Join us at Our Global Flagship Event in Long Beach, California. June 1–4, 2020. More Info ➔

Marketing and Comms

How brands are evolving in the area of sustainability marketing and communications — and how their stakeholders are asserting their own needs and preferences.

Topic Channel Sponsored By
How Marketing Teams Can Appreciate, Apply, Amplify Sustainability Priorities

It’s no secret that the audience at any Sustainable Brands conference lives and breathes social impact. From CSR strategists to climate change experts to sustainability technicians, our careers are devoted to integrating business and social purpose to make the world a better place. Ricardo Caceres, Global Marketing Director of Sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company, knows he is preaching to the choir. When he says, “We must shift sustainability from a technical to a humanizing conversation to unlock marketing value,” heads around the room nod in agreement. He’s speaking our language – the challenge of connecting the dots between sustainability imperatives, and marketing and business goals.

The Secret Sauce: Why Sustainability Stories Spread, or Don't

Language is a virus: Get it wrong and it can kill your venture. Get it right, and it inspires others and spreads like fire. In sustainability, where we are still working to attract new audiences, this can be the difference between engagement and alienation. So how do we get it right? According to Betsy Henning, CEO & Founder of AHA, an award-winning creative marketing communications firm based in Portland, Oregon, there are seven deadly sins of sustainability communications to avoid:

Successful Sustainability Storytelling First Requires Shaping Your Internal Narrative

Early on in the Embedding Project, one topic came up more than any other: storytelling. While many companies are experimenting with sharing stories about sustainability as a way to shape their cultures, we also heard that their attempts to do this sometimes fell flat. It turns out that leveraging storytelling to help employees arrive at their own learning moments about sustainability takes some planning. Over a two-year period, we worked with companies, reviewed research, and interviewed storytellers in a range of roles. Here’s some of what we learned.

Top 5 Ways to Connect Consumers with Your Brand Purpose

Purpose-driven brands know that the key to successful engagement is connecting consumers to their brand purpose and mission. The most effective ways to do that is to listen, communicate, and build trust. Here we offer five inventive new ways to actively connect with the growing segment of conscious consumers.

FDA to Redefine ‘Healthy,’ Affirms KIND Bars Can Use the Term

Roughly a year ago, KIND Snacks CEO Daniel Lubetzky received a letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about his products. Among other nutrition claims, the FDA took issue with the use of the word “healthy” on KIND snack bar labels. Now, the FDA has not only affirmed that KIND can use “healthy” on its labels again, but also confirmed that it intends to reevaluate the regulatory definition of the term.

New Documentary Investigates Dire Realities, Small Victories, ‘What Climate Can’t Change’

Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Josh Fox’s latest documentary opens with Fox dancing to The Beatles to celebrate a victory over the gas industry following the production of his startling previous release, Gasland. The new film, entitled How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, is a journey across 12 countries on 6 continents that highlights the communities that are fighting back against fossil fuel extraction.

New Study Finds FSC Certification Profitable for Businesses

The environmental and social benefits of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification are proven, as the organisation works to ensure sustainable use of forest products. But a recent WWF study has found that there is also a concrete economic benefit. The bottom line? On average, forestry companies can earn an extra US$1.80 for every cubic metre of FSC-certified timber.

Framing the Climate Conversation: Researchers Investigate Discourse Across Party Lines

Climate change has slowly become more of a partisan issue over the last few decades, fuelling heated debates despite the scientific consensus (and, quite often, about whether there is in fact a scientific consensus) that human activities are causing climate change. Amidst this tumultuous political landscape, how to communicate effectively about climate issues has become difficult.

Mars UK Advises Limited Consumption of Its Products High in Salt, Sugar, Fat

Mars Food plans to begin distinguishing between its products which are fit for “everyday” versus “occasional” consumption. Over the next few months, the company is expected to publish a list of products which should not be eaten more than once per week due to higher salt, sugar and/or fat content. The list will appear on the company’s website, and the list items’ packaging will bear a label in stores in the United Kingdom.

‘ASPIREist’ TV Series Showcases Real Solutions, Purpose-Driven Celebrity, Brand Projects

A new “reality feature news show,” ASPIREist, wants to inspire viewers to take action by showcasing people, projects and ideas that are making a difference. Co-hosted by six twenty and thirty-something TED Talk speakers from a variety of fields – environmentalists, activists, social entrepreneurs – the show calls itself “the new newsroom,” one for “today’s generation.”

Trending: Waste-Reduction Campaigns, Sharing Best Practices Among Brand, NGO Earth Day Efforts

Every year, April evokes campaigns and initiatives from companies and nonprofits alike in celebration of Earth Day (April 22) or Earth Month. This year, personal care brand Tom’s of Maine has teamed up with upcycling leader TerraCycle on the#LessWasteChallenge, a stakeholder engagement campaign to reduce waste. Consumers are invited to take an online pledge to reduce their household waste by one pound per week.

Ad Campaign Encourages Creatives to Think Beyond Consumerism

Artist network Brandalism believes that the talent, energy and creativity of ad agency employees is “sinking into an ever-expanding black hole.” The network recently launched a campaign to appeal to those who feel the same, by placing several posters in front of ad agency offices in Manchester and London.

EWG Verifies 125 Products with 'Best Manufacturing Practices'

Over 125 cosmetics and personal care products from 14 brands have earned the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s new verification. The EWG VERIFIED™ program aims to help customers quickly and easily identify products that meet strict ingredient standards and are “produced with the best manufacturing practices.” The program was announced in October and has quickly grown to include cosmetics such as foundations, blushes, eye shadows, eye liners, lipsticks and lip glosses; skin care products including cleansers and moisturizers; shampoos, soaps and deodorants; and more.

Standards and Businesses Coming Together in Washington to Discuss Sustainability Challenges

Over 200 of the most influential figures in sustainability standards and certification will join business leaders to share their thoughts on today’s most pressing sustainability challenges on May 10 to 11 in Washington, DC.

Storytelling for Sustainability: It's Time for Corporate Leaders to Gather 'Round the Campfire

The term ‘greenwashing’ might be officially outdated. In 2016, the number of companies making unmerited PR splashes over sustainability is far outweighed by those who are taking significant strides forward and not talking about it. When faced with the science of climate change and transparency into corporate accountability in 2016, sustainability is simply part of doing business. Yet many leading companies still shy away from fully embracing their sustainability stories. Excellent, groundbreaking work is happening across the private sector with no-one around to hear. To re-philosophize the old saying … if a tree grows in a deforestation zone, and no one is around to hear the re-surging wildlife, does it make an impact? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

General Mills, ‘Disappointed’ by Lack of National Solution, Will Label GMOs

On Friday, General Mills announced that it will “soon” start labeling its products that contain genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients nationwide. With the rationale that it is impractical to label its products for just one state, the company plans to disclose GMO ingredients according to the law set to go into effect in Vermont on July 1.

New Cartoon Will Use Laughter, Adventure to Help Kids Save ‘Planet Blue’

A futuristic space station, rainforests and oceans will be explored by a cast of diverse kids and their animal friends in a new 3D-animated television show, Planet Blue. The show’s creators hope to inspire environmental awareness among children and capture their imaginations “with genuinely endearing characters, engaging scenarios, and writing that's funny enough to make them forget that they're learning.”

How the World's Best Companies Demonstrate Their Sense of Purpose

How do you communicate your company's sense of purpose — what you stand for in simple terms — in a way that is authentic, transparent and honest? Increasingly, the answer for many of the world's biggest companies is to highlight their sustainability work. Why sustainability? Well, sustainability, after all, is rooted in doing business in a transparent and authentic way. And, in today’s always-on, smarter-than-before society, pledging to be a better company just won’t cut it. You have to demonstrate how your company’s purpose is creating a tangibly better experience.

PSA Illustrates Potentially Hairy Effects of China's Air Pollution

Air pollution in China is unavoidable, and a huge health problem. Last year, a Berkeley Earth study found that deaths related to the main air pollutant, PM2.5 particles, total 1.6 million a year or 17 percent of China’s mortality rate.

Patagonia's 'Tools for Grassroots Activists' Also Offers Lessons for Business, Marketing Leaders

Earlier this month, Patagonia released a new book aiming to offer environmental advocates best practices in grassroots activism. While it may seem counterintuitive for a big brand to be talking about grassroots activism, it’s widely known that Patagonia’s history is deeply rooted in environmental activism. The company started off as a small group of surfers and climbers who had reverence for their playground: the great outdoors.

Have Sustainable Brands delivered right to your inbox.
We offer free, twice weekly newsletters designed to help you create and maintain your company's competitive edge by adopting smarter, more sustainable business strategies and practices.
Copyright ©2007-2020 Sustainable Life Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Sustainable Brands® is a registered trademark of Sustainable Life Media, Inc.