Staff Reporters
May 19, 2014

Marketers forum: Brands enable consumers to live green

Corporate responsibility is about much more than an annual donation. We ask Asia-Pacific’s marketers about the importance of using their reach to help consumers live sustainably.

CW from top left: Talbot, Sandys, Rach, Lam-Kobayashi, Lee, Schubert, Ma, Fung
CW from top left: Talbot, Sandys, Rach, Lam-Kobayashi, Lee, Schubert, Ma, Fung

Simon Talbot
Director of corporate affairs
Mondelez ANZ

In a company of our scale, small changes can make a big impact. When we looked across the supply chain, we realised that many farming communities were falling behind in terms of education, productivity, healthcare and basic infrastructure.

In response, we announced two sustainable sourcing programmes: Cocoa Life and Coffee Made Happy, representing an investment of over US$600 million that aims to create the right conditions for these communities to lead fulfilling lives. In Asia-Pacific, we have four projects underway, including a training facility for coffee farmers in Vietnam, small business training for 2,000 farmers in West Papua and a pilot programme for female cocoa workers in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Mark Sandys
Category director, whisky
Diageo Asia-Pacific

While we are all responsible for the way we live, businesses play a crucial role in enabling us to live sustainably. At Diageo we believe our company’s future success depends on mitigating negative impacts and contributing positively to society and the environment.

In 2012 we launched Plan W, a programme aimed at empowering two million women through learning in Asia-Pacific by 2017, investing an initial $10 million. So far, we have reached 40,000 women within our company and in our communities, as well as raising awareness.

At the brand level, the Arthur Guinness Fund champions and supports entrepreneurs to benefit communities at a grass roots level, through financial, mentoring and marketing support.


Sean Rach
Asia director, brand & corporate
Prudential

Prudential has a steadfast commitment to serve the needs of our local communities in a sustainable way.

In April, our charitable arm Prudence Foundation teamed up with Journey front man Arnel Pineda to launch a new music video for the financial literacy project Cha-Ching to raise funds for the Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan recovery. Proceeds will go to the disaster recovery.

The music video teaches children about giving in three ways: time/talent, money and goods. The video includes footage of an employee volunteer programme to build homes in the Philippines’ Bantayan Island. Apart from homes, we are also providing fishing boats and pedicabs to help restore the community’s livelihood.

May Lam-Kobayashi
Head of public affairs
Swire Properties

Over the course of our more than 40-year history, Swire Properties has adopted the philosophy of ‘building communities’—creating long-term value in the communities we serve. First, we conceive, design and build the physical structures. Then we work, over years and even generations, to keep investing in the community. We also do so by investing in arts and culture, educational and environmental programmes, and volunteer opportunities.

For example, we set up a Community Ambassador Programme to engage employees, tenants, residents, business partners and non-profit organisations to design and organise volunteer projects to give back to others and instil a sense of pride and belonging to a community.

Lee Hui Mien
Sustainability mgr
Ikea Sg, Malaysia & Thailand

Customers are increasingly turning to products that can help them become more energy and water efficient, and that generate less waste. As such, sustainability is a great driver of innovation for us.

Some of our efforts to help our customers to live more sustainably include: stopping the sale of disposable plastic bags at Ikea in Singapore and Malaysia; sharing sustainable solutions with customers at our room sets; offering products that are easy to recycle or reuse and encouraging them to switch consumption habits; introducing good cause campaigns for customers to take part in; and starting them young with the Ikea Småles children’s club—which encourages and educates members on sustainable living.

Christian Schubert
Vice President, Corporate Affairs Asia Pacific
BASF

At the heart of our global strategy and our corporate brand is our strong commitment to sustainability. We underline this with our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future.

Brand trust is always built by keeping the promises made—this is even more important in regard to sustainability. This means that we cannot just communicate about sustainability, we must live it.

We live our purpose by helping our customers offer measurably more sustainable products for their markets. Chemistry is everywhere in daily life and a key enabler for a sustainable future. BASF serves basically all industries and with our chemistry we contribute to many crucial and new developments, such as new battery technologies, more energy-efficient buildings and cars, and more productive farming.

These solutions, as well as the related factual basis for sustainability claims, help our customers and their brands gain trust among consumers.

Margaret Ma
VP Asia marketing
Crocs

At Crocs, we care about the communities we do businesses in and strive to do our bit to help. Since 2007, our CSR programme, Crocs Cares, has donated Crocs shoes to communities affected by natural disasters or suffering from poverty. Working with organisations such as Feed the Children and UNICEF, we ensure that our shoes get to the feet of the people who need them the most.

We have donated over 3.2 million pairs of shoes so far, helping to make a change in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, many of whom are in Asia. Without shoes, children and adults are susceptible to picking up diseases, sustaining injuries and they are severely limited on how far they can travel to school and work. We believe it is our mission to bring comfort to the world’s feet and with our lightweight, water-resistant and protective footwear; we have the ‘perfect shoe’ for donation.

Angela Fung
Senior vice president and head of marketing, Asia Pacific
Robeco


“It is absolutely crucial for brands to reflect sustainability. Sustainability is about the holistic management of multiple risks and opportunities. We have seen forward-looking brands generate better financial results and often outperform brands that simply focus on narrow or short-term objectives.

Sustainability is part of Robeco’s DNA. As a long-term investor, we have been a pioneer in sustainability investing, integrating environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) criteria into our investment products for many years. We believe this makes us better-informed investors, which in turn, helps our clients meet their investment goals.

We also work with companies we invest in to improve their sustainability practices, as we see that sustainable business practices are critical in an increasingly resource-constrained world. As Asia investors, we are also part of the UN PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), which looks at advancing sustainability solutions globally in partnership with, governments, civil society organisations, promoters of labour standards, and other parties.”

 

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