3 Lessons from Heineken on How to Run a Purpose-Driven Business
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Heineken is on a mission to “Brew a Better World” and its 2016 annual report shows how both profits and purpose are pouring from the beer manufacturer’s business.
Running your company with socially and environmentally responsible principles is more than a feel-good idea, it’s a critical aspect of operating a successful business today. And many of the world’s biggest corporations, from Toyota, to Nike, to Heineken are weaving Corporate Social Responsibility into their business strategies. While every brand is different, CSR leaders can provide valuable insight into how you can run your company in a more sustainable and socially conscious fashion. Heineken offers excellent examples of how to integrate purpose into core business processes and outreach.
Here are 3 lessons from Heineken on how to use purpose to steer business strategy:
1) Global Frameworks Offer Strategy Guidance: International protocols like the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can serve as valuable guides on how to operate a purpose-driven business. What’s more is they create a common ground that can be the basis for collaboration between your brand and governments, non-profits, individuals and other corporations committed to building a better world.
The SDGs influence myriad facets of Heineken’s corporate decisionmaking from internal culture, to agriculture, to consumer outreach. For example, the beer maker highlights how its Supplier Code demands humane working conditions and environmentally responsible sourcing from its agricultural partners. Furthermore, the company’s agricultural practices align with SDGs focused on Responsible Consumption and Production, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and more.
In essence, international frameworks can not only help you engage in a movement far greater than your brand or industry, but also provide key insights on how to run a conscious company.
2) Sustainability Targets Increase Financial and Environmental Performance: Before you ramp-up your profits and impact it’s important to benchmark where you are and where you want to be. Simply measuring your environmental footprint and setting sustainability goals is the first step to making significant improvements in efficiency, saving money and operating a more eco-friendly business.
Heineken is committed to both financial and environmental sustainability. The company measures water and energy use as well as carbon emissions and has implemented sustainability initiatives that reduce both the environmental impact and production costs. For example, the company’s efficiency initiatives saved them over 1,000 olympic sized swimming pools worth of water from 2015 to 2016 and 13.5 million euros from 2009 to 2016. By keeping track of resource use in the supply chain and making changes to improve efficiency, Heineken has coupled profits with impact.
3) Socially Responsible Communications Expand Networks: Participating in cultural conversations with global implications shows consumers that you’re brand is invested in creating a better world, not just making profits. Furthermore, you can use your purpose-driven message to form partnerships with organizations dedicated to the same mission, which will ultimately scale your marketing efforts.
Heineken is using its unique position to address alcohol-related accidents and illnesses by investing over 10 percent of its media budget in major markets on responsible consumption-focused messaging like the Moderate Drinkers Wanted campaign and the “When you Drive, Don’t Drink” partnership with Formula 1. The beverage maker’s operating companies also created over 50 community partnerships to confront alcohol-related problems. By addressing the risks and harm associated with excessive alcohol consumption, Heineken is demonstrating its commitment to responsible use and creating partnerships that help grow and strengthen the brand.
The key takeaway here is that purpose-driven messaging is essential to triggering emotional responses in your target audiences and forming meaningful partnerships, which will ultimately increase consumer loyalty and trust and scale your communications initiatives.
Today’s leading companies are looking beyond profit to craft their business strategies. By marrying profit with purpose you can not only strengthen your brand’s reputation and magnify communications strategies but also tap into an amazing compass of clarity that will guide your business decisions from purchasing to marketing campaigns.