With power shifts in Washington and misinformation spreading around climate change, it is gut-check time for corporate social responsibility and sustainability professionals. So, what goals should we set in Earth 2017?
The great news is that consumers are aligning with their role in generating positive change. The 2017 Ford Future Trends report found that 47 percent of global adults agreed that individual consumers have the most power to affect positive change.
But here is the economic reality that every CSR and sustainability professional should write down and post on their bathroom mirror:
Sustainability will only win marketshare leadership if it wins on price.
Research points to 20 percent of consumers paying more for products with higher values. But for the other 80 percent of their procurement decisions begin with price. Adding convenience, authenticity, superior product attributes and values to a competitive price is the recipe for marketshare leadership.
Destructive change is the process that can open organizational doors for CSR and sustainability professionals. Destructive change is revenue cannibalization of exiting products to win breakout revenue success for a superior product. It is being used by companies from Apple to Walmart. To win organizational influence, CSR professionals must become destructive change-agents and align with the other destructive change-agents in the organization.
If you are in an organization that appreciates the need to cannibalize an existing product to win market share, then step into this culture. If you are in an organization focused on protecting existing product market share, then acquire the knowledge and evidence to fight for revenue cannibalization as the 21st-century's path for winning customers and growing sales. The great news is that there are marketing professionals who get it. There are senior officers who see the future and will take the risks necessary to win market share.
Earth 2017 has thrust an expanded mission on CSR professionals. It is to become their organization's change agents and build the organizational network that will win market share through sustainability.
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Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!