Sustainability Strategies From Some Of The World's Largest B2B Brands

Here are some of the world's most sustainable B2B brands that inspire and motivate other companies to follow their green lead
January 4, 2023
5 minutes

It’s no secret that encouraging environmental sustainability through business practices helps both brands and consumers. So much so that “the desire to help the environment” was found to be the primary reason consumers purchase sustainable products and brands.

Almost 30% of consumers say they want to improve the environment, with 23% wishing to reduce production waste, 22% wishing to reduce their carbon footprint, and 17% concerned with animal welfare. Many additional eco-centered studies reveal that 57% of consumers say their perception of a brand is influenced by its sustainability practices. In addition, 87% of consumers want brands to act now to encourage future sustainability.

Some brands considered consumers’ demands more than others – and the results are outstanding! Here are some examples of B2B brands embracing sustainability in a way that certainly inspires and motivates other companies to follow their green lead.


What can we learn from the world's most sustainable B2B brands?

Sustainability is no longer solely in the hands of the chief sustainability officer

Fergusson, CEO of Vodafone, explained that the company is shifting away from "old-style CR of sustainability" and toward functional areas that can achieve sustainability at scale.

ABB has a designated sustainability board that "meets twice a year" to agree on sustainability goals, whereas Salesforce has appointed important figures from several areas to integrate sustainability across the organization.


Brands are actively inspiring employees to live more sustainably

Recognizing how passionate its employees are about environmental concerns, Vodafone's UK business is trying to involve 75% of its employees in environmental issues at work. ABB, the technology pioneer, also wants its people to be proud of their jobs, so it will begin a communications initiative next year to record its sustainability success stories.

Let’s not forget that over 50% of employees mention that they won't work for a business that lacks strong commitments to social or environmental causes. Plus, 75% say they feel more fulfilled by their job when they have opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental matters.

Salesforce, the global cloud firm, has an 'earthforce' initiative that promotes energy saving, recycling, and other environmental problems. Employees can interact with other offices and become active in the "broader eco-system" as a result of this.

They also launched their "Team Earth" initiative in 2022 advocating for business leaders to work on helping our planet rather than dreaming up ways to retreat to Mars or the metaverse.

The reinvention of old business models toward a more sustainable future

Businesses that have worked smarter in terms of waste reduction and cost reduction have seen considerable success in their sustainability initiatives. By using a top-down and bottom-up approach, General Electric (GE) earned a significant competitive edge in the market. However, it has not been an easy road. "We have to work hard on innovation and reducing expenses down. "It wasn't only about renewables," explains Deb Frodl, GE's worldwide executive director of Ecomagination.


Sustainability frenemies

In order to achieve their green plan, companies are willing to forge partnerships with competitors. Collaboration with others in the sector to address environmental challenges can be beneficial. Cooke finds "the magnitude of ABB" and the "spectrum of things" ABB is involved in particularly difficult to address when it comes to sustainability.

Fergusson sees the benefits of collaborating with rivals on environmental concerns at Vodafone since brands frequently employ the same suppliers and demand comparable standards in terms of living circumstances, as well as health and safety.

So not only is sustainability a top priority in business, it is a powerful component of long-term success.

In conclusion: Lessons from some of the world's most sustainable b2b brands

McKinsey believes sustainability will fundamentally change the landscape for B2B companies, opening opportunities for significant growth. And clearly, Business-to-business brands with solid purpose and sustainability approaches are winning. In addition, investors are increasingly directing capital towards sectors and companies based on their ESG and CSR strategies.