Sustainability in Sponsorship

Sustainability is a very important topic in sponsorship and in the world right now, but it is more than just a ‘buzz word’. It is important to understand that sustainability is a complex issue with multiple layers that encompasses three aspects, environmental, social and economic.  

The European Sponsorship Agency have stated that ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and sustainability are among the top trends in sponsorship. With that said, why is it important for brands and companies to focus on sustainability when engaging in sponsorship? 

Sustainability in Sponsorship

Sponsoring events can bring great economic benefits as well as lucrative value-in-kind investment and co-marketing opportunities. However, companies who do not consider sustainability when engaging in sponsorship run the risk of not reaping those benefits and upsetting their brand image and reputation when sponsoring major or smaller events and having an overall negative outcome from the sponsorship. Organisations have a responsibility to support initiatives that align with ethical and environmental standards and to consider best in practice when engaging in sponsorship.  

Five key trends to consider for sustainability in sponsorship are:
1) Ethical sourcing and production

Partnerships with sponsors committed to fair labour practices and environmentally friendly sourcing can enhance brand reputation by aligning with consumers’ growing demand for socially responsible businesses.

2) Measuring impact

By implementing metrics to track the environmental and social impact of sponsorship activities you are giving evidence of a commitment to sustainability, this can be done by measuring Co2 produced and tracking your carbon emissions for example. This can help with offsetting or for future initiatives to give evidence of sustainable practice.

3) Transparency and accountability

Following on from the second point, it is essential for organisations to be transparent with statements and figures when engaging with or speaking about sustainability. Companies need to take accountability for their actions and statements when measuring impact and planning to engage with sponsorship to help build brand credibility.

4) Technology

There are numerous examples of how technology can help with sustainability. Blockchain and IoT devices can improve supply chain transparency, ensuring ethical sourcing and production for example. Other tools are available to assist in the process for sustainability in sponsorship.

5) Cause marketing

Partnering with sponsorships that are aligned with meaningful causes can help enhance your brand perception and can create emotional connections with future and current customers. By incorporating sustainability-focused campaigns into marketing and sponsorship strategies will not only improve brand awareness but will also generate improve your social impact. 

In conclusion, sustainability is no longer just a buzz word, it is a vital consideration in sponsorship, spanning environmental, social and economics. Brands must embrace ESG principles to ensure they protect their reputation and capitalise on the economic benefits of sponsorship. With regulations tightening and societal expectations rising, focusing on sustainability is essential for long-term success in sponsorship for businesses around the world. 

Written by Eoin Kelly

Ripple, Moving Brands Forward