Since applying for the certification and becoming a B Corporation in August 2021, we have been ambitious to increase our impact and make physical marketing more sustainable. We have made a lot of great decisions, but also some bad moves we are learning from. We also want to share these f*ckups transparently with you, so that hopefully, you can avoid making similar mistakes.
We at Framme want to improve the marketing industry to become more sustainable. As Framme doesn’t own any machinery or have own production facilities, but work with dozens of production and logistic partners, make hundreds of different items and have dozens of customers the task becomes more complex than initially have been thought.
Bad move #1: Setting too many targets
Since becoming a B Corp, we wanted to continue to improve the productions we help our customers with. Making marketing more sustainable and increasing local production.
We set targets for using certified materials, supporting local producers, selecting sustainable logistics methods, and whether the items are considered to meet our circular economy and sustainable disposal requirements. We document if the suppliers have third party certifications for productions and processes. We want to capture a whole lot.
Although we achieved 3 out of our 8 sustainability goals for 2021, including
- 25-49% of our productions will be from certified producers
- Greater than 20% of our productions will be from local producers
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) greater than +50
…we failed to achieve five of them. The failed goals include sustainable textiles and printing objectives, consulting our customers to make tangible improvements and completing pro bono hours with non-profits.
What do we do to improve?
Set goals and continue to track our impact (without the data we do not know if we are making progress). However, our goals have to be tracked easier and have a more precise focus. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be revealing our updated sustainability goals for 2022.
Bad move #2: Create or meet the demand for sustainability
In May 2021, we hired our first-ever sustainability manager with immense sustainability knowledge and work experience. This extremely talented person immediately added another fantastic layer to our team.
Despite having a new sustainability expert on the team, we as an organisation failed to integrate him into our current processes, leverage his skills and turn them into a value-adding service for our customers. Services that our customers would have been happy paying as they could avoid any greenwashing risks and learn more about sustainability.
I believe that was one of the main reasons why we failed to meet one of our sustainability goals for 2021: 60% of our customers will be helped to take more tangible actions for more sustainable marketing production. We just couldn’t make consulting work, although it looked like a good idea on a paper.
As the CEO, I’m the one to take the blame here.
We didn’t manage to communicate our new offering clearly and couldn’t sell this expertise in a way that would be considered valuable among the brand marketers. Create a demand for our sustainability consulting expertise.
Over the past few years, I’ve also have realised the Catch-22 of sustainable marketing: sustainability is expected or at least desired by almost all brands, but not always something that the brands would like to pay extra for. We know that times are changing, but the demand is not always there. Yet.
What do we do to improve?
We need to go back to the drawing board. Communicating and simplifying our offering and the impact better with transparent processes. This allows our team to have more meaningful conversations and provide sustainable recommendations for our customers. Add value and not just be a producer for something.
We know we have missed some our targets and made bad decisions. We also are pretty damn sure that these won’t be our last bad choices – but we are continuously learning. Continuously improving as we articulate in our mission statement: Building meaningful connections in an increasingly sustainable way.
That’s what we are all about.