Overview of Sustainable Business Marketing
Introduction to Sustainable Business Marketing
Companies and Sustainability
There is significant and increasing interest and demand by both consumers and companies in being more sustainable. The sustainability market includes an increasingly wide range of companies, products, and services, all in some way intending to address sustainability concerns.
Why do companies adopt sustainability principles? Sustainable practices are good business practices. Not only does it help the greater good by improving a company’s ecological footprint, but it can reduce waste, increase consumer engagement and loyalty, and provide a competitive edge, all contributing to the bottom line.
Unlike more traditional companies that focus almost solely on the bottom line alone, sustainable companies focus on the triple bottom line, which includes (1) people, (2) planet, and (3) profits.
Triple Bottom Line
Taken together, a business’s contribution to social justice, environmental quality, and economic prosperity is collectively referred to as the triple bottom line.  The triple bottom line (social, environmental, economic) is sometimes referred to as people, planet, profit.
Introduction to Sustainable Business Marketing
Sustainable marketing involves developing and promoting products and services that meet consumer and business user needs utilizing society’s natural, human, and cultural resources responsibly to ensure a better quality of life now and for future generations to come.
No product, regardless of how well it is designed, will reach consumers unless it is marketed effectively.
The marketing function is an important component of any business. It is involved in the development, communication, and provision of value to consumers of the firm’s products or services.
Sustainable Marketing Requirements
Sustainable marketing draws on traditional marketing methods and in addition requires the following:
Understanding of consumer’s values, emotions, and buying behavior related to sustainability
Knowledge of the evolving sustainability marketplace
Organizational commitment to sustainability and to positive relationships with their customers, communities, and the planet
Key Drivers of Sustainable Marketing
The following are key drivers of sustainable marketing:
Consumers increased demand for socially responsible products and actions, as consumers worldwide are increasingly concerned about what is included in products and their environmental footprint
Large corporations-such as Walmart-demanding sustainability initiatives from their suppliers
The ability to gain a competitive edge and customer loyalty in a growing market for sustainable goods and services
Regulations and public policies requiring and encouraging more sustainable products and practices
The increasing cost and volatile prices of natural resources
More and more companies are realizing the importance of incorporating sustainability principles into their business model. Keys to success are:
Complete integration and adoption of sustainability into the company’s vision and business strategy
Measurable progress against well-defined sustainability goals
Clear transparency and honest communication to the consumers, stakeholders, and community at large
Example – Proctor and Gamble (P&G)
In 2010 one of the largest consumer packaged goods company in the world, Procter & Gamble (P&G), announced a new long-term sustainability vision. P&G’s “Purpose-inspired Growth Strategy” is about “improving the lives of more consumers, in more parts of the world, more completely.”
As P&G describes it, 
“We developed this vision over the course of a year, partnering with external experts and soliciting input from hundreds of P&G employees at all levels and functions.
Our complete visionary end-points are long-term in nature because some of them will take decades to come to fruition.”
Visionary End Points
• Having zero consumer waste go to landfills
• Designing products to delight consumers while maximizing the conservation of resources
• Powering our plants with 100 percent renewable energy
• Emitting no fossil-based CO2 or toxic emissions
• Delivering effluent water quality that is as good as or better than influent water quality with no contribution to water scarcity
• Having zero manufacturing waste go to landfills
 Elkington, J. (1997). Cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of 21st century business. Oxford: Capstone.
“Environmental Sustainability,” Procter & Gamble, http://www.pg.com/en_US/sustainability/environmental_sustainability/index.shtml.
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