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CSR Eurpe Market Durable (05):Mise en page 1 6/06/08 16:46 Page 1
What it is, wh
y it mak
good business sense
and how to do it.
Product, Price, Place, Promotion
People, Planet, Profit
CSR Eurpe Market Durable (06):Mise en page 1 10/06/08 14:24 Page 2
About the Authors
This booklet has been written by Emma Williams (CSR Communications Manager and
Sustainable Marketing Specialist), BT Group. Emma is a member of the Chartered Institute of
Marketing (CIM) and The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).
The best practice examples integrated within the Guide were provided by CSR Europe’s Business
to Business Working Group on Sustainable Marketing.
able of Contents
A number of people have contributed their time and expertise to the success of this guide.
For undertaking the immense task of writing the Guide
• Emma Williams (CSR Communications Manager), BT Group
For their contribution in time, feedback and expertise to the content and
development of the Guide
• Maarit Cruz (CSR Manager), Dassault Systemes
• Catherine Schwartz (Project Manager, Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility),
• Nina Schroeder (PR, Corporate Communications Europe), Sony
• Lettemieke Mulder (Director, External Affairs--- Corporate Social Responsibility), Unilever
For the coordination, and research of the Guide and Working Group
• Ann Vandenhende, Senior Director, CSR Europe
• Beatriz Berruga Garcia, CSR Europe
For the provision of the foreword and the endorsement of the Guide
• David Thorp, Director of Research & Information at The Chartered Institute of Marketing
• Carlos Manuel de Oliveira, Chairman at The European Marketing Confederation
• Nathalie Hervé, Executive Director at The European Marketing Confederation
For the kind support for the printing of the Guide
• Sony Europe
The members of CSR Europe’s Business to Business Working Group on
Sustainable Marketing include:
• BT, Bouygues, Dassault Systemes, Danone Group, Epson Europe,
Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Sony
CSR Eurpe Market Durable (05):Mise en page 1 6/06/08 16:47 Page 3
CSR Europe’s Guide to Sustainable
What it is, wh
y it mak
good business sense
and how to do it.
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Part I. The Business Case for Sustainable Marketing:
1. What is Sustainable Marketing?
2. What can Marketers do?
3. The Customer Wants Action
4. What can Sustainable Marketing do for Business?
It’s Shopping Time!
Part II. The Sustainable Marketing Toolkit:
Sustainable Marketing Audit
Checklist 1 – Green Claims
Checklist 2 – Let’s Talk Tactics
Checklist 3 – Embedding Sustainable Marketing
Example Decision Tree: Promotional Items
est of the species
“It is not the strong
es, or the most intellig
e to change.”
but the one most responsiv
--- Charles Dar
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Is it the place of financial directors and managers to consider sustainability? ‘The business
of business is business’ they might say – a maxim dating from a time when climate
change, expiring fuel resources and forest depletion were science fiction yet, which is still
routinely offered as an answer to people who raise the question of sustainability.
This view is no longer acceptable. If steps are not taken to make our business future sustainable, there’ll
be no business future. The WWF estimates that we would need three earths to sustain current patterns
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of consumption. With statistics like these, it’s no longer acceptable for companies to ignore their
responsibilities to a sustainable future for everyone.
There is an opportunity now for marketers to be at the heart of what has been termed the Triple Bottom
Line process where, alongside the normal financial bottom line, business is also required to think about
both its environmental and social impacts, creating a complex arrangement of bottom-line deliverables.
Why marketers? Because, it’s customers who are driving the demand for companies to be more
accountable and marketers are at the front line building relationships with these customers, identifying
with them. Putting them in a strong position to take this customer insight to the rest of the company.
Marketers impact on those areas critical to engagement with sustainability – processing, packaging and
distributing a product. Their communication skills keep the customer and the rest of the company
informed on the viability of sustainability practices.
Some marketers will argue they have enough to do already without saving the planet. But if the whole
point of marketing is putting the customer at the heart of your business and responding to their needs
and wants, it’s vital to change your mindset to reflect how today’s customers feel about sustainability.
Financial directors are unwilling to commit significant resources to sustainable practices, seeing sustainability
actions as a cost driver. Well-intentioned sustainability initiatives have been slowed or abandoned because
of the belief that sustainability is a cost, with no return. The increasing interest shown by customers,
however, means that this is no longer the case. Evidence shows that by including sustainability as part of
normal business activities, the financial bottom line is enhanced, not diminished.
We welcome CSR Europe’s initiative in bringing this issue to the forefront of its activities and in seeking
to educate its own stakeholder companies and the wider business community
across Europe. This booklet and the online 3D game are excellent starting
points for grasping the complex, interrelated issues that contribute to the
sustainability debate – a debate that is certain to become the defining
commercial issue for our generation of businessmen and women, and
which will impact directly on the lives of all the generations that will follow.
Director of Research & Information
The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Carlos Manuel de Oliveira
Chairman of the Board
The European Marketing Confederation
The European Marketing Confederation
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“Concerns about social and
environmental issues provide
Until recently, sustainability has been the
opportunities for brands to
primary focus of a company’s CSR (Corporate
connect with their consumers
Social Responsibility) department. But as the
at a deeper level and, in doing so,
global community struggles with the issues of
gain competitive and sales
over population, increasing energy demands,
loss of bio-diversity and the wide-ranging
impacts of climate change, the sustainability
issue is now a priority across boundaries;
--- Patrick Cescau, CEO of Unilever
political, cultural and professional.
Examining ways in which our marketing
practices can become more sustainable is an industry issue of key importance and one which all
organisations, large and small, must tackle if they want to thrive.
Pioneering companies have proved that moving towards more sustainable marketing practices can
be a shrewd business move. For many, operating in an ethically and environmentally responsible
way is proving to be a cost-effective hit with customers.
But how do you start? Just how do you make your marketing more ‘sustainable’?
Academic marketing concepts are one thing, but what does this look like in the real world?
Written by practitioners, for practitioners, CSR Europe’s Sustainable Marketing Guide is designed
to help you take the first steps in the right direction.
For those that like to see the numbers, we’ve included the latest market data along with some
inspirational examples from companies that are proving that sustainability is good for business as
well as the conscience. Furthermore, the Sustainable Marketing Toolkit contains the tools and
techniques which will help put it all into practice.
A note about sustainability
Sustainability is a necessarily broad church for it encompasses all of those issues which impact our
lives: population growth, biodiversity, human rights, social inclusion, equality and diversity… to
name but a few. The list contains a combination of social (e.g. human rights, equality, diversity)
and environmental (e.g. waste, energy use, pollution) issues which are inevitably intertwined
Both are equally deserving of the attention of the marketing profession but, as a first step
towards more sustainable marketing practices, the focus of this first booklet will be on the
minimisation of environmental impacts.
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What is Sustainable Marketing?
We only have one planet and the Earth’s resources are finite. The Problem is,
we’re using them much faster than they can be replenished and some, like unpolluted
land, fossil fuels and the thousands of plant and animal species going extinct each year, will
never be replenished. If the Earth’s ecosystem was a bank account we’d be seriously overdrawn!
Living beyond the limits of the planet is the reason for environmental degradation, climate change
and many of the humanitarian crises in poorer nations as they struggle with scare resources like clean
water, habitable land, food and energy.
The further we stretch these scare resources, the more uncomfortable life will become for those in
the developed world and the harder it will become for those in some developing countries to
survive at all. In short, the situation is unsustainable.
Some businesses had been reluctant to tackle the issue as the sustainability agenda was felt to
be a threat to profitability and business growth. But that paradigm no longer holds and
sustainability is fast becoming the most critical business issue since industrialisation.
In a business context, sustainable development means taking a triple bottom line approach
so that the business measures its success not just on financial performance, but on its
environmental and social performance too. The goal: to meet the needs of this generation
without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.1
So where does marketing fit into the equation?
Fuller defines sustainable marketing as:
“The process of planning, implementing and controlling the development, pricing,
promotion and distribution of products in a manner that satisfies the following
three criteria: (1) customer needs are met (2) organisational goals are
attained, and (3) the process is compatible with ecosystems.” 2
Sustainable marketing is the contribution that the
marketing profession can make to sustainable
1 Brundlland Commission Report, World Commission on Environment and
2 Donald Fuller, Sustainable Marketing, Managerial-Ecological Issues, 1999
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“Business has three issues to f
what it takes, what it mak
what it wastes.”
--- Paul Hawken,
The Ecology of Commerce 1
In the United Kingdom, F
y, we’d need 3
planets to sustain our cur
rate of consum
ption. The US
would need 6.
--- Let them Eat Cak
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Commonly used Excuses for
“I don’t ha
“Using less packaging for my
products will add 10% to my costs
in the first year.
I wouldn’t get it past the board”
“Consumers want these
products, who am I to sa
“My job is to sell products
not save the world”
“It’s up to Government to
clean up the environment.”
Do you recognize yourself? Are these excuses used within your marketing department when
discussing sustainability? Explore the following chapters and see how sustainable marketing can
create new opportunities for you.
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What can marketers do?
The marketing profession may have been painted as the ‘bad guy’ for glamorising consumption.
Producing goods and services does indeed use up resources which generate waste and pollution,
so, what can marketers realistically do to minimise their impacts?
As influencers, communicators and shapers of culture, marketers have it within their gift to ensure
that they make a significant difference both to their customers, the planet and to the bottom line.
In practice, it’s simply about looking at your products and/or services, assessing how they impact
the environment and then taking steps to minimise those impacts. The checklist contained within
the Sustainable Marketing Toolkit on page 19 has been created to help you take the first steps.
“The marketing Industry stands accused by NGOs,
think tanks and the media of fuelling rampant and
unsustainable patterns of consumption. Marketers
are blamed for a multitude of sins: encouraging even
greater consumption; using too much packaging;
limiting the useful life of products; producing
greenhouse gases…The list seems never ending.”
--- Let them Eat Cake, WWF Report 2004
Technology is often hailed as a solution to our environmental problems, but equally as important
is creativity and the marketing profession is well placed to rise to that challenge. The argument,
until now, has been that ‘doing the right thing’ for society and the environment will always be at
the cost of profits and market share; but as the Stern Report on climate change proved, this is
not necessarily the case.
Stern noted: ‘The cost of doing nothing could reach 20% of gross global product by mid
century, with conservative estimates suggesting at least 5%, resulting in the worst economic
depression in history….The cost of action now would amount to around 1% of gross global
product.’ In short, to ensure that businesses and economies continue to thrive, it makes sense to
act sooner rather than later.3
3 HM Treasury, Stern Review on the economics of climate change, 2006
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The Consumer wants Action
Many marketers will remember the ‘green boom’ in the
90s which saw a great swathe of ‘environmentally
friendly’ products and services sweep onto the market.
“You can’t build a reputation
Acid rain, deforestation and the hole in the ozone layer
on what you are going to do.”
were key concerns. Ozone depleting CFCs were banned
and even products which had never used CFC were
proudly labelled ‘CFC free’. Understandably, many
--- Henry Ford,
consumers felt cheated.
US Automobile Industrialist
Sceptics argue that the cyclical (and fickle) nature of
markets and consumer interests means that this latest
focus on the environment is just the most recent turning
of the wheel and that like the 90s, the bubble will soon
burst and consumers will again stop worrying about the
impacts that their lifestyles are having on the environment.
The difference this time however, is that the risks to life and lifestyle are now far greater and far more
immediate. This is fuelling a growing sense of urgency in the drive to find solutions. Far from being a
problem for ‘other countries’ it’s becoming almost impossible for consumers anywhere in the world to
ignore the changes brought about by climate change and environmental degradation.
Business leaders too, concerned about their own families, lifestyles and professional legacies are
acting to ensure that this is no passing fad.
The upside is that marketers have learned a lot from both the mistakes and the triumphs of that
90s brush with mass market environmentalism and those lessons will have placed profession in good
stead for the challenges ahead.
Customer expectations are changing. Consumers are
looking for companies and brands they feel have
genuine commitments to environmental and social issues;
and they’re voting with their wallets.
According to a recent report from the Cooperative Bank,
“Every client sees sustainability
the current value of ethical spending in the UK has grown
as a priority issue and every
9 per cent in the past 12 months, to £32.3billion.4
employee and consumer wants to
Although still a small proportion of total household
be part of a bigger idea. No brand
spending, the growth in the ethical sector is enduring
will be truly loved by anyone it
despite tougher economic forecasts and a squeeze
touches unless it shares an
on household’s disposable incomes, indicating that
inspired, sustainable benefit.”
consumers are increasingly putting their values
--- Kevin Roberts,
CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi
Sales of Fair Trade products in the UK grew by a
staggering 81% from 2006 to 2007 – another indicator
of consumers’ desire to ‘do the right thing’.5
4 Ethical Consumerism Report 2007
5 Fair Trade Foundation, Feb. 2008