Four important steps in sustainable marketing programs

Sustainability is now a core attribute of our clients. Some companies embrace sustainability and make it part of their DNA. Other companies are still developing their sustainability programs and subsequently positioning.

Jonathan Graham, chair of the SGP Partnership, an NGO certifying sustainability in the printer industry, believes that marketing communications should take an active role in the development of sustainability programs. “As marcom leaders, we pride ourselves in delivering counsel strategy and planning,” said Graham. “We need to embrace sustainability and change our skill set to counsel, strategy and advocacy. We need to become advocates for a sustainable future and helping our colleagues and customers understand the respective sustainable position beyond the annual CSR report.”

“Marketers need to make sure to understand the sustainable proof points throughout their organization as well as the related industry,” said Graham. “I encourage the marketing department to go on their own sustainability journey looking for the sustainable advantages from the product/service level to operations to supply chain and industry initiatives.”

Here are four steps that help marketing professionals become advocates for sustainability:

1. Start at the base level of products/services

Before tackling corporate level sustainability programs, work with product management to make sure each product or innovation has a sustainable USP. At minimum each product or service should meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered sustainable:

  • Reduce the amount of waste produced
  • Reuse products before replacing them
  • Recycle product as a whole or its components
  • Replace materials with more eco-friendly or recyclable alternative.

Services also can be sustainable, especially how they are developed and delivered as well as the management of company facilities and resources.

2. Discover the power of supply chains

Supply chains can be a strong asset in your sustainability commitment. Find out the validation and claims made by your partners, look for independent certifications like the SGP sustainability certification for the printing industry or membership in the Alliance to End Plastics Waste or EIT RawMaterials consortium.

3. Engage on industry trends and innovations

Have programs supporting sustainability activities within your particular industry. Prepare executives to present and discuss your sustainability programs in context of the industry and your consumer.

4. Develop messaging & related materials

Sustainability is a topic that permeates companies. As marketing leaders, we cannot afford to be uninformed on various activities and viewpoints on sustainability topics. Bring stakeholders together to develop messaging, Q&As and content tools to keep the topics current and critical to customers.

While each company is unique, work on capitalizing on the successes of your company’s sustainability initiatives, and help the company engage throughout their supply chain as well as NGOs and industry initiatives.

Get in touch if you’d like us to help you on your journey to creating a sustainability strategy that is open, honest and persuasive.

Or if you like this kind of content, listen to our monthly podcast – create, connect, communicate or check out some of our other latest blog pieces where we discuss keys issues shaping marketing communications today.


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Posted by
Jonathan Graham 
on December 8, 2021

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