How to approach sustainable branding in 4 steps

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In the face of increasing environmental challenges and social inequalities, sustainable branding has become an essential aspect of modern business strategy. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a global blueprint for achieving a more sustainable future, tackling climate change and environmental degradation. 

The Singapore government has also launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, a comprehensive national strategy to promote sustainable development and achieve net-zero emissions. By aligning themselves with these sustainability goals and visions, businesses can establish themselves as responsible and eco-friendly players in the market through the implementation of sustainable branding strategies, whether through shipping or packaging.

In this article, we will explore the importance of sustainable branding, outline four key steps for businesses in Singapore to create their own strategies, and delve into DHL Express' efforts towards a greener future.

What is sustainable branding and why is it important?

Sustainable branding is the process of incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into a company's brand identity, values, and practices. This approach fosters a positive brand image and improves long-term financial performance by demonstrating a commitment to ethical and environmentally friendly practices. It goes beyond merely adopting eco-friendly practices and involves a genuine commitment to promoting sustainability throughout the entire business. 

Sustainable branding is increasingly important as consumers and investors become more concerned about environmental and social issues, and businesses are held to higher standards of corporate responsibility. Green brands in Singapore set themselves apart from their competitors by prioritising sustainability in all aspects of their operations, from product development and packaging designs to marketing and customer engagement.

How to approach sustainable branding in 4 steps for businesses in Singapore

1. Define your sustainability goals

First, identify the ESG issues that are most relevant to your business and industry, and consider how your company can contribute to addressing these challenges. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). By establishing clear objectives, you can create a focused and strategic approach to sustainable branding.

For example, DHL is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, with a mission to strive for clean operations for climate protection. As part of this commitment, we’ve set a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement through the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This ensures that our efforts are aligned with global climate goals. We plan to reduce its GHG emissions from 39 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to less than 29 million by the year 2030.

2. Develop a strategy

Once you have identified your sustainability goals, the next step is to develop a comprehensive strategy that outlines how you will achieve these objectives. This may involve changes to your operations, supply chain, products, and services, as well as collaborations with other businesses or organisations in Asia or around the world. For example, e-commerce companies, cosmetics and personal care companies, and clothing and fashion retailers produce and sell physical products. These types of companies might develop a business strategy that has a greater focus on sustainable packaging. Ensure that your strategy is well-aligned with your overall business goals and is integrated across all aspects of your operations

DHL Express, for instance, has implemented its GoGreen programme, investing €7 billion to reach its emissions targets. This programme focuses on four main pillars: 

  1. Sustainable aviation: DHL aims to reduce emissions in the aviation sector by introducing fully electric aircrafts with fewer moving components, increased reliability, and reduced maintenance costs. Additionally, DHL Express’s GoGreen Plus service helps to reduce carbon emissions associated with shipments by 30% with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – type of jet fuel that is produced from renewable feedstocks. 

  2. Green last-mile delivery and line haul: DHL is working towards electrifying 60% of our last-mile delivery vehicles by 2030 and supports the development of electric and hydrogen trucks to further decrease carbon emissions. 

  3. Carbon-neutral buildings: DHL Express' goal is to construct all newly owned buildings in carbon-neutral designs by 2030, leveraging the latest green technologies

  4. Green product portfolio: DHL offers a range of green products, including GoGreen climate-neutral services, to help customers reduce emissions in the logistics value chain while providing transparency about their carbon footprint.

3. Communicate your efforts

Sustainable marketing strategies are essential for businesses looking to align themselves with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products and services. This can include creating marketing campaigns that emphasise a company's commitment to sustainable practices, showcasing green initiatives, or promoting eco-friendly product lines. 

To effectively communicate their commitment to sustainability, businesses must ensure that their marketing efforts are genuine, transparent, and backed by measurable results. Develop a clear and consistent message that communicates your sustainability goals and the actions you are taking to achieve them. Use various channels to reach your target audience, such as your website, social media, press releases, and annual reports

4. Continuously measure and improve

Sustainable branding is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, evaluation, and improvement. Regularly assess your progress towards your sustainability goals and use this data to refine your strategy and make necessary adjustments. Engaging with stakeholders and seeking their feedback can also help identify areas for improvement and strengthen your overall approach to sustainability.

We continually measure our carbon efficiency and invest in research and development to discover new ways to reduce our environmental impact. GoGreen Plus, our latest initiative, is designed to offer a more sustainable shipping solution for businesses. With this programme, we aim to reduce the carbon emissions associated with shipments by using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels for aircraft.

SAF derived from innovative sources like used cooking oil, corn, waste, hydrogen, or CO2 synthesis, GoGreen Plus allows customers to reduce their shipment's carbon emissions by an impressive 30%. It is not only a game-changer for reducing carbon emissions, but it also works seamlessly with existing aircraft engines, as it blends effortlessly with kerosene. This 'drop-in' fuel is currently blended at a rate of up to 50% due to legal regulations, and it significantly diminishes other harmful emissions – cutting particulates by 90% and eradicating sulphur entirely.

By opting for the GoGreen Plus initiative, businesses can join DHL Express in their ambitious journey towards net-zero emissions by 2050, making a tangible difference in preserving the environment and promoting a greener future for all. To find out more, read our articles and insights on sustainability and green logistics.

Open a DHL Express business account to start shipping sustainably now.