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95 | Sustainable marketing practices for business leaders

49 min listen

Introducing Dr Leeya Hendricks, a superwoman of both sustainability and SaaS.

Dive into this episode with the CMO of Rimm, as she explains how we as marketers should be approaching the topic of sustainability. 

How do you avoid greenwashing, or even green-hushing? And how can marketing and the board come together to achieve greater sustainability-focused KPIs?

Tune in now to find out. 



View the full transcript here

95 | Sustainable marketing practices for business leaders

Harry Radcliffe: Welcome to the Tech Marketing Podcast.

Jon Busby: We're joined today by Leeya Hendrix, our CMO of Rimm Sustainability. Leah, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. Can you, could you give us a background on your journey? How did you end up as CMO of a sustainability company? No.

Leeya Hendricks: Excellent. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

I joined Rimm Sustainability as the global Chief Marketing Officer, more with a purpose driven focus. My background's pretty much been in, in financial technology and manage consult management consulting. And then I worked for ad agencies in the early part of my career, but, Pretty much technology and over the past few years, it's really been more on purpose and really to work for an organization that drives sustainability with this kind of robust AI powered SaaS platform that places purpose at its core.

Really intersects well with my purpose of sustainability and my passion for platforms. So for me it was really a no-brainer. And I think I shared with you that I've recently finished my PhD and my PhD's pretty much been on, on that topic around B2B platform ecosystem development and value co-creation.

So that purpose driven angle comes through there as well.

Harry Radcliffe: Did you go into that PhD? Was that the original, like title for it or did you work your way there?

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah you work your way there naturally over time, but I went in there with the focus of B2B platforms and value co-creation. That still maintains and is still there, but of course, it took its journey o over focus area, so it's around building platforms and how you upscale platforms and how you co-create value.

But yeah, went in there with the same passion. And I love it. I'm gonna

Jon Busby: ask a question that I'm really curious about, and I'm sure many of our listeners are. Yes. And it's not my question sheet here cuz I'm going off on a massive tangent. The how did you find balancing? Yeah. Doing a PhD in this is fascinating.

How did you find balancing that with a job? Like how did you make it work? And would you say it's a rewarding exercise for anyone to go through?

Leeya Hendricks: Definitely, I would definitely say it's rewarding. I think you learn so much about yourself. I think it builds their resilience and being able to balance, business and your purpose.

So hence why we're saying their purpose driven angle, because for me it's always been about purpose. People do PhDs for different reasons. For me, it was always contributing to knowledge. You you leave a legacy in terms of that. Contribution of knowledge and it's there forever.

I would say it was very hard. I think it helps when you are focusing on a topic that you are passionate about because it comes through in the work I do daily. So I think that's the easy kind of transition, it's what you do, it's what you love. So it's easy to write. And I think it, it's it takes a lot of discipline, five years of your life trying to juggle that.

I think if you ask my husband that question, he is very much happy to see it come to an end actually. Absolutely. So

Jon Busby: yeah I know I'd love to pick your brains more on, on more on that later actually, just cuz you know, it's something, having a, being so passionate about a subject can be absolutely key.

Like, where was your. When would you say you discovered your passion for sustainability that drove you to do a PhD in land where you are today? Was there a single moment that you could look back at and say, that was the moment I knew this was right for me?

Leeya Hendricks: No, so I think the interesting thing is obviously my PhD is not on sustainability.

It's rather on, B2B platforms and value co-creation, but one of the case studies is actually on. On ESG or one of the clients or the case studies focus on, we look at subscription model in a freemium model, and one of them is actually how they co-created value. And within this co-creation, they notice that the value proposition of E H E ESG has actually come through.

Obviously there's an angle there on ESG, but where it came from was really over time. I started my My study is actually more in fine arts, so I graduated in fine arts and then I merged fine arts with brand management. So the love for creativity actually moved from that kind of visual aspect to brand building.

And then I realized that I'm very strategic, so I wanted to build on that strategy, and that's how I went into brand marketing. And then marketing holistically. And through that kind of growth as brand marketing and you focus on really positioning the business end to end as brand I really started to become more business focused.

So hence why I wanted to go on to do business and MBA. And after I finished my MBA I then realized actually I have more to give in terms of this contribution of knowledge. And I'm not, I'm not, Done with this contribution is yet, and that's where I went on to the PhD. So a PhD is a lot more research, it's a lot more focusing on your topic.

And your focus area. Which is very different to an MBA. And I think that's where I love came in is to say, I'm not done yet. I still have that passion and I wanna do a bit more in this space.

Jon Busby: That's fascinating. So yeah, you, you've inspired me to think, goodness, do I need to go back and do a PhD?

Probably would be in something similar in B2B platforms as well. Merging those two together is fascinating. Where did we move on from here? Sustainability at the moment is so intertwined with culture with where we are as a brand like many I'm seeing now many, like Gen Zs now say that it, they want to work for a brand that represents their own values as part of the culture.

Where does a business leader start to, to take a stance when it comes to intertwining sustainability into their culture?

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah, so I think it's so critical for marketing really to drive impact in this space. So my love for sustainability has grown over the years as I've been involved in sustainability in many of my previous roles.

But I guess it's increased over the past three years as sustainability has been a big focus in the market for financial services markets aligned to E S G and in two of my previous roles which were both in financial technology. I've led the sustainability program as part of the internal culture, which we spoke about, and the brand development strategy, and then also as a key solution to prospective clients.

So as marketing is becoming, more and more integral in driving that education and that awareness of sustainability to all stakeholders I've really been involved in driving and communicating that to clients, employees, investors, and then I guess partners. So that's where it's really come from.

Harry Radcliffe: When we say values, I think maybe we don't even want to go into this, but I think it's an interesting area of marketing right now because when brands are selecting which values they want to put forward, there have been some success stories. But in the last couple of months, there've also been some catastrophic Errors in judgment on pushing values and putting that to the forefront, particularly when you live in, let's say the states where people's values are a bit more divided than they are in the uk.

Like how does a brand decide which values they want to make sure go to

Leeya Hendricks: the forefront? I think that's the tricky thing is because you actually need to work more around what is your business vision, right? And I think that's it. There's a sense of forcing your values on trying to align it to sustainability.

And I think that's the problem. That's where that greenwashing comes through, right? I think you need to work around what are the business intrinsic goals, and then what are the business values? That the company needs to live by. So there's a difference in, in terms of pushing your agenda and then aligning it to your employees values as well.

So I think that's where the, in the kind of inauthentic narrative comes true. Yep. Where employees start to see what their values are and aligning it to the real vision of the companies where you marry and you find that nice, medium between the two. I think when you start to push values that aren't really true to the culture is where that issue actually starts to exist.

So to answer your question, Harry, I think incorporating those values into the business strategy that. Can differentiate from your competitors and really live your actual culture is where you'll see, real business practices and that competitive advantage comes true.

Harry Radcliffe: So do these values come from the employees or from the let's say the higher level of the company?

Leeya Hendricks: High level of the company. I think certainly, you work for a company. When you are employed by a company, you are joining a company based on their values and the actual business purpose, right? So there's a, it works both ways, but think about where it starts, right? You are an individual, you've got values and then and principles, and you joining a brand to actually work for them.

Based on being attracted to what they stand for, right? So you buying into that, you making a dec a decision and you making that that, that choice upfront. So you are attracted by that and hence why companies really need to use that sense of brand positioning so that it comes to authentically.

And so then once you join the firm, you realize that it's actually what, it says on the tin, I was attracted to this brand based on what they've positioned. Now I'm actually living. That same culture because I've joined into it. And you marry that together and you have that purpose driven angle, which I shared with you earlier.

I've joined RIMM based on the purpose driven angle. I was attracted by what they actually positioned as their brand and then business vision. And now I'm actually going to, Push that forward. Would you talk a

Harry Radcliffe: bit more about that? What was the values that attracted you to Rimm when you were looking for, obviously if you're there doing a PhD in this type of thing, a lot of companies are gonna wanna snatch up someone like you.

So what specifically, because I'd love to attach some words to like these values, cuz in the, in my head, they're still a bit cloudy. Is loyalty a value? Or is sustainability a value? Or is drive a value? I don't know, like what types of things I'm looking for.

Leeya Hendricks: No, I think that's such a good point, right?

I think values, you can put a name to values. I think that's the, the challenge is that so many companies have values hung up on their wall or virtual wall as it were these days because we are not all in an office, right? And what does it really mean, right? Every company almost has the same values or teamwork.

What is it? Creativity, I can exactly creativity, so many, but you actually really need to live by them. So naturally, I actually didn't go on the website of REM or visit the office and say, okay, these are the values on the wall. I think it's through engaging with leadership, when I actually went through the interview process, when you're meeting with all these stakeholders, that's where you connect with, the values of the company.

It comes through quite clearly and I think that's when you see. The most success in companies is when it's actually lived top down. I've seen organizations where it's successful is when you've got a, an individual at the board level that actually speaks sustainability, that actually lives by purpose and they're holding their senior leadership and the executive team.

To account, accountable for how they're actually pushing that into their business. And by pushing that, they're really driving that culture. They're not just leaving it up to other individuals, it's top down and bottom up. But it starts with, top down. And so I think that's what I was intrigued.

By that, that sense of purpose, the sense of knowing that you've got senior leaders and board members who actually are living sustainability that authentic self, so individuals that know that we can actually really build this. We putting clients first. I think customer centricity was important for me, Harry, knowing that the clients are actually critical, but also employees.

So I think that came through as well. There's this big sense of internal cohesion. I think collaboration is so important in sustainability, and when you see that come through it's, it's twofold. Also when it comes to I guess dni, I think we'll discuss that at some point, but that also came through for me, and what

Harry Radcliffe: am I looking for?

Let's say an imaginary world where Leah's. Out offering, offering a value around you go to interviews. How do you differentiate between words and living by a value?

Leeya Hendricks: I think it's that behaviors, right? So I think I mentioned to you earlier, when we look at beliefs, behaviors that come through in their values, I think listening to the stories, so when you are actually engaging an interview these days, it's also about getting a real sense of an individual.

So it's not, it's, it works both ways. You not only being interviewed, but you interviewing individuals. And For me, that's what it was. I was asking a lot of questions and naturally people should be asking a lot of questions about companies. And you get that sense of the storytelling.

What is the improvements that you are willing to make as a company? What is the impact that you're looking to drive across different communities? When you look at all these stakeholders, how are you impacting employees? How are you impacting governments? How are you impacting, other stakeholders as well?

So that's what I look. For is, stories and understanding what's the purpose, what are you actually trying to achieve?

Harry Radcliffe: I, yeah, I think asking for stories is a great little tidbit.

Jon Busby: And what's the, it's fascinating cause you made me think back to, talk about being academic here for a moment.

You made me think back to the Jim Collins books like Good To Great and Built to Last. And they talk about, a business a profit is more merely a consequence of a business having a purpose. And having those values and making sure that they're intertwined would. I think the best quote in modern day, if we're talking about modern day CEOs is probably Benioff, when he says the purpose of, I think the purpose of business is to make the world a better place.

I, I butchered that quote, but it's something similar. It really should every business have some values that help to drive, yeah, drive something like sustainability forward in your view. And those that don't, Or those that are, those that I guess, that are greenwashing, that are that aren't genuine.

Like what tips would you give them to go and discover their true purpose and their values and make sure they are being, that they are making the world a better place?

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah, so I think there's two things there. I think one is that leaders these days. I think there shouldn't be a difference between sustainability leaders and, business leaders on a whole, but we are seeing a lot more focus where there are certain traits that companies are looking for to say, we need these sustainability leaders to drive this certain agenda.

So there's actually a more. Clearer focus on individuals that are really driving that story. Or that intention around the triple bottom line, right? Yep. So you actually looking at that planet angle of things and the holistic responsibility on that individual. The reason why I say that is because when you're saying values, I think that it's critical for companies to really search for that, to make sure that you are.

Making a concerted effort to really drive that in your strategy. I think, business leaders need, really need to look at what that outcomes are. And I think you need to remind me again what was the,

Jon Busby: I was a quite a long winded question. You need to cut that off. It's good. It's, I, you really made me think back to some of those Like I said, some of those texts that talk about how you mold values and purposes together. Cause I'm completely the same. I think every business should have a true purpose that they are genuinely passionate about.

For us here at Together, it's about bringing technology to life, which we wrote as our tagline, and it's been there for so long that we actually went on a process of rediscovering it last year to say, what does this truly mean to us? And I think it's, it, it's, so having been in this position ourselves, it's easy to lose sight of that purpose or to write one that sounds brilliant on a wall or like we mentioned earlier on a wall or, framed in your office.

That's not really genuine. And so I think it's, I think it's really important that, that. Business leaders go and find ways to go and do that.

Leeya Hendricks: And yeah, so I think now it reminds me, sorry to break a word. It's exactly that you were saying, redefining your mission statement is what I was actually going to say, is that yes.

With the focus on sustainability leaders and CSOs and even, focusing on digital platforms that can help drive that, you actually do need to re-look your brand values if you haven't looked at that before, right there, there should always be a purpose angle to your values anyway. Yeah. But I think calling it out by specifically looking at sustainability is critical.

So whether, you often hear the word stewardship come up. Yeah. Again, you don't wanna make that comment in every business, but make it relevant to your actual business. But that's specific to sustainability yes. You have to go back and recreate

Jon Busby: it. We've talked a lot about purpose.

I, we haven't asked what's Rimm'S purpose. What's could you define it and how Yeah let's discuss that a bit because I think that'd be fascinating to, to know what drew you to the company. Excellent.

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah, so I think RIMM in itself stands for real impact matters most. So that's what our IMM right stands for Real impact matters most.

And I think the, our core focus and our tagline is sustainability four. And I think it goes back to what I was talking about around the fact that sustainability is not elusive to the people. It's about accessibility, it's about sustainability for all. Whether you an SME within enterprise, we can make that happen for you.

I think we see that in so many companies these days. There's this kind of con misconception, I think, and in the market that sustainability is costly. You really need to have a big. Budget to actually implement it. And I think what we offer is a virtual csso. That's why we've got a product that's called My cso.

You don't really have to hire an individual to actually drive your strategy. You can do it through our platform virtually. So everything that a CSO would do, we actually offer. Through the platform. And so it's breaking down the, this myth of it being costly because, leveraging platforms like ours means you can, as a c as as an sme you can actually start your journey to drive that competitive advantage early on.

And it doesn't need to be, costly budget requirement. And as an enterprise, it actually allows you to manage it through a portfolio setting where you can have as asset managers, for example, manage you through an enterprise where you've got a few companies that you can manage and it creates one dashboard and there's synergy and, I think being able to access or provide a platform for both SME and Enterprises is creating that sustainability.

Jon Busby: I think that's awesome. And as a business, we are squarely in the. Sme and depending on which definition you use, we're probably starting to touch on enterprise, but we wouldn't have the scale yet to employ a full-time cso. So I can see just how valuable that would be. You touched on something there though, which, and we've mentioned it a few times throughout the podcast so far, that I think is vital that we dive into, you mentioned competitive advantage.

The fact that having, a sustainability view, having a CSO can drive. A true differentiator for you as a business? What would you say is your proudest in you in a world today where we're focused on short term quarterly reports, especially in tech. What would you say is your proudest moment that's driven a competitive advantage for one of your customers or clients or even just a brand out there that you've seen be able to take sustainability to their, to, to their customers and demonstrate how important it's to everyone.

Leeya Hendricks: I think you putting me on a spot there to choose one? There's

Jon Busby: there is, so I've got part into one in mind, so I'm gonna jump in. I can jump in with one if you can't

Harry Radcliffe: and he has prepared so we can show you our part. This is classic. No

Jon Busby: you've intrigued I dunno if you've I, no, I let you jump in with your.

First, and then I'm gonna go there. Thanks.

Leeya Hendricks: Sorry. Just clearly, John, I think you were teaming that up for yourself. I'm happy for you to start and, let's get from yourself. One, one thing.

Jon Busby: You go first Fascinat say to me. So I've recently finished reading Tim, like there's a unofficial biography of Tim Cook, right?

So his life inside Apple. Yeah. Apple was famously did not publish anything about sustainability, didn't talk about it in the job era. So it's really interesting listening to their journey that they've been on, which is very much was open to customer feedback. Not just customer feedback, but market feedback where they would receive these reports of just how, poor some of the working conditions were, or poor some of their sourcing is.

And they've probably been if, if I was to look at one tech brand that has truly. Shaped what sustainability could be to their advantage. I would probably buy Apple. It's, I know everyone looks up for Apple in tech, but, and you are probably gonna tell me lots of reasons why they're not, but they are one of the few brands that now I think has built it into their culture around sourcing and recycling.

Much more than any other, any, the other big Laptop or equipment manufacturers?

Leeya Hendricks: I think for me what I was actually going to say and the brand I was actually gonna choose was ibm. Interesting. Now I could be biased because I worked for ibm, but there's a reason why I say ibm.

Because I worked for ibm, what was it, I think 2013. And already IBM was really living the sustainability brand ethos in the, in, in the firm. And I actually really liked that culture of smarter Planet. I recall that quite distinctly. I remember now. And it was introduced. Way before I actually joined.

So if you think of, 2012 IBM at the forefront Jenny Ramesi actually really pushing that stewardship and I, I stand corrected. That was in the actual value, but it was really stewarding that. That sense of sustainability and living by the smarter planet.

So if you think of that way back then and where they are today in terms of how they really live it

Jon Busby: yeah. I'd say ibm. Yeah. You're right. They, they are. Then IBM's a fascinating company. I could debate IBM for just on how they manage so many things. They I would also say I look up to them.

But yeah, you are, you're exactly right. You're exactly, Harry. Do you have a brand to mind? That you think lives sustainability to a competitive advantage. He's looking around at his desk now, he's gonna do a Kaiser Soze. I can see it like

Harry Radcliffe: I wanted to know and I dunno if I can, if I'm allowed to just take this in a different direction.

That's right. Which was, when we talk about sustainability, one of the things that we the process of it is a brand has these values and then they attract employees based on those values. But when a CRM comes in, they might have the job of totally redirecting the ship. Value wise, and I've got a mate who works for a company and in the morning they like ring bells and they sell stuff.

And it's very, it is a very laddish culture and I don't think that any of them know what their company values are. And I doubt really any of them care. They're looking to make sales like quotas. How do you. Force value from the top down, if that's the direction. Once you've decided, yes, this is definitely gonna be good for our company, how do you now redirect your company if it already has a culture, if not values that aren't aligned?

Leeya Hendricks: I think that's such an important point because I actually, I've been through that exercise as a CMO and as a marketing team. We actually had to do that. You end up, I went through a merger and acquisition where you're trying to integrate two large firms. That have slightly separate values, and it's not easy, Harry.

You have to find this integration point in looking at where the two firms and the cultures marry up in terms of, where it's consistent and where it's not. What is it that the one can leverage based on the other and vice versa? And we had to do a full internal. Exercise around surveys, around living.

It took, quite a few months to finally get to this point where we actually all bought into it. So you are asking the employees what they think about these values, what actually resonates with them, what doesn't, and then you integrating it into what I was saying earlier around what's your business strategy, so which ones actually align and which ones don't.

And I think there was a lot of synergy. And obviously that's also an integral point of. Going ahead with emergent acquisition. You look at that, you look at what the culture is, can they be a good fit? You actually look at the values as it were, and then you try and integrate that. So I do think that it's a leading point to try and see what that culture can be.

But then at the same time, As marketers, I certainly think the CMO plays a critical role in bringing the entire organization together. So you're working with every C-suite, whether it's the cfo, whether it's the C H R O, the ceo, and you're trying to integrate that. You're breaking down the silos, you're bringing that collaboration together to make sure that actual culture fit is there and then you can live it.

So again, like I said, it's not the words on the wall. It's really what are those behaviors? How do you integrate it into your brand, holistically every day. So like you said as a sales culture, you ringing bells when you win a client deal. What else are you doing? We had a lot of, at the time, a lot of events.

We had a strong D n I program. So I think I'm mentioning that again, but I think that's critical for a lot of young individuals today. They wanna be a part of something that, you really driving inclusivity. And there's diversity of thought. So those things come through in the meetings that you hold how you actually engage your employees.

What are the events that you are doing? Do you treat all of your employees with Equally and you actually not, disengaging them or isolating them. So I think all those programs is critical for the CMO or for the marketing team to draw that internal brand awareness so that your employees are living what you actually say, the business and is

Harry Radcliffe: challenge.

Challenge. So like you come in, let's say, as a new CMO to a, to an organization, you have instantly a lot to prove. And a lot to achieve. And it seems like one of the main things that you know, is first on the list, if we're going for these values is somewhat intangible and they're probably looking for results.

Let's say it's one of those companies. Yeah. How do you go about persuading them that this is something that's worthwhile? If things are okay, if things are going okay, we're not running into the ground at the moment. How do you say to them, look, we actually need to be focusing on inclusivity, sustainability.

And they're like the past doesn't

Leeya Hendricks: show us that. Yeah, so I think it's around, again, you would've gone through this process prior, right? But I think you, as the cmo, you need to balance the short term and the long term. I think there's long term requirements in terms of brand building and there's short term needs from the business in terms of, kind of sales and outputs and results.

But you really need to make sure that we all know that the brand. Folding exercise is a long term, program, right? And intention. And so you need to come in and straight away actually start to position what are those goals? How are you actually gonna achieve them? Rally your teams around them.

Make sure that you are rallying around purpose, that you are exploring what the brand values are, whether you need to redefine your mission statement and really establish those strategic. Goals. I think for me it's assessing the kind of sustainability performance and working with the board at the executive teams on what those goals are and then, setting up key KPIs or metrics to achieve that.

So I think it's always around making sure you're on the same page. So to answer your question around delivery, You've got goals, the business has goals. How do you come together as marketing and business? I'm talking about the other, C-suite. How do you work together to achieve that?

When you have clarity in terms of what those KPIs are you then have clarity on what you need to achieve. If those are vague, Harry, that's where, challenges creep in because what are we really wanting to achieve? Do we know what the outcomes are? But having a clear kpi. For the CMO and for the business to achieve that I think is important.

And then for sustainability even even more so because there's different KPIs that you'd wanna achieve for sustainability, I think, you've got so many areas of it where you're looking at, the carbon angle on footprints, or you're looking at energy efficiency or supply chain. There's social impact, there's, waste reduction.

So many companies have different and I think this is where the issue is, companies go, oh, should I do all of it, as a brand. I can't, where do I start? And I think that's where brands need to take a step back and say I don't have to do all of it. What is the most.

Key thing that's aligned to my business that I really need to actually, work on. So you can choose one of them and do it very well, rather than trying to be all things to all people. And that's where the green washing comes in. Or even the green hushing. So you just wanna, avoidance at all costs, because I actually don't know what to say instead, rather live by one and actually, let it come through authentically.

I've not heard the

Harry Radcliffe: term green hushing before. What does that mean?

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah. So I think it's so important because so many people actually don't know about it, and it's quite new in the market, but it's where companies really stay quiet about their sustainability strategy. So they do this through avoidance tactics or just refusal to speak.

And if somebody asks about their climate goals, they decline to answer. If nobody asks they don't do anything either. So that does more damage for the brand. And so I think that, Green Hushing, it's is where so many companies are trying to just avoid being involved rather than actually saying, listen, we've started small, but this is what we are doing authentically.

That, that's

Jon Busby: not a term I'd heard before either, but Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Really fascinating. Where does, you talked about diversity and equality and inclusion. Where does that come in with sustainability? Like how do you mold those two together? You mentioned that your employees are looking for both to be part of a company's culture, but how do you mold them together?

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah, I think so often, you listen to sustainability narratives and there's so much focus on environmental aspects of sustainability or not remembering the kind of key focus on aspects of, D N I and I think. Diversity and inclusion is so essential for sustainability as it contributes to the social equity or stakeholder engagement.

So if you think of responsible supply chains employee wellbeing, access to resources, brand reputation is all really part of that kind of D n I angle. So for me, it's, making sure that your sustainability practices actually include diverse stakeholders. You're looking at. The marginalized communities, the indigenous groups, and the underrepresented populations.

So their involvement in decision making processes are really important because it fosters that inclusivity and, equitable outcomes. As we spoke about when I said sustainability, for all you know, of what we drive, it's the same thing cuz you wanna ensure that diverse perspectives are considered and that you remove the bias and avoid that one dimensional thinking.


Harry Radcliffe: you have an opinion on ESG scores?

Leeya Hendricks: I. Yes. From what side of things? Because obviously, naturally ESG scores. It actually angles sorry. The angle of the assessments or the scoring is in specific areas and DNI is of course included in that, but there's different areas in that.

So it's a kind of gauge for you to ensure that you are on the right track. So if you are asking me do I align with them? Yes. I think, you gotta start somewhere. So I think that's the key place to start. In fact, one thing that I believe in is that technology and data is so key to sustainability because if it's not measured, it does not exist.

So that's why that e sg ratings are important, or any ratings is because it helps you disclose what your, where you are on this journey and what your key focus areas are.

Harry Radcliffe: My only thinking is that if ESG scores, let's say, get you favorable I can't quite remember. I need to use the right language, but let's say BlackRock will give you a slightly better deal if you've got a good ESG score.

Then does this kind of chicken and egg the situation of sustainability being good for your company, or is it the case that a good a s G score is good for your company and you need to be sustainable to get that?

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah, so I think obviously using an example then we've seen, what that narrative was in the media, but I think it needs to be authentic and the ratings, and I've gone through those processes before in what you need to supply, and I think.

Authentically, you can actually do a good job when you are providing your real data and information. So whether, large firms have a poll. And I think, this is my view, I think a lot of big enterprises use it as a tick box exercise. And I think you said it earlier, John, when you're an sme, you are actually starting off and you've got a competitive advantage or you actually, it.

Easier for you to start really immersing it into your culture from the get go. Because then it's a natural flow through because of compliance and regulations, it's pushing a lot of the large enterprises, which we know are lot slower. There's, more red tape, they're larger, it's harder for them to actually integrate it.

So the compliance and the regulations, while it's, forcing a change it. Also enables this kind of green washing because they, it's a tick box exercise. But the assessments, I can honestly say that, I've been through the process, all the questions and the way it's asked.

You can't really, shape it in whatever you want the outcome to be. You actually, putting in the real data, you have to show what your supply chain looks like, who you are working with, all of that. And the algorithms and the way it actually works out in the back end with all the assessments and the questions do provide you a clear rating.

Jon Busby: I'm gonna take us down a level here just cuz I'm sure some of our listeners you mentioned this earlier and as one of, one of your points about a few of the thing, some of the things that they could be doing with marketing. Yeah, there are, depending on what type of marketing you are creating, there are so many different impacts that you could have from a sustainability perspective.

What are the steps that we, as marketers can take to start indu, introducing sustainable marketing practices in our day-to-day, from media to creative to content production? Are there, what are the kind of, what are the easy wins and what are the more intriguing ones, the ones that people may have less considered that they could take away and start implementing in their business?

Leeya Hendricks: Yes. I think in media and advertising, I think opting for sustainable media channels and platforms that kind of prioritize renewable energy sources, and if you think of eco-friendly practices, I think is important. So exploring that, digital advertising options to reduce paper waste. And if you are going paper though, think of biodegradable and OP four plant materials or plant-based materials.

I guess also consider partnering with media outlets that support sustainability initiatives. Or really promote environmental causes. I think that's certainly for media and advertising. When you look at creative and design, I think, similar angles. I guess really embracing sustainable design principles use eco-friendly materials, reducing, packaging waste and adopting more of a minimalist design approach.

Again, use of recycled and responsible source materials for marketing collateral. You wanna try and avoid too much of those materials and move more to a digital tool. Aspect and technology. Yeah. And then I think content production you mentioned, implementing more of a sustainable practice in, in, in how you drive content creation.

So you can encourage remote work and virtual meetings to reduce that travel related carbon emissions, which we spoke about earlier when we saying, not a lot of people, there's this, virtual. Office, as it were. Not a lot of people are actually using trains or, modes of transport every day because there's some sort of hybrid way of working and really emphasizing that storytelling of sustainability.

I think that's social responsibility themes to really engage audiences through your content. You can only really share. And communicate sustainability through the stories that you tell.

Jon Busby: I think that's, there's some great examples there. Lovely. I think one, one of the biggest. Ones from my perspective that I've seen recently is going to events now, events have, there was a hiatus.

We stopped going to events for a couple of years and now we've started going to 'em again with, with some varied amounts of success. And I was at a very big conference last year out in Portugal and I was just surprised two or three years ago there would've been battery packs and. All kinds of giveaways, fidget spinners and all these huge amounts of e-waste essentially.

And here there was nothing. Like the trade, what we're seeing now from a marketing standpoint in trade stands is you might have a barista or some element of. A giveaway someone can consume. But apart from that, everyone has really taken the message when it comes to what they give away as part of their, as part of their brand, as part of their event strategy, which I think is fascinating.

Have you, it's a bit of an obvious one, but I'm, yes. I'm guessing you guys have seen it as well. Probably Yes. Yes. Certainly. Probably one of the least obvious ones though, that we've really started discussing now is, in the last six months we've seen AI come out as a huge topic.

And I think what a lot of people don't realize is just the amount of processing power and energy the these takes. So have you had any brands start to look at how they can be responsible with their ai use and reduce their. Energy footprint moving forward. Has anyone started Look at that, looking at that yet?

Leeya Hendricks: I'm not gonna, specifically say a brand because Yeah. I'm, I don't really wanna, mention one per se. But I certainly think, as our technology and as a technology firm, I think that ai In sustainability is really growing. And it has the potential to transform the way we address sustainability challenges.

I think it, it analyzes vast amounts of data and then it creates patterns and identifies patterns and AI can help us to make more informed decisions. Yeah. So I think from that angle, and certainly what we offer as Rimm sustainability is, that kind of reporting generation and environmental, social and governance, data analytics To drive more accessibility and sca scalability is where AI, comes in when you look at events specifically?

Yes. I think, obviously, you can't avoid some of these events where you do need to be a sponsor and obviously have a stand. We've been involved in a lot more I guess digital and virtual sponsorships. But you also need to have that brand presence. I still think in some of these events where, you need to be there physically and what we've done as giveaways is we actually have seeds.

Instead of the, like you said elements of paper and giving away, we actually avoid that. It's all virtual, but at the same time, we've seen that work really well where people would come back and say, listen, can we have more of those scenes where you actually just. It's a little seed a little seed strip.

Yep. If you think of a little old, I dunno how to explain it, but back in the day when you'd lift up the kind of match box or match packet, you know that little wooden element and you lift it up and we've got a little strips of seeds, so you. Tear it off and you just grow it. And it's really taken off really well.

Living your brand through the gifts

Jon Busby: that we give as well. I love those. In fact, one of my favorite things to suggest to brands at the moment, and I, you know what, no one's taken us up on this, so this is a free idea for our listeners, is the seed of paper you can buy.

That senior paper where you can print your brand message or your flyer? Flyer on. Exactly. And then plant it afterwards with, some of them are things like wild flowers and so on. So I all, if I ever get given one of those, I do actually make the habit of going and planting it.

But yeah, I completely agree. I think seeds are a great idea. And what also, what a great analogy for what you are hoping to do to their business. I don't even know where to start. You've used so many good words today, by the way. I wanna just call out one before we go onto this final question, which is legacy.

I think that's sustainability and legacy come hand in hand. I don't know. Our job, our roles as a leader or our manager in any business are really to leave that business, and leave the business and leave the planet in a better place afterwards. So I just wanna call out. I kept writing that down every time you said it.

I couldn't agree more. But, coming back to our listeners now, if we could give them three actions that they could take. Immediately and start having a positive, and sustainable impact on their brand. What would they be like what should they take away from this? To take back to their teams, back to their board to make the planet a better place and to leave a better legacy.

Leeya Hendricks: Yeah, so I think a few things. I mentioned stories quite a lot, right? But I think that's where the authenticity comes true, because you're telling real stories that you know, nobody can actually replicate. In that sense, it's real and it's true to you. So I think when you think of companies and internal cultures, Storytelling is so crucial showcasing the improvements in the areas that you are actually driving as a brand and how the employees are actually involved in that.

When you think of improvements in labor conditions, employee diversity, as I mentioned, or giving back to the community, these are easy things that. As employees or as companies, you can drive as as a program and have employees be involved in and actually share it. Whether some individuals actually do this in their own spare time, right?

So you're doing things that you live by anyway. So why not bring that story into the company and into your brand and actually share those and communicate it. And it doesn't have to be, a very Professional driven program, it's actually just authentically telling the story of your employee that's actually been involved in X, Y, and Z.

And I think employees rather audiences these days can actually tell when an employee or company's not being authentic. So the best ways to actually just tell your story as naturally as possible. So I think one is storytelling. I think the other is rallying around purpose. I mentioned this before.

Again, I know we talk, we spoke about this quite a lot, but I think keeping your promise at all touch points, like I said, do one thing well and making sure that it actually pulls through in everything that you do. I think is a big one. But that consistent narrative, making sure that all functions and leaders in the organization are closely connected and they translate that purpose into everything that they do.

I think we spoke about redefining your mi mission statement. So I think if. The listeners really wanna do something is go back to your mission statement and look at your company values and say does it align to that? Is it something that is archaic? Now we've evolved beyond this?

Should we revisit it and actually live it? If that's something that we really wanna drive as a business and make sure that you are creating that sustainability specific mission statement. So I think you asked me the top three. I've given you four with storytelling, but. Four that I think, are the

Jon Busby: most important.

That's so amazing. Thank you so much. Yeah, that's so awesome. I couldn't agree more. Tell your story, create those champions, keep those promises. I think number five is probably to speak to you guys at RIMM sustainability if they need that virtual csso. So thank you very much for joining us on today's tech marketing podcast.

Leeya Hendricks: Thanks so much. Thanks. And thanks for allowing me that shameless punt, right? I think thanks so much. That what we drive at Rimm sustainability. But thanks a lot. It was lovely to connect with you guys, so thanks for having me.

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