Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

WWF-Singapore ushers in 2023 with new webinar on sustainability communication

Singapore – Now that consumers are becoming more concerned about being an active player in the sustainability movement, the current period presents a great opportunity for brands and companies to jump on this interest and draw consumers further to step up their efforts in enabling a better society and environment. 

In light of this, the World Wildlife Fund organisation in Singapore (WWF-Singapore) is launching a new webinar this January 10, 2023, which aims to help businesses communicate better their sustainability commitment, specifically in the area of sustainable palm oil. 

The webinar, Palm Oil: Hero or Zero? How to Communicate About Palm Oil, will be pulling industry leaders from WWF-Singapore and Synthesis Sustainability Lab into one space to elaborate on the challenges and misconceptions affecting demand for sustainable palm oil, as well as the right communication approaches to boost consumer awareness and demand.

Joining the discussion are Vivek Kumar, chief marketing and communications director at WWF-Singapore; Audrey Tsen, sustainability lab director at Synthesis; and Gabrielle Malcolm, assistant market transformation manager at WWF-Singapore.

Through the virtual discussion, businesses can learn from industry experts on topics from communicating about sustainable palm oil to meeting consumers’ demand for sustainability in the said webinar.

WWF-Singapore has been working with businesses and communities on the ground to develop tools and guidance for better traceability and transparency within palm oil supply chains, increasing market demand for certified sustainable palm oil and supporting the production of sustainable palm oil in key landscapes. 

The webinar, Palm Oil: Hero or Zero? How to Communicate About Palm Oil, will be held on January 10, 2023, at 3:00 pm (GMT + 08:00). Secure your spot at the webinar HERE

SME Featured East Asia

DBS, CLP Power partner to make sustainable financing solutions accessible to SMEs in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – In line with their commitment to providing sustainable financing solutions to SMEs, consumer bank DBS in Hong Kong and investor-owned power business company CLP Power Hong Kong have partnered to help companies, regardless of their scale, transition to more sustainable business models.

Both companies have recognised the need to make sustainable financing solutions more accessible to SMEs, as sustainable financing tends to be rarer amongst SMEs, who are often constrained by the lack of resources, time, expertise, and funds. This also applies to energy audits, which often require expertise and additional funding.

To help alleviate these challenges, DBS Hong Kong and CLP Power will be offering flexible and innovative financing loan solutions to businesses. These solutions are pegged to CLP Power’s energy-saving services, which include sustainability performance targets (SPTs). SPT performance is measured with reference to the assessment methodologies under CLP Power’s present energy-saving funding schemes. 

By combining CLP Power’s comprehensive energy expertise with DBS’ extensive experience in strategic green advisory and financing, the two companies will be able to deliver comprehensive support and capital for clients, allowing them to invest in enhancing energy efficiency and expanding their businesses sustainably.

Jolynn Wong, head of business banking at DBS Bank Hong Kong, noted, “This marks DBS Hong Kong’s first SME banking package that comes with a pricing discount upon the completion of [an] energy audit with CLP Power.”

Meanwhile, Lena Low, senior director of customer success and experience of CLP Power, commented that as a trusted energy partner for business customers, CLP Power has introduced different energy management solutions such as energy audit service and offers different subsidy schemes to assist their customers to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. 

“We are excited that these initiatives are being recognised to support the assessment of the sustainability performance for customers which we believe will further motivate our customers to save energy and help Hong Kong achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Low.

Marketing Featured APAC

Colgate amplifies sustainability game through introduction of ‘Colley’

Hong Kong – More and more brands are heeding the call for sustainability, and toothpaste brand Colgate is strengthening its commitment to social impact through finally making its toothpaste tubes recyclable. In line with this, the brand has released an engaging campaign that introduces its newly revamped packaging – via the personification of ‘Colley’. 

Through advert shorts, ‘Colley’ is seen as laidback and funny where it says recycling is ‘fun’ except when it’s a ‘joke’ you’re repurposing. The campaign is developed by Red Fuse, WPP’s integrated global team dedicated to Colgate-Palmolive brands. 

Called ‘Share the Answers’, the campaign ultimately champions Colgate’s use of HPDE recyclable toothpaste tubes.

“We are committed to [helping] find solutions to the problem plastic represents for the planet. And we want to do it holistically [by] making our products recyclable whilst simultaneously educating people and collaborating with organizations on the ground,” said Yves Briantias, Colgate’s VP of marketing for APAC. 

Regional ECD of Red Fuse Kenny Choo said Colley, the recyclable tube, is full of energy and optimism and will often be found chatting about recyclable plastic with Genny, the animated tube character that is a complete contrast – not recyclable.

Choo said, “We want to help people understand the new technology of Colgate’s recyclable tube in a fun and engaging way, and Colley brings that ‘refreshing’ appeal to the toothpaste category…we feel that these characters will permeate through cultures and across continents for both Colgate and consumers. We have developed content that will appeal to all generations and that will help to encourage more discussion around recycling and sustainable habits.” 

Colgate has actually pledged to design and deliver circular and alternative solutions for all its products as part of its 2025 Sustainability & Social Impact Strategy. 

The present campaign with ‘Colley’ was first launched in Australia and is expected to be adopted across other APAC markets. It has already been rolled out across Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok and will also be including in-store promotions. 

Premium Main Feature Marketing APAC

Fostering sustainable behaviour: How sustainable marketing establishes brand credibility

Today, many consumers believe that brands have the responsibility to create positive environmental change, encouraging future sustainability. These consumers want brands to produce products and services that respect environmental and social issues because they love to relate to their preferred brands.

One of the companies who have been strong on sustainability marketing efforts is insurance company Allianz PNB Life in the Philippines, who released a sustainability spot ‘No Filter’, alongside creative agency GIGIL in 2021, highlighting the symbolism of ‘filters’ and the illusion of seeing our environment from a ‘filtered’ perspective. Another campaign of Allianz PNB Life for its commitment to sustainability is entitled ‘Seeds of Tomorrow’, which was launched last July 2022. It focused on a more literal approach this time, as the company needed “to go into detail” and show how Allianz is fulfilling that sustainability role in securing the future. The ad, sans the frills, shows different scenarios of how a good insurance plan can help build a better ‘tomorrow’ for oneself, family, and the environment. 

Additionally, creative technology agency whiteGREY is also committed to promoting sustainability. In August 2022, the agency launched a new sustainability business practice called ‘whiteGREY Positive’ (wG+), which aims to help brands and NGOs achieve their sustainability goals and reduce environmental impact. Through a range of solutions including brand strategy, creativity, behaviour change and technology, wG+ will be able to help organisations respond to Australian consumer and corporate demand for sustainable progress.

For MARKETECH APAC’s latest The Inner State, we have invited Gino Riola, Allianz PNB Life’s chief marketing officer, and Simon Wassef, whiteGREY’s chief strategy officer, to discuss how creative communications can contribute to promoting sustainable benefits to businesses, consumers, and society.

Businesses’ creative communication strategy on sustainability

As the demand for sustainable marketing continues to grow, we asked about both the unique challenges and opportunities it presented. Riola shared that their client communications, consumer research, and focus group discussions have indicated that sustainability is an important subject for Filipino consumers.

“We have had excellent recognition from our policyholders, distribution partners, and the general public on our sustainability campaigns and advocacies. The good challenge for us is how to continue spreading the message and encouraging like-minded organisations and individuals to join our cause,” he said.

Riola added, “We collaborate with SOS Children’s Village, WWF, our bank partners, local government units, and Life Changers. Globally, the Allianz Group focuses on climate change and decarbonisation, social impact, and integrating sustainability across our operations.”

Meanwhile, for whiteGREY, the biggest challenge they have faced is meeting the cultural demand for sustainable, responsible business from all their partners. Wassef said, “But from this challenge comes opportunity. All of our clients are asking us about it. And the answer, quite simply, lies in extraordinary ideas. Ideas that galvanise organisations. Ideas that change consumer perception of what’s possible, change behaviours, and change the fortunes of businesses.”

He also added, “That’s why we created a dedicated sustainability practice, whiteGREY Positive (wG+). To enable anyone, at any stage of their sustainability journey, to walk in our doors and create the ideas that will help them meet that cultural demand, and to solve the tension of growing in ways that are good for people and the planet with extraordinary ideas.”

In terms of the factors businesses consider when creating sustainability campaigns and messaging, Riola said that the two main factors for them at Allianz PNB Life are the relevance and impact of their sustainability advocacies. 

“We also take into consideration our strengths and those of our sustainability partners in terms of our capability to execute,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wassef shared that at whiteGREY, they follow a simple, three-step process: Consult. Collide. Create.

“We Consult widely. We invite as many diverse perspectives and practitioners into the conversation as we can, both from inside our client’s organisation and from outside. Then we Collide. This is where all the diverse thinking is brought together to articulate – and solve – the real tension. The Create phase is exactly what the name suggests. But it’s not just about any idea. The first two phases ensure that what we create is authentic, tangible, enduring and – most importantly – extraordinary ideas. The bar is high – only extraordinary ideas will do,” he said.

When asked about how to prevent dull and ineffective green marketing campaigns, and how to develop more creative sustainability campaigns, Riola said, “We motivate buy-in by communicating the relevance and impact of our advocacies effectively and making it easy. For instance, policyholders of our Allianz Protect financial solution donate automatically to the World Wildlife Fund’s foodshed program that will benefit farming communities in Negros Occidental.”

Meanwhile, Wassef said, “To prevent dull and ineffective campaigns, articulate the real tension. Sweat it. And be honest about it. It’s only in the grit of real tension that we find the extraordinary ideas that truly move the needle.”

Achieving Sustainable Future

As consumers have become more socially conscious of their consumption, we also asked about how they aim to develop their products/services and marketing campaigns to reflect this new resolve.

For Allianz PNB Life, Riola said that they will continue to pursue their current advocacies and work with their partners to reach more beneficiaries and lay the foundations for the Allianz Group’s three areas of focus: climate change and decarbonisation, social impact, and integrating sustainability across their operations. 

“Further, we have plans to develop new sustainability-related financial solutions such as Allianz Protect and the Peso-Hedged Global Sustainability Equity Fund,” he added.

While for whiteGREY, Wassef noted, “We’ve talked about wG+ and how it works. We have spent years working in the sustainability space and we wanted to share what we’ve learned. Simply put, this is an insight that we’re happy to share because our future depends on it.”

He further shared, “But moreover, it’s in our DNA. Our belief is that tension creates extraordinary. The real tension of how to grow in ways that are good for the planet is one we have to solve because our belief demands it. And when that’s in your DNA, you bring diverse perspectives to the table and give them their moment to contribute.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Redhill acquires sustainability-focused storytelling firm VS Story to bolster sustainability offerings

Singapore – Full-service global communications agency Redhill has acquired Singapore-based sustainability-focused storytelling company VS Story to further strengthen its sustainability offerings to meet its clients’ rising needs. 

Through the acquisition, VS Story will be extending Redhill’s sustainability arm providing creative visual storytelling solutions centred around social impact and sustainability for the agency and its clients.

Founded in 2016, VS Story champions the global movement toward an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. It has demonstrated a track record in delivering high visibility to important social and environmental issues through impactful visual storytelling.

Moreover, VS Story’s portfolio includes storyboarding, filming, photography, and post-production of various projects such as authentic documentaries, staff engagement videos, visual graphics and animation, infographics, and aerial videography, amongst others. It boasts a partner portfolio that includes Essilor Luxottica, Danone, PayPal, and MAS Holdings, as well as Winnow Solutions, and Linkedin, amongst others.

Jacob Puthenparambil, CEO of Redhill, commented that Redhill puts sustainability at the core of their business strategy, and they are delighted to have VS Story join their team, as it has an outstanding track record of producing sustainability-led visionary impactful initiatives.

“I am confident that together we’re in a stronger position to help our clients develop creative communications strategies that deliver on their commitments to their stakeholders,” said Puthenparambil.

Meanwhile, Jacqui Hocking, CEO of VS Story, shared that they are incredibly excited to work closely with Redhill to realise their joint passion for creating genuine systemic impact, and she is looking forward to working with their clients together on creating visionary and purpose-driven narratives and initiatives that affect change and impact lives. 

“Through our collaboration, we reaffirm our commitment towards making Singapore a global centre for the circular economy, AgriTech, and sustainable finance,” said Hocking.

The acquisition signifies Redhill’s steadfast commitment to sustainability following the recent appointment of Marta Bigio, senior director of sustainability, earlier this year. It also marks the agency’s second acquisition, after acquiring Hong Kong-based Creative Consulting Group (CCG) in early 2022 as part of its continued global expansion.

Most recently, Redhill has also appointed Do Sik (DS) Kim, former senior writer at Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), to be its new chief operating officer for its Korea operation. He will be focusing on driving local expertise and cross-market collaboration to orchestrate broader capabilities for clients and accelerate business growth — with a sharp focus on the domestic market’s thriving start-up and tech investment ecosystem.

Marketing Featured APAC

Insurance company MSIG Asia ties with sustainable org CIAP, reaffirms commitment to biodiversity conservation

Singapore – As part of MSIG Asia’s commitment to its contribution towards biodiversity conservation in the region, the insurance company MSIG Asia has partnered with Conservation International Asia Pacific (CIAP), an organisation that works with corporations, governments and communities to create a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable planet, to support CIAP’s ongoing internship programme in Singapore. 

The immersive programme is designed to provide students with the opportunity to experience conservation work as they explore their interests in the field.

To mark the new commitment, MSIG Asia has also unveiled a collection of 12 limited-edition nature-inspired fine art prints, which it recently purchased to commemorate the opening of its refurbished office. 

With 100% of the proceeds going to CIAP for their environmental conservation efforts, the collection was commissioned with the aim to spread awareness of the importance of nature and what individuals can do to protect it. Every piece of work in the series, aptly titled 12-Artists-1-Cause, is dedicated by renowned artists and photographers including Steven Dews, Staffan Widstrand, Deborah Azzopardi, Wink Gaines, and Lucy Francis, as well as the late Peter Adams, amongst others.

Clemens Philippi, CEO of MSIG Asia, commented, “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to work with CIAP to support the learning experience of the next generation of environmental conservationists.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Publicis Groupe launches sustainability consultancy ‘Salterbaxter’ in Australia

Australia – Global advertising agency and public relations company Publicis Groupe has launched its sustainability consultancy ‘Salterbaxter’ in Australia. This offers solutions to help organisations in the country turn their sustainability promises into progress.

Salterbaxter provides end-to-end sustainability consultancy services, from materiality assessments, ambition modelling, goal-setting, and strategy development, to implementation roadmaps, creative activations, communications, and reporting. 

The Australia in-market team will be led by Skye Lambley, CEO of Herd MSL. Its local team including Stuart Wragg, Karen Dunnicliff, and business transformation consultant, Rebecca Zemunik, will be working closely with the global Salterbaxter advisory team through the Centre of Excellence and Salterbaxter’s global managing director, Kathleen Enright, to deliver best-in-class work.

Michael Rebelo, Publicis Groupe’s CEO for ANZ, commented that he is excited about the opportunity to help organisations drive meaningful progress and accelerate their sustainability journey.

“Although ANZ businesses are investing heavily in sustainability strategies, if they don’t bring credibility and creativity together from the outset, they won’t create the level of engagement needed to drive action, deliver on their targets and build reputation and revenue. That’s why it’s important to have Salterbaxter in the market,” said Rebelo.

Meanwhile, Lambley noted, “Our ability to leverage deep consulting expertise from world leaders in this space, coupled with local specialists, is exactly what Australian businesses need.”

Additionally, Salterbaxter Australia will bring to market a new data tool, ProgressPoint, that pinpoints exactly where a business needs to focus its time and investment to accelerate progress toward a more sustainable future and unlock growth and ROI from sustainability. This new tool also offers an understanding and measurement of sustainability performance, proactivity, and reputation, as well as the interplay between them.

Publicis Groupe said that there are plans to bring the Salterbaxter sustainability offering to other markets across APAC and the Middle East.

Marketing Featured ANZ

whiteGREY launches dedicated sustainability practice ‘whiteGREY Positive’

Sydney, Australia – Creative technology agency whiteGREY has launched a new sustainability business practice. Called ‘whiteGREY Positive’, the new business practice aims to help brands and NGOs achieve their sustainability goals and reduce environmental impact. 

Through a range of solutions including brand strategy, creativity, behaviour change and technology, whiteGREY Positive (wG+) will be able to help organisations respond to Australian consumer and corporate demand for sustainable progress. It is already working with clients such as Volvo, HSBC, and Scentre Group to continue drive responsible business agendas. 

Lee Simpson, CEO of whiteGREY, shared that responsible business in general, and sustainability more specifically, are central to the strategy of progressive businesses. 

“What started as a passion in the agency 4 years ago has grown to a body of work in the space for the likes of WWF, Greenpeace, Volvo, Powershop, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and more. Formalising the experience and capabilities into a Practice is an exciting next step,” said Simpson.

Meanwhile, Simon Wassef, whiteGREY’s national chief strategy officer, who will also be leading wG+, noted that they have put all their knowledge and experience working in this space into wG+ so that any business, at any stage of its responsibility journey, can walk through the door and start a conversation.

“We’ve recently worked with WWF Australia to support its ‘Regenerate Australia’ program, set to be the largest and most innovative wildlife and regeneration program in Australian history. It’s the perfect time to launch wG+ and continue similar purpose-driven work,” said Wassef.

whiteGREY’s previous sustainable campaigns include Volvo’s ‘Living Seawall’, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s ‘Hello in Elephant’, and Powershop’s ‘Power you can be Proud of’ including ‘Pond Party’ and ‘Free Power Mode’, as well as WWF Australia’s ‘Australian Nature needs your Australian Nature’.

SME Featured East Asia

Consumer expectations amongst hurdles of Hong Kong SMEs in fully becoming sustainable

Hong Kong SAR – ESG and sustainability issues alike have been moving up the corporate agenda in recent years. According to Google Search Trend, the keyword ‘ESG’ search popularity in Hong Kong has been soaring and surpassed ‘Sustainability’ in May this year; however, public curiosity about the topic doesn’t seem to convert into actual practice, according to the territory-wide SME sustainability survey conducted by the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG) at The University of Hong Kong.

According to the findings, slightly over one-third (36.7%) of SMEs rated themselves as effective at advancing sustainability goals compared to only 4.4% of SMEs rated ineffective. Among the 24 practices across five dimensions, namely governance, workplace culture, customer-supplier relationships, resource management and innovation, the study reveals that the average number of sustainability practices adopted was 7.7 across all industries.

SMEs were quick to be honest that they are encountering several dilemmas in achieving sustainable practices. Amongst such challenges, economic and financial instability comes out on top (65.4%), followed by global health crisis (53.8%), and consumer expectations (22.9%), which suggest that SMEs are struggling to stay resilient and recover from the unstable economic environment. 

In contrast, long-term social-ecological risks such as climate change, human rights, and inequality only received 6.3%, 4.8%, and 3% of respondents identified them as a challenge. This might suggest that SMEs are less concerned about the potential risks induced by climate change, or not aware enough of social challenges such as inequalities in the workplace that could cause serious implications for their businesses in the long run.

Furthermore, the study found that the most needed support for integrating sustainability into the SMEs’ business operations, strategies and business models are namely financial support (47.7%), and marketing support (41.2%), whilst such support is ideally provided by the government (69%), followed by business associations, and banks and financial institutions, both receiving 30.8% of the response. This implies that the most effective way to encourage SMEs to integrate sustainability is to offer financial incentives.

Professor Wai-Fung Lam, director of CCSG, and professor of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong, remarked, “The business sustainability agenda has been steadily gaining momentum. However, the spotlight remains on the role of multinational corporations and listed companies. As the engine of economic progress, SMEs have made diverse contributions to social and environmental well-being. Yet, their unique challenges and constraints have not been widely studied. This points to the need to understand the role and positioning of SMEs in creating the impulse to achieve widespread positive, social, environmental and economic change for a more sustainable future.” 

The Survey was based on the views of 1,400 SMEs in Hong Kong within the period of November 2021 to April 2022. 

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

foodpanda SG to tag, identify sustainable brands on platform

Singapore – foodpanda in Singapore is strengthening its commitment to sustainability by launching Green Label – a first-of-its-kind programme by a food delivery company in Singapore that identifies the most sustainable brands on the platform through a restaurant certification scheme. 

Under this initiative, restaurants that have registered their interest will be assessed based on their sustainable practices, and given the Green Label certification should they meet the requirements. The audit criteria are developed by foodpanda with guidance from PACT SG, an initiative started by WWF Singapore to reduce waste and move towards a circular economy. Restaurants are then audited based on the criteria by non-governmental organisation, Zero Waste SG. Certified restaurant partners will also undergo annual reviews to ensure that they retain their green certification.

The criteria take into consideration restaurants’ efforts in the following areas: conscious food, sustainable packaging, waste reduction, food waste, social welfare, carbon reduction, awareness and education, and power supply. foodpanda will also be working with restaurants to help them improve in specific areas of the criteria in which they are weaker in.

Laura Kantor, director of marketing and sustainability at foodpanda Singapore, said, “With Green Label, we want to make it even easier for both our restaurant partners and customers to be more sustainable. With clearly laid-out criteria, our restaurant partners will be able to get a comprehensive understanding of where they stand, as well as guidance from us to work on the aspects they can strengthen.”

Kantor added, “The Green Label certification also makes it easier for customers to support brands that are environmentally-friendlier. The launch of Green Label, therefore, allows us to deliver a bigger impact on achieving our sustainability goals, and to continue to set the benchmark for the industry.”

Customers can easily browse the full list of Green Label certified restaurants available to them by tapping on the ‘Green Label’ tile on the foodpanda app. Green Label certified restaurant partners enjoy exclusive benefits, such as complimentary marketing by foodpanda, educational workshops and resources on sustainability measures to help support their green practices.

At launch, there are 49 restaurant partners with over 900 outlets across Singapore that have been accredited with the Green Label certification, including fan favourites Starbucks, Flash Coffee, Swensen’s and VeganBurg. Restaurant partners that are interested to be part of the programme can indicate their interest via a sign-up form that is available on the foodpanda website.

foodpanda said the Green Label initiative goes under its efforts to achieve the sustainability targets set out by the Singapore Green Plan 2030.