Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sustainability Efforts Must Come before Marketing Hype

The current issue of Advertising Age has an interesting feature about the rise of sustainability officers and their relationship to marketing.

“So goes the evolving dance between sustainability and marketing, as chief sustainability officers become as prevalent as chief marketing officers in Fortune 500 companies. Although more marketers are striving to act and look green, their sustainability officers seldom come up from the marketing side.”

And why don’t they come from the marketing side? Because the more successful eco-friendly efforts start from the grass roots. They fully integrate the spirit of sustainability into the rest of a business.

To illustrate this point, the AdAge piece goes on to highlight the sustainability initiatives of Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble and other big players. These companies don’t have massive “sustainability departments,” just leaders in charge of making things greener across their companies.

If your organization isn’t big enough to justify hiring a sustainability officer, a commitment to sustainability can still be carried through. But either way, green should not be a figment of marketing imagination.

That’s especially true for companies taking environmentally focused products to market (like several of our clients). As we pointed out back around Earth Day, the marketplace of green claims is getting pretty noisy. Audiences are starting to tune it all out. So if you’re selling green, you have to walk that talk.

Besides, there may be an even better reason for going greener throughout your company. Potential business benefits such as increased energy efficiency will likely have a far more positive impact on the Earth and your bottom line than any green marketing claim ever will.

1 comment:

aditya said...

I don’t agree with the idea of having a sustainability officer. I think this responsibility has to be shared by every employee of the organization to make a difference. This can be done by making them aware of the problem.You cannot hold a single person accountable for something like sustainability. I would like to get your views on our corporate blog ( on sustainability.