Apr 22, 2014

Effie Worldwide to Award Marketers Who Shift Consumers Toward Sustainable Choices

Positive Change Effie Award will showcase how incorporating sustainable strategies with effective marketing programs can make a positive difference for the environment and for brands

NEW YORK (April 22, 2014)— The World Economic Forum (Forum) and Effie Worldwide have collaborated to influence marketers to drive consumers toward more sustainable choices.  The Positive Change Effie Award was born from discussion of the Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer project at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in 2013.  Business leaders recognized the opportunity to help bridge the gap between the intentions and actions of consumers when it comes to sustainability by rewarding brands for making sustainability a greater priority in their marketing programs. 

Effie Worldwide is known globally for championing the practice and practitioners of marketing effectiveness through the Effie Awards, the Effie Effectiveness Index and other initiatives.  The Positive Change Effie Award will recognize and celebrate the most effective marketing programs that have measurably shifted consumer behaviour toward more sustainable choices, and/or grown demand for more sustainable products and services by incorporating sustainability* as a part of their marketing communications. 

“To address the challenge of living within our resource limits, we must drive consumer demand towards sustainable choices,” said Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director, World Economic Forum USA.  “Our research shows that brand managers who are rewarded for meeting sustainability targets are more likely to implement such strategies.  The Positive Change Effie Award will build the business case for that.” 

A recent survey conducted by the Forum found that 54% of brand managers feel barriers exist to prioritizing sustainability, of which 25% feel there is no incentive to incorporate sustainable strategies.  The Positive Change Effies strive to both incentivize marketers to put more emphasis on sustainability in their work and to also recognize and celebrate the companies who are already committed to driving and promoting positive environmental impact.  

“To help get consumers excited about sustainability, we must excite marketers because they are the ones who will promote sustainable products,” said Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, and member of the Steering Group of the Forum’s Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer project.  “At Davos last year, brand leaders decided to recognize and reward marketers for embedding sustainability in their brand communications while also demonstrating business results.  It’s great to see this become a reality as the Positive Change Effie Award will be a coveted award that companies will want to win.”

Further research exposed a clear gap between the intentions and actions of consumers when it comes to sustainability with 72% of consumers surveyed around the world saying they are willing to buy green products, but only 17% actually doing so.   The Forum’s Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer project was created to explore what motivates consumer behavior and develop recommendations on how to use those motivators to encourage sustainable consumption and create business value.  

“We all want a bright future, for us and for the generations to come, and business has perhaps the biggest opportunity to encourage sustainable behaviours among consumers through developing brands with a social mission and communicating the benefits effectively,” said Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever and member of Steering Group of the Forum’s Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer project.   “The Positive Change Effie award is ground-breaking in that it is the first time we are rewarding marketers for incorporating sustainable strategies in their brand messaging.  This is another significant step in driving positive social and environmental change.”

“The Positive Change Effie isn’t about placing a green symbol on packaging, it’s about effectively changing the way consumers use products and services and successfully moving them to try and, better yet, switch to a new more sustainable version, ” said Carl Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Effie Worldwide, and Co-Founder of Anomaly.  “Consumers want to make a positive change for the environment and with representatives from the most influential brands in the world behind this initiative, we can move the sustainability needle.”

Call for entries will be announced early in the fourth quarter of this year.  At its launch, the Positive Change Effie Award will include North American and European categories.  Work that ran between September 1, 2012 and October 31, 2014, in the US, Canada, or Europe will qualify for entry.

About Effie Worldwide

Effie Worldwide is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization championing the practice and practitioners of marketing effectiveness.  Effie Worldwide spotlights marketing ideas that work and encourages thoughtful dialogue around the drivers of marketing effectiveness. The Effie network works with some of the top research and media organizations worldwide to bring its audience relevant insights into effective marketing strategy. The Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre‐eminent award in the industry, and recognize any and all forms of marketing communication that contribute to a brand's success. Since 1968, winning an Effie has become a global symbol of achievement. Today, Effie celebrates effectiveness worldwide with over 40 global, regional and national programs across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and North America.   Effie initiatives include the Effie Effectiveness Index, ranking the most effective companies and brands globally and the Effie Case Database. For more details, visit www.effie.org. Follow @effieawards on Twitter for updates on Effie information, programs and news.

About The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org)

*Sustainability in the context of the +Change Effie Award is as defined by the Brundtland Commission:  "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). Our common future. Oxford University Press, 1987 p. 43

Rebecca Sullivan
for Effie Worldwide