What is Your Company's Sustainability Type?

Before marketing sustainability, it is important to know your company type.

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Now, to take a closer look at each company type.

1. Sustainabilty in its DNA

These companies started with sustainable or purpose-driven from day 1.Examples are few and far between, but include Novo Nordisk, Patagonia, Tom’s, Interface, and Ramblers Way.

2. Sustainability integrated into business plan

The mission statement of these companies typically mention the environment or social good. They follow strict sustainability reporting standards and metrics. They are transparent about their supply chain and committed to constant improvement and emphasis on CSR. Such companies include Puma, Starbucks, Unilever, and Ikea.

3. Traditional

Traditional companies attempt to market sustainability, and do so in a naive fashion. They do not mean harm, but, to the the informed eye, their efforts may result in green-washing or impact-washing.

Traditional companies are characterized by the following:

    1. No sustainability plan or CSR
    2. They sometimes are selling a ‘green’ product, and confuse it with their overall mission
    3. They highlight awards or a green rating
    4. They use words like, ‘Save the Planet’, ‘Change the World’, ‘Good for the Planet’, ‘Revolution’
    5. Often use ‘eco’ stock images and ‘eco’ colors, and make unsupported claims.

Can a Traditional company market sustainability and do so without damaging their brand? Yes, but it is a slippery slope and the message must silence critics, connect all the dots, and support all claims with sustainability logic. 

They should resolve point 4 and 5.

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