Advocating sustainability positions a brand as responsible across environmental, social, and economic domains. Ideally, the outcomes will benefit businesses, consumers, and the environment.
Sustainability as a brand strategy has gained traction in the last decade due to the massive shift in consumer spending and preferences towards more eco-friendly brands that place the planet's needs at the core of their business model. Not only is sustainability a win for the planet, but businesses also stand to benefit.
Government focus on the green economy
Governments’ prioritisation of sustainability has shown that this movement will be a mainstay across many industries. Transformational laws and restrictions have been enacted to disrupt and, in some cases, eliminate non-compliant businesses.
Massive shift in consumer preference
Kantar Asian reported that 58% of Asian consumers are eager to spend their money, invest, and support businesses that uphold sustainable principles, while 63% of them already take sustainability issues into account when making purchase decisions. Sustainable brands can more easily draw consumers and drive profits.
Increased transparency and customer trust
The severe impacts of climate change have galvanised Gen Z and millennials against unsustainable businesses. Practicing sustainability makes it simple to gain and maintain customer trust and foster long-term loyalty.
Addressing the climate crisis
According to the latest IPCC Sixth Assessment report on climate change, the effect of sustainable branding on the attainment of green transformation cannot be overemphasised, as it is apparent that industries contribute to the climate crisis across all phases of production.
Sustainable branding will curb these excesses by taking innovative actions that reduce carbon footprints, such as through using reusable and recyclable packaging materials, upcycling, creative utilisation of renewable resources, and in implementing circular systems.
Brands Advocating Sustainability
Several high-profile brands across Asia have adopted one or more impactful initiatives toward the quest for net zero emissions.
This has earned them rave consumer reviews and positioned their brands as responsible and environmentally conscious. Sustainable initiatives can come in the form of supply chain redesign, resource conservation, waste reduction, and eco-literacy.
Samsung’s “Galaxy for the Planet” initiative outlines their aims in delivering better environmental impact by 2025. They have also pledged to eliminate all single-use plastics from product packaging.
StarHub’s “Plant-a-Tree” initiative is a digital-based initiative where customers pledge their support with StarHub digitally by clicking on the “plant a tree” button. The more customers pledge, the more trees StarHub will plant. This initiative will bring about the removal of close to 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Evoware, a Jakarta-based food and beverages retail brand, stem environmental degradation with their jelly-like edible packaging materials made from seaweed.
Greenwashing and the need for certification
However, Greenwashing has become prevalent globally, with companies falsely claiming sustainable practices, leading to breaks in consumer trust. The increasing number of brands taking the greenwashing route has reinforced the need for sustainability certification in businesses.
Hence, socially and environmentally conscious brands should get certified by local and international sustainability regulatory bodies. Bodies like the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), B-corp, PEFC, ISO, and many others have certification programmes to distinguish companies that genuinely embrace the green transformation from fakers.
With the alarming effect of climate change, it is imperative to reduce our carbon footprints and greenhouse emissions. Environmentally conscious consumers are rightly requiring brands to be sustainable, a preference that will only become more apparent in their spending choices.