In 2021, it’s not just about the products that your company sells or the services that it offers, but what your business stands for. Customers want to know that a business shares their beliefs. For many members of the younger generation—think Millennials and Generation Z—that includes a conscious effort to preserve the environment. This is where sustainable marketing comes in.
What is Sustainable Marketing?
Philip Kotler, the man often called the father of modern marketing, explains in Principles of Marketing, “The concept of sustainable marketing holds that an organization should meet the needs of its present consumers without compromising the ability of future generations to fulfill their own needs.”
In other words, while your business is meeting the current needs of your consumers, it also needs to think about how this work will affect the future generation.
Fostering Sustainable Behavior in a Business
Obviously, sustainable marketing is not something that happens overnight. Additionally, it may not be possible to achieve 100% sustainable behavior within your business.
However, there are steps you can take toward a more sustainable business.
One of the first things you can do is make this a company project. When it comes to creating a sustainable business, your employees need to be involved.
Employee buy-in and input will be what helps your business achieve and maintain sustainability. When your employees are on board, you’re more likely to see results and create a company culture of sustainability.
Easy Ways to Make Your Business More Sustainable
If you’re looking for places to start your sustainable journey, here are some suggestions.
Start a Recycling Program
Instead of tossing everything in one waste bin and allowing it all to go to a landfill, why not start recycling?
All it takes to start recycling is a few extra waste bins (green ones if possible) and a change in the habits of your employees. Instead of tossing those plastic water bottles and aluminum soda cans in the trash, create a separate bin and recycle them instead.
Recycling is a simple starter step toward a sustainable office.
With online filing systems and data storage readily available to businesses, it might be time for your office to go paperless. Consider using DocuSign or a similar service to sign contracts with clients.
Instead of printing out meeting agendas, email them out so attendees can follow along on their computers or digital devices.
You would be amazed at how much better for the environment going paperless can be.
Ditch the Keurig
This one won’t be too popular at first, but those Keurig pods are horrible for the environment.
If you’re not bold enough to get rid of the Keurig completely, consider purchasing reusable pods and ground coffee, so employees still benefit from single cups of coffee without the significant impact on the environment.
Allow Employees to Work Remotely
COVID has proven to businesses that remote work can work, even if it’s only some of the time. If you have an office where remote work is possible, consider allowing employees to work from home. That’s one less car on the road.
Even if you offer a hybrid model where employees commute two to three times a week instead of five, you’re making a difference.
Offer Commute Alternatives
If you can’t allow employees to work from home, there are other ways to protect the earth. Companies like Google and Apple offer employee shuttles so employees can commute to work together.
You can also offer employee incentives for people who use public transportation or commute to work together. Other companies have installed electric vehicle charging stations to encourage their employees to drive electric vehicles.
If you have employees that bike to work, create safe spaces for them to park their bicycles.
There are a lot of ways to encourage alternative transportation among your employees.
Switch to Sustainable Packaging
If your company does a lot of shipping, switch to sustainable packaging.
Instead of using packing peanuts and plastic bubble wrap, consider packing paper. Use boxes made from recycled materials. There are a lot of options out there nowadays, you just need to look for them.
Upgrade Your Office
There are simple changes you can make in your office that can make your business greener. Switch to LED lighting or install low-flow toilets in the bathrooms.
If you live somewhere where there’s a lot of sunlight, consider solar panels. You can install skylights to allow more natural light into your office during the day.
There are many changes you can make to a building to make it more energy-efficient.
Purchase Carbon Offsets
I had no idea what this was until I read about it on the site GreenBiz. There are companies out there that work specifically to reduce the carbon footprint of humans. By funding these companies through the purchase of offsets, you are using their work to make your company carbon-neutral.
According to Vox, carbon offsets are how companies like Amazon, JetBlue, and Delta Airlines achieve “net-zero emissions.”
Just make sure you do your research before choosing a company that offers carbon offsets. Some are more reputable than others.
Added Benefits of Sustainable Marketing
The great thing about sustainable marketing is that not only are you doing something good for the planet, but you’re also helping your bottom line.
For one thing, you’re offering customers another reason to choose your business over a competitor. If they have to choose between a company that touts “net-zero emissions” or one that doesn’t, odds are they’re going to choose the one that’s taking the extra step to help the environment.
Social Media Content
For another thing, your sustainability journey is an excellent thing to share on social media. You now have a chance to brag about every advancement you make.
Show off those new electric vehicle charging stations in your parking lot.
Or brag about the new sustainable packaging you’re stocking your office with.
Making your business sustainable makes for great social media content.
Padding Your Bottom Line
But most of all, many of these eco-friendly changes are also money-saving changes. Ground coffee is a lot cheaper than those individual Keurig pods.
Paperless document signing adds up in the long run. Think about how much money you’re saving by not having to purchase as many office supplies.
Office upgrades such as LED lighting and low-flow toilets save you money on your utility bills. The list goes on and on.
If done correctly, moving your office toward sustainability can not only lower your carbon footprint but also lower your monthly spending.
Better yet, it’s another way to market your company and make it stand out with consumers.
Written by Erika Towne