Top UK Brands Make Sustainability Pledge


Sustainability is one of the catchphrases of our era, a value that UK companies and consumers are taking more and more seriously. However, it just may become the norm, with major companies all over the UK signing on to a government initiative to build a greener, more sustainable UK. While this may seem like an ecological move, it is important as a branding and marketing measure as well.

Why is ‘green’ marketable? More and more consumers consider themselves budding ecologists. While many people in the UK are willing to pay more for a green product, almost all will choose a more environmentally friendly brand when the price is the same. Further, being perceived as a green company—whether this is the reality or not—creates general public will for the company.

In this case, there is an added bonus: increased publicity. The very public initiative launched recently represents a government attempt to get industries on board with improving the future of the UK. Tesco, Heinz, Unilever, and other brands signed an agreement to make decisions that would lead the companies toward a completely sustainable future. For the moment, three areas are being emphasized.

The first key area is packaging. These companies are agreeing in effect to sell products with less packaging, creating less waste, and also to encourage recycling. In many cases, this means a reduction in cost as well, as packaging is one major cost in production. Further, it is a measure that the customer can observe in a very tangible way, helping to build the UK companies’ reputation as a green brand.

The other two areas are reducing household waste and preventing supply chain waste. The goal is to reduce waste in these areas by four and five percent respectively by 2012. Again, there is a possibility to save money in addition to building a reputation as a brand that cares about the future of the UK.

One way of making this agreement more attractive for companies that have not signed on as of yet is to develop a logo design that could be proudly displayed by participating business. This would serve as a seal of approval from the government agencies pushing for the changes. Customers respond in a powerful way to a logo design that sends a message such as this.

Outside of the world of logo design, branding, and marketing, this agreement has real potential to cut waste in the UK. One fifth of household waste comes from packaging, with about half of this from grocery products. With major grocery retailers such as Tesco involved in making this change, there is a good chance that a huge impact can be made on the amount of waste produced by people in the UK.

This agreement is a result of the Courtald Commitment passed in 2005. WRAP, the government agency involved in this measure, claims to already have stopping growth in packaging waste. The goal now is to make actual reductions. With major UK companies getting a branding boost from involvement in this programme, it is easy to see this agreement being a positive move both for companies and for the future of the UK.