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Building a Competitive Advantage Through Innovative, Sustainable Practices
August 16, 2021 News


Written by: Muhammad Zulhusni, Journalist at AOPG

Sustainability is becoming an increasing necessity for organisations due to the changing perspectives across the globe, and the need to address the gap between understanding and executing by embracing sustainable practices has become more urgent than ever.

In a recent webinar organised by BBC titled “Taking the Sustainability Leap,” thought leaders worldwide, including Huawei and UOB, came together to discuss the journey towards sustainability and the paradigm shifts driving the transition from traditional to sustainability marketing.

“It’s important that as we think about sustainability, we balance both the purpose as well as the commerciality of it and recognise that where sustainability is going towards the future,” said Eric Lim, Chief Sustainability Officer, UOB.

It’s a lot about transforming the economy’s business models and how we work, live, and play. From UOB’s perspective, they see a lot of opportunity in that regard because they finance everything. Therefore, understanding the dual balance of purpose and profit is a good way to think about it.

It all comes down to understanding what the stakeholders require to produce the right kind of products and services when embarking on the sustainability journey. Then, using communication and marketing channels, get those products and services into the right hands, understanding what kind of long-term impact they can have.

Where Huawei stands in this is in how ICT has evolved into an enabling infrastructure that was not available five or ten years ago. It is now being used to more efficiently manage the world’s resources.

“We’re personally driven in this sustainable development methodology simply because a lot of our customers are concerned with the cost of electricity, and so we’re driven to reduce our energy footprint as a vendor of these technologies,” said Michael MacDonald, Group Chief Digital Officer and Executive Consultant, Huawei Asia Pacific.

When launching a sustainability marketing campaign, Michael emphasised the importance of “putting their money or their sustainability concepts where their mouth is.” He encourages strategists to consider how they can repurpose and recycle their products in more meaningful ways.

He added that how this can be achieved varies depending on the industry. Luckily, we now live in a world full of data – whereby we can use data and figure out better ways to optimise what we’re doing.

“For example, if you look at something simple like a smart city, we can look at better traffic routing with how cars are moving through the streets and ultimately reduce the amount of fossil fuel consumed simply by using data and making sure that we get from point A to point B in more meaningful ways.”

BBC recently carried out a study of their global audience to learn about their attitude towards sustainability and the relationship it has with brands. It also confirms that consumers expect brands to play a role in sustainability, and they expect actions rather than just promises.

Hence, Christina Lee, Founder & CEO, Global Green Connect, who was also present at the webinar, highlighted the importance of “changing mindset” in order to have a thorough understanding of why sustainability is important.

“If we want to survive on this planet in the next two to three decades, I think we really need to make some drastic changes and there’s no easy formula,” said Christina. “I think we need to look at sustainability as a very holistic approach. The marketing team would need to look at sustainability differently and communicate with the management in making sure the approach results in a value proposition rather than just another marketing campaign.”