Strengthen the Brand


Enable sales function to credibly market sustainability attributes, raise awareness, and promote the adoption of sustainability-related behaviour.

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Procurement can support your organisation with an authentic, responsible, and sustainability-focused brand narrative and help meet rising demands for eco-friendly products and services.

Collaborate with your marketing team to support sustainability claims

Procurement can play a vital role by collaborating with the marketing team to support product claims and share stories of value chain sustainability successes.¹ ² Leverage your unique position to gather relevant, detailed data on sustainability practices and achievements, which can substantiate your team's marketing claims and avoid greenwashing.³ ⁴ ⁵Stay abreast of shifting customer interests in sustainability and use this information to guide the data you focus on collecting. Moreover, provide feedback to your marketing team on any of their activities that may undermine sustainability efforts, such as promoting unnecessary consumption. Suggest creating a responsible marketing code to formalise your guidelines⁶, encouraging positive change in marketing practices. Consider also working with your team to inspire sustainable behaviours among customers, like normalising product stewardship⁷ and increasing demand for sustainably sourced products.⁸ Procurement's role can promote an authentic, responsible, and sustainability-focused brand narrative.

EXAMPLE: Sourcing data needed to advertise ocean plastic

A computer retailer integrated recycled “ocean-bound” into some of its products but could not advertise the specific product models this applied to due to a lack of upstream data. The result was an inability to gauge customers' preference for sustainability attributes. ⁹

EXAMPLE: Consumer brands adopting carbon labelling

Companies such as Unilever, Just Salad, and Logitech are adopting carbon labelling, a concept modelled after nutrition labels to represent the emissions embodied in the making of a product. Collecting accurate data to calculate product-specific carbon labels requires working closely with partners across the value chain.¹⁰ ¹¹ ¹²

EXAMPLE: IKEA promotes customer behaviour change

IKEA promotes customer behavioural change around sustainability through its “Live Lagom” online community platform. The platform provides a space to share stories, tips, and examples around sustainable living with customers.¹³ ¹⁴ On Black Friday, IKEA Canada chose to forego offering customer discounts. Instead, they invited customers to sell back used IKEA products at double the usual rate to signal their support for creating a circular business model.¹⁵

Training Handbook - Eco-labelling: What it is & How to do it cover

Training Handbook - Eco-labelling: What it is & How to do it

This comprehensive handbook by UN Environment and InWEnt Capacity Building International explains the concept and benefits of eco-labelling, focusing on the European context. It also details how eco-labels are applied to different product groups and how they can be promoted to suppliers and customers.

The False Promise of Certification cover

The False Promise of Certification

The Changing Markets Foundation report questions the reliability of voluntary sustainability certifications like eco-labels, revealing their frequent misuse and lack of credibility. It suggests enhancing transparency, considering the product's life cycle, and setting stringent entry criteria to improve credibility.

Forced Labour Evidence Brief: Social Auditing and Ethical Certification cover

Forced Labour Evidence Brief: Social Auditing and Ethical Certification

This brief from RE:Structure Lab highlights the challenges related to social auditing and ethical certification systems. It then maps out how monitoring tools can be reformed by focusing on third-party verifiers free from financial conflicts of interest.

Toward A Greener Marketing Ecosystem cover

Toward A Greener Marketing Ecosystem

Forrester states that reducing the carbon footprint in marketing is not just an industry challenge but a differentiation strategy. The CMO's role is to shift from perpetuating consumerism to promoting sustainable lifestyles.

How can businesses drive sufficiency? The business for sufficiency framework cover

How can businesses drive sufficiency? The business for sufficiency framework

In this paper, Laura Niessen and Nancy Bocken present the Business for Sufficiency (BfS) framework that shows the wide range of strategies available for firms that want to support sustainable lifestyles. It offers valuable insight for practitioners working with their marketing teams to promote sustainable attitudes and behavioural changes.