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Leading on sustainability

By Mark Hamilton, Head of Marketing EMEA , Social Good and Business Equality


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November 3, 2021 | 5 min read

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As people look to businesses to be the leaders of change, here’s how to turn words into actions and transform our shared responsibility into opportunity.

Leading on sustainability

Leading on sustainability

More than ever, people see sustainability action as a business responsibility – they expect brands to lead on change. With conversations about sustainability and responsibility only growing, there’s increasing consumer expectation for businesses to be transparent about how they’re tackling the climate crisis.

Those conversations are happening more and more on Facebook. In the past year, interactions around the keyword ‘sustainability’ increased 45.8% on Facebook and 30% on Instagram (CrowdTangle Instagram). Consumers are seeking out sustainable leaders, joining sustainability groups and shopping for sustainable products on our platforms. Sustainability is an opportunity for brands to do good for the planet – and for their business, too.

Leading the change

“Climate change is a crisis we will only be able to address if we all work together on a global scale,” says Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Meta is committed to playing its part and helping to inspire real action in our community. We are taking steps to reduce our emissions and setting the goal to reach net zero for our company’s value chain by 2030.”

Already on its way, Meta achieved net zero emissions in 2020, as well as utilitising 100% renewable energy for all of its global operations and restoring 5.8million m3 water to high water-stress regions. Its ambitious sustainability goals also include being water positive by 2030, meaning the company will restore more clean water than its uses (Meta Sustainability Report, 2020).

Building communities

Meta can help you to create connections, and build communities around sustainability, to make change happen.

With its own climate change plan in place, Meta is dedicated to directly tackling sustainability misinformation shared on its platform and contributing to wider sustainability issues. By providing access to authoritative information, partly through its Climate Science Information Centre, Meta aims to connect more than 2.9 billion users with climate science, and encourage them to take action (Q3 2021 Facebook app monthly users).

Sustainability-focused communities can help create a feeling of exclusivity while inspiring action.

  1. Give your community a home. Facebook groups can be the perfect place to rally people around a cause.

  2. Empower people to act locally. Help people understand and act on local solutions and make a difference in their communities.

  3. Channel people's desire to make a difference. Create opportunities for people to come together while rewarding them for sustainable actions.

  4. Make it easier for people to make an impact. Give people the tools to create positive change, using fundraisers or experiences with real-world results.

Creating opportunities

Climate change mitigation is more than just a shared responsibility – it presents opportunities for brands. For example, a 2020 study by Meta found that 54% of global holiday shoppers say they consider the environmental impact of the products and gifts they buy at Christmas (Meta IQ source: Meta Holiday Discovery Moment Study" by YouGov).

By utilising Facebook to create these value-based connections with audiences, businesses can tune into previously untapped conversations about the importance of sustainability among their consumers. Hellman’s Brazil did just that, creating a “Fridge Heroes” Messenger experience to start conversations and help people fight food waste. As a result, they increased intent by 50,000 over the average of CPG norms.

Consumers have their eyes and ears open for conversations about climate change. Here are a few tips on how your business can start having them.

  1. Find the right audience. It might not come as much of a surprise that sustainability messages often resonate best with 25-34-year-olds.

  2. Have clear and credible values. Make sure your customers know what steps you’ve been taking to mitigate climate change.

  3. Think beyond your product. How is it made? Consider focusing on your sustainability supply chain as well – it’ll likely be more effective that product alone.

  4. Leverage partnerships. Collaborations with the right creators for your business can help you amplify your voice, appear more credible in the space and authentically reach new audiences.

For more information about Meta’s net zero and sustainability goals, sign up to a special edition of Insights Live, in partnership with Ad Net Zero. In this free event, Meta’s Connection Planning team will share key insights on how to more effectively drive consumer behavioural changes on the platform.

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