Verdantix Says Chief Marketing Officers Need To Fix The Broken Link Between Sustainability And Corporate Branding

  Verdantix Says Chief Marketing Officers Need To Fix The Broken Link Between
  Sustainability And Corporate Branding

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- April 10, 2013

The majority of firms that invest in sustainability communications strategies
do not achieve tangible business benefits because they fail to integrate
sustainability into the corporate brand, according to a new report from
independent analyst firm Verdantix. Based on an analysis of how 80 firms link
sustainability with corporate branding the study identifies five alternative
communications strategies: Purists, Explorers, Advocates, Reactionists and

“Sustainability communications professionals confess that they can’t
demonstrate the value of their activities with hard financial metrics” stated
Abbie Curtis, Verdantix Industry Analyst and author of the report. “By
investing in bolt-on communications to employees and the green ghetto, firms
don’t increase brand equity or drive revenue growth. To move from a tactical
to a strategic approach heads of sustainability need to persuade Chief
Marketing Officers to integrate sustainability into the corporate brand. Too
often this conversation never happens.”

The Verdantix report, “Rethinking Sustainability: Brand Risks & Opportunities”
provides executives with a framework to benchmark their sustainability
communications strategy. The multi-industry assessment identified five
strategies for Chief Marketing Officers to choose from:

  *Purists place sustainability at the core of the corporate brand as well as
    in their product marketing, often reflecting a sustainable business model
    or a commitment to sustainable products. Firms such as Ecover, Interface
    and Natura benefit from increased revenues and reputational benefits
    without spending more on marketing.
  *Explorers integrate sustainability into both their corporate brand and
    corporate communications as a key attribute. Firms such as Kingfisher,
    Novo Nordisk and Vedanta Resources achieve return on investment via the
    marketing benefits of increased customer loyalty, sustainable products and
    improved reputation.
  *Advocates actively communicate on sustainability issues, but keep these
    communications separate from the corporate brand. They focus on two key
    audiences: employees and sustainability opinion leaders and use the
    sustainability report as a central tool. For firms such as FEMSA, Huawei
    and Tesco the business benefit is enhanced reputation management.
  *Reactionists invest in a basic sustainability report and respond to crises
    triggered by NGO campaigns and compliance failures. Reactionists such as
    Altria and Inditex use sustainability communications as a crisis
    management tool to protect the corporate brand without incurring
    significant costs.
  *Nothingists do not invest time or money in a sustainability communications
    strategy and benefit from a zero cost approach. Firms in this category
    such as Electronic Arts and Yanzhou Coal Mining Company face heightened
    reputational risks and may be pushed into taking a more active approach by
    market events.

“Sustainability leaders have inherited tactical CSR communications strategies
focused on reports, ratings, opinion formers and not for profits. This bolt-on
approach is broken” commented David Metcalfe, Verdantix CEO. “Chief Marketing
Officers can add strategic value by integrating sustainability values and
messages into the corporate brand. By embedding sustainability into branding
and corporate communications, firms benefit from revenue uplift and
reputational benefits without significant additional spend.”

To find out more join the Verdantix webinar 'Rethinking Sustainability
Communications: Brand Strategies, Risks and Opportunities' on Thursday 25
April 2013.

Note To Editors

Verdantix is an independent analyst firm. We provide authoritative data,
analysis and advice to help our clients resolve their energy, environment and
sustainability challenges. Through our global primary research and deep domain
expertise we provide our clients with strategic advice, revenue generating
services, best practice frameworks, industry connections and competitive

For further information, please visit


Emily Hobbs
Global Marketing Manager
+44 203 3716792
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