Sustainable Marketing Strategies: Building a Future-Focused Brand


Ashley Levesque


If your organization cares about sustainability, you need to think about it holistically. 

Of course, the way you create and develop your products and services should have the smallest possible environmental impact, but the principles of true sustainability go further. You need to integrate sustainability into your mission, your values, your branding, and certainly, your marketing strategy. 

Many professionals care about environmental and social responsibility, but they aren’t sure how that fits in with their approach to marketing. That’s why we wrote this article. We’ll discuss what sustainable marketing is, as well as six sustainable marketing tactics you can try. 

What is Sustainable Marketing?

Sustainable marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating and promoting products, services, and initiatives in a way that’s both environmentally and socially responsible. It prioritizes the long-term impacts that the business’s actions will have on the planet and society.

Basically, companies that practice sustainable marketing strive to achieve business objectives while having a positive impact on the world and meeting customers’ needs.

Sustainable practices aren’t only important because they’re ethical — they’re also in demand. Recent research has shown that 50% of consumers rank sustainability as a top five value driver.

Key Principles of Green Marketing

In the same vein as sustainable marketing, green marketing is all about selling products and services in a way that highlights their sustainability and environmental impact. Some of the key principles include:

  • Authenticity: Make sure claims are genuine and verifiable to avoid greenwashing.
  • Transparency: Being open and honest about business practices, like the sourcing, manufacturing, associated emissions, and disposal of physical products.
  • Sustainability: Prioritizing long-term environmental impact and promoting products made from sustainable materials that are durable, repairable, and recyclable. 
  • Consumer awareness: Educating customers about the environmental impact of different products and services and sharing knowledge about the importance of sustainable choices.
  • Compliance: Complying with environmental regulations and standards and exceeding minimum requirements where possible.
  • Innovation: Striving to improve products, services, and processes to reduce environmental impact and embracing new technologies to that end.

Examples of Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing can take many different forms. However, let’s consider how it might look with one concrete example.

Imagine that you’re a team lead at a well-known marketing startup. Every year, your department organizes a popular marketing conference. People fly from all across Europe to attend it. You normally put up large promotional posters in local universities and business schools. You also print out large quantities of name tags and paper handouts for attendees.

This marketing conference might be successful and popular, but it’s definitely not sustainable. A much more sustainable marketing choice would be moving the conference online with a virtual events tool like Demio. That way, you’d cut down on your event’s carbon footprint and wouldn’t have to use single-use handouts and other promotional items.

A screenshot of a Demio webinar interface, showing a group of four people in a virtual event.
With the right platform, running a conference online can be just as effective as getting everyone together in person.

It also doesn’t hurt to stay on top of key virtual event trends to make them attractive to participants and just as impactful and engaging as gathering in person.

6 Top Sustainable Marketing Strategies

The best way to make your marketing efforts more sustainable is to build an understanding of all the tips, best practices, and strategies you can implement. That way, you’ll be able to easily identify what aspects of your approach aren’t sustainable and consider the different actions you can take to fix that. Here are seven of our top suggestions.

1. Be Audience-Led 

It’s important to use sustainable marketing strategies in a broad sense, but it’s just as vital for your business to embody sustainability in a way that aligns with your customers. That way, people will feel aligned with your brand values and business practices, which means they’ll feel a sense of community and be more motivated to support you in their purchasing decisions. All of this contributes to customer loyalty in the long term.

The best way to implement audience-led sustainable marketing practices is by asking and engaging with people. Consider reaching out in Slack channels, joining forums, making social media posts on platforms like LinkedIn, and staying up-to-date with relevant news sources to better understand what potential customers are most passionate about with regards to sustainability. This kind of two-way communication is also a great foundation for engagement marketing.

For instance, you may discover that large portions of your audience have signed the Clean Creatives pact and have committed to not working with fossil fuels polluters. You might consider doing the same and sharing information about it if it aligns with your business values.

2. Develop a Sustainable Brand Narrative

A sustainable brand narrative is a cohesive story that your organization should share to communicate your commitment to sustainable practices and values. It should extend to your mission, products, and processes and should how they contribute to environmental and social responsibility.

After all, it’s not enough to simply say you care about sustainability from time to time or market green products. Instead, show your audience exactly how being sustainable is integral to your business practices.

A screenshot from Ikea's website showing how it integrates its sustainable brand narrative into its core messaging.
Ikea is a great example of a business with a strong sustainable brand narrative.

A good example of a sustainable brand narrative is the Swedish furniture and home goods company Ikea. They’re passionate about making sustainable living accessible and affordable for as many people as possible. They also take pride in designing products that are energy-efficient, resource-efficient, and made from recycled and renewable materials.

Ikea also:

  • Invests in renewable energy and uses solar panels on many of its store rooftops
  • Has a People & Planet Positive strategy that highlights its commitment to having a positive impact on the world
  • Aims to be a circular, climate-positive business by 2030, emphasizing product longevity, recyclability, and reusability

3. Run Eco-Friendly Virtual Events

Virtual events for B2B marketing have gotten a lot of attention in the last few years as a more sustainable alternative to in-person conferences and other marketing activities. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Reduced carbon footprint, especially related to air travel
  • Better energy efficiency with digital vs. physical infrastructure
  • Resource conservation, in particular materials like paper and plastic
  • Overall waste reduction
  • Better accessibility and inclusivity

However, if you want your online events to feel just as dynamic and engaging as they would in person, using a powerful webinar platform like Demio is essential. It has tons of different engagement features to prompt participants to interact with each other and have a good time doing so. The software is also equipped with analytics that are designed to drive results — like more conversions and higher attendance rates.

A screenshot of an interface from Banzai's Reach tool, which allows event planners to invite participants who align perfectly with their target audience to their events.
Banzai’s Reach product means that event organizers can connect with attendees that align with the company’s ideal customer persona from far and near.

Also, you may want to attract qualified attendees from around the world without necessarily having to travel all around the world. Banzai’s Reach tool can help with that as it lets event planners invite guests that align perfectly with their target audience from a database of over 379 million verified contacts.

4. Get Involved with Eco-Friendly Projects & Initiatives 

A photo of a group of people doing a beach clean up wearing matching shirts.
There are countless groups working to make the world a better and more sustainable place — get your business involved! 

A great way to contribute toward the causes your organization is passionate about and show people that you’re taking meaningful action is by taking part in social and environmental projects and initiatives. There are so many ways to make the world a better place, and as a business, you’re even better positioned to make an impact.

In addition, if you develop a continuous relationship with a particular community or non-governmental organization, you might even consider establishing a formal partnership with them.

Some examples of ways your company might consider participating in environmental initiatives are:

  • Starting an employee volunteer program so team members can spend dedicated time doing things like supporting charities and raising awareness at local schools
  • Pledging to prioritize sustainable practices internally, like reducing waste and using renewable energy
  • Engaging in community projects, like urban greening initiatives or cleanups 

5. Focus on Long-Term Social Responsibility

Modern organizations need to understand that social and environmental responsibility isn’t something they can just tick off a checklist. And it’s certainly not something they can begin as a project in Q1 and conclude by the end of Q3. Instead, sustainability needs to be woven throughout the company’s mission and ways of doing business in the long term.

Let’s take a software company for example. If they used a sustainable process to develop one product one year but then relied on less sustainable practices for the rest of their product development, they wouldn’t be considered a sustainable organization and likely wouldn’t have a positive impact on the planet overall.

However, if the same business consistently designed products sustainably, set up an ethical supply chain, established long-term community connections and partnerships, invested in their own employees’ development and well-being, and participated in local conservation projects, they would make a much bigger difference in the world we live in.

6. Showcase Your Sustainability Efforts

A screenshot from Allbirds' Instagram page showing a post that showcases their sustainability efforts.
Allbirds, an eco-friendly B Corporation that sells shoes and clothing, regularly posts about their sustainable materials and production processes on Instagram. 

As your organization sets up and carries out different sustainability initiatives, don’t keep them to yourself. A vital part of sustainable marketing is spreading the word about your efforts on your social media pages, as part of your content marketing strategy, in your advertisements, and in your overall public relations.

These are just a few reasons why you should prioritize effectively showcasing your sustainability efforts:

  • Consumer demand: More and more people prioritize environmental impact in their purchasing decisions, so sharing information about your sustainability efforts can attract and retain these types of customers.
  • Differentiation: Your business needs to stand out to succeed in a crowded market. Your competitors may not value sustainability the way you do, which could set you apart and bring certain segments of customers your way.
  • Recruiting: Many modern professionals, especially Millennials and Gen Z, want to work for organizations that share their values. If your organization demonstrates your commitment to environmental and social responsibility, this will be attractive to certain job searchers.
  • Trust and reputation: When companies are open about their sustainability efforts, they build better relationships with consumers, peers, and even investors.

It can also be difficult to assess how your audience feels about your sustainability initiatives unless you share information about them publicly. When you post about your latest project on social media, for example, it gives you an opportunity to gather qualitative insights on what people think about it and, therefore, track the effectiveness of your marketing strategy

Banzai’s Here to Boost Your Sustainable Marketing Efforts

Sustainable marketing practices aren’t just good for the planet — they can benefit your business in a big way. They mean you can build a community of loyal customers with values that align with yours, build a dynamic, meaningful brand, and know that you’re playing your part in a happy, healthy global society.

In addition, when sustainability is central to your approach to marketing, you can measure your marketing efforts to understand what resonates most with your customers and where you should double down to have even more impact.

Be sure to try the six sustainable marketing strategies we outlined in this article, and remember to give Demio a go if you’re looking for a platform for your eco-friendly virtual events. And, of course, Banzai will always be here for you if you want to keep up with the latest trends and news in sustainable marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sustainable Marketing

What Are the 4 Ps of Sustainability Marketing?

The 4 Ps of sustainability marketing are product, price, place, and promotion. Let’s break that down:

  • Product: Companies prioritize environmentally friendly and ethically sourced products
  • Price: They consider the social and environmental costs in pricing strategies
  • Place: They focus on sustainable distribution channels 
  • Promotion: They communicate sustainability efforts in promotional activities

Organizations do all of these things to integrate sustainability principles into each step of their business, demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, reduce their contributions to climate change, and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

What Is Greenwashing Sustainability?

Greenwashing sustainability is a dishonest marketing practice where a company falsely presents itself as environmentally friendly or socially responsive to appeal to consumers’ values. It can involve misleading claims or exaggerations about a business’s sustainability efforts.

Greenwashing sustainability might look like:

  • Using misleading labels
  • Making vague, unconfirmed, or exaggerated claims
  • Highlighting minor eco-friendly qualities while ignoring broader environmental issues

Greenwashing sustainability is particularly harmful because it undermines trust in genuine sustainability efforts and can mislead consumers who want to support ethical products or companies.

Which Brands Use Effective Sustainable Marketing?

One concrete example of a brand effectively using sustainable marketing is Patagonia. Known for its outdoor clothing and gear, Patagonia has made sustainability central to its business practices.

For example, Patagonia shows its commitment to environmental and social responsibility with initiatives like the “Worn Wear” program, which promotes clothing repair and reuse, as well as transparency in supply chain practices. 

In addition, Patagonia's marketing campaigns often focus on environmental activism and promoting a culture of sustainability, which resonates with consumers who value ethical, sustainable products. This approach not only attracts environmentally conscious consumers but also builds long-term brand loyalty based on shared values.

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