Navigating the Sustainable Marketing Landscape

By: Owen Hawver

Have you recently purchased something that was advertised as environmentally friendly? How did you come across that product offering? Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of the products they use each day.

As consumer preferences change, sustainable marketing is adapting and completely transforming the sale of goods and services globally. Is your brand evolving alongside consumer preferences?

What is sustainable marketing?

First, let’s define sustainable marketing. Sustainable or green marketing promotes goods or services with a particular positive environmental impact. Businesses are consistently releasing products and advertising with a strong emphasis on reduced environmental impact to maintain a competitive edge and increase their market share. 

A perfect example is when vehicle manufacturers promote new vehicles with increased gas mileage, hybrid capabilities, or fully electric technology. Sustainable marketing can be implemented both on small and large scales, from vehicles to reusable water bottles, or even clothing made from recycled materials, the possibilities are endless.

Why is sustainable marketing growing in importance?

Businesses understand that in order to maintain relevance, they must react with current purchasing trends. According to Forbes, 79% of consumers are changing their purchasing habits based on social or environmental impact. Consumers want to feel as if their purchases are going toward a greater good, with a portion of the proceeds going towards a charity or an effort that supports positive social or environmental change. 

Through the past decade, social media has undoubtedly played a key role in the spread of global information, trends, and awareness to a multitude of different topics. If consumers are talking about sustainability on social media, it’s important for businesses to participate in the conversation. By doing so, they can appeal to consumers who are looking to do more for the planet and their surrounding communities. Organizations that engage in these conversations and make meaningful connections with audiences will emerge as leaders and customers will return to them again and again. 

Where do we see sustainable marketing practices heading in the future?

With The Global Green Technology & Sustainability Market projected to triple from $11.2 Billion in 2020 to $36.6 Billion by 2025, we can see why brands are making sustainable marketing practices a high priority. With COVID-19 transforming many industries’ processes much quicker than anticipated, we can expect sustainable marketing practices to do the same. With markets expected to become flooded with innovative products, sustainable marketing strategies that differentiate the offering will be tremendously important. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic shifted sustainable marketing?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not only permanently shifted many industries, consumer buying habits, and supply chain norms; it has also shifted how companies work to market their products and services to potential consumers. Mastercard reported that 54% of people believe it is more important to reduce their own carbon footprint since COVID-19 began, while 62% say it is more important than ever for companies to behave in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way. 

Avoid Greenwashing

Never heard of greenwashing? Investopedia defines it as “the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound.” An example of greenwashing could be a polystyrene foam manufacturer claiming that their product creates less landfill mass than paper alternatives in an attempt to position it as a green product. While the statement is true, it ignores the fact paper is recyclable and biodegradable, whereas styrofoam is neither. To avoid deceiving consumers, businesses should be as transparent as possible when highlighting relevant environmental benefits

How can your brand implement sustainable marketing practices?

Brands can implement sustainable marketing practices in many different ways, whether providing a physical product or offering a service. Start by working with your team to answer these questions:

  • Are you currently producing your product using sustainable practices? If so, what metrics could be used to best represent the positive effects of sustainable practices implemented?
  • Does your company give back to organizations that promote eco-friendly efforts?
  • Do you offer a product or service that promotes sustainable behaviors?

Even though every area of business may not be entirely eco-friendly, it is important to call out your current successes. These include increasing digital practices, giving back to organizations in the community that promote sustainable efforts, or improving recycling protocols.

How can businesses promote their green initiatives?

There are several ways that businesses are able to promote their current initiatives:

  1. Use images, videos, and infographics that allow users to visually and audibly understand the benefits of your green initiatives. 
company xyz sustainability
  1. Run a social media promotion where every like or comment supports a charitable cause (charitable contribution or trees planted, for example).
  2. Shoutout local efforts with a mission that aligns with the beliefs of your organization. 
  3. Discuss changes that have been made to reduce your organization’s ecological footprint. This could include switching from plastic materials to paper, or transitioning to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Overall, brands are more likely to achieve higher price points and capture additional market share when positioned as leaders in sustainability. In an age where eco-friendly products are gaining market share and sustainable efforts are taking priority, businesses and marketing strategies must evolve with consumer needs.

To maintain your competitive edge as the word shifts to eco-friendly practices, organizations need to promote their current efforts and call out their relevant successes. RyTech has been helping businesses and nonprofits tell their stories and share their successes for 10 years. To learn more about how content and social media marketing can share your organization’s green initiatives, contact us to get started today!

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