I have done some research and interviews lately about sustainability issues and how it relates to consuming behaviour and their buying decision. Obviously, we have talked about sustainability a lot these years. On personal level, how one can conduct a sustainable life or on corporation level, what they can do to sustain their business at first and the ecosystem in general later. Because by definition, sustainability is about to meet the need of the current generation first in order to make it a lively form before one can pass it to the next generation. Understand it that way, there are certain issues to discuss about the underlying meanings of sustainability in corporations. I got a chance to talk with CSR department of Markela and Globehope and get some insights which may be interesting to share. Would love to have more discussion about questions raised from those issues
The pain of CSR:
Markela is one of the first Finnish company that is flagship on sustainability communication with its customers. They open their resources and manufacture information, have a formal format of annual sustainability report instead of including it as a small part in the general report. Properly, the company has invested a lot into their sustainable development and CSR strategies. In our current economic crisis, the issue raised is how to evaluate to effectiveness of that CSR investment into company’s value. No doubt they are doing the right thing for a long term result. But as cash flow requirement, the need for a real-time result of sustainability marketing is burning. How one company can bring sustainability issue (long-term) and profit issue (short term) together?
CSR effectiveness: when every companies talk about CSR and good causes, part of them really do that, other don’t. Consumers aware of the facts there are liars in the air. How to gain real trust from consumers and keep the reputation?
Eco-labels and consumer decision:
Eco-labels are expensive. Some of them charge some percentage of the revenue. To CSR point of view, the eco-labels have no meaning but to expand to a new market. When most of the companies acquire similar labels, there is no competitive advantage to have it but it’s disadvantage not to have one. Thus, labels are like a dead-cost that one company must pay for to show their concerns of sustainability. In B2B business, it save time in selling process as the purchasing specialists will only buy from labeled partners, to secure from media and reduce risks. Nevertheless, in B2C business, end-users’ decision based on their trust and acknowledge of the products, will labels really work nowadays in this case?
Sustainability weight against other criteria when making decision:
Everyone talks about sustainability, but when they need to make buying decision, 60% of the decision is made on the price criteria and more than 30% on the quality criteria. The rest depends on emotions with the product: designs, brands, personal connections with the companies. What sustainability marketing can do to change the behaviour?