My niece is a big coffee addict and it was a pleasure to see her face light up when I said I’d be taking her to Starbucks and let me tell you, honestly I did not plan this to happen at Starbucks too! If you want to read what happened last time, do check jacksonrobin.com

Anyway, after getting her name right on her coffee cup, I handed her the straw which said: ‘Compostable plastic straw.’ Obviously, my niece was intrigued and had to ask me about it and I, like a good ol’ entrepreneur started telling her about sustainability but little did I know, it’ll spark something in me. So, I’ll try to summarise what Sustainable Marketing is and why it is the need of the hour.

Now, to put it in simpler terms, sustainable marketing is going green and then telling the world about it. It all seems easy from the outside but actually is very difficult because if done wrong, it can even shut your brand down forever.

Sustainability refers to the practise of consuming resources in a judicious way in order to preserve it for the coming generations. Even the Gandhian philosophy focuses on sustainability and development. He was a dedicated practitioner of frugality, of recycling and reuse. Below given is the definition of Sustainable Marketing:

“The concept of sustainable marketing holds that an organisation should meet the needs of its present consumers without compromising the ability of future generation to fulfil their own needs.” ~ Philip Kotler and Garry Armstrong: Principles of marketing (2008)

Why is it important?

Business has to face new competitive environment which keeps them on their toes every day; because of technology and globalisation. Therefore, every business, in order to sustain and grow in this competitive environment needs to explore a variety of marketing concepts, new business models and at times, even new business lines. In the course of finding new and better marketing strategies, they ignore the social and environmental factor which in fact can act in the favour of the company.

Over the years, many sustainability campaigns have been tempting to our better intentions, from hotels requesting you to hang your towels, to brands asking you to recycle for the “next generation”. The approach is to cajole and guilt-trip us into doing the right thing, for the higher purpose of sustainability.

Organization now has realized and are now implementing sustainability models and following the ‘triple bottom line’ theory and by adopting this theory, the company increase profit, public relation and competitive advantage.

People: This is sometimes called the social equity or human capital bottom line and is concerned with a company’s stakeholders other than shareholders. They include employees, contractors, clients, suppliers, and the wider community in which the business operates. This bottom line is interested in the welfare of these stakeholders.

Planet: This is also called the environmental bottom line or natural capital and is concerned with the size of a company’s ecological footprint and how to keep it as small as possible. This is done by controlling energy consumption, reducing manufacturing waste and disposing of it safely. In addition, it means managing the life cycle of a company’s products from start to finish.

Profits: The profit or economic bottom line deals with the economic value created by the organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of the capital tied up. In the original concept, within a sustainability framework, the “profit” aspect needs to be seen as the real economic benefit enjoyed by the host society. It is the real economic impact the organization has on its economic environment.

How can you do your part and become sustainable?

Plastic pickups: It is important that you start from your company and reduce the use of plastic or if you are a manufacturing company, make sure you treat the chemical waste before releasing it in the air or water body.

Choose renewable energy: Using renewable energy and telling about it makes a wonderful impact on your customers. It gives you an edge against your competitors and can appeal to your potential customers.

Listen before you talk: Sustainability is all about acknowledging the social and environmental distress and working towards eradicating such problems. For example; Depression and increase in suicide rates in India.

Telling your story: Now that you have your story it’s time to take it to the world. This is the easy part! So often we see companies doing great work and then falling short of actually letting their community know but it’s more than just a post or two on Facebook — you should create a marketing plan and make sure that you focus on the journey and how it’ll impact people at large.

Turn your brand into a movement: Driving and inspiring positive change through influencing consumer behaviours and perceptions. A great example is that of Colgate SuperBowl 2016 commercial ‘Every Drop Counts’, which in an impactful 30-second clip that encourages viewers to turn off the taps while brushing their teeth to save thousands of gallons of water each year.

Sustainable marketing is more than just a new way of looking at your marketing. It’s about the fact of embracing the truth of climate change and the socio-environment tensions our world is going through. I want you to take a long, solid look at your business activities and think about the impression you are making and the legacy you want to leave.

If you want your business to be remembered as one of the best, then you need to start making changes today.

And on that note, let me go to Hamleys and check up on my 7 year old trouble.

Wishing all the success to you!