You do not need to greenwash to be sustainable in marketing

The demand for sustainable solutions is increasing and it’s shaping buying behaviours. Digital marketing can be used to highlight how an organisation is addressing sustainability, but be careful not to greenwash.
September 5, 2023

More and more consumers are communicating how important it is to connect with and support brands that share their same values. Business owners constantly look for new ways to connect with their current and potential customers by exploring opportunities in their marketing strategies. One of those opportunities is rooted in a growing consumer value: sustainability.

According to a joint study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ, consumers care about sustainability—and back it up with their wallets. When consumers are asked if they care about buying environmentally and ethically sustainable products, they overwhelmingly answer yes: in a 2020 McKinsey US consumer sentiment survey, more than 60 percent of respondents said they’d pay more for a product with sustainable packaging.

Why you should include sustainability in marketing

Here are three reasons from Prism Global on why you should include sustainability into your digital marketing strategy.

1. Sustainability benefits the planet
Incorporating sustainability into your digital marketing will result in obvious benefits to the planet. These benefits include reducing carbon footprint, lowering energy usage, and eliminating pollution. Sustainability speaks to your business’s eco-friendly practices, brand values, and products/services.

The point of sustainability is to nurture the longevity of our world. So, incorporating environmentally-friendly strategies like using digital platforms for marketing, utilizing virtual events over in-person ones, or using sustainable packaging shows your sustainability efforts vs. simply talking about them.  Creating a sustainable marketing strategy is a great way to ensure your sustainability efforts are reaching all parts of your business. Don’t just talk the talk when it comes to sustainability, walk the walk as well.

2. Sustainability draws in younger consumers
The use of digital marketing strategies that exclude sustainability is decreasing among businesses because the core of today’s consumer base is the younger generation. Millennials and Gen Zers lead the sustainability movement and have no plans to back down from establishing a greener planet. Including sustainability in your marketing ensures you are catering to this large pool of potential customers.  

Not only does the younger generation make up a large segment of current consumers, but they also fill out a large section of the workforce. To attract individuals in this generation to your workforce or your customer base, you’ll need to put your commitment to social issues, saving the planet, and sustainable values at the forefront of everything you do.

3. Sustainability increases the longevity of your business
The longevity of your businesses depends on your ability to connect with your current and potential customers through shared values and your ability to provide solutions to their pressing needs.

Sustainability is only growing in popularity as a required value of the brands consumers choose to invest in. You should include sustainability in your marketing because it will help build a loyal customer base for your brand. People are more vocal about their desire for sustainable brands that show a commitment to sustainability across the entire company.

Submerging your brand in sustainability practices and values is extremely attractive and shows that you’re listening to their changing needs and values. Loyal customers are key to establishing a long-lasting business. Make it a priority to keep up with the evolving needs and values of your customers.

Steve Howard: Let's go all-in on selling sustainability

"Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do." Howard, the chief sustainability officer at the furniture megastore, talks about his quest to sell eco-friendly materials and practices -- both internally and to worldwide customers -- and lays a challenge for other global giants.

Make sure you steer clear of greenwashing

Businesses worldwide need a guide against greenwashing. Skift Business Climate Leaders, together with Norwegian environmental organizations and activists, have developed 10 principles to help us tell the difference between greenwashing and responsible marketing.

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Ben van Rooy

Strategy Director

Nick Brown

Marketing Director