Integrating Corporate Climate Change Strategies with Marketing Case Climate Branding
Hanne Siikavirta and Timo Linnainmaa, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland
A new marketing concept is emerging - climate branding. Climate branding is a means to integrate corporate climate change responses with marketing. One form of climate branding is greenhouse gas emissions offsetting in which companies quantify the greenhouse gas emissions caused during the lifecycle of a product, service or an operation and compensate for these emissions by purchasing emission reduction credits. As a result, companies can utilize the climate benefits of their offering in sales promotion, building brands, as well as enhancing their corporate image. For example Swiss Re, BP and AVIS have pioneered the emissions offsetting model. In this paper, several real-life cases of emissions offsetting are described, as well as perceived benefits and success factors by the companies. The paper is based on interviews of major pioneering companies, environmental NGOs, and consulting companies specialized on climate strategies. According to experiences so far, implementing the concept in the right form and context can be mutually beneficial for both companies and the environment. However, also several challenges and limitations have been identified. The results imply a need to expand the scope of climate branding beyond emissions offsetting. In addition to the empirical data, we have used the literature on societal marketing, cause related marketing, corporate sustainability, and environmental strategies to provide insights for companies and their stakeholders for future development of climate branding as well as its implementation.
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