Sustainable quality

Introduction: A powerful trend and a long journey

Sustainability has been the definitive transformation of the information age. The first sustainability project Chris was involved in was for The Sierra Club in the early nineties. With W+K he was involved in the very early “first steps” Nike made to eradicate toxic glues from shoes and begin to integrate sustainability into both design principles and manufacturing practice. During that time college students became aware of the inequities in South East Asian Labor practices and challenged Nike to change. The company became a world leader in introducing ethical workplace policies into the supply chain. 

At Apple Chris joined the team creating the company’s first “Sustainability” web page as part of his leadership of The company needed to make available the information demanded by journalists and activists. Steve Jobs felt this was not a marketing opportunity but simply an opportunity to be open about the challenges of being sustainable in the consumer electronics industry. While other computer brands were greenwashing ethical material sourcing Apple began to set goals for emissions reductions and started on its path to a more sustainable future. From using glass and aluminum to its commitment to being carbon neutral Apple has been smart and ethical in the way it tells its sustainability story. At Apple sustainability is integral to its practice of innovation.

Since 2010 sustainability has become integral to all our work at Studioriley. Today nearly all our clients are asking about the true and truthful communication of sustainability strategies. Greenwashing by world leading brands and consumer confusion as they strive for ethical consumption are the signs that we are in a significant transition from the revolutionary period of sustainability to governance.

Studioriley has put the sustainability conversation at the leading edge of all our work: influential brand stories must be ethical and illuminate our path to a more sustainable world. The context is simple: market forces are at play, regulators are at work and consumers are evolving their preferences.

Beyond the sustainability revolution

The UNSDGs and the fact that most CEOs in the world are leading their companies to sustainable futures demonstrates that the sustainability revolution has succeeded. Accenture, one of the worlds leading consulting firms has this to say:

“Our study found that 98% of CEOs now unequivocally feel it is their role to make their business more sustainable. And, in 2022, nearly three-quarters of CEOs agreed they were accountable for their firm’s sustainability performance” – Accenture, 2022

The work the studio has been involved in, including with renowned research company The Everest Group and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has led to a clear conclusion: We are beyond the sustainability revolution and into an era where the goals, ideas and practice of sustainability are an integral part of a competitive strategy for growth.

Less is more value.

Less is more quality

Less is more care. 

Less is more success.

Less is better.

Less is cool.

Our clients tend to be looking at new opportunities in this new market environment. StartUps and established companies see competitive opportunity. The era of defensive PR is over, customers want sustainable value.

Influential Sustainability

Influential sustainability is about not greenwashing but integrating sustainability leadership into every aspect of brand value. Sustainability is not a consumer concept, very few people buy a product because it is sustainable. Most buy products that deliver what is needed or desired in a way that they feel has value.

Sustainable quality

What created value in the past is not what will create value in the future. What was valuable to the customer in the past is not what is valuable to the customer now. Quality is how value is judged. How people sense quality is changing. Sustainability is part of that transformation and demands a fresh understanding of what quality is and how it adds up to value for customers and shareholders alike.

Sustainability is simple.

People want to feel good about their lives, their behaviors and their choices. They want to buy the best and contribute the best way they can. Happiness does not come from always receiving it comes from giving, from being generous. In these globally connected times this means people want to change their behavior to help others and the planet. Yes, its that simple.

Sustainability Projects

We run projects that explore how to integrate sustainability into brand strategies in an ethical way, that responds to consumer perceptions and aspirations. What we call “true and truthful”. Our experience with sustainability challenges includes being aware that sustainability is not only a marketing issue it is a corporate issue. It is not just what you say but what you do and how you tell that story.