Sustainability and marketing: Working together for a better future

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As the Group Sustainability Director for Asahi Europe & International, Preeti Srivastav leads the development and implementation of the sustainability strategy across eight production countries, 90 export markets and more than 22 brands. She is redefining and integrating sustainability at Asahi across the strategic pillars of planet, people, profit, portfolio and brands to create a legacy it can be proud of.

What role does advertising play in sustainability?

One of the first and biggest challenges with sustainability and climate change was the inability of climate scientists to translate the depth, urgency, and credibility of the issue in a simple and meaningful way to the world. It took almost two decades to open the floodgates of acceptance and action.

This history is important because the science and complexity hasn’t changed; if anything, sustainability has become more complex. When Asahi or any other company is doing work on sustainability and then communicating it to consumers through our brands, it’s still the same challenge. This is where marketing and advertising have a huge role to play – taking sustainability implementation efforts, projects and impacts and translating it into a simple, meaningful, memorable way to engage with consumers and citizens.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Asahi Europe & International – from how we brew our beers to how we engage with our consumers. For us, advertising and marketing are as critical as sustainability implementation.

When should marketing be integrated in efforts around sustainability?

Marketing should not be an afterthought. It needs to be an integral part of the sustainability journey from the beginning.

For us at Asahi, marketing has been an integral part of our sustainability efforts right from the start. It has become a driver for sustainability innovation and implementation. Marketing is helping us engage and empower our consumers by not only sharing the sustainability impact but also why it matters, and how their choices really can make a difference.

What challenges do companies face in aligning marketing and sustainability?

I know from experience that bringing marketing late in the sustainability game can create challenges. At Asahi marketing and sustainability work together, from setting targets to implementation to campaigns and storytelling.

It is important to secure senior leadership buy-in as this sets the tone and paves the way for the alignment of marketing and sustainability efforts, to create amplified positive impact.

How does Asahi approach normalising sustainability?

At Asahi, sustainability has always been at the core of our strategy and our Legacy 2030 initiative embeds sustainability across every function and every aspect of our business. Right from our planet pillar, which focuses on carbon targets, to our portfolio pillar, which includes targets for non-alcoholic products for inclusive choices. Sustainability is inherent to our people pillar including sustainability training, goals and of course, our target of equal women in leadership by 2030. Rather than simply measuring profits, we have launched an internal carbon pricing system which attaches costs to our emissions. This reframes our profits (EBITA) as Sustainable-EBITA or S-EBITA. These are all part of our efforts to deepen and strengthen the ethos of sustainability integration across the organisation.

Marketing should not be an afterthought. It needs to be an integral part of the sustainability journey from the beginning.

Why partner with multiple organisations to obtain sustainability goals?

Collaborating with different organisations is vital. We want to ensure that all our sustainability efforts are credible and being verified by external bodies such as CDP, the EU Code of Conduct, Science Based Targets and others. Collaboration with climate NGOs such as Climate Group and its RE100 initiative enhances transparency, trust, and our leadership in renewable energy. Getting inspiration and learning from others is vital for dynamic and innovative climate action. We believe collaboration, including through the WFA Planet Pledge and We Mean Business, is key to raising ambition and staying innovative.


What is the one take-away every brand should think about when wanting to transform the marketing industry towards a better future?

It is a defining time and marketing can help give brands a halo of sustainability, by focusing on meaningful, impactful, and powerful sustainability narratives. Marketing can go beyond the traditional paradigms and help accelerate the momentum for sustainability towards a better future.

Preeti Srivastav

Preeti Srivastav

Group Sustainability Director, Asahi Europe & International

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