It now seems overwhelmingly likely that the ASA will ban carbon neutral/net zero/planet positive etc claims based on carbon offsets, while the European parliament voted to support a ban on similar terms that rely on offsetting. In this context, what makes for winning sustainability comms? We had a lively discussion on the subject on Wednesday (17th May 2023) with ‘Sustainable Marketing’ author Michelle Carvill, former CIM marketing director Gemma Butler, sustainability brand strategist Anna Ohrling, and our founder and CEO Gavin Sheppard. Here are some of the highlights of that discussion and if you would like to listen to the full one-hour discussion click here:
Winning sustainability comms is based on robust sustainability practice. Start with your sustainability strategy and taking meaningful action before looking at the comms.
Make it relevant to the audience. Ask why you’re making a sustainability claim, who are you making these claims to, what do you want them to do or believe as a result?
Don’t short-cut to easy answers. Simplistic claims of carbon neutrality or net zero, especially when based on off-the-shelf carbon credits, do not resonate with customers and are increasingly likely to fall foul of advertising standards. Start by asking ‘what is the most powerful sustainability intervention I can make?’. Claims should follow the action, not the other way around.
Follow the rules. Emerging guidance from the ASA on carbon neutral/planet positive/net zero etc claims will help marketers better understand the playing field.
Think global; act local. Authentic sustainability credentials can be a global brand strategy that’s executed locally. Reflect local market conditions and interests in the application of sustainability strategy and comms. Local action resonates best with customers. Focusing solely on a global approach can lead to lowest common denominator claims. Collaborations and partnerships are key to relevance in local markets.
Involve and empower your customers. Giving customers choice of the projects you support drives brand trust in 73% of cases.
At Pinwheel we have a mixed portfolio of high-quality projects across: nature-based carbon removal, nascent carbon removal with long-term sequestration projects, biodiversity restoration initiatives, and waste reduction - across every continent. We assemble bespoke project portfolios based on specific client business requirements across industry, locality, customer/employee focus. The Pinwheel platform allows businesses to activate their employees and customers in the deployment of climate and biodiversity funding, thus building brand value and delivering ROI for the business. Book a demo of the Pinwheel platform with Gavin Sheppard, CEO at Gavin.Sheppard@Pinwheel.co.uk.
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