Stand out - with sustainability
Standing out in the marketplace is a challenge for any business. Today, we look at how organisations are using sustainability to differentiate their brands.
As far back as 2010, the Harvard Business Review reported that ‘The Sustainability Imperative’ was an “emerging megatrend”. In the UK today, ethical brands are worth over £80bn each year and both renewable energy and a sustainability agenda are powerful levers.
The University of York’s definition of sustainability embraces environmental, social and economic aspects - and suggests they must all be in place for a truly sustainable system to exist. Businesses that align sustainability with purpose are perhaps more likely to achieve this triple-play - and to gain the additional advantage of differentiating themselves in the market.
For example, high-street cosmetics brand Lush has a video describing its environmental policy and the focus on:
- Raw materials
- Waste and recycling
Primarily targeting younger consumers, Lush uses social media and its presence on the high street - rather than conventional brand advertising - to amplify its commitment to sustainability.
Another well-known retailer - Marks & Spencer (M&S) - made sustainability a key driver in 2007, with its £200m commitment to the ‘Plan A’ initiative. By 2010, the company’s annual report stated that Plan A had helped “improve our environmental performance, develop more sustainable products and services and improve the lives of people in communities where we trade.” The report also stated that Plan A had been “the right thing to do [and…] good for business” and “generated £50m additional profit, which we invested back into the business.”
Even further proof of the strategy’s success is its recent commitment to ‘Plan A 2025’ . And if your business isn’t as big as M&S (or Lush) yet, it’s still possible to achieve differentiation through sustainability.
Just look at family-run company Low Costa Mill Holiday Cottages, where a commitment to sustainable energy (both self-generated and Haven Power’s renewable electricity) has led to environmental and economic benefits. Not only has an improvement in energy efficiency reduced operational costs, it’s also led to the firm winning Gold Eco Leader status on TripAdvisor and driving additional bookings.
Of course, sustainability means much more than making a marketing decision; it’s a realisation that business as usual can’t continue indefinitely. As M&S points out, it chose Plan A because ‘there is no plan B’.
So, consider whether sustainability really matters to your business. If it does, and you like the idea of reaping the economic benefits too, it’s probably time to make the case for investing and supporting it.
What’s more, if your company uses renewable energy from Haven Power, you’ll also receive a welcome ‘green pack’ to help you promote your sustainability credentials.
To find out how Haven Power can help your business benefit from renewable energy, please use our contact form to get in touch.Contact us