How to market your zero-carbon solution

While combating climate change is an ongoing process, the annual UN climate change conferences can really focus minds. The most recent COP (the 26th Conference of the Parties) was held in Glasgow with a UK presidency, a fact that has prompted added impetus at government level.

One of the four goals prescribed within the Glasgow Climate Pact was to keep ‘1.5 degrees alive’. This is the intention to prevent the Earth’s average temperature rising by 1.5 °C higher than in pre-industrial times. The pledge is for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming.

An effective way for the government to act on climate change is through sustainable procurement, ensuring its supply chain is as green as possible.

From the start of 2021, government departments have been using a social value model to assess and score suppliers on the wider positive benefits they bring. It includes detailed criteria on fighting climate change.

Marketing your sustainable solution

The good news is that this policy opens a wide range of possibilities for businesses with green tech sustainable solutions or those with a determination to meet net-zero goals.

The rewards can be far-reaching if you can navigate the maze of public sector procurement. Each year, the public sector spends more than £350 billion with third-party suppliers.

So how do you go about marketing sustainable technology?

Firstly, you need to understand the process of selling to the public sector. It is vital to know where to find tenders and how to submit a bid. To stand out from your competitors, you should utilise the power of marketing.

At the heart of marketing your sustainable solution is raising the visibility and credibility of your business and products. A marketing plan is essential and includes a social media strategy, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a well-designed and informative website, and email marketing.

A powerful tactic is to establish yourself as an authority in your field of expertise. This can be achieved by speaking at events in the sustainable sector, writing magazine articles, hosting podcasts, creating video content and blog writing. Your website should also include relevant case studies to demonstrate your experience.

Never underestimate the value of in-person networking and attending relevant industry events for sustainable procurement.

In the sustainability sector, you will find like-minded people and useful contacts at the summits organised by SUSTx, part of GovNet’s Sustainability portfolio, which has been serving the UK’s public and private sectors with events and training for over 25 years.

Upcoming events include SUSTx Technology in September (sponsored speaking slots are limited) and SUSTx Procurement in November. Attending these summits and similar events can place you in the same circles as public sector decision-makers and thought leaders.

When attending or exhibiting at events in the sustainability sector, always remember to practice what you preach. Marketing Donut has a useful guide on how to benefit from an expo or summit without harming the planet. Their top ten tips include using a reusable modular stand, installing low-wattage lighting or LED energy-efficient lighting, using sustainable products and, most importantly, avoiding unnecessary waste. Do you really need to print out piles of brochures or give away plastic freebies?

The same principles apply to marketing in general. Whilst many people include a note on their emails asking if it is really necessary to print it out, how many consider the footprint of the email itself. Every action online involves the use of the cloud (a data centre, for example). Have you checked that your internet provider uses a net-zero data centre? There’s a lot to think about.

Do you help businesses achieve sustainability goals?

If your product or service helps businesses achieve net-zero goals, then public sector organisations will want to work with you. However, they will want to know your claims are truthful and credible.

It is all too easy to make loose boasts about green credentials. The Green Claims Code was put in place in September 2021 to prevent businesses from making misleading environmental claims about their products and services. The aim was to combat the practice of ‘greenwashing’ which means organisations must be careful with their environmental claims or they could face legal action.

Before promoting yourself as a sustainable business, it is incumbent on you to measure your performance and practices against the criteria set out in the Green Claims Code. If you pass, it is worth going further and gaining accreditation.

The British Business Bank outlines ways in which businesses can demonstrate their commitment to becoming net-zero. It pinpoints accreditations such as ISO 14001 for organisations with an effective environmental management system. Accreditation bodies include Investors in the Environment and the World Fair Trade Association.

The Bank also notes that many trade associations provide lists of businesses with sustainable practices. You can find potential suppliers via business groups such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce.

Once you have established your official accreditations or listing on a reputable site, ensure this fact is displayed prominently on your website, and in any social media and email communications. As well as being the right thing to do, sustainable recognition can be a key selling point, especially in the public sector when working your way through a tender.

Summary

The principles of marketing apply to all sectors and industries. Renowned marketer, Dr Philip Kotler defined marketing as: “The science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential.”

If you have a service or product that helps public sector institutions meet net-zero targets, then you are most certainly meeting the needs of the target market.

A zero-carbon solution is increasingly a marketable commodity. To succeed, it’s a case of researching who you are marketing to, knowing where to find tenders, understanding procurement processes, raising awareness among decision-makers, and ensuring that your sustainability credentials are clear for all to see.

When it comes to zero-carbon solutions, be brave enough to shout loudly about them. The planet needs people to speak up.

Check out GovNet’s upcoming sustainability events where UK businesses and organisations from various sectors offer real top-level answers and actions or request a meeting to talk to us today.

Being a part of our sustainability events means that you will automatically become a founding member of our sustainability business community and achieve year-round engagement, lead generation, and thought-leadership opportunities.