What is Sustainable Brands ?
The Sustainable Brands is home for the global community of business innovators who are shaping the future of commerce world wide. It consists of the Learning, Leading collaboratively – Reducing poverty – deepening community for positive change to prosper by leading the way to a better world.
Sustainability now stands for the triple bottom line: planet, people, profits.
In order to build a sustainable brand, businesses must develop a brand that is positioned to grow, consistently integrating environmentally and socially responsible values across everything the company does, from operations and its supply chain to its products and services, clients, partners and even investors.
A company today isn’t just responsible for the product it sells anymore; it’s also accountable for all the components that go into that product, and how the product is managed across its lifecycle, including when the product becomes obsolete.
How Do we Define a Sustainable Brand ?
The Definition of a truly sustainable brand, businesses must integrate environmental, social and economic sustainability across the 3 brand elements:
Products/Services: the products or professional services that the company offers and the markets/clients that it serves.
Business Standards: the unique tools, processes, business strategies, delivery methods, knowledge base, core values and techniques that the company brings to a project.
Company Style: the organization’s personality, the way that businesses communicate and relate to the marketplace, and the distinct flair that the company possesses.
But this is not enough. To own a sustainable brand, businesses must also:
1. Have a policy in place, documenting all the values and standards the business stands for and acts on.
2. Incorporate the principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability into each of the business decisions.
3. Supply environmentally and community friendly products or services that replace the demand for the non-sustainable versions of the same product/service.
4. Be greener and more socially responsible than traditional competition.
5. Make an enduring commitment to environmental and social principles in its business operations.
The Principles of Sustainable Brands
Here is the Principles that can help brands build a more sustainable world and unlock new sources of growth.
- Think beyond the environment
Sustainability isn’t just about the environment. Social, economic and environmental are considered the three interconnected pillars of sustainability, and brands need to be aware of all three.
- Know your audience
It’s important to know your target audience and what is driving them. Few people are driven directly by sustainability. Brands that are most successful appeal to what people really want (e.g. saving money, looking good) and align sustainable benefits with this.
- Imagine the future
Brands and businesses need to think about what the future might look like. Think about where your category and consumer might be in 5, 10 or even 20 years’ time and how your business and brand will need to adapt to be sustainable and profitable.
- Reinvent your business
The sustainability challenges facing the world are huge. To reach a sustainable world you can’t take baby steps. You need to understand the systemic changes required in your business models to drive holistic global change.
- Be disruptive
The familiar ideas probably won’t deliver what you need. So be brave and try to embrace unexpected solutions. Don’t be afraid to innovate in order to lead.
- Don’t do it alone
It’s not just important for brands and businesses to communicate internally to share knowledge and skills. You’re likely to need to build external partnerships to help you achieve your sustainability goals.
- Be true to your brand
The sustainability initiatives should never be divorced from the brand. They need to be woven intimately into the brand story, reflect the brand’s purpose and speak in its voice.
- Lose the design stereotypes
Dated stereotypical images and references are fast becoming, well, dated. Brown packaging may seem like a good indicator today, but how will this resonate in 2030 when sustainability has moved up a notch.
- Keep it simple
The world of sustainability isn’t always easy to engage with. So sustainability initiatives need to be easy to understand and easy to action. By changing the language of sustainability, you can open up new audiences.
- It’s alright to be wrong
There’s no exact science to developing successful sustainability initiatives, so brands don’t always get it right first time. But they can also bounce back from mistakes; after all, that’s how you learn. And it’s OK to talk about what you did wrong. It shows courage and character.