Marketing Sustainability: The Changing Business Tide in 2010

2010 will be a year of sustainability for businesses as consumers become increasingly critical of corporate practices. Learn more about how you can help build sustainable business practices into your company – and turn these practices into profits.

What are you doing for the environment, for social movements, and your local economy? The subject of sustainability has been discussed for years, but recently sustainable business practices have come to the forefront of consumer attention. What you sell, how you sell it, and to whom you sell your products will be an issue for your marketing in 2010.

What is sustainability? It is more than just using resources wisely to be able to endure and support your business for long-term growth. Generally, there are three aspects to sustainability: Environmental, Economic, and Social. A sustainable business is one that has employed strategies to protect and support all three aspects.

Why Marketing Sustainability is Important

How does sustainability affect your marketing practices? Consumers are environmentally conscious, and they want to buy from businesses who think like them. Thus, marketing sustainability will be important for businesses that want to keep or attract consumers with mindsets toward the environment, social issues, and economic growth.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows key findings that are pertinent to sustainable business practices. Almost half of those polled stated that environmental protection is more important that economic growth. 40% of consumers purchased goods and services from companies that they thought had good political or social values.

More interestingly, two-thirds of those who took the survey stated that despite a tough economy, they have purchased green products in the past, and they plan to continue or increase spending on green products in the future.

What Marketing Sustainability Means for Your Business in 2010

In order to keep up with sustainable business practices and expectations in 2010, you may likely need to make some changes. Here are some trends that are being noticed:

  • Fewer Disposable Products

    As consumers are growing more conscious of sustainability, disposable products are becoming less important. The priority is now producing quality products that will last longer and be less likely to become obsolete.

  • “Buy Local”

    Consumers are more interested in supporting their own communities. Businesses that buy supplies and resources locally have a better reputation with customers, as do businesses that support other local independent businesses and artisans.

  • Show The Value

    People like to see that they are helping the environment, supporting social issues, and promoting economic growth. As part of your sustainable business practices, show your customers specifics on how buying from you helps these causes. For instance, you might say, “your purchase just helped three local independent businesses,” or “you just saved 100 kilowatt hours of electricity.”

  • Attention to Detail

    Consumers are looking for companies that are well-rounded in their sustainability. If you sell a green product, for example, is your packaging also sustainable? Is your packaging printed with petroleum-based inks or eco-friendly soy-based inks? Do you use plastic bags in your store or provide biodegradable and reusable paper bags? Sustainability in 2010 means evaluating all of the details.

Buying behaviors and consumer patterns in 2009 demonstrate the importance of sustainability. Sustainable business practices will continue to be an important issue, and is likely to increase in visibility during 2010. If you see an opportunity to support your local economy, make environmental innovations to your products, and promote social causes, don’t hesitate to incorporate these issues as part of your sustainability business practices into 2010 and beyond.

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