“Never let a good crisis go to waste”, Winston Churchill once said. That’s why during these times of inflation and rising energy prices you should think seriously about strengthening your company’s position on sustainability. It may well be expensive not to.

Corona was barely over before gloomy reports began about the supply chain crisis, inflation, sky-high energy prices and recession making its way into the lives of ordinary Danes. And there is no doubt that the crisis and its potential consequences worry the Danes – consumer confidence is at a historic low, and 7 out of 10 are worried about further price increases (PwC 2022, Danmarks Statistik 2022). At the same time, it has had the expected consequence that price currently trumps sustainability – evident when consumers have to choose their carrots in the supermarket (Deloitte 2022). A third of Danes answered in a new survey that they have bought fewer or significantly fewer climate and environmentally friendly goods as a result of recent price increases in society (Børsen 2022).

Sustainability equals ‘license to operate’

But does increased price sensitivity among consumers mean that companies should turn a blind eye to UN Sustainability Development Goals, development of sustainable products and, not least, sustainable communication? The short answer is no.

Price-focused strategies may have a short-term effect on the bottom line, but the fact remains that sustainability has become a ‘license to operate’. Both consumers, investors and employees expect companies to contribute to the green transition regardless of what the economic landscape looks like. As a company, it is therefore wise to think long-term and invest in building a brand that shows that you share responsibility for the environment. You have to remember that inflation and energy crises will pass, while the climate crisis will persist.

Times of inflation are a golden opportunity to strengthen your sustainable position

In times of crisis, we often see that marketing is one of the first things to come under fire when companies feel compelled to cut costs. However, this is a flawed approach. All studies show companies that maintain or even intensify investments in marketing in times of crisis are also the ones that come out stronger on the other side. It’s about having a fundamental understanding that branding is a long-term investment that can be expensive to turn off.

In times of crisis, advertising prices fall and there is less competition for attention in the market – many competitors simply stop spending. This gives your company a unique opportunity to steal market share and develop your brand position. This is when sustainability should be an essential part of long-term branding. That’s why you should use times of crisis to fuel your sustainable transformation in order to remain relevant – both in the present and on the other side of the crisis. Consumers will respect your brand more if you dare to stand by your principles, even when energy prices and other expenses take over.

Good advice to kick-start your green marketing strategy in times of crisis

There are various measures that will kick-start your green sales and marketing strategy:

  1. Use the circular economy to create new demand: Create new markets and customer segments by renting or leasing your products or developing practices where the customer can repair products. The following brands are already doing this at scale:

    • Apple: Apple has launched a Self-Service Repair Store, where you can buy original Apple parts and tools to repair your own phone.
    • Rentista: Here you can rent anything from everyday clothes to prom dresses, rather than invest in throw-away culture.

  2. Get advice on proper green marketing: Avoid ‘greenwashing’ and consult with marketing experts who can provide legal and creative advice on how to ensure you comply with the Marketing Act – and how to identify the right creative “hooks” to side-step the “sea of ​​sameness” when it comes to green communication.

  3. Familiarize yourself with consumer behaviour: How do consumers relate to sustainability in times of crisis? What products do they resort to and how can your brand tap into their needs?

    • Too Good to Go: Avoiding food waste has long been an increasing priority among the Danes. Rising inflation has increased the trend. You can consider being inspired by Too Good to Go, which taps directly into the need to sell surplus food from restaurants etc. to private consumers and shares inspiration to avoid food waste.

  4. Be inspired by good ideas from employees: Consider bringing together employees from, for example, the production and sales departments to get completely new ideas for how to optimize and reuse materials in your products. Your internal specialists often have valuable knowledge.

  5. Document your sustainable initiatives: Within a few years, sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) reporting will become a business-critical issue. Start planning now on how you could report on your sustainability initiatives through, for example, an annual report.

If you are curious about how you approach your sustainable marketing in a time of crisis, please contact Sunrise. Our experts in the field would love to spar about ideas for both circular practices, green marketing, and long-term marketing plans. At Sunrise, we see it as essential that the green agenda is not forgotten but strengthened – even during times of inflation.

Thea Hedegaard Møller

Consultant – Insights & Strategy

Mail: +45 31 51 65 95