Why Sustainability Product Data Matters in B2B

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January 28, 2022

Buyers want to understand your sustainability and eco-practices. They make buying decisions based on it.

Savvy consumer brands have long recognized the value of highlighting sustainability information in their product data. Millennials, the demographic with the most buying power, overwhelmingly prefer to buy sustainable products and 54 percent of them will drop a preferred brand if they find another that better aligns with their eco-friendly values. 

B2Bs have been slower to see the value in showcasing their sustainability credentials and eco-practices, but the tide is turning. And the reason is simple: Sustainability is now a business imperative for the organizations they sell to. 

ESG is more than just a buzzword

Businesses are facing increasing pressure from consumers, regulators, and investors to disclose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data. In fact, the SEC is even considering new rules to compel businesses to disclose their sustainability data. The G7 is developing similar rules. 

The world’s largest corporations are already expecting more from their business partners. Companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Nvidia have announced they expect their suppliers and companies they do business with to set carbon reduction goals and follow sustainability reporting requirements. Those that can’t or won’t will be excluded from the vendor list. 

As these major multinationals set new policies for sustainability data, the first-tier suppliers will follow suit with their suppliers—all the way through the supply chain. “Greenwashing” isn’t going to cut it. Businesses know that their customers and investors expect transparency and meaningful sustainability data. 

Sustainability information is poised to be one of the most powerful elements of your B2B marketing strategy—a primary differentiator to get your company in the door with your most valuable potential customers. 

Sustainability data drives growth in surprising ways

As a B2B, you may not be communicating directly with consumers about sustainability, but the organizations you sell to probably are. To stay competitive, B2Cs need to respond to their customers’ demands for more sustainable products and processes. They’re evaluating their entire supply chain and awarding business based not only on profitability but also on sustainable products and practices. 

That’s because sustainability is a major factor in customer loyalty. Consumers are far more likely to stick with brands that align with their values, and eight in 10 say they value sustainability. It pays to give consumers the sustainability information they’re looking for because, as all marketers know, it costs up to 10 times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. 

But the value of sustainability data goes beyond the revenue boost transparency can deliver. Attracting and retaining top talent is also linked to sustainability. Companies that perform well on ESG metrics have higher employee satisfaction and lower turnover than those with a lower emphasis on sustainability. Doing the right thing pays dividends throughout your entire organization.

Promoting your sustainability credentials

If your marketing or channel teams aren’t already making sustainability data foundational to your strategy, now’s the time to develop a plan:

PIM gets you where you want to be

The Prysmian Group is the world’s largest cable manufacturer with over 100 plants in over 50 countries. As a publically traded company, incorporating ethical, transparent, and sustainable policies is an essential part of their business strategy. They wanted to embed their sustainability data in their product information and enhance it as a driver of future growth. 

Prysmian Group

For a company with millions of products and hundreds of sales and distribution channels, it was a herculean task, further complicated by siloed information in different IT systems, spreadsheets, and data sheets. 

Inriver partnered with The Prysmian Group to integrate PIM into their IT infrastructure. Using PIM, they were able to collect, manage, and enrich all their product information into a single source of truth. PIM helped them leverage the value of their sustainability data and maintain consistency across all their channels and communications. 

In the end, the company had a quick, efficient, and scalable solution that applies best practices to their product data and drives growth. “We enhanced our brand awareness on the market, and overall, we were able to increase the loyalty of our customers, and improve the customer experience for customers who are dealing with Prysmian and its commercial brands,” said Francesca Novelli, Customer Centricity and International Key Account Senior Manager. Read the Prysmian Group case study here.

Businesses are realizing that doing good creates value in the form of increased sales, improved customer loyalty, and better brand relationships. Highlighting your sustainability and eco-practices data in your product content is an important step to differentiate yourself while giving back to the planet.

author

Erika Goldwater, CIPP

Director of Global Communications

Erika Goldwater is the director of global communications for inriver. An industry veteran, Erika lives and breathes B2B marketing, content, public relations, and data privacy. She’s a Boston marketer who hails from Baltimore.

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