For a long time, I have struggled with how to marry my passion for social responsibility, in particular climate change, with my work advising businesses on marketing. But in recent months, this is becoming much easier.
Why has it changed you ask? This is mainly down to two factors, firstly the younger generation are increasingly demanding businesses are socially focused, in particular, that they have strong environmental or sustainability policies in place. Secondly, and probably most importantly, being a responsible business with a sustainability policy that is backed up by impact reports, gives your business some great messaging.
Let’s look at these two factors, with the first being the younger generation, gen Z. Increasingly, when it comes to make purchasing decisions, they are being driven by the desire to use sustainable products and services. But it is not just in the goods and services they buy that this is having an impact. Increasingly this also shapes their career and job decisions. If, as a business, you cannot demonstrate that you are genuinely sustainable, you are not an attractive prospect for many younger people. Your business needs to demonstrate that you can provide the right working environment for them in relation to working practices, inclusivity and diversity and of course, your green credentials. It is worth remembering that fewer people are placing salary at the top of their job requirements. So, if you don’t want to miss out on some exceptional talent, make sure you have the right structure in place. This will also reduce your recruitment costs and is therefore a worthwhile investment.
The second factor is more straightforward to understand. Anyone in marketing understands that a positive story around a product, service or a brand is easier to promote and in the current era, trying to promote a brand that doesn’t have a sustainability strategy is harder. If you don’t have a sustainability strategy in place, one that the business is acting on, now is the time to do this.
There are a number of ways that a business can get recognition for their sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)/CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity, probably the most widely recognised is B-Corp, but there is also CSR-A. Both offer an accreditation to recognise what the business has achieved, CSR-A also looks at the plans for a business going forward as well. Achieving this type of recognition is also a good investment for your marketing.
To avoid missing out on good potential talent, to reduce your costs and to improve the brand profile, don’t put off establishing a sustainability strategy.
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