Green is the new black and sustainability is the buzzword that is taking over the business world. But here is the million-dollar question: do companies apply sustainability in marketing strategies? Yes! We will take you on a journey through inspiring examples of sustainability at the core of their marketing. But beware of the greenwashing – learn how to distinguish between genuine sustainability efforts and mere lip service.
- What is sustainable marketing?
- Why do sustainable marketing?
- Sustainability examples in business
- Sustainable branding among Webnode projects
- Greenwashing examples
What is sustainable marketing?
Sustainability is knowledge to exist continually, therefore sustainable marketing communicates business commitment in continual existence to customers, employees, and partners. But how can you achieve that? By these principles of green marketing: promoting environmentally and/or socially responsible products, services, or business mission/values.
Sustainable marketing refers to long-term value, customer-oriented, innovative practices, and a larger purpose than just profit. Are you saying that this is not the sense of marketing? Maybe not a traditional one. Though we are nowadays watching a shift to conscious consumption and environmental and social awareness. As a consequence, emphasis on sustainability can be a critical thing, which wins you the competition in the market.
In practice, companies adopt sustainable marketing strategies in various ways. They donate profits to sustainable projects, source sustainable materials and/or packaging, or even create a product that contributes to sustainable living.
Still not sure what sustainable marketing is all about? Then see below examples of sustainability areas (some are also principles of green marketing):
- Environmental awareness and education
- Developing products with lower environmental impact
- Transparency in manufacturing and other processes
- Resource security
- Recycling and waste reduction
- Mindful consumption
- Social equity
- Social responsibility
- Human health
- Community empowerment
- Circular economy
What is environmental marketing?
What is then the difference between green marketing and sustainable marketing? Are both terms the same? Principles of green marketing aims specifically to environmental awareness and protection. Sustainable marketing is on the other hand a broader term, which concerns environmental as well as social and economic issues.
Principles of sustainable marketing
Why do sustainable marketing?
Well, but why should you even put your energy into sustainable or green marketing? The most powerful reason above all would probably be our planet and local communities which are struggling in a climatically changed world.
Are you asking, if there is something less moralistic? Of course, there is a profit-driven reason as well. Sustainable marketing can help your business in attracting and retain customers, the same as employees. All in all, sustainable practices lead to innovations, can build long-term customer trust, and give you a competitive advantage.
Moreover, we have already mentioned the transition to social and environmental awareness in customer decision-making. Yes, consumers demand sustainable products and expect businesses to take part in a sustainable world. According to Institute for Business Value 2020 research:
Nearly eight in 10 respondents indicate sustainability is important for them. And for those who say it is very/extremely important, over 70 percent would pay a premium of 35 percent, on average, for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.
Nearly 19 thousand people from 28 countries around the world participated in this research.
Another report, Business Wire, 2021, declares:
As expectations around sustainability climb, companies will face significant pressure to prove their sustainability credentials and continue to make it a central part of their value proposition.
Sustainability examples in business
Now you know what sustainable branding is and which sustainable business strategies exist. Moving theory to practice, we will show you some examples of sustainability in business, which you can inspire from.
It may not surprise you that Patagonia is one of them. Patagonia today builds on a rich history of promoting sustainability. From 1985 this company donates part of its profits to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. The company has also set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. Patagonia’s inspirative campaigns are: Don’t Buy This Jacket Black Friday from 2011 and its more recent Buy Less Demand More.
Another example of long-term plans for sustainability is LEGO. LEGO’s mission is to have all core products made from sustainable materials by 2030. To fulfill the promise, the company started using plastic bricks derived from Brazilian sugarcane, certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody standard for responsible sources. At the same time, the company shows interest in recycling materials, developing sustainable packaging, reducing CO2 emissions, and minimizing waste.
We should also mention Thinx, which provides sustainable underwear solutions for menstruation and incontinence. From the first glance at Thinx’s social media posts, you see how the brand is brilliantly integrating core company values in sustainability to product promotion, which they combine with educational content.
Another company founded with a core value in sustainability is Oatly. Oatly produces plant-based products as an alternative to dairy.
Our mission is to make it easy for people to eat better and live healthier lives without recklessly taxing the planet’s resources.
Sustainable branding among Webnode projects
Sustainability is all around us. We spoke to several people who started their sustainable projects with Webnode. They use local or certified natural materials with less environmental impact, repurpose products destined to be thrown away, implement local production processes and ecological agricultural techniques, or care about nature conservation and social issues.
Firstly, we will dive into sustainable building. We would like to introduce you Tymivtiny. The company offers tiny houses.
“I want to help on the way those people who want to live more in connection with nature. Live more freely and sustainably. Calmer and satisfied.”Ondřej Solnička
Another project focused on alternative buildings is Threetrees. The unique caravan named Bonifác was built by the founders of the project – three girls – and is aimed at recreation. Do you want to go there? You are not alone!
“During construction of our Bonifác we tried to use quality and natural materials (hemp insulation, natural oils instead of paints). Inside, we use only natural cosmetics and cleaning products, we compost, we make breakfast from local products, etc. We hope that even the caravan environment and the fact there is no wifi or screen will help people to slow down and realize the superficiality of our problems these days. We like the idea of slow travel, so we believe that our guests will really relax.”Kristýna Nováková, one of founders and builders
Italy-based architecture firm Whiteoak.it goes even further. The company specializes in high-end residences and resorts, with a priority on wood-based building solutions. Thomas Allocca explains its anticipation of the future:
“We believe that future architecture will renovate the concept of “sustainable” i.e., low environmental impacting, into “tree-centric” i.e., highly benefiting, changing the direction of the point of view, from the less damage possible to the highest benefit possible.”Thomas Allocca, founder/president
Examples of sustainable building projects made on Webnode
Saving old things and reusing
In connection with home decor and furnishing, we must mention the Dvadilna project that breathes new life into old furniture that would otherwise be discarded. What do Martina and Ondřej are proud of?
“Definitely if we manage to completely repair an old chair that was originally in terrible condition. For years it lay somewhere unnoticed, we saved it from burning or the collection yard. After our intervention, it is like new again. In someone’s home, it will shine and become the pride of the interior.”Ondřej from Dvadilna
“Sometimes we remember all those pieces of furniture that went out into the world from Dvadilna. All of them passed under our hands and often it took a long time to save them.”Martina from Dvadilna
Martina and Odřej are not the only ones who save old things. This is also a central theme for people from the Chilean DiseñaTé project, which rediscovers the value of enamelware, an old and almost forgotten piece as an everyday object:
“At first, DiseñaTé was created to paint cups and sell them, but it became more than just painting cups. There were many kitchen pieces that could be painted, rescued, and revalued by illustrating them.”Catalina Millán, designer
Projects that save old things and revalued them
Sustainable food, fashion, and consumer goods production
And what about sustainable food production or local consumer goods? Yes, such projects work on Webnode too. Italian Zucca farm produces rice. How has the journey of Zucca’s sustainable agriculture evolved?
“Our business began in 1990 when my husband took over a small local farm and started growing rice, corn and soy.
In a few years we have managed, thanks to e-commerce, to make ourselves known throughout Italy and to start cooperation with foreign sellers. This makes us very proud and pushes us to continue in the search for the quality of the raw material.”Giusi Signorelli
Moving to sustainable fashion, we are happy to name Veroka Arbet, owner of the handmade jewelry brand Verunique. She started with a charity bazaar and recently established a sheltered workshop:
“In September 2022, I decided to move my work away from home and family, rent space and employ a young lady with disability card. I literally prayed for Miriam – I wanted someone skilled, who would enjoy making jewelry, would be grateful for the work, which at the same time would provide extra income to disability pension.”Veronika Arbet
Introducing sustainable handmade production, we can’t forget Michaela Šefarová’s soy candles. How did she come to the Lumisha project?
“I am a nurse and I wanted to make something what describes me and what I like. As every woman, I like burning candles, so I was interested in the production of such a candle. The more I became interested in it, I found out how to use nature and not harm it. That’s like I created my first soy wax candles.”Michaela Šefarová
Examples of projects built on Webnode concerning sustainable food, fashion, and consumer goods production
Don’t know how to create such a beautiful website? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to create a professional website.
From sustainable use of nature, we can move to nature conservation and helping animals, which is lived experience for the members of Milujemeprirodu organization. They run an animal rescue station, provide lectures in schools, and run nature TV.
“We gradually built everything with our own hands, so it has a great personal value for us. Which is important for long-term sustainability.”Ondřej Pelikán
Like Milujemeprirodu there are many other non-profit organization websites created on Webnode. Webnode provides them with free web hosting.
We can start with Anatabor, which offers addiction services, or Veselyvozicek, whose mission is to help people in wheelchairs. There is also Babikov, helping with the social inclusion of seniors. We cannot miss Africkaskola, which provides food for a school in Namwiri.
Non-profit organization projects
Besides providing free web hosting Webnode financially supports Dobrý Anděl and The Red Cross.
We are all familiar with the saying “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” But do companies always take this to heart? Unfortunately, not always. This deceptive practice is known as greenwashing, where companies make false or exaggerated claims about their environmental credentials.
Example of greenwashing
Okay, but how can you avoid being influenced by greenwashing, and how to avoid greenwashing in your business marketing? Being a customer, it is necessary to constantly verify the facts. Ask the company about its commitments and provide critical feedback.
As an entrepreneur, you should always announce specific plans and strategies with clearly defined time-bound goals. A good way is also to look at the products comprehensively. When selling drinks in cups, it’s not just about straws, but also about the cups themselves or cup prints.
Where do the materials you use come from? How are they generated and grown? How are they processed during production and after consumption? Does your company compensate for the use of energy and production of emissions? Could your product or business contribute to a sustainable environment, society, and the local community? All this plays a role.
A Pathway towards a greener future and competitive advantage
Sustainable marketing refers to environmental, social, and economic issues in product/service promotion or business values and mission communication.
People appreciate socially and environmentally responsible goods or services and like it when companies show their commitment to sustainability. Unfortunately, calls for sustainability often lead to false advertising and greenwashing campaigns.
Many Webnode website projects are examples of businesses concerning sustainable building, food production, fashion, consumer goods, or nature conservation.