TAK­ING RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY FOR SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY

P&G’s Mo­hamed Khalil on do­ing the right thing.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

Multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions that have rooted them­selves within the fab­ric of the UAE’s com­mu­nity have a re­spon­si­bil­ity – not only to make a so­ci­etal im­pact in their host coun­try, but also to in­volve the en­tire com­mu­nity in this process. It is brands that are driv­ing be­havioural change in cus­tomers through lo­cal sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives that garner the most loy­alty in the long term.

Sus­tain­abil­ity has be­come a hot topic over the past decade, and, for busi­ness, a strong sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy trans­lates into fis­cal gains that bol­ster the bot­tom line. How­ever, by its very na­ture, the is­sue of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity needs to be tack­led, not with num­bers, but with heart. In the FMCG sphere, we have found that one of the main driv­ers of cus­tomer loy­alty was our ap­proach to sus­tain­abil­ity. In fact, it is the first topic that cus­tomers want to dis­cuss when they en­gage with our brand on­line.

In ad­di­tion to our own ex­pe­ri­ence, myr­iad stud­ies have con­nected con­sumer loy­alty to shared val­ues and cor­po­rates do­ing good and un­der­tak­ing com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives. Mil­len­ni­als rep­re­sent the high­est pro­por­tion of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, and have sur­passed older gen­er­a­tions in terms of spend­ing power. In the GCC, mil­len­ni­als are key as they ac­count for a dis­pro­por­tion­ate per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion. Re­cently, Pew Re­search Cen­tre found that this de­mo­graphic is more likely to sup­port strong en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies, and more than 80 per cent of mil­len­ni­als pri­ori­tise mak­ing the world a bet­ter place as a per­sonal mis­sion. In short, cus­tomers want to in­ter­act with com­pa­nies that talk the talk and walk the walk.

With this in mind, it is im­por­tant for multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions to cre­ate their own per­sonas among con­sumers, and this can­not be done with a sin­gle ini­tia­tive, but is a re­la­tion­ship that takes years to nur­ture and grow. Strate­gies must also be aligned on a global level to en­sure syn­er­gies, as well as au­then­tic­ity – and this ex­tends across brands and in­dus­tries.

On a global level, we have in­grained sus­tain­abil­ity within our re­search and de­vel­op­ment process – at the in­no­va­tion level. We con­tinue to­wards our long term goal of zero waste go­ing to land­fill and 100 per cent re­new­able en­ergy in the re­gion with the same vigour as we are com­mit­ted to glob­ally. How­ever, we recog­nise that this is not enough for the in­di­vid­ual con­sumer; it is im­per­a­tive that we make strong con­nec­tions ns be­tween sus­tain­abil­ity and brand eq­uity on a per­sonal level, and this means hav­ing a strong un­der­stand­ing of f the re­gions and so­ci­eties where we op­er­ate to en­sure that we are mak­ing ng the right im­pact, and that we are open­ing the doors of par­tic­i­pa­tion be­yond eyond the walls of our fac­to­ries and of­fices. ces.

Our chal­lenge is to find nd ways to ed­u­cate the con­sumer and nd help them be­come a force for the greater good in a way that also unites them hem with the so­ci­eties they are liv­ing in. This year, we were in­spired by The e Year of Zayed ini­tia­tive. Sus­tain­abil­ity nabil­ity was one of the key val­ues of f the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sul­tan n Al Nahyan, and we wanted to em­u­late ate this in a very real and com­mu­nity ty fo­cused way, not only to spread aware­ness eness or a mes­sage, but also to do some­thing that will make a tan­gi­ble e dif­fer­ence in our host coun­try, one that hat will res­onate for many years s to come.

“Leave your mark” is a cam­paign that was a re­sult of this thought process. The ghaf tree – the na­tional tree of the UAE – is en­dan­gered, dan­gered, so to change this di­rectly, ly, we com­mit­ted to cul­ti­vat­ing thou­sands of f ghaf trees in the UAE, and mak­ing the com­mu­nity a part of it, by plant­ing a seed for ev­ery P&G prod­uct sold in the pe­riod be­tween July 26 and Au­gust 4 this year. In ad­di­tion to this, we in­vited con­sumers to flex their green thumbs and plant ghaf seeds to break the Guin­ness World Record for the most seeds planted si­mul­ta­ne­ously in one hour. As a re­sult of our cam­paign, more than 100 UAE con­sumers were di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for plant­ing 20,600 ghaf seeds in one hour.

Of course, this is just one of the many ways that we are bring­ing sus­tain­abil­ity to life in the re­gion, and we have found that there is def­i­nitely stronger brand affin­ity amongst our cus­tomers fol­low­ing such ini­tia­tives, but the cus­tomers that stay loyal are the ones that be­lieve in our brand ethos that places sus­tain­abil­ity at the very core of ev­ery­thing we do. This is a learn­ing that spans far be­yond the bor­ders of the UAE and the FMCG in­dus­try, and one that we be­lieve will be­come the back­bone of ev­ery­thing t that at con­sumers co su e s stand sta d for.

Our chal­lenge is to find ways to ed­u­cate the con­sumer and help them be­come a force for the greater good in a way that also unites them with the so­ci­eties they are liv­ing in.

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