If You’re Starting/Launching A Brand, Put Sustainability at The Heart of Your Business
At present, it’s no longer sufficient for companies to provide good products and services at a reasonable price. It gets customers in the door, but this isn’t what keeps them coming back. Expectations have changed, and people increasingly value the contribution to society and the planet that businesses pledge, so corporate strategies should focus on sustainability. Consumers want a guarantee, and brands that have their best interests at heart are environmentally responsible. Curating a sustainable brand image is good for business, but it’s better for the planet, as you can make drastic changes with your decisions. Here are some examples of actionable ways to build a genuinely environmentally and socially conscious brand.
Calculate Your Environmental Footprint & Reduce Your Impact
Even since the Industrial Revolution, the earth has witnessed an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and the effect can be felt in climate change, which is already affecting our lives. Numbers don’t lie, so if you want to go beyond making money, calculate your environmental footprint. It can vary by industry and within your industry, depending on what steps you take to contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet. Your company must implement a solid decarbonisation strategy, looking at the long-term benefits instead of focusing on short-term considerations. Can you change to a local supplier or one that embraces renewables?
Carbon accounting will give you a good understanding of your business’s environmental footprint and, most importantly, ways it can be reduced. The environmental footprint is calculated on the basis of the measured/estimated consumption data, and emissions factors referred to as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-eq). Attention must be paid to the fact that calculating the environmental footprint isn’t a one-time event, so the data must be updated every year to gradually reduce emissions via abatement measures, with constant monitoring. Have an emission management plan that monitors in minute detail the specific gases you produce and ensures they don’t go above the limit.
Always Be Honest with Your Customers
Build engagement through transparency by keeping customers updated on current strategies and events. Any branding and design agency can confirm that honesty boosts customer retention, allowing people to comfortably view and consume your products or services (and support your brand). Be open with customers about how you match your marketing efforts with your business practices. Many companies these days have CSR objectives, so avoid the use of generic information when talking about your sustainability efforts – your claims must be specific and verifiable. Your commitment to sustainability may be selfless, but it has clear business value, so don’t sugar-coat or dance around an issue.
Leverage Your Influence Where It Has the Most Impact
Whether you acknowledge it or not, you have an impact on society and the environment, so help bring about positive, meaningful change. If your industry puts pressure on the environment, releasing waste into bodies of water, land, and air, reach out to fellow brands and promote a movement of change. Progress continues to be slow despite the ongoing rhetoric and good intentions on improving sustainability. Small businesses can be a compelling force on big businesses by acting as important sources of outsourced supply, skills, and services, so ensure change in the supply chain with strong leadership.
In industrialised and emerging markets alike, individuals consider that business leaders ought to take the lead in addressing sustainability challenges. Supporting sustainable development creates social value, so align your resources and workforce with the present goals and raise awareness about the issues the planet is confronting with. For instance, you can use social media to discuss environmental topics, but be careful what you share because some content creators pursue their own interests, and the last thing you want to do is send mixed signals. Every company has a different level of impact on the earth, but as a whole, everyone can contribute to change.
Avoid Greenwashing in Business Marketing
The idea is to go green, not just talk green. Regrettably, some companies present misleading or confusing claims that lack concrete information for marketing purposes, presenting their brands as greener than they are. Ads implicitly or explicitly address the relationship between a product/service and the earth, presenting a company as environmentally responsible. Therefore, greenwashing is deceitful and unethical, tricking customers into thinking that a product or service is better for the planet than it is by using eco terminology. Rely on data, embrace third-party certifications, and don’t stretch the truth. One bad apple can ruin the bunch, so hire a digital branding agency to ensure successful, trustworthy campaigns for your business.
Use the following strategies to ensure your company isn’t greenwashing:
- Replace catchphrases and slogans with simple but measurable information
- Set specific expectations for your claims
- When comparing your products/services to those of your competition, compare the same product/service type
- Make sure images on ads or packaging aren’t misleading
It goes without saying that taking the human approach will help build consumer trust in your brand.
Build Environmentally-Friendly Products/Services
Building environmentally-friendly products or services involves taking a look at the entire design process, so you must go beyond financial and practical considerations. Create an inventory of the resources and energy that go into the making of a product/service and act upon that data, as it will not only help save the planet but it will also help modernise your business. Whether your company is motivated to do it or not, other brands will most surely greenify their businesses, so you risk losing your customers. Businesses of all shapes and sizes must analyse consumer sentiment because people are more informed than ever, and that’s changed how they evaluate brands.
Doing the right thing helps others, and you feel good about your business. Look into your industry to see what companies support sustainability and discover groups ready and willing to help, regardless of what stage they’re at. Once you start incorporating sustainable practices into your business, it’s crucial to build a brand story around it, but don’t indulge in greenwashing. Becoming sustainable in a way that you can be proud of takes time, so don’t wait any longer and get started.