Global investment in sustainable companies (also known as ESG, i.e. Environment, Social, Governance) has grown exponentially over the past seven years.
In 2014, the figure was less than $ 20 trillion. By 2020, this figure had risen to over $ 30 trillion.
Right now there are more investments in companies that can certify their sustainability than those that cannot and this increase in investor interest in sustainability shows no signs of slowing down.
This is a very important indicator, which forces you to consider creating a sustainable marketing plan for your business.
According to Bloomberg estimates, more than $ 50 trillion will be invested in ESG assets by 2025. The emergence of ESG as a universal sustainability measurement system has been a key factor in increasing investor confidence.
ESG and sustainable development
When we talk about economic growth, we do not look at development as a whole and the concept remains incomplete.
Any business, like society, must of course aim for economic growth, but that is not enough: it is also necessary to improve the quality of life and the standard of living.
Economic growth without a contribution to improving living conditions is incomplete and selfish. This is largely due to the fact that economic development has always been preferred to overall growth.
At the government level, the situation is changing: there are trillions of dollars invested in the sustainability of processes. For example, in December 2020, theEuropean Union agreed to a € 1.82 trillion Green Deal to support greater attention to environmental factors and ‘green regrowth’.
In February 2021, the The president of the United States, Joe Biden, announced a $ 2 trillion Green New Deal.
the UK government pledged to meet legally binding targets in its 2008 Climate Change Act and will present its efforts at the COP26 of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
There is also rare cooperation between Western governments and China, precisely on issues related to sustainability.
Ordinary people are also helping to do their part in forcing change.
A recent report by Growth for knowledge (“Eco-activism in FMCG is on the rise”), showed how environmental awareness and eco-activism is increasing dramatically among global consumers.
For example, 24% of consumers take immediate action to reduce their personal production of plastic waste.
In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has fostered environmental awareness, as people have started to question the quality of the air they breathe and have moved towards rediscovering a more natural life.
These changes are pushing companies towards more sustainable practices in all supply chains.
Nell’area B2B, teams are working on how to effectively improve and measure supply chain sustainability.
Unilever, for example, it is a company that is investing heavily to make its supply chain increasingly sustainable and, among the many planned activities, recently announced that it would ask its suppliers add their carbon footprint to invoices.
Programs of this type are underway in many industries with the aim of reducing the total amount of waste produced at different stages of the life of the company.
For B2C consumers and B2B customers, sustainability becomes a key requirement along with needs such as cost and brand experience.
Because sustainability should be taken seriously by marketers
Sustainability is reshaping the marketing landscape as customer needs have changed.
A search of GfK (Crisis as Catalyst Report, April 28, 2021, by Growth From Knowledge) suggests that consumer needs are shifting to issues such as waste reduction, conservation and respect for nature, and that greater energy efficiency is gaining in importance.
Companies like Unilever are starting to ask suppliers for better marketing plans and more specific projections of how they will become more sustainable. Failure to produce viable plans and monitor implementation progress could cause a vendor to drop out in favor of more ready actors.
Sustainability changes customer demand
A clear example of how consumer attention to sustainability is changing demand is represented by the electric vehicle market, for which it is expected a 13-fold increase in the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads, by the end of the decade.
But the change isn’t just happening in the automotive industry: according to a Deloitte report 2020, between 28 and 45% of people have already bought zero kilometer products or have chosen to buy from sustainable or ethical brands. Or, he stopped using a particular brand’s products for ethical or sustainability reasons.
These changes lead to the emergence of new segments, new products and services and new competitors.
In the world of marketing, change must begin with CEOs and CFOs, to be reflected, in cascade, by an adaptation of the supply chain and the supply chain, through the new figure of Chief Sustainability Officer.
The “worst” companies in this sense create marketing strategies around meager investments in sustainability with pure greenwashing operations, with the miserable task of communicating the company’s alleged commitment to the public and other stakeholders.
In more engaged companies, however, like Unilever and Pepsi, marketing also plays a central role in reshaping market strategy in a way that is more sustainable for the company and for the entire supply chain. .
Stephen mangham, brand image expert for the Masters of Scale International, sums up this vision well when he says: “The goal of marketing has always been to produce growth. The role of CMOs today is to produce ‘good growth’ where sustainability is a measurable, customer-focused strategic imperative.“.
Why we need sustainable marketing plans
After all the marketing efforts and hard work of your business over the years, how compelling do you think your brand is in terms of sustainability?
According to the GfK report, only 25% of consumers believe companies are telling them the truth, while 64% of people trust academics and 34% trust the media.
25% is only two points higher than the trust people place in celebrities and celebrities. Very few indeed.
It’s time for marketers to stop branding and become the brave advocates of sustainability.
Marketers need to help their business find the best green segments, introduce and develop new, greener products and services, change focus, and reap the rewards of customers, investors, and available government incentives.
The experience of leading companies like Unilever and Pepsi shows that being truly sustainable isn’t a trade-off between profits and the planet, it’s a mutually inclusive journey that drives stronger growth.
Pooja khosla, Vice President of Client Development at Entelligent Smart Climate Investing, emphasizes this point: “Many companies are struggling to define the real and measurable impact of their offers on the environment and society. Marketers can help achieve this and improve sustainability“.
Sustainable thinking should be present in most areas of the marketing plan: in mission, financial projections, market overview, SWOT, competitor analysis, goals, strategies, digital marketing strategies, resources, actions and measurement of results.
In doing so, a better growth path is developed for the company capable of producing positive effects for the customer, for the company itself, for the brand, for the supply chain and, above all, for the planet.
Developing sustainability skills can also represent a career turning point for marketers: the demand for staff with specific sustainability skills is actually skyrocketing.
Marketers can play a huge role in this transition by acting as leaders of real lasting change. They need to move from the periphery to the center of the stage by engaging in the creation of truly sustainable businesses based on “good growth”.
In this sense, the key tool to achieve the ambitious goal is to start from create a sustainable marketing plan.