The Sustainable Tactics You Don’t Know, But Should

Regenerative marketing and collaborative exchange are two of many tactics offering businesses pathways to sustainability.

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Leading Sustainable Organizations

Corporate adoption of sustainable business practices is essential to a strong market environment and an enduring society. What does it mean to become a sustainable business and what steps must leaders take to integrate sustainability into their organization?
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Many enterprises have employed business models and process frameworks such as
Freemium, razor/razorblade, kaizen, and design thinking to help them cut through complexity and guide decisions by unifying language, clarifying direction, and improving understanding among leaders, teams, and investors.

Sustainable enterprises achieve these same results and more with models and frameworks such as the sharing economy and biomimicry, which are designed to create social, economic, and ecological abundance. The term “abundance” refers to a virtuous cycle of activity that can simultaneously reduce risks, cuts costs, and grow sales by solving social issues, strengthening community, eliminating waste, and restoring the environment. Two emerging abundance tactics among many that show promise (see Figure 1) are regenerative marketing and collaborative exchange.

Regenerative Marketing: Redeploying the 22nd Largest Economy

In 2016, global advertising spending is expected to surpass $570 billion, rivaling the gross domestic product of Sweden — a huge pool of capital that could be used for new, more sustainable outcomes through regenerative marketing activities.

Regenerative marketing throws out mass-media marketing models and replaces them with fresh creative approaches to solve problems. It bolsters brand equity by forging authentic connections with customers and employees, especially the values-driven, ad-skipping millennial generation.

For example, since 2002 outdoor retailer L.L. Bean has contributed $3.25 million to sponsor the free Island Explorer bus system in Acadia National Park and the surrounding communities. During that time, 5 million passengers and 33 million park visitors, young families, and outdoor enthusiasts encountered the branded buses multiple times per day. Through its support, the iconic Maine company reduced vehicle trips in the “Down East” region by 1.9 million, eliminating 26.7 tons of emissions.

Regenerative marketing also works across industries. In lieu of a typical video promoting The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, producer Casey Neistat exemplified the movie’s theme of living your dreams. After a devastating typhoon struck the Philippines, he traveled there and spent his $25,000 budget on humanitarian relief. His promotional video documenting the experience received 1.9 million more YouTube views than the official movie trailer.

Similarly, the University of Technology and Engineering in Lima, Peru received global acclaim for redesigning the advertising medium itself by developing billboards that purify air, produce drinking water, and grow organic produce. In the food service industry, Panera serves 1 million pay-what-you-can meals in their four

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Topics

Leading Sustainable Organizations

Corporate adoption of sustainable business practices is essential to a strong market environment and an enduring society. What does it mean to become a sustainable business and what steps must leaders take to integrate sustainability into their organization?
See All Articles in This Section

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Comment (1)
Andrea Learned
I love seeing sustainability as a way to "reimagine" an enterprise - it does have a much more abundant and enthusiastic sense to it.  The more techy term of "disrupt" with regard to innovation makes it sound like something was way off with the enterprise previously, and now you can fix it with an extreme pivot.  

In my social leadership terms.. I'd call that "loving up" the crazy and "why not" possibilities. Jay - thanks for your work on this.  In my conversations just the past few days, there have been amazing re-imaginings of how to connect urban bike commuting to corporate sustainability reporting "wins" and how easy it can be to organize impact investments without financial institution involvement/fees. 

Yes - the world of sustainability-driven and founded opportunities  is SO abundant  - if we'd only decide to see it that way. Reimagine.