A Fresh Take on a Sustainability Mainstay

by Jan 30, 2020

Shelton Stat of the Week

59% believe their company’s commitment to sustainability has a positive impact on a customer’s or consumer’s likeliness to purchase their products.

A Fresh Take on a Sustainability Mainstay

If you’ve been working in sustainability for a while, at some point you’ve been in an internal meeting about non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and whether or not your company should engage with one to help shape your strategy. It’s likely somebody has said, “We should reach out to Environmental Defense Fund. They’ve done amazing work with Walmart and other companies, and they’re one of the most business-friendly NGOs out there.”

If you look up the organization online, starting today you’ll see a fresh new approach for EDF+Business, the Environmental Defense Fund division that partners with businesses to create a more sustainable world where companies, communities and the environment thrive.

EDF+Business has been a client of Shelton Group for five years now, and their new website is the culmination of ongoing brand development and storytelling work we’ve crafted with them during that time. (We also created their Supply Chain Solution Center site that launched last year.) We’re excited about this new site’s ability to tell the EDF+Business story and engage with stakeholders and thought this would be a good time to cover best practices in website development so that your site can reflect your sustainability story as well.

Ongoing Technology Improvements

Website technologies age like dogs: every year in the real world is like seven years online. The rate at which things change online is dramatic. There are new code languages, new design principles, browser changes, and most dramatically over the last few years, mobile has become the dominant platform for web access.

EDF+Business does incredible work in the world. Their website needed to reflect that. Site visitors needed to see a modern, functional website that put the right information in front of them at the right time on the right screen. “Our target audience is business sustainability professionals,” says Rick Velleu, Marketing Director at EDF+Business. “Like everyone else, they expect (and need) to find relevant information quickly. But they also have their own targeted audience of key decision-makers across their business divisions, so it’s essential that information be eminently shareable.”

With that goal in mind, the Shelton Group team began work on structuring, designing, coding and launching a website that better reflected who EDF+Business is and what they bring to the world.

Best practices when building a website

We used the following guidelines to bring a great experience to the EDF+Business website and encourage using them as part of best practices.  

  • Mobile-first design – Over half of all web views happen on mobile devices. A mobile-first design philosophy guarantees that your users get the information they need regardless of device.
  • Clear purpose – Every design, content and coding choice should be made with the singular purpose of serving the end-user. Consistently making choices that benefit them produces the most successful websites.
  • Simple navigation – It must be easy for users to move around on your website. A logical page hierarchy, clear calls to action and a logical user flow are prime drivers of any website.
  • Effective communication – Engaging users quickly and clearly is mandatory for today’s fast-moving website users. Content is the heart of what drives a website and engages your users. Great content takes time and effort to create. Just as much thought should be put into how it is presented to the end user.
  • Visual hierarchy and design – Prominent visuals, great images, and clear headlines, sub-heads and copy draw the user through content quickly, logically and easily.
  • Fast load time – Attention spans online are short, and not everyone has fast internet connections. Clean code and smart design choices that are focused on getting the right information to the user in the fastest way possible on any device and at any connection speed will guarantee technology is never a barrier to communicating with the end user.
  • Easy owner maintenance – Website owners need to be able to continually update, improve and edit their site as new content is created and different objectives take priority. Focusing on a back-end user interface that is simple yet powerful will guarantee the site owner is able to manage and update their website easily and efficiently.

Other considerations include SEO, conversion paths, and scores of additional items. It isn’t an “easy lift,” as they say in the agency world. Digital projects have to serve many masters.

However, when the journey ends, the results are worth the time, effort, sweat and negotiations. EDF+Business now has a beautiful new site that brings their brand story to life. Check it out. If you’re going to Greenbiz, connect with them live there to hear their story firsthand. And, of course, if you’d like to dig into how to best bring your sustainability story to life via your website, give us a shout or flag us down at Greenbiz as well. We’d love to connect!

Visit the new EDF + Business Website

Contact Shelton Group about your next digital project.


News of the Week

How Climate Change has Altered Cocoa Farming in Ivory Coast – GreenBiz

Ivory Coast farmers are responsible for the production of over a third of the world’s cocoa supply but climate change is threatening this commodity’s future. This crop grows best in the wet, tropical regions close to the equator, but climate change has resulted in some major weather changes that are putting the future of cocoa at risk. Whereas winds bringing tropical rains from the sea used to blow in, now the Ivory Coast is seeing bone dry winds coming in from the Sahara — winds that take rather than give. The results from changes like this include drought, soil infertility, diseases … Deforestation seems to be to blame and farmers ask, humbly, for those responsible to, “Put the forests back.” Read more

Unilever-owned Dove Aims for 100% Recycled Plastic Bottles by 2025 – Glossy

Unilever brands Dove, Dove Men+Care and Baby Dove packaging is getting a makeover, beginning with products distributed in the North American and European markets. Retailers are already starting to see Unilever products hit their shelves with new bottles made from recycled plastic content, and the number will only continue to grow. This is a big moment because a move like this sets a precedent for manufacturing changes that retailers and brands are likely going to have to adopt in order to keep up. Demand among consumers for more ethically-produced, environmentally-friendly products is only going to continue increasing, and companies who make their mark now (pre federal regulations), are likely going to benefit the most. Unilver’s Marketing Director, Amy Stephanian, says, “The benefits of the circular economy are clear for business and the environment. More effective use of materials means lower costs, less waste, [and] better risk management of raw materials and supply chain.” Read more.

Americans Say ‘Enough’ to Plastic

American consumers care about the problem of plastic waste more than ever – even more than climate change, in fact, our research reveals. We polled 1,000 Americans on environmental issues, and “plastics in the ocean” ranked as their top concern. Now is the time for brands to create solutions and tell their stories. Find out more in our free report.

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About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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