ESG Marketing: A Foundational Guide

With the current climate emergency and environmental collapse, pressure is mounting on corporations and governments to do more to protect the planet and its inhabitants.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, Two-thirds of U.S. adults say large businesses and corporations are doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change.

And in a separate Center survey conducted in June 2023, 56% of Americans said the federal government should do more to reduce the effects of global climate change.

So, the people have made it clear what they want. And if businesses don’t step up, they will eventually not be welcomed by their most important stakeholders—their customers.

Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that ESG marketing is on the rise. In this post, we will talk about what ESG marketing is, and how your business can do it right.

 

What is ESG marketing?

The letters in “ESG” mean Environmental, Social, and Governance. More on that in the key components break down up next.

ESG marketing refers to the practice of promoting a company’s environmental, social, and governance initiatives. It’s about highlighting how a business’s operations and strategies are aligned with broader sustainability goals.

The key here is to actually do the work of making your business more sustainable. Greenwashing is, of course, not the way to go.

You wouldn’t want to end up in a greenwashing expose like this one. So, walk the talk.

 

Key components of ESG marketing

So, as we mentioned, ESG marketing is made up of three components: environmental, social, and governance. These act as goals for the business to devise their marketing strategy around.

1. Environmental: This involves showcasing a company’s efforts in sustainability, resource management, and reducing its carbon footprint.

2. Social: This aspect focuses on a company’s contributions to society, including employee welfare, community engagement, and social impact.

3. Governance: Here, the emphasis is on transparency, ethical practices, and accountability within the company’s leadership and operations.

 

The importance of ESG marketing

The traditional business model, which prioritizes profit over planet and people, is no longer viable. ESG marketing is not just a trend; it’s a necessary shift towards responsible business practices that preserve our world for future generations.

Related: What’s the Deal with Sustainable Marketing?

 

Creating an ESG marketing plan

Developing an ESG marketing plan involves several steps:

1. Assessment: Evaluate your current practices and identify areas for improvement. Seek out sustainability certificates (more on this later).

2. Objectives: Set clear, measurable goals for your ESG initiatives.

3. Strategy: Outline the methods you’ll use to achieve these goals, including the integration of video content to engage audiences effectively.

4. Implementation: Execute your plan with a focus on authenticity and transparency.

5. Evaluation: Regularly review your progress and adjust your strategy as needed.

 

Strive for a sustainability certification

There are several organizations that help companies on their sustainability journey. You can work with these organizations to genuinely transform your business. Here are a few examples:

B Corp: Run by the non-profit B Lab.

The Carbon Disclosure Project: They help businesses, cities, and states measure their carbon emissions and environmental impact.

Science Based Targets (SBTi): Helps corporations set emission reduction targets.

Planet Mark: The organization works with business to measure and reduce their negative environmental impact.

 

How to effectively communicate ESG messaging

Communicating your ESG efforts requires clarity, sincerity, and full transparency.

Generally, the most transparent companies are also the most ethical and responsible, as they have nothing to hide and have verifiable processes and ethical supply chains.

If you have done the work, then it’s imperative that you show it, and videos serve as a powerful tool to convey your message, allowing you to connect emotionally with your audience and demonstrate your commitment to ESG principles in action.

These types of videos are also a great way for you to establish yourself as a leader in the sustainable business space.

This content would allow other smaller businesses to learn from your expertise and follow suit.

 

Successful ESG marketing campaigns

Now let’s take a look at a few successful ESG marketing campaigns. The best ones often tell a compelling story, demonstrate real impact, and resonate with the values of their audience.

 

Patagonia – Don’t Buy This Jacket

Patagonia takes conservation and environmentalism seriously. The outdoor apparel brand has had several notable campaigns over the years, but right now we’ll talk about “Don’t Buy This Jacket”.

patagonia campaign - esg marketing

The aim was to raise awareness about overconsumption and the fact that the fashion industry is a major global polluter.

Through the messaging, Patagonia encouraged its audience to repair old clothes, buy secondhand, and not buy altogether. All of this was to highlight the environmental impact of a purchase.

Patagonia’s efforts related to sustainability along with its branding and marketing have earned it the respect of an eco-conscious clientele.

Lessons for marketer

  • Engage with the community
  • Offer sustainable solutions
  • Celebrate your achievements with print and digital marketing
  • Tell your story with video

 

Stella McCartney – A Better Way

For the high-end fashion brand lead by Stella McCartney, sustainability lies at the heart of the business.

 

The brand has invested in innovations to transform the fashion industry as well. More recently, the brand has developed a plant-based, plastic-free, and fully-circular alternative to animal leather.

As for campaigns, for the Summer 2024 line, Stella McCartney highlights A BETTER WAY while celebrating Earth Month and bringing to attention how much pollution the fashion industry is responsible for.

Stella McCartney esg campaign

Lessons for marketers

  • ESG isn’t about ticking a box, it’s about driving change. So, invest in product innovation.
  • Get involved in the ongoing conversations about the environmental concerns and movements.
  • Create videos to market your ESG journey.

 

Silo – World’s First Zero Waste Restaurant

Another great case study for ESG marketing and sustainable businesses is Silo—the world’s first zero waste restaurant.

“Not having a bin” is a simple and daring concept that drives Silo. With such a specific mission, the marketing material is easy to zero in on.

Silo’s chef and owner, Douglas McMaster, has introduced novel, ingenious cooking methods and revolutionized the restaurant business with his commitment to culinary excellence, zero waste, and sustainability.

The restaurant has gained fame from various interview-style coverages.

 

Silo’s social media marketing also involves sharing how innovative and groundbreaking the restaurant is. Additionally, the social posts make it clear that caring humans are at the heart of it.

Silo-London award

Lessons for marketers

  • Like Silo, have a specific mission. This will inform your ESG strategy.
  • Focus on excellence, innovation, and reinvention.
  • Conduct interview of your management and staff on what motivates them to do what they do in terms of sustainability.
  • Be open to collaborating with other creators and giving interview as well. Share you mission with the media.

Related: 8 Types of Videos Restaurants Should Make

 

That’s a wrap

ESG marketing is more than a strategy, it’s a commitment to a better way of doing business. By embracing ESG principles, companies can build trust, foster loyalty, and contribute to a sustainable future.

Once you’ve adopted ESG into your ethos, you can share your commitments with the world. It could be in the form of interviews, brand stories, behind-the-scenes content, and so on.

For videos, there are several types you can make for your ESG campaign.

If you’d like to put a spotlight on your brand’s ESG commitment with video marketing, get in touch with our video animation company. We’d be happy to help. Let’s make a difference, one campaign at a time.

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Posted by Maria Saif
05.02.2024

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