Since 2004 KoAnn Skrzyniarz (more easily known as just “KoAnn”) has been a force of – and for -- nature. She is Founder/CEO of the internationally respected Sustainable Brands community, which has inspired a global community to turn environmental and social challenges into business opportunities for companies. The conferences have grown to be in 13 countries with active communities everywhere from Turkey to Thailand, Cape Town to Copenhagen. In this podcast, KoAnn, a former business to business marketing executive, explains how they’ve built a “bridge to better brands,” and how companies from Procter & Gamble to CNN are embracing sustainability for their – and everyone’s – greater good.
In this conversation with E.B. Moss, KoAnn explains why it's not called "Corporate Social 'Responsibility'" any more, and shares examples of how companies from P&G and AFLAC to CNN have raised both the bar on sustainability and profits. She also shares the five core principles that Sustainable Brand members must adhere to. Hint:
Here's a snippet of that discussion:
Skrzyniarz: There's been a lot of conversation about the challenges in the industry, that more than half the Fortune 500 companies are in decline, and to refocus marketing around driving growth. The beautiful thing is that now there are more and more examples that demonstrate how embedding environmental and social good into your brand does drive sales, does drive growth, does drive brand loyalty, makes brands relevant again -- this is a pathway to fixing all of that.
Moss: Stats show it's very important to consumers and prefer the brand that displays sensitivity and sustainability, as Marc showed in their campaign, "Love Over Bias..." (As you know, MediaVillage is very focused on D&I as well, with our Advancing Diversity Honors -- where we'll be honoring Marc Pritchard as well as ANA’s Bob Liodice and others at CES.)
Skrzyniarz: Beautiful. ....P&G is seeing the halo effect of its efforts on brand reputation and sales, which is part of what's driving his confidence. Obviously, racial and other sorts of conflicts between groups of people are on the rise, and that’s a massive risk for sustainability. There are social issues that put us all at risk, as well as environmental issues. Now is the perfect time for the Brands for Good coalition that we are launching.
Moss: And we have to balance how we communicate with what we communicate...
Skrzyniarz: Yes, to be not necessarily perfect but authentic in communication.
Moss: And are you still hopeful in our current political environment?
Skrzyniarz: More so, actually, in a strange way. Though of course companies would like to have a legislative regulatory landscape that makes it easier for them to make tough decisions and level the playing field, but while hope for that has disappeared that doesn't change the reality that all the companies we deal with understand.
For example, I was just talking to a large coffee company who acknowledges that the world is running out of coffee. The world is running out of chocolate. We are having commodity shortages and conflict minerals. There're all kinds of things that are pressing business issues that these companies can't ignore.
And they are now starting to come together in ways that I've never seen, to work on systems changes... [There’s a] willingness, even for competitors, to be working together.