Corporate America Continues Emphasis on Sustainability

Brandweek jpeg Despite fear that consumer interest in green will diminish in the current economic environment and evidence supporting and contrary to that fear, corporate marketers and communicators seem to be on track to continue and increase involvement in their sustainability projects.  So, even if consumer interest dampens in the near term because of pocketbook concerns, it seems like the green marketplace will remain and continue to grow.

  • 58% of marketers and communication leaders think that their companies will increase their emphasis of corporate sustainability projects.

Posted Apr. 14, 2009
By Yana Polikarpov, Brandweek

The results
of a new survey this year shows that, when it comes to investing in
sustainable business behaviors and programs, more than half of
corporate marketers and communicators believe their organizations
will increase involvement in environmental sustainability

The survey was conducted by the American Marketing Association and
public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, St. Louis.

A group of 270 marketing and communications professionals was
surveyed online in January and February.

 “It is important that companies align their sustainability
and business objectives internally, with engagement from management
and employees, before communicating their goals externally,” said
Aili Jokela, co-chair of FH Sustainability, in a statement. “Taking
careful steps in building a communications program that correlates
to a strategic plan and measurable operation improvements is
extremely important for authenticity and credibility. Then, it's
time to communicate.”

Key findings show 58 percent of marketing and communication leaders
believe their companies will place more emphasis on developing
corporate sustainability opportunities in the months ahead, despite
the economic constraints many in the business world are facing.
More than half of those surveyed believe that sustainability is an
essential element of their company's current reputation. According
to 63 percent of respondents, new Presidential administration
policies will further accelerate the adoption of corporate
sustainability programs.

How companies choose to market sustainable initiatives differs,
since about 43 percent of those surveyed expect their companies to
increase marketing of their sustainability programs, meaning more
than half do not plan any communications increases.

Employees and customers (82 percent and 74 percent, respectively)
are more likely to be the targets of communications about
sustainability than are investors and analysts (52 percent).

In an interesting revelation, 53 percent of respondents define
sustainability as the need to balance financial, human and natural
resources for the long-term benefit of business and communities.
Only 3 percent define sustainability in terms of focusing on
renewable energy resources, and 10 percent define it as driving
inefficiency out of the supply chain. Even the most obvious
sustainability programs — recycling and electric energy efficiency
— are extensively embraced by only a minority of businesses (36
percent and 20 percent, respectively).

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