This group is fixing sustainable sourcing

by | Nov 8, 2018

Shelton Insight

83% of Americans agree, “We have a moral duty to leave the earth in as good or better shape than we found it” (Shelton EcoPulse 2018).

Sustainability Win of the Week

Nowadays more and more businesses are establishing sustainability goals only to find that implementation fizzles out at some point down the supply chain. Having a concrete vision for a sustainable future is crucial to a brand’s success, but having only a limited range of certified suppliers can wreak havoc on sustainability goals, not to mention metrics. Environmental nonprofit GreenBlue, in collaboration with public and private sector partners, seeks to resolve this problem through the implementation of new materials management systems – particularly in the forestry sector.

As the article states, “Many companies have set goals to source 100% of the fiber for their packaging, paper, and other materials from recycled, certified, and verified sources.” And, indeed, this is a worthwhile goal – for companies to seek “greater visibility into their sourcing and a means to drive sustainability at scale” through new, rigorous policies.

A problem arises, however, when brands and their suppliers discover that “certified content is often scarce.” A company, therefore, must choose: rely on an extremely limited number of certified suppliers and miss out on supporting the many family and small-business suppliers that lack certification, OR, come up with new and better ways of ensuring that sustainability goals are met. Clearly, the latter option is preferred – not just for the environment but small business as well.

The Forests in Focus initiative, developed in partnership with major companies like Mars and Staples and nonprofits like GreenBlue and American Forest Foundation, does exactly that. In the absence of sufficient individually certified suppliers, Forests in Focus provides a “dynamic, landscape-level assessment of risks and opportunities for sourcing forest products” based on U.S. Forest Service and other provider data. Above all, the project shows that sustainability does not stop at the weakest link; rather, it continues through innovation that enables new business connections.

This is another terrific storytelling opportunity for brands. Let your customers and consumers know you’re not just doing the standard, table-stakes work; rather, you’re doing the hard work of pulling new suppliers into the sustainability fold, helping them do right by the planet. That’s leadership and, ultimately, Americans are looking for companies and brands to lead on the environment.

News of the Week

Midterm results: climate and energy score brilliant wins and stunning losses in the states – Forbes

In light of Tuesday’s midterm election, this article presents a state-by-state breakdown of various sustainability “wins” and “losses.” See how your state stacks up.

Companies kick in $90 million to fight plastic pollution in Asia – Plastics News

Dow Chemical Co., PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble, among other consumer product makers, are investing over $90 million in plastic waste management in Asia. The private capital will benefit areas of Asia undergoing rapid consumer growth that has resulted in increased plastic use and waste. A portion of the funding will address the problem of marine plastic waste in areas with limited waste management infrastructure.

Inside Home Depot’s sustainability and energy strategy – Greentech Media

Get a candid, inside look at this massive home improvement chain’s energy goals and sustainability strategy, which includes increases in renewable energy product sales (solar panels and wind turbines) and efforts to cut emissions by over 50 percent by 2035.

Do consumers really care whether brands take a stand?

Yes, they do. But your brand can’t choose just any stand and expect them to love you for it. Learn how social purpose can create connection with consumers.

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About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

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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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.