We asked three leading CMOs how their organisation was taking action to improve the sustainability of their messages and their products.
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In April, WFA launched Planet Pledge, an initiative designed to put marketers in a position where they can help lead brands' responses to climate change, encourage efforts across the wider marketing industry and help consumers act more sustainably when using their products and services.
This month, we've asked three Planet Pledge signatories to share their views on how marketers can help organisations get on the sustainability journey.
Alphabetically from left to right: Fabrice Beaulieu, Reckitt, Patricia Corsi, Bayer, Jennifer Saenz, PepsiCo
Fabrice Beaulieu, EVP Group Marketing Excellence, Reckitt:
“What can a marketer do practically to make a brand more sustainable? Well, a lot!
Drive innovation to make products more sustainable: more circularity, less packaging, better ingredients, improved carbon footprint. Commit the brand to deliver positive social and environmental impact in a way that drives growth – creating positive change with partners. Raise the voice of the brand around these commitments and inspire people to participate, to embrace simple changes that will over time aggregate into big ones.
To make this a reality, however, you will often need to rethink your brand’s strategic direction, what it does and how it delivers.
One way to start that journey is to intentionally connect the brand to one specific [UN] Sustainable Development Goal. One it can genuinely contribute to, through its technological knowhow and connection with consumers.
If embraced strategically, the sustainability journey will create value for the brand. Sustainability is not how a marketer spends their budgets. It’s how a brand creates better business.”
Patricia Corsi, Global Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, Bayer Consumer Health:
“It helps greatly to have a team that is highly engaged and interested to join in, as much as having a clearly communicated and ambitious corporate mission on Sustainability, as we have at Bayer.
To get on the sustainability journey, our Marketing and Sales Capability Team launched a step-by-step approach:
1. Raise awareness on why it matters, what is the role of our brands and the responsibility of each individual.
2. Partner with skilled external people to support the teams to bring concepts and ideas to life. One example is the Vagina Academy initiative that empowers women, through education, to take charge of their intimate health and break taboos.
3. Focus on building capability, bringing inspiring speakers with actionable ideas and supporting the platforms you launch. A big mistake is to launch many initiatives at the same time and not have consistency of actions and messages for the long term.
4. Open the space for the team, now fully trained and skilled to start building their imprints into the programs, internally and externally. Our people are our strongest ambassadors and caring for them as we care for our consumers is a critical success factor. Then learn, improve, refine and have fun, this is a long-term investment from our teams and company, so it is important to keep the engagement throughout.
Jennifer Saenz, PepsiCo Global CMO and president of PepsiCo Global Foods:
“We recently completed a study with more than 5,000 consumers in 10 geographies. This work overwhelmingly supports consumer interest in sustainable actions from companies such as PepsiCo and our roster of iconic food and beverage brands like Lay’s, Pepsi, Doritos, Quaker and Aquafina. We realize that authentically leveraging our brands as a force for good to inspire people to make choices that positively impact our communities and planet is not only good for our business, but good for society. Our brands have been undergoing purposeful positioning workshops to transform purpose into meaningful action for people and the planet – from developing holistic campaigns that hero our products in sustainable packaging options, to amplifying the voices and stories of the farmers behind those of our products that start in the earth. We are committed to leveraging the scale and power of PepsiCo’s iconic brand marketing to create and inspire a positive impact for all."