Engaging customers in building a sustainable future is essential for business prosperity and the benefit of society and our planet. Marketers have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between consumer intention and action, and as such are key to building a sustainable future.
The Engaging Customers on Sustainability Award identifies businesses that use their marketing activity to inspire and enable customers to live or operate in a more sustainable way. This may be through informing and educating customers on sustainable product or service choices (awareness), encouraging more sustainable behaviour towards current product or service use (behaviour change), or encouraging customers to think carefully about the purchases they make (conscious consumption).
This year’s entries demonstrate that any company, regardless of its sector, size and whether it is a B2B or B2C company has the ability to engage customers on sustainability issues. Our seven shortlisted companies combined engaged over 264,000 people through marketing activities on environmental and/or social sustainability, tackling issues such as carbon emissions, deforestation, fuel poverty, digital exclusion, responsible investment and waste. However, there are still huge opportunities for marketing departments to be engaged more fully.
Our finalists were successful in demonstrating that their activities 1) relate to their strategic business objectives; 2) The management processes have appropriate levels of resources along with leadership commitment and employee-wide engagement, 3) have scope to be replicable/scalable; 4) bring about environmental/societal and business benefits.
The overall Winner, NATS, impressed the judges by taking a leadership position in addressing an inefficient process that took root over time by engaging its customers on sustainability and driving behaviour change. Through its Continuous Descent Campaign, the company set out to reduce aircraft noise, cut CO2 emissions and help the aviation industry save money on fuel. NATS developed targeted communications material that reached beyond its own immediate sphere of responsibility, influencing 23 Airports, 8 UK Airlines and 15 Air Traffic Control units across the UK, taking a global lead position. Overall, NATS found a way to turn standard practice into best practice and by taking a global lead position, demonstrated the potential for this campaign can be replicated and scaled up globally.
Electricity Northwest’s Power Saver Challenge was Highly Commended by our judges. The company engaged its customers in the Heatons area of Stockport, Greater Manchester to reduce household energy consumption by making small every day changes around the hole. As well as helping families with their bills, the campaign was designed to make the company’s infrastructure upgrade needed in light of increased energy demand more sustainable in the long term. The programme was well delivered with commitment at the executive level. It was also highly targeted, addressing both environmental sustainability (CO2 emissions) as well as social sustainability (fuel poverty).