Tackling sustainability in the B2B industry
There is no question that the public are beginning to wake up to the realities of climate change and the immediacy of the issue. Turtl's Karla Rivershaw discusses how this can be the year of sustainabilty among businesses.
2019 was the year of education. We saw the rise of Greta Thunberg, and the campaign group Extinction Rebellion taking to the streets.
Life-long activist David Attenborough continued to do what he does best, addressing global climate issues through his brilliant documentaries and oratory. The mainstream media are now paying more attention, with stories about the environment granted increased column inches.
After a groundbreaking year for activism and awareness, 2020 should be the year of action. Businesses across the planet have a duty to act immediately, for the betterment of their customers, employees and society at large.
As marketers, we are responsible for how our businesses appear from the outside looking in, and so we are in a strong position to help manage change in our environmental behaviour. It’s time to be bold, and challenge outdated practices in creative ways.
To begin doing this, we should look to B2C businesses, who are making some great strides in moving towards more circular and sustainable models, e.g. Unilever. These are largely driven by consumer pressure, competitive pressure from challenger brands, and activist groups targeting them.
However, B2B focused brands are currently lagging behind their B2C peers. At the moment, these businesses don’t face the same pressures, but that’s not to say they won’t come.
B2B businesses can only hide for so long before they become victim to regulatory requirements and pressures from customers. And besides, it always pays to be ahead of the curve: invest in change now and enjoy the benefits in the future, both in terms of business gains and living in a healthier climate.
So where do we start?
There are some quick wins that we in marketing can implement that won’t require huge buy-in from the wider business. These will typically be actions directly connected to our activities. For example, selecting more ethical vendors, reducing the waste from events and giveaways, introducing a more sustainable agenda into the campaigns we run, and forging partnerships with charitable organisations and good causes.
Then there are the broader business-wide initiatives we can take on. Some will be more challenging than others, requiring greater support from the business to implement. These changes, such as those in supply chain management and processes that produce emissions, will ultimately result in a culture shift over time.
It may seem overwhelming right now, but as with all large projects, it starts with small changes that build up over time. Over the course of this year, I’ll be blogging monthly about how to introduce these changes into your business.
It won’t always be an easy journey, but it will be a fulfilling one, driving positive brand awareness and fundamentally changing the course of your business for the better. Action for the climate isn’t about immediate impact, it’s about creating a sustainable business that is built to endure the challenges of the future.
Tackling sustainability in B2B businesses is a huge opportunity for us as marketers, and we can be the pioneers of this movement. Who’s with me?