Do companies value People and Planet over Profit?

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“If people want highest quality for lowest price markets determine which compromise people will choose” (Ynte van Dam)

Some interesting information about green marketing and sustainable business from the course of Ynte van Dam on AgriFood MBA in Kyiv-Mohyla business school.

Green marketing: wide support – little effect, as Ynte van Dam, professor of Wageningen University says. He provides food for thought, that many of the most successful businesses in the world never were founded “to make a profit”.

“They were founded to contribute to human wellbeing or to human welfare, or to make things easier. Competitive advantage is in delivering higher value – increased effectiveness and delivering at lower costs – increased efficiency. Choice of strategy determines customer expectancies. Efficiency based markets create demand for low cost products. Effectiveness based markets create demand for high quality. Because even if people want highest quality for lowest price markets determine which compromise people will choose.

Why quality beats price (in the long run)?

Low cost
● partly based on efficiency
● mostly based on externalisation
● offers less quality differentiation
● is easy to copy / hard to defend

Higher quality
● is difficult to copy
● allows quality differentiation
● allows internalised costs
● contestable

When price competition beats quality?

Yenty says that price competition beats quality when:

Lack of entrepreneurship and lack of vision, but ‘sales + accountancy’ mentality

Lack of differentiation in expenses, lack of confidence and lack of commitment
● in/to customers and consumers
● in/to ones own activities
● in/to suppliers
● in/to society

“Advocating unsustainable business is ‘not done’” (Ynte van Dam)

“Therefore sustainability is backed by almost everybody.But almost nobody backs the required changes. Or even agrees upon which changes are required”, – says Ynte.

“Why can’t we sell brotherhood like we sell soap?” (Wiebe, 1951)

Ynte asks the question: what do you sell if you sell soap (or a smartphone)?
▪ What do you buy if you buy soap (or a smartphone)?
▪ Why don’t we sell brotherhood like we sell soap?
● and tolerance and respect for the world and the people
▪ Can business really only make profit from destruction?

How can we produce sustainably?

Ynty notices that questions asked in meetings on sustainability: always ‘What can we as consumers do?’, but never
‘What can we as employees do?’. The same problem is in questions in meeting with (food) professionals: How can we promote sustainable consumption? But not a question ‘how can we produce sustainably?’

“Suggesting producer responsibility is troublesome. Suggesting political responsibility seems even worse”, -Ynte says.

What does it mean – green marketing? How would you do it?

Green marketing   – it is a marketing for committed consumers.It means:
● Green product
● Green distribution
● Green promotion
● Green pricing

“Sustainability is backed by almost everybody. But almost nobody backs the required changes or even agrees upon which changes are required E.g., Growing consumption with eco-efficiency and reduced inputs; Corporate environmentalism and green marketing rather than, recreate society into a restorative system, revise notions of business, society, nature, humanity”, – Ynty says.

Kateryna Zvierieva, AgriFood MBA in KMBS, SEEDs.org.ua

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