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How collaboration between marketing and sustainability can be a force for good

October 8, 2021

Collaboration across various functions is critical for success and sustainability is no different, says Preeti Srivastav, Group Sustainability Director at Asahi Europe & International.

As a sustainability practitioner, I know that the jargon surrounding sustainability can be overwhelming when we speak about science based 1.5- or 2-degree temperature trajectories, or about 2050 and beyond timescales. 

What does 1.5 degrees really mean, what does net zero actually represent and if we are working towards a target of carbon neutrality by 2050, what should we do now? That’s where marketing comes in.

Making sustainability tangible

At Asahi we have ensured that marketing and sustainability work in tandem so that our sustainability actions can be brought to life and can be shared both internally and externally in a simple, impactful and meaningful way. Transparency and disclosure are important, but we also understand that each of our sustainability initiatives needs to resonate with our employees, consumers, partners and suppliers. Many of our sustainability projects can be made tangible by linking them closely with the product.

One of our big successes is a project by our Italian beer brand Birra Peroni that involves using blockchain to allow consumers to scan a QR code on their bottle to access specific information about the beer. By scanning the label, beer lovers can immediately see details about the ingredients, as well as the path it took from the brewery to their glass. With this project, we wanted to share with our consumers why, what and how the sustainability impact of the beer they are enjoying is being reduced.

For Pilsner Urquell globally, we replaced the aluminium foil packaging on bottles with recyclable paper labels, while for Grolsch in the Netherlands we have swapped the plastic can carriers for cardboard and used the new packaging to explain to consumers why this is the right step. In Poland, our beers now come with a small wind turbine logo, reflecting the fact that 100% of the energy used to brew them comes from wind power.

These examples are all touchpoints where we are directly or indirectly communicating the importance of sustainability to consumers. Whether it’s the depicting a wind turbine or changing our packaging, the message is the same – sustainability is critical to us at Asahi.

“Collaboration across various functions is critical for success and sustainability is no different. That’s why sustainability and marketing are working closely to ensure that we reach our targets and share our planet positive initiatives in a meaningful way with our employees, consumers, partners and suppliers.”

What we’ve learnt so far

One size does not fit all: We acknowledge that each market is different and therefore one size does not fit all. Each of our markets is already working locally towards carbon neutrality in our breweries by 2030, reducing water consumption, sustainable sourcing and many more initiatives and they are constantly ensuring that the dots between sustainability and marketing are connected.

Celebrate achievements: Most corporate sustainability targets are decades into the future, but we need to celebrate and share both big and small wins with our employees, suppliers, partners and consumers.

Consistent quality: Quality and taste are core to our values and will always be our first priorities. We are working towards ensuring that sustainability complements our consumer’s demands by providing them with a high-quality product and a low carbon footprint.

Share & Learn: To help us overcome challenges, we are in constant sharing and learning mode. We know that the climate challenge we are facing is bigger than us and that’s why collaboration within and across sectors, industries, public/private bodies, NGOs and beyond is so important. We have joined multiple platforms and forums to share our best practices and learn from others.

Creating a legacy

At Asahi, we think not only about today, but also about tomorrow. We set our standards high, not just in the taste of our beverages but also how we act as a company. We are creating a change now that will serve as a long-term sustainable legacy for future generations. Marketing is playing an important role on that journey. It is supporting our sustainability delivery, helping us build awareness with consumers who can see, feel and touch the changes taking place in how we produce, distribute and consume our beers.

That is why we are so pleased to be part of the WFA Planet Pledge. It is a platform that will help us share our journey, learn from others and highlight how a collaborative marketing and sustainability effort can accelerate, amplify and be a force for good towards planet positivity.

 

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