“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous and enduring and thus more intelligent, even competitive” – Paul Hawken
Sustainability is a major concern for marketers in the 21st century since marketing strategies and activities are inextricably linked to the future of the natural environment that sustains all life. The scope of sustainability is broad, and companies are being held responsible for issues such as reducing consumption of scarce resources, not harming the natural environment, ensuring sustainable supply chain management, reducing climate change, sensing consumer concerns about sustainability, increasing global economic stability through sustainability, and proactively managing business processes to protect the natural environment.
In present marketing world consumers are conscious about their shopping choice and prefer sustainable or green products. According to a recent study mainstream consumers have shown an interest in environmentally friendly products and are suggesting the manufacturers and retailers follow suit with more of these products. The underlying question is “How can firms achieve competitive advantage by use of sustainable business practice as marketing strategy?” the answer is very simple i.e. To the extent that sustainable practices are desired by consumers, firms can use them as bases for marketing strategy if they can adopt them differentially and defensibly.
HSBC is engaged in a multipronged environmental effort, including lobbying to regulators and government agencies, a green investing partnership with high profile NGOs, another partnership for conducting research into climate change, opportunities for employees to engage in research for these partnerships, retro fitting of branch offices, and developing and promoting green products, such as paperless checking, with some proceeds going to environment-related charities. (GreenBiz, 2007)
A recent survey of leading MNC’s showed the most common efforts in sustainability targeted lower energy use, reduced solid waste generation, and reduced air pollution (ClimateBiz, 2007). Because the market is vigilant in examining sustainability for example PepsiCo, HCCB, Asian paints, Glen mark etc.
The fundamentals of segmentation, targeting and positioning don’t go out the window when sustainability walks through the door. Sustainability can be integrated to marketing strategies in a very simple way by simply following the basics of business which is to refocus on the target audience because the target for sustainable product development should not be some other group of conscious or green consumer but the loyal customers of your product. They are the one who buy and associate themselves with your product.
Nike has targeted its recycled and waterless dyed apparels to athletes and sports oriented people instead of targeting a different group and it has been a huge success.
Toyota created a brand synonymous with dependability and durability. The success of the Toyota Prius hybrid car was certainly because of its long-held attributes alongside innovation and eco- friendliness. One other vital rule is that the aim shouldn’t be to improve brand’s reputation or build consumer trust but to reinforce what you stand for in the minds of target audience.
Ariel laundry detergent started Its Turn to 30° campaign promised that even at low temperature, “With Ariel, you still get outstanding results.” Thus, the brand strengthened its positioning while encouraging an environmentally friendly change in consumer behavior.
In a nutshell it can be said that Sustainability marketing is about delivering good value to customers and ensuring that the brand remains viable over time. Marketers have the power to create a more sustainable economy through their influence on product development and purchasing decisions. It’s high time to follow these well-honed tools and fundamentals of marketing in to the sustainability business.