In 2018, the Swedish government announced that it plans on investing 5 billion SEK (£485 million) in tackling climate change and boosting the country’s already strong green economy. The money will be spent on efforts both in Sweden and internationally to create jobs, boost development and reduce greenhouse gasses.
Conversely, in 2017, US President Donald Trump shocked the world by announcing that he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, stating that it is “an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries”.
But top US businesses have openly criticised Trump’s decision, including Walmart, Ford and Mars, as they appeared alongside other American businesses at the second annual Companies v Climate Change conference in Miami in 2017.
There is clearly a divide between government policy and economic and cultural zeitgeist as to where the line is drawn when it comes to being green in business.
If your business is considering expanding overseas, how ‘green’ you are – and how you talk about how green you are – is one area that your team will need to give increasingly careful consideration to depending on where you’re operating.
Here’s how 5 leading global household-name businesses incorporate their green credentials into their operation seamlessly to form a significant brand marketing advantage.
1. Starbucks – US
This international coffee brand has committed to their corporate goal of caring for the planet. They teamed up with Conservation International to work towards a goal of ensuring that all of their coffee beans are 100 per cent ethically sourced by 2015. They claim to be 99 per cent of the way there and have since collaborated with the wider industry as a whole to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product as a founding member of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.
This business has since set the target of using 100 per cent ethically sourced tea and cocoa by 2020 for all Starbucks cocoa based beverages. This focus transcends into their manufacturing and goods, ensuring that all of their merchandise, furniture and employee uniform aprons are made sustainably and are ethically sourced.
Starbucks takes a top-level corporate approach to communicating its work in this area using professional language translation services to communicates its eco-friendly targets to their customers, investors and suppliers in the form of an annual Global Social Impact Report, which is translated into eight different languages.
2. TOMS – US
Right from the start this footwear brand set out to do good and committed to donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that was sold. To date they have donated over 60 million shoes to children across the world. TOMS has now branched out to provide clean drinking water, safe birth kits and eye services to all communities-in-need around the world through their corporate partners.
TOMS has also got a strong eco-friendly attitude and ensures that all the shoes and shoeboxes they sell are made from sustainable, recyclable and vegan materials. By recognising that their customers are eco-conscious and by paying particular attention to the vegan market, this business is helping to reduce their carbon-footprint by avoiding animal products in this footwear range.
TOMS has cleverly leveraged their design and branding to include their corporate philosophy by featuring photos of the communities and children they are supporting in their marketing materials, to help build a stronger connection with customers.
The strength of the TOMS message has helped this business develop a truly global brand and reputation, telling the stories of people from around the world with sensitivity and understanding.
3. IKEA – Sweden
IKEA has committed to developing an ethically sourced supply chain. The company claims that around half of the wood they use is sourced from sustainable foresters and 100 per cent of the cotton is from farms meeting the Better Cotton standards, which focuses on a reduced use of water, chemical fertilisers, pesticides and energy.
IKEA has also committed to their corporate sustainability by installing over 700,000 solar panels to supply energy to their stores and since 2016, they have sold solar panels to customers based in the UK in order to help them use more renewable energy and reduce their energy bills.
IKEA also announced back in 2012 that its corporate goal is to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and in 2014 they upped the ante by committing to be a net energy supporter at the same time.
IKEA has communicated this commitment to their customers through PR campaigns and by having a dedicated environmental page on their website. Clearly ‘green business’ is big business in Sweden but it’s a message that the brand is successfully exporting as well.
4. Adobe – US
Back in 2016, Adobe was incorporated into the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the first time, which is the gold standard for corporate responsibility reporting for investors in the US. Adobe are constantly innovating to discover new methods of conserving natural resources from the top down, so their business, customers and communities can benefit from a cleaner, greener planet.
Adobe put systems methods in place to help their customers reduce their impact on the environment based around its cloud-based products and electronic document services. This business decision has helped their consumers reduce waste and carbon emissions by eliminating the need for product transport.
The business also fosters a culture of conservation in their employees through sponsoring teams who want to volunteer in environmental projects in their local communities that are run by Adobe’s corporate partners. In 2015, Adobe enabled volunteer teams made up of their employees to contribute over 66,000 hours of volunteering across the world.
For Adobe, the environmental message looks to be closely tied in with community and fostering an internal value system that prioritises green business. It’s one that works for them but interestingly its marketing and PR materials make it look very closely tied to a vision of a green America, more so than a green world.
5. Siemens – Germany
Siemens have set out an international sustainability and corporate responsibility campaign to ensure that the business is acting within the best interest for future generations. The company has committed to being more transparent on their eco-friendly commitments by documenting their process for their customers.
This company’s passion for the environment has been combined with their passion for electronics and they have set high standards to reduce their CO2 emissions, increase the lifespan of their products and use environmentally friendly materials in order to make the business more sustainable – something of a no-brainer for an electronics company.
Siemens has taken this approach global with its clear and transparent commitments, available for customers and partners around the world to read.
In the future, we predict more and more businesses will find success both at home and abroad by prioritising their commitments to the environment – both on a practical level to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains and from a marketing perspective to win over their customers.
We hope this selection has provided some inspiration on just how important it is to consider this element of your business from a global perspective, especially as the world becomes more conscious of environmental impact of its actions (minus Mr. Trump!)
At Bubbles, we have a wealth of experience when it comes to language translation services and our team has helped multiple businesses translate written marketing and business documents for their foreign markets. Trust us to show your international customers how eco-friendly your business is!