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For Sustainability-Driven Innovators, customers are at the center. These companies are 80% more likely to increase collaboration with customers as a result of sustainability than are companies that did not change their business model. They are also much more likely to collaborate with competitors, suppliers and across their own business units.
AT&T, for example, has consumer advisory panels that include both end users and businesses. The panels’ goal is to understand customer decision-making processes and then determine the best way to communicate the company’s sustainability values. Like many other companies, AT&T realizes that customers are moving targets and their competitors are also aiming at them. As Michael Bremans at Ecover puts it: “All your activities need to be centered on customer expectations. Even without legislation and regulation, consumers are looking for sustainable lifestyles and the demand is going to grow faster and faster.”
Portrait of a Sustainability-Driven Innovator — Greif
The sustainability story at Greif, a leading manufacturer of industrial packaging, illustrates the importance of business-model innovation and several other hallmarks of Sustainability-Driven Innovators.
Scott Griffin is chief sustainability officer at Greif, a 135-year-old global industrial packaging company with net sales of $4.2 billion in 2011.