Time to Utilize and Monetize Sustainability
by Associate Professor Dr. Detlev Remy & Michael Kreuse, Singapore Institute of Technology
Sustainability is generally viewed purely as capex necessitated to pleasse the market and enforced by government regulations. To make things worse, this has led to the misconception that while customers claim a willingness to pay more for sustainability, they often fail to do so. But why?
There exist numerous strategies for turning sustainability into an advantage, chiefly by utilizing marketing to advocate, implement, and monetize sustainable practices.
- Establish a compelling and authentic sustainability narrative, inviting customers and employees alike to become integral participants.
- Begin by communicating (beyond mere promotion) sustainability at each juncture of the customer journey (e.g., certification displays, credentials, customer reviews, also known as Online Reputation Management)
- Engage particularly regular and repeat customers, inspiring them to become proactive brand ambassadors.
- Implement your loyalty program to stimulate (through gamification of sustainable actions) and reward sustainable behaviour.
- Utilize your loyalty program not just as an information hub about sustainability (including actual shortcomings, which paradoxically can be more persuasive than overt dishonesty) and offering Carbon Footprint Credits to your customers, but also as a tool to document Scope 2 and 3 data. This provides a comprehensive view of your sustainability efforts, which can be shared with your customers.
- Consolidate all these marketing endeavours to develop a trust score by evaluating and benchmarking your sustainability initiatives against competitive and industry averages.
Let’s reframe the perception of sustainability, transforming it from a cost factor driven by external forces to an internally motivated strategic initiative that provides tangible value and enhances our brand’s reputation.