Sustainable Marketing Tactics for the Forward-Thinking Business | the ReFab Diaries

Sustainability is the issue of our time, born of rising concern over the steady progression of climate change globally. With temperatures set to exceed thresholds set by the UNCCC, public opinion is shifting – and the onus is on corporations over individuals to make serious changes in the name of eco-friendliness. Adopting sustainable values is one thing, and marketing them another thing entirely; what can businesses do to advertise their sustainability in an effective way, and benefit from positive public opinion as a result?

Upcycling materials

In a direct sense, certain marketing strategies come with their own carbon footprint and other environmental impacts. For example, printing physical materials like booklets and posters add to your business’ emissions through the logistics of transporting both the raw materials and finished products, to say nothing of the environmental cost attributed to the large-scale felling of trees.

A simple, eco-friendly and effective way to combat this would be to re-use or upcycle materials for your physical media. As an example, business cards could be printed on recycled or biodegradable materials as opposed to plastic-treated card stock; in giving these cards out, your new contacts or customers will experience first-hand a part of your commitment to sustainability.

Digital marketing

Of course, another route to minimizing the carbon cost of your marketing could be to remove the physical aspect altogether. By shifting the entirety of your brand strategy online, you can eliminate the carbon emissions associated with printing, production and shipping of materials. Digital marketing is the way in which the wind has been blowing for some time now, and every business should already have a digital arm to their marketing practice. But by leaning fully into it – and by adding a sustainability factor to your messaging – you can benefit all the more from reducing emissions and the good PR that comes with it.

Centering eco-friendly practice

Speaking of which, the positive PR that sustainability missions create is palpable – provided it is engendered authentically. ‘Greenwashing’ is the act of businesses laundering their reputation with sustainability messaging, in spite of business practices that do not effectively bring sustainable solutions. Audiences and consumers are quick to sniff out insincerity, which makes the nature of your messaging key. Rather than relying on rhetoric to illustrate sustainability as a business value, you should lean on results. What are the direct practices and initiatives you are undertaking with ecological aims in mind? You might have a tree-planting program or an electrified fleet; by highlighting these and the tangible impacts they have brought about, you centre sincere sustainability values in your marketing.


In not so many words, the proof is in the pudding with regard to sustainability. There is only so much you can do internally to reduce emissions before hitting something of a ‘ceiling’; by looking outwards, you can maximise your influence and impact. This might be through public partnerships with sustainable brands or the re-evaluation of existing supply networks. Do your partners reflect your values?

A sustainable marketing strategy is rapidly becoming an appreciated method of promoting environmentally conscious products, practices and values. Using sustainability within your promotion methods can help to enhance your customer attraction and retention and ring deeper to those who already prioritize ethical and eco-friendly purchasing decisions. Such practices can also see improvements to your brand reputation, and, with it, your patron’s brand loyalty. The secret to effective marketing is to demonstrate values that align with your target audience, whilst showcasing how your offerings can contribute to making the world and its environment, a better place.

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