11 communication of sustainability trends-Ricardo Voltolini

16 de June de 2013, por em Articles

How companies are communicating sustainability in the world? And, especially, what and how it will communicate the theme over the next few years? To answer these two questions, Sustainable Idea – using your methodology OTS (Observatory of sustainability Trends)-mapped and identified-from the analysis of data generated by global knowledge-producing organizations in sustainability – 11 trends. With the intention of offering material for your reflection, we present them below:

1) demanding Consumers, more communication

Companies are communicating more sustainability through the product advertising and institutional values. This is a movement that tends to expand worldwide as a response to the growing interest of consumers and the demands for more transparency. Stakeholders more demanding, competitors more interested and active and controlling more regulatory agencies contribute to compose a very favourable scenario the communication of sustainability.

Held in 2010, with 9 thousand respondents in 8 countries (Brazil included), the study of ImagePower Green brands (Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates and Penn Schoen Berland, in partnership with Esty Environmental Partners) showed that 60% of consumers want to buy products of sustainable companies. Research from different sources indicate similar percentages.

2 pull Innovation product communication)

The growth of communication of sustainability throughout the world is somehow connected to the fact that the theme went to real in the field of innovation. For the IDF Element, sustainability communications arm of FTI Consulting, the development of sustainability as competitive advantage has led more and more companies to communicate not only conventional aspects, such as recycling and carbon footprint, but large initiatives related to green products. Appointments effective with solutions to climate change follows in the United States and Europe, because of the relevance of the issue and the growing sensitivity of consumers in relation to it.

3) the old history of homework first.

More and more companies are concerned with improving the sustainability performance before you communicate it. The idea seems obvious. And is. But recent history shows that, contrary to common sense, many companies broke the guy put the speech leagues from the practice. You, the reader, surely you know at least one Brazilian company that made that mistake. Risk making your shopping list.

4) message value performance of the product, the consumer's pocket and the contribution to the planet. All at the same time

Associate product performance with sustainability is another trend that appeared on radar. The first actions of communication, at the start of the second half of this decade, adopted an institutional tone like "look how my company thinks and what values". Highlighted values and commitments. Now they're treating products. And, more than that, "advantageous" consumer interaction with the products.

The Canadian consultancy Stratos identified in a recent study on communication of sustainability at the point of sale, a growth in the number of companies looking to "sell" the idea to the consumer a very clear benefit for choosing more sustainable products. In the case of P&G, with its Bounty paper towels Select a Size that allows the consumer to select the size of the leaves to avoid waste.

5) simple is better
Whereas the point of sale, there is a tendency for the simplification of the message of sustainability. For the Stratos, an illustrative example of this trend is the Marks & Spencer, largest network of department stores of the United Kingdom.

In search of a better understanding and more your synthetic vision of sustainability, the British retailer has implemented a campaign called the Plan, which turns 100 on five pillars (climate change, waste, Recyclable raw material, Fair Partnership and health), duly identified by icons. "Five years ago. Five commitments. 100 things to change. Because we have only one world. And time is running out, "in posters spread across stores. The intention is to communicate quickly, simply, to strengthen bonds with consumers increasingly bombarded by green information. An inspiration for Brazilian retailers companies.

6) external Verification acts as guarantor

More and more companies are turning to foreign and independent verification to validate their green strategies and corporate sustainability goals. Serious organizations add value labels and help legitimize the communication in a world of consumers wary. In France, Germany and China consumers guide almost exclusively for the stamps.

The Body Shop, cosmetics company pointed to by search ImagePower-2010 as the "greenest" of England, uses, for example, to label Ecocert to communicate how their products are organic. The same does the Whole Foods Market, supermarket specializing in organic and natural products, the second company in the ranking of the "greenest" of the United States.

7) Natural high

The Repertoire of motes of sustainability communication widens as companies seek to differentiate themselves in a context of increasingly equal messages. All that is "natural" follows. Increasingly companies are abetting in the procedure to communicate, on labels, the "natural" is the product.
Recognized as the "greenest" u.s. brand, according to the study ImagePower-2010, Burt's Bees ´, personal care products company, reports on their packaging the percentage I need "naturabilidade" of each one of them, compares through point of sale posters the benefits of natural products in relation to conventional and very creative campaigns such as , called "the lipstick you'll eat in your life?", which advises consumers on substances present in lipsticks "unnatural." Good idea, easy and effective communication.

In conjunction with the Natural Products Association, the Burt's Bees developed a standard for natural personal care products, with the aim of raising awareness among consumers in a context characterized by the lack of official regulation.

8) social networks, here we come!

More and more companies come using social media tools to engage with stakeholders and extend the reach of its communication of sustainability. The online videos are high among Americans. It is not exaggerated to say that will be a fever also in Brazil, considering the growing number of people connected and the expansion of broadband here.

9) Preferring the whole, instead of the parties

There is a growing number of companies are exchanging punctual actions by a broader sustainability positioning. The Timberland is pointed to as emblematic of this trend, thanks to the initiative of the Green Index Label (label Green index). A company's environmental development team evaluates the products, through internal audit made in open process along with stakeholders, from three criteria: carbon emissions, use of chemicals and consumption of resources (the percentage, by weight, of recycled materials, organic and renewable). The lower the index (ranging from 1 to 10), "more sustainable" is the product. The information recorded on a label, are made available to consumers at the point of sale. The open and transparent process guarantees the reliability of the index.

The same Timberland has created a sort of "nutritional table" for its shoes that reports on the ecological footprint of the product, including the amount of renewable energy, chemicals, renewable raw material, organic and recycled, and even the amount of trees planted by the company. The products feature, in the form of seal, icons communicate the percentage of tanned leather from environmentally audited facilities, organic material, and tire rubber and recycled PET certificates.

10) that focus on the messages

An analysis of what is being communicated at the point of sale reveals an emphasis to: (1) climate change and energy (energy consumption in the lifecycle carbon footprint of the product, energy saving in the use of the product); (2) raw materials (ethical and environmental standards for suppliers of materials, with respect to human rights and fair trade); (3) Chemical Products (security, natural, organic materials and chemical products excluded); (4) water management (water footprint, quality and supply) (5) Actions related to local and global causes (such as fair trade, which provides some kind of customer savings and financial results for non-profit organizations).

11) sustainable Brands mobilize consumers, employees and partners

It seems to grow the awareness that sustainability is a fundamental ethical component in building brands. And that sustainable brands generate an aura of sympathy and interest. Create audiences, encourage proximity, arouse confidence. This was one of the seven findings of the Sustainable Brands Conference (Sustainable Brands), held in 2010, in the United States.

Ricardo Voltolini
Journalist, writer and publisher of the magazine Sustainable Idea-ricardo@ideiasustentavel.com.br