Born from a business trip to California, USA during a particularly bad year of wildfires, Green Friday is just one example of Webravo's focus on sustainability, where the group of voucher code websites plant a tree for every purchase made during Q4's peak shopping period.
To find out more about Webravo's views on sustainability in affiliate marketing, we caught up with Chris Russell-Smith, the company's point person for growth and partnerships in the UK.
Why is sustainability important to advertisers and publishers?
Being sustainable is vital to creating a credible business and it encompasses much more than just environmental considerations. If a company does not address and embrace sustainability then it is not going to be viable and it will simply not survive in the long term.
Sustainability is about satisfying the needs of the present without negatively affecting conditions for future generations. Environmental sustainability is a core part of this, because clearly our way of life cannot be sustained if our natural environment is not regenerated. It also encompasses human elements like wellness, diversity and the quality of life, and then the systems we put in place in organisations to manage that quality of life.
If you are still thinking about CSR, you’re out of date. It’s part of it, but it goes much further.
Why is a brand purpose such a big deal right now?
Even with a growing awareness of sustainability, many businesses are not acting, and consumers are slow to adopt.
A recent survey showed a disparity between those who know they should be practicing ethical consumerism, and those who actually do. There are 150 million children still in the commercial supply chain, only 9% of resources are recycled, 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is still being dumped into the sea each year and there has been an average of 60% decline in wildlife populations since 1970.
Businesses need to act, both to avoid and mitigate the risks of all this, but also to realise the opportunity that being sustainable will bring – employee and customer loyalty.
Additionally, investors look for long term viable businesses to invest their money, and other brands will want to be associated with companies that boost their own brand.
How has the industry developed and what do you expect to come out of recent actions?
Some industries are at greater risk than others. Fast fashion, for example, by it’s very nature, is not sustainable and there have been some noticeable examples - as recently as this year - of businesses that have not taken responsibility for their supply chains and if not fixed, could be very damaging.
But generally, both people and business inherently want to do the right thing. Recent action by Extinction Rebellion, and the prominence of individuals like Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough have cast a spotlight on the effect humans have on the natural world.
More and more people are starting to take conscious note, and they can choose to buy from companies that promote ethical consumerism, and who are themselves ethical.
For those of us working in business, it is within each individual’s grasp to feel empowered to raise the issue of sustainability in their own companies, and do it with the spirit of seeking to protect the fortunes of that business in the future. Many businesses are starting to make small steps forward and this is very important.
Very few can claim to have got it 100% right, but it’s being on the journey that matters.