Should brands focus on net positive to achieve net zero?
To make the impact required for our global environment, we must eliminate 90% of the carbon emissions we make today within a time frame of 20 years.
This powerful truth was shared by sustainable business advisor Mike Barry at Emperor’s recent event at the Shard, in partnership with Warwick Business School. It’s a daunting challenge. Looking back a decade, we can see and feel the changes we have already made, but the future must be addressed with a sense of urgency.
Pace of change
Thinking and behaving in a fundamentally different way is the challenge. This is increasingly recognised by governments through policy and legislation; towns and cities by planning changes; people and communities by travel, logistics and consumption habits; and by businesses who are responding to these demands (especially in the Global North).
For legacy businesses, net zero provides a new level of focus on transforming products and service portfolios, as well as and supply chains, to include other values/goal aligned brands and businesses (important for reaching scope 2 and 3 emissions goals). Net zero also drives a greater visibility as a corporate citizen. This sustainability challenge combines with brand and communications challenges in a fast paced and agile business environment. Business leaders must engage to make positive action at pace. At the other end of the scale, start-ups are revolutionising industries and sectors – reshaping key elements of the value chain and shifting the competitive landscape.
The trust principle
One of the first principles of brand is to build trust. This can be achieved in several ways, including business model and product/service advantages, values and integrity, and consistency. The questions around how to adapt to achieve sustainability ambitions and how quickly can this be achieved can be difficult.
Businesses across all sectors must consider the opportunities to build trust and authenticity within their unique value chain – and respond with innovative thinking and long-term, sustainable solutions. Some are wholly ownable, some require closer working partnerships and some new forms of cooperation with organisations that might otherwise be perceived as competitors.
Purpose helps navigate change
B2B businesses are becoming increasingly purpose driven, aware of environmental impact (and stakeholder scrutiny), and conscious of creating cultures that attract and retain the very best talent. Emperor’s insight from its 2022 white paper indicates 66% of all employees wish to work for a business that makes positive impact. This sentiment continues through to investors, customers and supply chain partners – a trend that will accelerate over time.
We need ambition
With many companies elevating purpose, tangible action and impact is essential to drive advantage. Simply put, is aiming for net zero enough? Pioneers such as Microsoft have pledged to be ‘net positive’, removing their historic carbon emissions from the last 30 years. Whilst this might be high a bar for many companies, setting an ambitious goal is more likely to create success – and this creates a foundation for a compelling and differentiated brand.
Brand strategy activates business strategy
At Emperor, we help identify, activate and communicate a framework that works for your business. Our integrated propositions mean sustainability experts can advise on responsible business goals and strategies. We then connect this with our brand and employee engagement teams to develop brand and engagement strategies that create impact and market differentiation. This is much more than narrative or storytelling and builds from a value proposition that activates your business strategy and engages customers and employees with your promise.
Our connected, strategic thinking ensures brands actively engage in the conversations that achieve impact with customers, employees, suppliers and investors.
Essential to a contemporary communications landscape, we ensure alignment with your employees, values and standards so that your story is substantiated from within, building trust and confidence throughout the value chain.
Would you like to explore making a mindset shift in your business or devising, narrating and crafting a strategy that communicates a powerful story to your audiences?
We would love to talk.