Deep Dive: Embracing internal sustainability

Part two of a three-part Deloitte Deep Dive series

Global marketing leaders share additional thoughts on giving equity and sustainability the spotlight within their organizations.

For many marketers, their success over the past year has been dependent on how their brands planned for and reacted to uncertainty. In Deloitte’s 2023 Global Marketing Trends report, we explored specifically how they managed to create new levers for organizational growth amid such economic and market instability. But how are these initiatives paying dividends while laying the groundwork for the future?

In conversations with marketing leaders across global organizations, they offer additional insights into those successes—and struggles—as they endeavor to steer their organizations through a continually shifting landscape. This is part two of a three-part Deloitte Deep Dive series.

Giving Equity and Sustainability the Spotlight  

As consumers stress sustainability and equity as critical to their choices, marketers are recognizing the importance of communicating their commitments to equity and environmental impact as part of building a brand to stand the test of time. However, our survey results indicate that CMOs are looking increasingly inward, highlighting sustainability within their organizations—and across multiple touchpoints—as key to maintaining relevance and profitability. This contrasts with placing the onus of sustainability on the consumer. In fact, only 25% of respondents said they are trying to influence new consumer actions. Instead, brands are increasingly preoccupied with showing concern for the planet and the people they serve.

Francesco Lagutaine, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, M&T Bank

“More and more, customers choose organizations that represent their values and deliver benefits that go beyond the immediate individual benefits that we provide to customers, in particular in commoditized businesses. That means telling the story of how M&T plays a bigger role in the communities that we do business in, and how our vision is to grow by helping the entire communities we serve grow as well.”

Kathryne Reeves, CMO, Illumina

“The final piece that’s really gotten so much love online is that we’ve reduced 90% of the waste associated with both the product packaging and consumables and invested in biodegradable consumables. Taking that much packaging out of the waste stream is huge. We’ve also moved our reagents from being required to be shipped 100% via cold chain with dry ice to ambient shipping. So, our chemicals are stable at sub-20 degrees all the way up to 50 degrees Celsius, which means science can now go really anywhere in the world, not just in very wealthy Western economies where there is a reliable cold chain. The environmental impact of dry ice is huge. Both of those decisions have made these products extremely, extremely sustainable and extremely inclusive in terms of the world it serves.”

Shweta Ponnappa, Chief Marketing and Digital Experience Officer, Providence

“Health equity is a big area of focus for us. The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) give us metrics that are standardized and commonly used to determine web accessibility. We regularly check ourselves against those, and we score top marks there. We rolled out a Spanish version of our website because we serve Spanish-speaking populations in many of our local markets, and we’re going to be expanding that to other languages as well. We also index heavily on improving mobile web speeds because we know more vulnerable populations we serve often use a mobile device, rather than a laptop, as their sole means to access the internet—including their health care.”

Stephanie Naegeli, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, SV Group

“All our initiatives are a very strong motivating factor for people to join. Because Gen Z and millennials, in particular, are looking for a workplace that has a purpose, our sustainability efforts help us a lot.”

Consumers have spoken, and marketers are not only listening but also making sustainability and equity efforts part of their organization’s DNA. This, in turn, allows brands to align with customer sentiment and lay the groundwork for potential cost savings and continued growth.

Going forward, marketers have a unique opportunity to prioritize the telling of their brands’ sustainability and equity stories, and lead the charge toward a better future—for everyone.

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This article is part of an ongoing series. The executives’ participation is solely for educational purposes based on their knowledge of the subject and the views expressed by them are solely their own. This article should not be deemed or construed to be for the purpose of soliciting business for any of the companies mentioned, nor does Deloitte advocate or endorse the services or products provided by these companies.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser.

Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

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