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What is sustainable marketing?

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Before we can hope to approach and be successful in sustainable marketing we must first understand / define what we mean by it.

That’s the challenge for many who want to embrace the principles of sustainability but can’t ignore the demands of commercial performance. A question often asked is how can businesses achieve both profitability and sustainability?

For many companies not practicing sustainable marketing is no longer an option. Their customers demand it, their employees, shareholders and other stakeholders too but also because it’s becoming a point of differentiation / competitive advantage in the market place.

Sustainable marketing is often described as 'marketing environmentally friendly or green products' but the scope of sustainability is much wider.

One of the most authoritative definitions of sustainability is an activity (business or otherwise) that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the needs of future generations (World Council on Economic Development (WCED)).

Based on this definition we can summarise that sustainable marketing is the process of marketing professionals working to foster marketing activities and strategies that promote environmental wellbeing, social equity, and economic development in a manner that enhances their business.

Marketers must work with product developers and other key decision-makers to reach sustainability and profitability at each stage of the product development process, from the initial idea to sourcing raw materials, packaging and fulfilment.

A product might seem “green” by some metrics but not be truly sustainable. An example would be consumer sbuying produce in recycled plastic clamshells instead of buying it without any packaging at all. It’s key to consider the product life cycle, in terms of both environmental and social impacts too - is a product lasting or disposable, after life how can it be disposed of.

Sustainable marketing is about strategy, action and education. Every communications touch-point is an opportunity for sustainability education. We all can, and perhaps should be more intentional about our role in sustainability education. With sustainable strategy it’s less about big picture, single activities but more a movement towards a series of gaols and marginal gains through many steps. One such step is the use of sustainable promotional merchandise. An activity that helps promote business but minimises the impact on the environment.

Using and investing in green products, manufactured in audited sustainable environments, using renewable materials to create products that will last longer and after-use decompose quicker, is one of the goals of Geiger Green Live. We have designed this event to stimulate discussion, inspire ideas and to help promote the search for sustainable product ranges that brands can be confident to invest in and use to help broaden the message of eco alternatives.

If you’d like to find out more about what Geiger is doing to promote sustainable marketing, read our Geiger Pledge and register to join us at our FREE Geiger Green Live event on the 17th May.

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