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7 Ways Brands Can Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

Geo West
October 21, 2020

As the planet’s temperature rises, so does consumer interest in eco-friendly lifestyles, and sustainability is now not only expected, but demanded. Here are the top 7 ways that brands and influencer marketing practitioners can reduce their carbon footprint whilst still delivering great impact on social media.  

Press gifting 

Getting your product into the hands of influential people in the hopes of building relationships and securing organic coverage is a practice which predates the social sphere. However, competition breeds competition and in recent years we've seen “gifting” execution spiral out of control, with brands investing in the most lavish and excess deliveries possible to stand out from the mountains of mailers.  

In order to stop climate change, the maximum amount of CO2 that can be generated by a single person in a year is 0.6 tonnes (source: myclimate.org), which is equivalent to 100 courier journeys from West Village to Williamsburg, or from Covent Garden to Chelsea.  

Regularly audit your recipient list 

If you are mailing or couriering products to people who never feature your brand then removing them from future send outs is the perfect opportunity to save on unnecessary losses to your budgets and to the planet. Make sure you are set up to take a data-driven approach to your gifting by benchmarking the content performance of your organic advocates, wishlist influencers and paid collaborators so you can quickly audit your recipient list. 

Don’t be extra

An oversaturated market and a raised awareness of our responsibility to the planet has diminished creator appetite for over-the-top and obsolete gifts and packaging. And it’s so easy to get with the trend! Don’t send SKUs the recipient won’t use (e.g. wrong shade match, a tech accessory for a device they don’t own). Avoid including gifts which have a single use or no lasting value to the recipient such as over-branded merch. Omit all single use plastics, glitters, holographic foils or any other pretty, but pretty harmful to the planet packagings. 

Reinvest into planet-friendly packaging

And with the budget you’ve saved by staying clear of superfluous gifts, you’ll have a little extra to invest in mailing packaging which is recyclable and made from recycled materials. Remember, as soon as the product is received, that outer mailer packaging will be discarded, and it's only purpose is to ensure your product arrives safely at its destination.  

Shiny jiffy bags, styrofoam packing peanuts and bubble wrap take over 500 years to break down in landfill (source: sciencing), so consider where you as an influencer marketing practitioner can apply instant changes to your brand’s delivery materials and make a real difference in the process.

If the product is incredible, your brand messaging is clear, and your relationship with the recipient is watertight then you will drive excellent lasting reach and awareness with your product mailers. By checking in with your address list before sending you’ll avoid wasting product, and by delivering your launch in eco-conscious packaging you’ll win the respect of your advocates and their audiences. If you want to learn more about this, checkout this blog post on successful PR mailers from Traackr. 

Eventing

If 2020 has taught us anything in marketing, it’s that we can still drive impactful and exciting launches from the comfort of our homes. Whilst we hope that there is a not too distant future where we can all safely meet and celebrate with our advocates, it’s no longer essential or expected, and is a perfect opportunity for brands to reassess the ecological impact of their eventing going forward.

Bahamas or breakfast?

It takes 60 trees to offset the emissions generated by a return flight to an island resort. (source: carbonify). By localising your events, and hosting your advocates for intimate or even virtual meals and date nights not only does it give you the opportunity to get to know a much larger list of advocates, it also makes your activations far more inclusive to those who are unable to travel, and saves you a ton of money and time in the process. Everyone wins!

Get creative

Adjusting to “the new normal” is the perfect excuse to find exciting ways to engage with your advocates, and reduce your environmental impact in the process. Why not host a virtual pizza workshop, asking your attendees to invoice their grocery list back to you to avoid couriers and food waste. Or a morning outdoor yoga class for mental and physical wellbeing with low environmental impact.  

You know your advocates better than anyone, and understand what will and won’t resonate with them. Take a look at your launch plan and start to find unique ways to bring your New Product Development to life with relevant, planet-friendly activations. 

Be the change, and be proud of it!

Now more than ever advocates and consumers are challenging their own environmental impact as well as that of the brands and products they align with. A recent study showed that 92% of consumers would be more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues. (source: Forbes). 

Consumers are paying more attention to brands and their ethical practices and ingredients. Traackr’s 2020 State of Influence Report showed an uptick in clean beauty, despite a downward trend for all other makeup categories. In h1 2020, compared to h1 2019, there was a 43% increase in active influencers talking about clean makeup specifically. Posts were 47%, while engagement with clean makeup content skyrocketed with 1825% growth during this period. 

By showing genuine, active and purposeful eco-conscious behaviours, you'll improve your brand image and reputation with consumers and creators alike! 

Educate and inform

If your mailer packaging is recyclable, remind your recipients to responsibly dispose of it. If you know of local specialist groups who repurpose and recycle in your product category (e.g. textiles, technology, home beauty), include information about them in your communications. Encourage your advocates to take responsibility with you in driving a more positive environmental impact.

Join forces

Reversing the damages of climate change is a collective effort, and no one single brand can make a difference alone. Look for ways to combine your efforts with other relevant organisations. You’ll not only be sharing the workload, but you’ll also increase opportunities for press coverage, and awareness and reach with new audiences. For example, food brands can collaborate with food banks - When sending a meal to your advocates, encourage them to donate the meal they would have eaten (had they not received your gift) to their local food bank. Beauty brands can work with their retailers to offer bathroom waste recycling points in their stores. Any brand can partner with a reforestation charity to offset their carbon footprint with regular donations.  

As an influencer marketing practitioner you have a responsibility to support in driving the change in this industry. The more you collaborate with others, and educate yourselves and your communities, ultimately the more impact you will drive, both environmentally and in a brand-building sense. 

My organization, Prism, is dedicated to improving influencer marketing practices, including issues around inclusivity, ethics and sustainability. We support brands, creators and practitioners in their journeys to become more representative, environmentally conscious and actively progressive in everything that they do. If this interests you, you can find out more at prism.social

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