Sustainability becomes a success factor for tomorrow
Communication, transparency, change of perspective - Tomorrow will be different.
We all have a responsibility - be it in our role as private individuals, or in the construct of a company. And that this responsibility is assumed and borne is what the target group of marketers and companies of tomorrow demands.
Why is sustainability actually so important?
"Sustainability is super important," is a statement that has been placed in the media and the public more than once. But why is it so? To fully answer this question, we would need more than one expert for this article to explain from his or her area of expertise why it is important to behave sustainably. We can't cover that here, but we can take a slightly higher-level look at sustainability and look at it from a marketing perspective. The fact is that the resources on our planet, such as oil, clean air and even water, are limited. And it's also a fact that if you don't economize with something that is limited, it will eventually be used up.
From a marketing and corporate perspective, there are other aspects that make sustainability important and can also become a success factor.
Sustainability from a corporate perspective - 4 interesting facts:
The demand for regional and ecologically valuable products is growing. So if you want to position yourself on the market in the long term, you will have to meet the expectations of tomorrow.
Because this demand is growing, however, this creates an opportunity for companies to retain customers more strongly and for longer. Because customers receive what they want and are specifically looking for - if satisfaction is then also correspondingly right, this can help to retain customers for longer.
Looking inward: motivated employees perform better for companies - this is also a fact. A study by Capgemini has shown that sustainability can be a motivator. Probably because it feels right to many people to do something that benefits many.
A second look inward: Sustainable business development and change can create jobs - a study by Deloitte showed that. This has to be viewed somewhat more holistically and does not relate specifically to one company, but to the entire economy.
From a marketing point of view, there are additional factors that make sustainability very important and are reasons why sustainability can or should no longer be ignored:
We have already listed the demands for sustainable and regional products - but it goes even further: If younger consumers in particular have the choice of buying a product for €2 more, but in return making a positive contribution to CO2 compensation, then today 41.4% already opt for the more expensive product. This is a fact that must be considered not only today, but also tomorrow for marketing strategies.
The expectation does not only concern products themselves: Consumers are increasingly demanding that companies contribute to environmental sustainability. Those who already do so should think about their communication strategy, because those who do good should also talk about it in the right way.
Sustainability not only influences the decision between product A or product B, it has become an important purchasing argument. Purchasing via social networks has shown that environmentally friendly production is important for 42.8% of consumers, but also for fair working conditions and payment (for 33.9%).
Marketing of tomorrow: If you still want to do efficient marketing tomorrow, you should deal with what the generation of tomorrow looks like. That is Generation Z, and it is very active on the subject of sustainability. 32.4% of 18-29 year-olds in Germany (as of December 2022) prefer second-hand goods. Repairing, sharing, reusing - these are criteria that are very important for Gen Z - and therefore also for all companies that want to address this target group today or tomorrow.
Sustainability and sustainable action are important for many reasons. Addressing and dealing with them is crucial - because this issue in particular concerns us all. Finally, let's take a look at the definition of sustainability.
What is sustainability?
What is sustainability actually? To answer that, we looked at various explanations. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) defines sustainability in such a way that we have to deal with the available resources in such a way that we can still satisfy all needs today, but above all also tomorrow, and that future generations are not restricted. According to the BMZ, 3 crucial dimensions must be taken into account: economic efficiency, social justice and ecological sustainability - all of which are equally important.
However, sustainability is about much more than that and there are explanations and definitions that were created as early as 1987 and continue to prove their validity today.
Sustainability at its core is about managing the resources that are available on our planet - and about managing those resources so that we have enough not only today and tomorrow, but also the day after tomorrow. However, the 1987 perspective also shows that the social, economic and ecological processes are interconnected and should not be viewed in isolation from one another, but rather holistically, as well as their interaction. The bottom line is that everyone - including every private individual - has a responsibility to try to live up to, just as the government and all businesses have a responsibility. Sustainable development is much more than environmental protection - it requires change that addresses all three dimensions together without harming any one.
Tips for sustainability
Even if it sounds sensible, it is sometimes not so easy to take the first steps as part of a sustainability strategy.
Communication: If you have already started to make your contribution and are working on becoming more sustainable as a company, you should also adapt your communication strategy accordingly. After all, those who are already doing good should - as the saying goes - also talk about it. Here, however, it is important not just to talk about it, but also to clearly show where there are still deficits and what has still been planned. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the "greenwashing" corner more quickly than you would like.
Transparency: This is something that applies in principle, but must definitely be taken into account in sustainability. Writing "sustainable" on a product does not make it sustainable. But if you can explain how and where attention is paid to the environment and how human rights are also taken into account in production, for example, you give yourself a clear advantage here.
Change of perspective: Sometimes you can take a small step that has a big impact. This is the case, for example, with the topic of "packaging" - the more filling material is needed, the more unnecessary waste is produced. And this from materials that may not be so easy to recycle or may not be available as much. For example, if you can make your boxes smaller for orders & packaging, you can also reduce filler material, which leads to less waste or less filler material needed. This change of perspective can not only lead to more sustainability, it can also save costs. Examples of this type abound, "thinking about it" is key.
There are many more tips that companies can also implement quickly and easily. Our most important tip: Get to grips with sustainability and your own responsibility.
Sustainability is an aspect that companies need to address because it is not only required, it also has benefits for companies. It can be seen as a driving force for customer loyalty and employee motivation, but sustainable change can also bring about new products and even create jobs. Tomorrow's world will be a different one, and today will determine who can survive in it in the long term.
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