Transforming Sustainability into A Competitive Advantage

On 21 April, during the Global Marketer Week, organised by the World Federation of Advertisers the importance of companies and advertisers making sustainable choices to set a good example to users has been discussed.

Sustainable marketing assumes that being sustainable is not a marketing tactic but a fundamental strategic approach to business management that affects all business functions. Sustainability is a key strategic lever for business management. It is based on a broad concept of responsibility and the principles of transparency and fairness towards stakeholders.

Companies adopting this approach do not aim solely at a profit. Still, they tend to achieve their economic objectives while also considering environmental and social balances. Thereby, they respond effectively and efficiently to the needs of consumers and the expectations of broader stakeholders’ group.

Implementing such an approach requires

  • a structured way of interaction between the organisation and its primary stakeholders, starting from understanding their needs and ending with meeting their expectations.
  • a radical transformation of the company’s business model, beginning with a redefinition of the corporate mission and ending with a profound revision of the production processes and products made with a view to sustainable development, i.e., minimising negative impacts on people and the environment and, in some cases, also offering benefits for the environment.

Sustainable marketing, therefore, has two essential functions: firstly, to communicate and convey to the consumer the organisation’s environmental performance and, more generally, its approach to sustainability; and, secondly, to influence consumer behaviour more responsibly.

In conclusion, the increasing adoption by companies of an environmentally responsible approach does not derive so much from regulatory constraints, but from the awareness that environmental performance has become a variable of fundamental importance for maintaining and developing their competitive position and reputation.