A study by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) found that while European consumers have a reasonable understanding of sustainability as respecting the environment and fair treatment of present and future generations, their understanding does not extend the role of sustainability with respect to the food supply chain or of various ecolabels used on food and beverages.
Companies that close the gap between consumer expectations and perceptions of their corporate social responsibility work can positively transform their brand, according to Craig Bida, executive vice president of cause branding and nonprofit marketing for Cone Communications.
The public relations and marketing executive says closing the CSR gap — that gulf between what consumers think companies should do and what they think they actually do — is a valuable sustainable strategy worth pursuing.
This is the first in a series of excerpts from Engaging Outraged Stakeholders: A How-To Guide for Uniting the Left, Right, Capitalists and Activists, the new book from Future 500, co-written by CEO Bill Shireman, COO Erik Wohlgemuth and VP of...
Corporate transparency is a wide and complex terrain, including everything from legally required disclosures to employee tweets, much of it having nothing to do with sustainability. However, an increasing number of transparency initiatives are focused on social and environmental outcomes, from the rise in sustainability reporting over the last twenty years, to more recent bursts of open innovation. This increase in transparency represents a tremendous opportunity for business, the environment, and society at large if six key elements are done right.
Sustainability reports have become an important calling card that major companies now use to demonstrate their sustainability commitments.
"Sustainability reports should be seen as the raw material for dynamic sustainability storytelling that reaches online communities far broader than the traditional target audience quartet of investor, employee, NGO and media stakeholders."
The Guardian recently published an excellent article on "Why Green Brands Are Failing to Capture Public Attention." I agree with much of what’s written in the article, especially the observation that there may be plenty of demand that marketers just haven’t figured out how to capture. However, I’d submit that green brands fail precisely because companies have neglected to use traditional marketing paradigms for developing new products. Let’s look at two examples: Clorox Green Works and Nike’s Considered.
“If we can’t get the consumer involved, we will always be behind the curve,” Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland said when he launched the retailer’s ‘Plan A’ sustainability stakeholder consultation.
The logic is compelling. Changing customer behavior is a natural part of the sustainable business strategies businesses must create to achieve long-term success. And instead of being seen as an extension of CSR strategies they will be seen more as Long-Term Marketing strategies that are creating the company’s preferred future operating environment.
Calls to shake up the sustainability community seem to be becoming increasingly frequent — the latest that I’ve read coming from the State of the World 2013 Report. With a warning that sustainability is in need of a “dramatic reboot,” it suggests a failure to deliver on the wealth of opportunities being promised.
To overcome this challenge, one thing’s for sure — there is a need for innovation and new ideas, just as there is for any step change in culture or business. When it comes to business, many companies have reached a point where the greatest need in delivering on their sustainability goals is to gain better cut-through with customers and employees. And in order to make this happen, a clearer focus is required on breakthrough ideas that will fire customers’ imaginations and excite their interest. In other words, marketing innovation needs to become an essential part of the sustainability mix.
In driving engagement and behavior change, the power is often in the subtleties. As we work toward mainstreaming sustainability, we should stop talking in terms of should, and instead we ought to start speaking in terms of ought.
The triple bottom line that inspires us is about planet, people and profits. Most of the time, we find ourselves talking about planet and profit, and all their complexities. When we talk about people it is usually about either 1. making sure they have a sustainable planet to enjoy, or 2. working to awaken a concern for planetary sustainability.
But what about sustainable people? What about people who are themselves sustainable? What about people who can flourish when challenged, keep delivering over time, bring their best, stay inspired, live and work from integrity, and not burn out? And what about building and sustaining organizations populated by those kind of people?
B Lab on Wednesday recognized 92 companies from 15 countries and 31 industries for creating the most positive, overall social and environmental impact. Each honored company is a Certified B Corp that leverages business to solve social and environmental problems and has met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
This is the second in a series of excerpts from Engaging Outraged Stakeholders: A How-To Guide for Uniting the Left, Right, Capitalists and Activists (Affinity Press, 2013), the new book from Future 500.
Unilever has been a clear leader in sustainability with its ambition and actions against its Sustainable Living Plan, and has just started its first consumer-facing corporate brand campaign around this, called Project Sunlight. At Given London we have noticed a step-change in the number of corporate brand teams seeking to facilitate more sustainable lifestyles for their customers. By analysing the launch of the campaign, we have drawn out four key lessons for other corporate brands seeking to engage their customers around sustainability in a meaningful way.
Patagonia has made its feelings about mass consumption clear through its Responsible Economy campaign, its Common Threads Partnership and, perhaps most famously, with its full-page NYT ad on Black Friday 2011 suggesting that people “Don’t buy this...
Continuing a positive trend of transparency in the food industry, Starbucks' latest campaign focuses on the quality and sourcing of its coffee beans, as sustainability and health concerns continue to motivate consumers to ask, "Where does this come from?"
Launched on Sunday during the Emmys, the new documentary-inspired TV ad shows the heritage of the cafe chain's Arabica coffee beans. "The bean matters, because you cannot roast in quality, you cannot roast in complexity," the voiceover says as black-and-white footage of coffee plantations and the roasting process runs.
The longer-form videos, dubbed “origin stories,” will run on the Starbucks website in October for four of its 20-plus coffee brands, including Veranda Blend, Pike Place Roast, French Roast and Ethiopia. The campaign will also include print ads that will run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker, among others, while the TV spot will also be show in a handful of "higher-end" movie theaters.
Climate change. Resource scarcity. Pollution. Human rights. These are some of the most pressing issues facing business today. They are also some of the most difficult for consumers to relate to, let alone orient their lives around.
According to a recent report from The World Economic Forum and Accenture, sustainability is in desperate need of a makeover.
Brands are the symbols and icons of our culture. Embedding sustainability into the private sector by using culture can make the world healthier, safer, more tolerant and creative. Brands can be transactional gateways permeating our everyday lives.
Welcome back! Are you ready to leave excellence behind, with all its unsustainable feeders and costs? Ready to make the move to the entirely different and sustainable condition of mastery? You’ve been patient for long enough, so let’s get started.
In Part I of this series we introduced the Excellence Trap, and diagnosed its drivers and shortcomings. Here in Part II, we’ll take a close look at the costs we incur when we’re in the Excellence Trap, in order to see clearly what unsustainable people and organizations suffer. Then we’ll turn to the solution, introduce mastery and five shifts we must make to become sustainable. And in Part III we’ll discuss the way to get there, as well as the way not to.
These days, many conversations about the status of sustainability in business and society seem to fall into two categories. These can be summarized as 1. It’s mainstreaming, and 2. It’s not mainstreaming, or it’s not mainstreaming enough, or as quickly or as deeply as we would like.