HOW TO PROFIT IN THE NEW SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
I was very lucky early in my career having had the opportunity to work for TEAM Marketing implementing all aspects of the UEFA Champions League from 1998-2004. My primary responsibility at the time was on brand implementation working with sponsors, broadcasters, teams and venues across the league, with special focus on the major final events and their host cities. What I learned during these pivotal six years was a sophisticated approach to brand development, management and implementation that is second to none. The single most important lesson; that your brand is literally everything and everything you do, no matter how big or how small, directly impacts how people view your organization, products and services. I have applied these best practices successfully for over a decade across multiple industries and sectors, helping organizations achieve better performance results.
So when I talk about an organizations "Brand-DNA" I am referring to its philosophical core, having been lucky enough to live in a world-class brand-centric environment. Why does your organization exist? What does it stand for? and Why should anyone care? In the context of sustainability, the direction of the world and economy is very clear. Transitioning to circular solutions is vital for our survival. But business is slow to see the upside of sustainable transformation. My opinion that I passionately advocate is that there is a massive growth and revenue opportunity staring everyone in the face right now today - and it is purpose driven.
Virtually every company has a Corporate Responsibility position. But most execute this as an ancillary or tangential part of their day-to-day business, something that relates to the organization and is important to have because society expects it but is not one of the core drivers of the business and its decision making processes. Yet, there is over 30 years of data that point to the fact that companies that follow good Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) practices consistently outperform their competitors. Today, in the face of COVID-19, global warming, run-away pollution and growing mountains of waste, there is more attention and pressure than ever before that corporations be responsible for their negative impacts and work toward solving these problems, not only mitigating them. Everything an organization does reflects on its brand, it is time to bring CSR out from the fringes and into core strategic decision making processes. When properly conceived and executed, sustainability can be a powerful growth and revenue strategy that will set you apart from your competition and position your organization for success in the new sustainable economy.
Over the years I have delivered many versions of this "eye-opening" speech for leaders and staff across multiple industries, for-profit, non-profit, manufacturing, finance, government, sports teams, leagues and federations, media, music & entertainment, usually with the same post-speech reactions:
"I've heard several sustainability speeches and this one was refreshingly different."
"I've never thought about sustainability as a money making opportunity, I've only ever thought about it as a cost."
"My company has wanted to move in this direction for a long time but we don't know where to start."
"We need someone like you to convince our skeptical stakeholders that this is the right path to follow."
Getting started is not as hard as you might think. Creating stakeholder alignment at the start is vital and people have always been interested in hearing about practical ways to make more money.