Senior Proctor & Gamble marketer Allison Tummon Kamphuis says businesses are increasingly seeing their commercial success linked to "genuine purpose", but warns against joining causes that do not match.
Tummon Kamphuis is the global programme leader for gender equality and the children's safe drinking water programme at P&G.
Speaking at a UK screening of P&G and National Geographic’s six-part documentary series Activate, Tummon Kamphuis said P&G jumped at the chance to get involved with the #ActForWater initiative.
"We’ve worked with Global Citizen towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. So when the idea came to profile the campaigns Global Citizen was leading around them, we offered some of the work on the ground our brands and our company was doing on these issues with grassroots organisations and NGOs, because working together can have a bigger impact," she said.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 that include providing clean water and sanitation for all, and eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030.
Tummon Kamphuis has been working in the impact space for more than 10 years and has seen a growing number of companies looking for ways to make an impact. Increasingly, she sees the commercial success of business tied up in genuine purpose.
"For me, it’s not about what they are saying, but what are they doing. It’s really seeing action taking place and people really making the time and resources available for a long-term commitment," she said.
"The ad industry has an incredible power to raise awareness and to also tackle the bias and other things in society that can often slow us down in achieving them."
Tummon Kamphuis said that "companies need to walk the talk" as research shows consumers of all ages expect brands to take a stand on big issues to let them know their values: "It’s not just about the product. They want to know who makes it and who are the people behind it. Companies have a responsibility to make a difference and use their resources to advance progress."
However, she warned that brands should be wary of jumping on to any hot topics, no matter how well-intentioned.
"If the topic isn’t what the core of the brand stands for, then it’s not sustainable," Tummon Kamphuis said.
"What we have found over the years, and why this partnership was such a great fit for us, is because these are issues we’ve been working on for 15 and 20 years, like Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) programme."
The CSDW programme provides an easy-to-use water purification packet invented by P&G scientists that can clean 10 liters of water in just 30 minutes.