?’
3: The growth of environmentally conscious companies
Towards the end of 2022, shopping sustainably has become a trend. More marketing agencies are taking on environmentally conscious companies because they are the future. A recent study revealed that more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods as demand grows.
As for marketing agencies, businesses typically judge their success on numbers, but sustainability shifts this perspective. As a brand, there is something bigger than just products and services when working with sustainability.
4: Green marketing vs sustainable marketing
Green marketing is the single act of reducing carbon footprint. It is the application of environmental knowledge and responsibility to promote products. This limited term focuses on marketing products that have environmentally friendly features, usually with the end goal being to reduce the impact and increase profits from it. Whereas sustainable marketing is a much broader approach, it refers to creating and delivering superior customer values to meet the company’s present and future needs. This type of marketing is about ensuring long-term environmental preservation and goes beyond reducing carbon impact. The terms ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ are often used incorrectly, but when devising a successful marketing strategy, it’s necessary that you know the difference, to avoid greenwashing.
5: Decreasing your greenhouse gas emissions
Humanity’s digital presence is growing and with that, so is our carbon footprint. Our devices, the internet and all the systems that support them account for 3.7% of all greenhouse gas emissions. As we accommodate our new digital reality, there are a few steps you can take to lower the impact of your digital presence.
The first step is to reduce your e-waste. Every year, fifty million tons of electronic waste is generated and only 12.5% of this is recycled! To decrease this number, consider donating your devices to local organisations.
Power down is another step in reducing your emissions. The Department of Energy recommends turning off your computer if you anticipate being away for two hours or more. Or we could turn down the brightness on our devices, by dimming the display to 70% you can save 20% of the energy used by a monitor.
6: 70 tonnes of C02eq is generated by…
The advertising industry isn’t typically at the top of the list when considering emissions impact. A study from Data Company 55 analysed the carbon impact from advertising campaigns. The results showed a single ad campaign can generate 70 tons of carbon dioxide. Some steps we take to reduce those emissions by 50% to 70% is to be as efficient as possible in production, using sustainable equipment, ad target optimising and using WI-FI instead of mobile networks. The impact of advertising may not be at the forefront of emissions improvements, but there are potential steps you can take to help improve and reduce levels.
7: Creating a long-term sustainable marketing strategy
Sustainability is a topic that has gained a lot of traction recently. Whilst eco-friendly brands naturally work on sustainable marketing campaigns, brands that are not rooted in sustainability can still apply principles to the strategies. The goal is to promote a mission, not a product or service. There are many ways to curate a sustainable marketing strategy but here are some ideas:
- Have a larger purpose, shift your perspective and decide that sustainability is more than important just profit.
- Think ahead, sustainable marketing revolves around building long-term value. Often brands focus on gaining immediate returns but sustainable marketing looks at ways to nurture consumers through the buyer’s journey.
- Being customer orientated means understanding your customers’ needs and tailoring your marketing to that.
- Reflecting sustainability in every aspect. This refers to identifying the areas that need work and figuring out strategies that align with your mission. Looking at sustainability from a holistic lens is the key to a successful, sustainable marketing strategy.
8: What is greenwashing and are you doing it?
Greenwashing is when an organisation spends more time marketing itself as environmentally friendly than minimising its environmental impact. This harms the trust between consumers and businesses. Sometimes greenwashing can be used inadvertently, so here are some ways to avoid this:
- Back up your sustainability claims with data, by including credible third-party certification to help verify the claims.
- Clean up your operations and make sustainability part of your business model.
- Be honest about your brand’s sustainability practices and plans.
9: 56% of Britons avoid buying Christmas presents
This year 56% of Britons have planned to reduce the amount of waste they produce at Christmas. Brands need to make sure their sustainability efforts are front and centre of their campaign this festive season. If you market a brand that produces or sells non-plastic products, it’s time to make everyone aware of it. The current hashtag for this trend is #plasticfree on social media!
10: Promote your sustainable efforts
As we have covered many times in this blog, marketing a sustainable brand is on trend this year and it goes without saying, that this should be at the forefront of your campaigns. Being known as an eco-friendly, environmentally conscious brand is ten times better for your brand reputation. Shifting to sustainable organisation practices will not only set your business apart from the competition by attracting new customers, it will allow you to increase profits as future consumers are willing to spend more to buy sustainable products. If you need convincing further, last year 85% of consumers in the UK had adopted a more sustainable lifestyle following the Covid-19 pandemic.
11: How can supporting local venders eliminate your carbon footprint?
Fundamentally, the less distance your products have to travel the less carbon enters the atmosphere through transportation. With sustainability becoming a priority, there is a universal sense that now is the time to consider the climatic impact of your business. Working with local vendors will not diminish all carbon emissions but it’s still a step forward.
12: Let’s make 2023 greener in all aspects
The marketing industry isn’t the only contributing factor to sustainability but we are at the forefront of many trends happening on social media. If you’re looking to promote your sustainable efforts, contact our team of experts and we can help build a green reputation!