Tag Archives: social marketing

Closing the loop of the Circular Economy

In the past, economic models were mostly built on the premise of ‘take-make-consume and dispose” pattern of growth (EU, 2015). Businesses and industries have customarily followed such a linear model that assumed that resources are abundant, available and cheap to dispose of; as every product is usually bound to reach its ‘end of life’. At the same time, when products worn out or are no longer desired, they are often discarded as waste.



Industrial and mining activities are causing resource depletion and pollution problems (Prior, Giurco, Mudd, Mason and Behrisch, 2012). Notwithstanding, it is envisaged that the reserves of some of globe’s key elements and minerals shall be depleted within the next 50 years or so (Shrivastava, 1995).

Moreover, land degradation is constantly impacting on the natural environment, as arable land continues to disappear. Improper disposal of hazardous waste in landfills could cause health risks for nearby residents and animals (McKinney, Kick and Cannon, 2015).

Incineration of waste products also creates the need to dispose of residual toxic metals, including lead and mercury, which in turn bring problems of groundwater contamination (Singh, Singh, Araujo, Ibrahim and Sulaiman, 2011).

In addition, plastic waste dumped into the ocean is responsible for the deaths of millions of fish, seabirds, and sea mammals, annually (Barnes, Galgani, Thompson and Barlaz, 2009).

Furthermore, the warming of the earth’s climate, that is one of the outcomes of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, is yet another serious problem facing today’s society (Levitus, Antonov, Boyer, Baranova, Garcia, Locarnini and Zweng, 2012).

The world’s growing populations and their increased wealth is inevitably leading to greater demands for limited and scarce resources. Twenty five years ago, Granzin and Olsen (1991) reported that the US municipalities were already running out of landfills. Today, Americans are generating around 251 million tons of trash (EPA, 2012). In a similar vein, every person in Europe consumes more than 4.5 tonnes of waste (EU, 2015).

These contentious issues underline the perennial conflict between economic development and environmental protection. It may appear that the extant economic models seem to rely too much on resource extraction and depletion. If solutions are to be found, the public must be encouraged to alter a number of its irresponsible behaviors (Williams and Zinkin, 2008). There could be scope in using resources more efficiently; as better eco-designs, waste prevention and reuse of materials can possibly bring net savings for businesses, while also reducing emissions.

Perhaps, policy makers could elicit certain behavioral changes that will close the loop of the circular economy. Their responsible proposals  may be presented as voluntary principles or could even be mandated by legislation – in some contexts. Regulatory tools and guidelines will help to bring further improvements in the organisations’ operational procedures, for the benefit of all stakeholders (Camilleri, 2015).

The basis of the circular economy lies in extracting the embedded costs of resources; through re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling materials and products throughout their life cycle. Arguably, what was used to be regarded as ‘waste’ could be turned into a valuable resource for business and industry.

In sum, this contribution presents the business case for resource efficiency that could possibly bring a new wave of smart, sustainable growth and competitiveness.



Barnes, D. K., Galgani, F., Thompson, R. C., & Barlaz, M. (2009). Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 1985-1998.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015) “Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting”. Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 18 (3) 210-222

EPA (2012) Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012. United States Environmental Protection Agency. http://www3.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/2012_msw_fs.pdf retrieved on 03rd November 2015.

EU (2015) Moving towards a circular economy. European Commission, Brussels. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/index_en.htm accessed on the 01st November 2015.

Levitus, S., Antonov, J. I., Boyer, T. P., Baranova, O. K., Garcia, H. E., Locarnini, R. A., … & Zweng, M. M. (2012). World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0–2000 m), 1955–2010. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(10).

McKinney, L., Kick, E., & Cannon, C. (2015). A Human Ecology Approach to Environmental Inequality: A County-Level Analysis of Natural Disasters and the Distribution of Landfills in the Southeastern United States. Human Ecology Review, 21(1), 109.

Singh, R. P., Singh, P., Araujo, A. S., Ibrahim, M. H., & Sulaiman, O. (2011). Management of urban solid waste: Vermicomposting a sustainable option. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 55(7), 719-729.

Shrivastava, P. (1995). Ecocentric management for a risk society. Academy of management review, 20(1), 118-137.

Williams, G., & Zinkin, J. (2008). The effect of culture on consumers’ willingness to punish irresponsible corporate behaviour: applying Hofstede’s typology to the punishment aspect of corporate social responsibility. Business Ethics: A European Review, 17(2), 210-226.


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Environmental Responsibility in the Hospitality Sector

In a recent media release Hyatt has reiterated its commitment to environmental stewardship with a focus on energy, waste and water reduction, sustainable building, supply chain management as well as stakeholder engagement. In Hyatt’s Corporate Responsibility Report, the listed hotel corporation has unveiled an aggressive set of environmental goals for the year 2020, all designed to strengthen Hyatt’s collective ability to collaborate, inspire and further its commitment to environmental stewardship. Hyatt has also defined a suite of measurable and actionable targets. Hyatt hotels aim to create a more sustainable future for themselves and for their neighbours. The hotel group posits that the conservation efforts have reaped fruit, resulting in major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and water and energy usage by property across their portfolio. Hyatt maintains that its commitment to environmental stewardship touches every aspect of its business, from the way how the hotels are built and operated, to the way they collaborate with their global supply chain, to the way the hotel chain influences change through the passion and commitment of its employees around the world.
Setting Focus Areas
Hyatt 2020 Vision focuses on significantly expanding the global chain’s strategic scope, especially in areas where past efforts have not had as much of an impact due to occupancy fluctuations and rapid business growth in developing markets. With this in mind, the hotel chain’s three strategic priorities include the following;
• “Use Resources Thoughtfully: Hyatt is committed to examining how its hotels source, consume and manage natural resources to serve their guests. Hyatt will identify ways for Hyatt hotels to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, use less water, produce less waste and make more environmentally responsible purchasing decisions. As a highlight, Hyatt has set the goal to reduce water use per guest night by 25 percent, and within water-stressed areas, Hyatt has set a 30 percent reduction goal. Additionally, Hyatt is elevating its recycling efforts by challenging every hotel to reach a 40 percent diversion rate, as well as by setting a recycling goal for renovation waste.
Build Smart: Hyatt will work closely with stakeholders to increase the focus on building more efficient, environmentally conscious hotels across the enterprise. Beginning in 2015, all new construction and major renovation projects contracted for Hyatt managed hotels will be expected to follow enhanced sustainable design guidelines. Hyatt will lead this initiative by mandating that all new construction and major renovation projects for wholly owned full service hotels and resorts achieve LEED certification, or an equivalent certification.
Innovate and Inspire: This goal reflects Hyatt’s commitment to be a catalyst for bringing more hearts, hands and minds to the table to help advance environmental sustainability around the world. This includes Hyatt’s commitment to create a funding mechanism to support the innovation, ideation and acceleration of sustainable solutions within its hotels that can be replicated across the Hyatt portfolio, as well as the broader hospitality industry” (Hyatt Corporate Responsibility Report, 2013/2014).

Reporting Progress
Hyatt’s reported some of its major milestones, including:

• “The launch of Ready to Thrive, Hyatt’s global corporate philanthropy program focused on literacy and career readiness, which included a $750,000 investment in career readiness programs in Brazil.
• Building 11 libraries and supporting reading and writing programs in 30 schools through a new partnership with Room to Read, impacting 30,000 students in India.
• Donating 35,000 books to kids in need across the globe through We Give Books and Room to Read.
• Donating more than 100,000 volunteer hours in 2013 – a 69 percent increase from 2012.
• More than 80 percent of Hyatt hotels recycling at least one or more waste streams.
• A reduction in resource use intensity in each of Hyatt’s three regions compared to 2006 – up to a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, up to a 13 percent reduction in energy and up to a 15 percent reduction in water.
• Development of responsible seafood sourcing goals based on a global purchasing audit in partnership with World Wildlife Fund.
• Required more than 40,000 of its global associates — including housekeepers, front office, concierge, guest services, key service and security personnel, and all management-level colleagues — to complete Human Trafficking Prevention Training. Hyatt also implemented a standard for all of its hotels to have training measures in place” (Hyatt Corporate Responsibility Report, 2013/2014).

Hyatt Thrive: http://thrive.hyatt.com/en/thrive.html
Hyatt Corporate Responsibility Report (2013-2014): http://thrive.hyatt.com/content/dam/Minisites/hyattthrive/Hyatt%20Corporate%20Responsibility%20Report-2013-2014.pdf

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Developing Social Marketing Plans

Corporate Social Marketing differs from other marketing activities as it focuses on responsible behaviours that help society and the environment. This contribution suggests that there are many benefits for businesses who carry out laudable initiatives. Social marketing raises the businesses’ profile as it strengthens the brands’ positioning relative to others. It improves the financial performance of firms, especially if it supports the firms’ marketing goals and objectives.


Of course there may be many cynics among stakeholders (including customers) who view social marketing campaigns as none of your business. Therefore, developing and supporting social marketing campaigns will surely involve more than writing a cheque.

Businesses ought to pick an issue which is closely related to their individual organisation’s core business. The organisation’s resources and the corporate marketing strategies should focus on initiatives that have the potential for long-term sustainability. In addition, every member of staff should be encouraged to engage in socially and environmentally responsible behaviours. Perhaps, there is also scope in forging alliances with the public sector and non-profit organisations. Such external stakeholders can possibly provide relevant expertise, credibility and extended reach into promising customers. For instance, non-governmental organisations can easily identify the needs and wants of the communities around businesses. Finally, strategic marketing entails sequential planning processes which will involve consumer and competitive research as well as the effective utilisation of marketing mix tools.

A cohesive approach is necessary to ensure successful results. Therefore, the following steps and principles are highly commendable for the successful implementation of social marketing plans which will eventually reap fruit in the long term:

  1. Determine a vision for social behaviour: Who is the main sponsor of this concerted effort? What is the purpose of doing this? What social and environmental issue(s) will the plan address and why?
  2. Conduct a situation analysis, which triggers a SWOT analysis: What are the internal strengths and weaknesses? What are the external opportunities and threats?
  3. Segmenting target audiences: Which individuals and/or organisations in the community have the greatest need? Are these potential segments readily accessible?
  4. Set behavioural objectives and change management goals: A key success factor is the setting of specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) objectives that become the core of campaign effort.
  5. Determine potential pitfalls to behaviour change: Perform a cost-benefit analysis of the desired behaviour. At this stage that it is also necessary to look at the competitors’ behaviours. The target audiences can also change their attitudes and perceptions about products and services over time.
  6. Draft a positioning statement: Are the businesses’ target audiences valuing socially and environmentally responsible behaviour?
  7. Develop the marketing mix, marketing strategies and tactics: Businesses need to respond to the barriers (and motivations) that target audiences may have. Some customers may be sceptical of the businesses real intentions. A few issues to consider in each of the 4Ps include: (i) Product – provide tangible products or services in the social marketing campaign, ones that will add value to the brand. (ii) Price – non-monetary forms of recognition can add value to the exchange transaction.(iii) Place – look for ways to enhance the distribution of the product (or service) by reaching out to the desired target market in a convenient way.    (iv) Promotion – develop marketing communication messages prior to selecting media channels. Messages have to be clear, understandable and relevant to particular target audiences .
  8. Develop a plan for evaluation and monitoring: Evaluation of target segments. Where there any behavioural changes in customers? Is the social marketing campaign successful?
  9. Allocate budgets and find additional funding sources: There may be scope in corporate partnerships (for philanthropy) with all sectors in society: e.g. public agencies, non-profit organisations, foundations and special interest groups.
  10. Complete an implementation plan: A three to five year plan may be required to educate staff, dedicate financial resources for infrastructures, change attitudes and perceptions to support behavioural change.

Also Published by the Times of Malta (18th July 2013)

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