What do Sustainability Initiatives and B2B Marketing Have in Common?


Both have the potential to do good–good for B2B companies and good for the environment. In fact, I’m surprised that more B2B marketers haven’t hopped on the “green marketing” bandwagon by now. But I do believe it’s coming.

GE’s Ecomagination campaign was probably at the forefront, and Wal-Mart is getting a lot of press about its “sustainability scorecard” that basically rates vendors and suppliers based on their environmental awareness as it relates to packaging. Keeping packaging to a minimum to avoid wasting natural resources or burning fossil fuels to make it.

Here’s how sustainability works…
Let’s say you have a paper package and you use wind energy to make the package. You’ll have a more favorable score than a supplier who’s burning fossil fuels to make the package. It gets a lot more complicated. That’s a simple example.

OK, you’re probably wondering what sustainability is all about. Well, in a nutshell, it’s an environmental initiative that impacts companies and their supply chains all for the purpose of reducing CO2 emissions–one of the leading culprits of global warming–and is emitted when we burn fossil fuels. So driving your car, heating and cooling homes and office buildings, etc. all contribute to CO2 emissions and lots of it. It’a also referred to as a company’s “carbon footprint” and the smaller your footprint, the better.

So what’s “green” have to do with B2B marketing?

Well, carbon emission mandates for businesses, similar to EPA emissions targets for cars, are likely to happen in the next few years. And many larger companies who’ve already taken leadership roles in carbon reduction programs will do just what Wal-Mart is doing to its suppliers–leverage environmental stewardship as part of doing business. Hey, Kermit says it best, “It’s not easy being “green.”

Smart marketers should be looking at their own environmental initiatives and and using them as a competitive advantage in their marketing.

At the end of the day, everyone wins–especially planet Earth.

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One Response to “What do Sustainability Initiatives and B2B Marketing Have in Common?”
  1. Dani Nordin says:

    Hi Joan,

    Great thoughts on green marketing and sustainability, but I have to make a quick point. Sustainability involves a lot more than CO2 emissions; the basic thrust of sustainibility is conducting business in a way that is better for the earth and positively impacts people’s lives while maintaining profitability so the business can continue to do more good in the world.

    This is one of the reasons that larger companies are coming to it slower than some greenies would like it – not only are many of them coming to the party late just to build good will with the mainstream public, many of whom are clamoring for more responsibility in big business, but it’s also because with all the other considerations, the company has to remain profitable WHILE doing good – and finding that balance is a challenge.

    That said, there’s a change a-blowing, and it’s been a mighty good thing.

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