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05 November 2021
Marketing's role in the sustainability agenda
The CEO is in the driving seat when a company commits to sustainability, however marketing’s role is to bring it to life, says Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer, Raja Rajamannar.
Why it matters
It’s not enough to have a commitment in the abstract, Rajamannar told the Ad Net Zero conference running alongside COP26. You have to “translate it by blending it to your core business model and business operations – that’s when it will be successful”.
What that means
Sustained commitment: The economics have to become integral to the business to avoid sustainability being regarded as an ad hoc activity that can be jettisoned if there are any stresses.
Collaboration: “The key thing is, are we collectively coming together to make it happen or not?” Marketing can deploy its creativity and storytelling powers to engage consumers, partners and employees.
Scale: The Mastercard view is that “if it doesn’t scale, it doesn’t matter”. That’s why the brand’s Priceless Planet initiative, for example, aims to plant 100 million trees around the world.
Measurement: You might feel emotionally good that you’re doing something, but if you don’t know how it is working, what results it is producing, the whole thing falls apart.
Upskilling: Marketing teams need to be kept up-to-date in their understanding of sustainability and why it’s important. Consider a playbook to help them or lectures on managing sustainability from external experts.
“My one simple single step,” said Rajamannar, would be to sign up to the WFA’s Planet Pledge. “There is the playbook. You also have the ability to understand from other companies what they are doing – their journeys, the success transfer opportunities, the common resources.”