How Brands Use Sustainability in Their Marketing Strategies

Activist sorting paper waste

As one of the key issues of the day, environmentalism and sustainability is at the forefront of many people’s minds. As we learn more about how mankind is affecting the earth, individuals are taking more responsibility when it comes to their environmental impact. Part of that responsibility includes supporting sustainable companies.

Sustainable companies are those that use a sustainable business model. These types of companies take extra care to ensure that their products are ethically sourced, that they use sustainable packaging, and that they can be easily recycled. They analyze every aspect of their company and production processes to try and minimize their environmental footprint as much as possible.

While sustainability is something that everyone should strive for—and if current trends are to be believed, it will soon be something that must be achieved by law—it can also be a key piece of your marketing strategy. Customers want to support sustainable companies, and if your company is sustainable, then you should take advantage of that in your marketing. However, sustainability marketing is a delicate process; you have to be careful not to make empty sustainability practices and that you are promoting your sustainability in an ethical way.

Here are some strategies for sustainable marketing and things to keep in mind when designing your sustainability marketing strategy.

Any marketing strategy comes down to one thing: you must promote aspects of your company that people care about. Knowing your audience is imperative to your strategy’s success, and you need to create a message that speaks to your potential customers.

Consumers today place environmental issues as one of their top concerns. In fact, a study of consumers from five different countries found that one-third of respondents choose brands that promote sustainability. Other studies have found similar results, and the percentage only gets higher when the surveys are limited to millennials and generation z. This suggests that sustainability will only become more important in the years to come. 

Currently, sustainability practices are merely a benefit. Consumers like to support sustainability practices. However, under policy approaches like extended producer responsibility sustainability will soon be a requirement. Companies should start adopting and promoting sustainability practices now while it’s a selling point rather than something that all companies have to do. 

Things to keep in mind when promoting sustainability

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When it comes to promoting your sustainability, you must come up with an intelligent, long-term strategy. Greenwashing—when a company claims sustainability practices that look good on paper but that actually make no difference whatsoever—is prevalent, and consumers are savvy. While empty promises may boost your company’s image now, they will be revealed sooner or later, and your company’s image will suffer for it.

Sustainability strategies take time, effort, and money. You should set aside a decent budget in order to ensure that your sustainability practices and the subsequent marketing of those practices are done in an effective manner. Here are some things that you should think about when developing your sustainability marketing strategies:

Go for the long-term. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon or current environmental trends. Take the time to research and make sure that your sustainability strategies are truly beneficial to the environment. This will ensure that you don’t have a PR nightmare in the future, and it will ultimately result in less work in the long run. Furthermore, when your sustainability strategies stick, your customers are more likely to trust you as a truly sustainable company.

Be specific and detailed about your sustainability projects. Transparency builds trust with your customers. Too often, companies promise sustainability, then it turns out that their practices aren’t sustainable at all. If you are completely transparent about your sustainability practices, your customers are more likely to trust your company.

Update sustainability practices as you go. Sustainability best practices change as we learn more about our planet. What was considered sustainable ten years ago has since been proven to be less sustainable than we thought. It’s inevitable that sustainability practices will change and adapt as we learn more and as our world changes. Don’t get set in your ways. Make sure that you’re continuously updating your practices.

Get certified. There’s no better way to build trust with your customers than to have a third-party certification. When building your sustainability strategies, partner with reputable certification services to ensure that your practices are truly sustainable. Not only will this ensure that your sustainability strategies are long-term, but it will also reassure your customers that your company truly cares.

Creative ways companies use green marketing

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When it comes to marketing, you have to adjust the strategy to your audience. What works for one company won’t work for another. You will need to take the time to develop a strategy specifically designed to speak to your target audience. 

While developing that strategy, it helps to find inspiration from other companies who are doing it right. Here are some excellent examples of sustainability marketing strategies.

Patagonia works to support environmentalism in all areas of their company. They partner with organizations to help fund sustainability efforts, and they work hard to include green materials in their clothing, helping to fight against fast fashion. They are also incredibly transparent about their work, noting the areas where they can do better, and making sustainability their primary marketing topic. 

Alpyn Beauty is a beauty care company that has made sustainability and ethical sourcing their priority. Their products do not use animal testing, and their packaging is all plastic-free and recyclable. In fact, their sustainability practices are outlined clearly on their website. Beyond ensuring that their products are sustainable, they support efforts to maintain and restore national parks, creating additional benefits beyond ensuring that their products are sustainable.

LEGO is a great example of a company that uses transparency in their sustainability marketing strategies. LEGOs are made of plastic, and as we know, plastic cannot fully decompose, leading to microplastics in the environment. To address this, LEGO is completely open and honest about the impact that LEGO has on the environment, and they have released a sustainability strategy that promises sustainable sourcing of all materials by 2030. 

How TONTOTON’s plastic credits can improve your green marketing

When it comes to developing a sustainability strategy, it needs to be comprehensive. This likely means years of strategizing and implementation before you can boast that your company is truly sustainable.

Programs like plastic credit systems allow your company to offset your current environmental footprint while implementing long-term sustainability strategies. Plastic credits through TONTOTON not only allow you to neutralize your plastic footprint, but it does so in a socially responsible way. Our projects remove non-recyclable plastic from the environment while providing support to local communities through providing additional income, personal protective equipment, training, and access to healthcare. 

Sustainability needs to keep more than just the environment in mind. It must also take care of our most vulnerable communities. Your customers will love seeing that your plastic credits support the removal of plastic waste as well as local communities.