On 10 June 2021, Greengage Solutions, sustainability consultant and awarding body of the ECOsmart award, hosted their quarterly webinar on sustainability, best practice and how to market yourself as a sustainable business, inviting a number of speakers, including Custard’s very own venue marketing and PR expert Anna Wolfram to share their thoughts on balancing business success with implementing sustainability procedures.
The webinar began with a comprehensive introduction by Anita Lowe from Venues and Events International, host and sponsor of the webinar, followed by Andrew Perolls, CEO and founder of Greengage Solutions. Andrew highlighted the ever-relevant topics of discussion at the upcoming G7 Summit in Cornwall, namely the prevention of rising global temperatures, the protection of natural ecosystems, and the conservation of natural resources. Greengage is passionately committed to increasing sustainable businesses for themselves and their clients for the benefit of the planet, as well as a positive commercial upside as consumers continue to think greener.
As the first guest speaker, Richard Smith of Wyboston Lakes Resort, an award-winning sustainable venue, discussed the resort’s sustainability achievements in detail, including the aim to become entirely carbon neutral by 2040. These were split into three categories: energy, waste, and so-called ‘culture shockers’. Energy-conserving practices included swapping to 100% green energy-saving 65% of carbon emissions – and investing in solar and wind energy, while practices designed to reduce waste included policies on recycling and a zero-food waste scheme. With such high-standard sustainability practices in place, it is no surprise that Wyboston holds three critically acclaimed awards: the Green Tourism Gold Award, the IACC Green Star Gold Award, and the Greengage ECOsmart Platinum Venue Award.
Custard’s very own Anna Wolfram spoke on sustainable storytelling as a method of marketing yourself as a sustainable business. The demand for sustainability in businesses is present: 81% of consumers will prefer a sustainably committed brand according to SmartestEnergy, while EventBrite states that the demand for sustainable venues rose from 6% in 2019 to a staggering 59% in 2020. Accreditation is an important way to communicate to clients that you are authentic in your messages surrounding sustainability, and therefore news about awards should be displayed quickly and proudly; this enables trustworthiness so that clients prioritising sustainability can easily understand your values.
When it comes to marketing a sustainable venue, Anna stressed the importance of using the guideline of the ‘5 Ps’: positioning, perception, persuasion, personalisation, and people. Positioning is how you want the business to be perceived; perception relates to reputation management and authenticity of claims; persuasion is about knowing your audience and what they want from your business; personalisation is a marketing technique shifting focus towards the consumer, and people relate to the importance of a humanised brand where staff are passionate about the business’ ethos.
Anna discussed Custard’s strategy for 15Hatfields – named the most sustainable venue in London – as a case study of marketing sustainability. Green thinking is apparent in all aspects of 15Hatfields, from their soft furnishings and carpeting made from recycling materials to their partnerships with ethical stockists, and their marketing campaigns all position sustainability at the centre of the business. This is a perfect example of the storytelling that Anna portrayed in her presentation: clear and authentic messages in marketing, demonstrable evidence of eco-friendly practices, and consistency across all aspects of the business including third parties.
Finally, Tea Trainer Andy Byron from teapigs discussed the proper way to make a cup of tea, and more importantly how much better it tastes when it is sustainable. Since its origins 15 years ago, teapigs has been inherently connected to sustainable values, from sourcing tea from sustainable plantations to fully recyclable packaging and compostable plastic-free teabags to supporting the Rainforest Alliance. In terms of hotels and venues as stockists, Byron highlighted the impact of lockdown on purchasing behaviour; consumers have treated themselves to higher-quality goods, he claimed and will want to see the same premium quality reflected in the tea selection at venues. By using teapigs, therefore, venues can provide high-quality and wide-variety tea, while introducing another sustainable practice into daily life.
To watch a recording of the Greengage Sustainability Webinar, click here.
For more information on how the marketing and PR experts at Custard can support you in developing meaningful stories with sustainability ethos, click here.