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How to Make Sustainability Work

By Michael Sullivan

Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands was an opportunity for attendees of Product Stewardship 2018 to hear from three product stewards on how they have created greener products.

Al Iannuzzi, Senior Director of Product Stewardship at Johnson & Johnson, found that no one was talking about sustainability and marketing, which inspired him to write a book on the subject. He projects that sustainability will become more important to manufacturers as competition for raw materials increases as part of the growth of the global middle class. He spoke about how all products, even those currently considered green, can get even greener. It’s no surprise that 80% of Johnson & Johnson customers say that sustainability is important or very important to them in their decision-making.

Libby Bernick serves as the Managing Director and Global Head of Trucost Corporate Business at S&P Global. She has worked on providing data transparency to inform decisions, especially investment decisions. In her work, she’s looked at who is innovating and evaluating who is succeeding. More and more investors are placing a priority on how companies are making sustainable decisions, directly tying product stewardship to an impact on the market.

Jim Fava, Chief Strategist at the Antithesis Group, talked about the importance for grounding sustainability in a governance structure. Tools must be based in requirements and needs to engage business teams at the start. Selecting principles and setting goals will inform the tool selection process and ultimately deliver the best solution possible.

All three speakers engaged in a robust discussion on many sustainability questions such as making sure the right people (and only the right people) are involved in discussions, how to keep the focus on customer needs, how to build leadership support for sustainable decision-making, and the value of incremental progress. Attendees also had the opportunity to pose thought-provoking questions of all three speakers.

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