Communicating Sustainability Digitally for Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies - Case Studies

Unilever and Procter & Gamble are 2 major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies which digitally communicated their sustainability goals to consumers. These are outlined below.


  • Marketing Week identified Unilever as a major FCMG brand “shouting” about its sustainability goals to consumers.
  • Unilever has launched a 10-year Sustainable Living Plan which attempts to integrate sustainability within its business operations and brand communications.
  • Central to its digital communication of sustainability goals is the 2013 campaign ‘Project Sunlight‘.

Project Sunlight

Digital Communication


Procter & Gamble

  • Marketing Week identified Procter & Gamble as a major FCMG brand ‘singing’ about its efforts to achieve sustainability goals through digital communication.
  • P&G’s approach is to align sustainability goals with innovation and reinforce it through individual brand/product campaigns.
  • Marketing Week pointed out that P&G markets sustainability through specific products such as Ariel’s ‘Turn to 30’ campaign and Sainsbury’s ‘Value of Values.’
  • The company also ran the Future Friendly campaign to digitally communicate its sustainability goals and help consumers save water, waste and energy.

1) Future Friendly Campaign


Digital Communication


  • The Future Friendly Facebook page reached 43,000 fans by 2010.
  • Over 16,000 retailers participated in the first wave of campaign as well.

2) Ariel ‘Turn to 30’ (Product Specific Campaign)

  • Turn to 30‘ was a product-specific campaign launched by P&G to communicate its sustainability goal of saving energy.
  • The campaign highlighted Ariel as an environmentally-friendly and sustainable product for home use.


Digital Communication

  • The company established a central website,, to support its campaign messaging.
  • It also served as an interactive hub for interested consumers and presented sustainability issues.
  • The original microsite now redirects to, which features different P&G brands.
  • P&G partnered with core press and online media to provide educational information and sustainability messages during the campaign.
  • The company ran commercial ads including this short clip.


  • P&G Director of Global Sustainability Virginie Helias said, “Our “Turn to 30” campaign was 10 times more powerful because it included Ariel. It creates a link between what consumers buy and how they behave.”
  • Study results show that consumer perception was significantly changed after the ‘Turn to 30’ campaign.
  • 48% of women said they linked Ariel with washing at 30°C instead of higher temperatures.
  • Almost 50% of UK consumers also said that the P&G’s ‘Turn to 30’ campaign made them more likely to wash at 30°C using Ariel.
  • An independent study also showed high brand linkage between Ariel and washing at 30°C (88%).
  • P&G also reported that the ‘Turn to 30’ campaign increased the number of consumers using low-energy practices by up to 5 times.

Communicating Sustainability Digitally- InBev

Sustainability has become a primary strategic focus area for InBev, and digital communication and marketing campaigns have helped support the sharing of these sustainability efforts with their consumers. Three approaches InBev has leveraged to communicate these sustainability efforts via digital campaigns include partnering with high-profile celebrity influencers to drive cause awareness via social media, integrating their sustainability priorities into existing digital campaigns, and developing long-term partnerships which take advantage of a wide variety of online communication mechanisms (websites with project updates, social media, online documentaries).

InBev Sustainability Goals (To Be Achieved By 2025)

  • Smart Agriculture (empowering farmers by improving their skills and connecting to technology);
  • Water Stewardship (improved water quality and availability in high stress areas);
  • Circular Packaging (100% of products in returnable or significantly recyclable packaging); and
  • Climate Action (renewable purchased electricity and 25% reduction in carbon emissions).
  • CEO Carlos Brito has clearly stated that “our business is sustainability” and, in support of this, the company has worked to communicate these sustainability goals to consumers in a number of ways through digital media campaigns.

Insight #1: Create Online Awareness Through High-Profile Celebrity Influencers And Limited Edition Products

  • Stella Artois partnered with in its “Pour it Forward” campaign, which began in 2015 and is still active today.
  • is an organization started by Matt Damon focusing on providing clear water to people in need, whose mission aligns with InBev’s Water Stewardship sustainability goal.
  • This campaign offers a limited-edition Stella Artois Chalice, with all proceeds being donated to The organization suggests that the purchase of one chalice can help provide 5 years of clean water to someone in the developing world.
  • The #pouritforward twitter feed features a number of prominent celebrities, including Matt Damon, Mindy Kaling, and Sara Jessica Parker, who encourage purchasing of the Stella Artois Chalice in support of the clean water effort and retweeting of the #pouritforward message.
  • The pouritforward campaign has been highly successful, driving the purchase of more than 460,000 chalices and providing clean water access to over 1.5 million people.
  • The Facebook site, which highlights the pouritforward message, currently has 165,938 followers. A recent video message featuring John Rich in support of the #pouritforward message on Twitter generated 4,400 views. The Stella Artois partnership with was also cited as a key global brand highlight in InBev’s 2018 annual report, discussing the strong growth of Stella Artois (+5.2% globally).

Insight #2: Integrate Sustainability Communication into Existing Digital Brand Campaigns

  • Budweiser’s #BeAKing campaign is millennial-focused, encouraging people to be themselves, step up and achieve their goals.
  • The campaign was launched in 2018 and uses several digital avenues to support its messaging, including Twitter and YouTube videos. Sports league partnerships have recently become a key component of this campaign.
  • The campaign, through its #BeAKing platform, aligns itself with InBev’s broader sustainability efforts with specific brand communication, “Kings Choose A Sustainable Future“, via social media. This messaging includes a link to #Brew2030, which features InBev CEO discussing key sustainability goals for InBev brands, specifically CO2 reduction, renewable energy, fleet electrification, and water stewardship.
  • The #BeAKing campaign is working to build momentum on social media, with a recent #BeAKing video of professional soccer player Sergio Ramos receiving 16,600 views. Linkage to the high-profile #Brew2030, a summit featuring a discussion of next-10-year sustainability goals and efforts by prominent alcohol beverage makers, including InBev, aligns the Budweiser #BeAKing communication with higher-level sustainability messaging.

Insight #3: Build Long-Term Brand Associations With Diverse Online Media Campaigns

  • The CoronaX Parley Partnership is a campaign initiated in 2017 and focused on various efforts to reduce plastics, which supports InBev’s goal of plastics reduction and elimination.
  • Parley focuses on ocean pollution control through partnerships, awareness campaigns, and specific projects, such as ocean and beach cleanups and online documentaries in support of plastics reduction.
  • In their 2018 annual report, InBev highlighted the renewal of this campaign effort after conducting 300 cleanups in 15 countries, with over 3000 pounds of plastic waste collected, since the beginning of the campaign in 2017.
  • The use of digital communication in this campaign is broad and diverse. Specific digital tactics include highlights of Corona X Parley projects and efforts to reduce plastic waste on the Parley website, leveraging Corona’s own social media sites, such as Corona UK Twitter and Corona X Parley Instagram France, and innovative online projects, such as a co-sponsored online TV series highlighting a professional surfer’s effort to combat plastics pollution.
  • In addition to the success in reducing plastics pollution over the past 3 years, the company has reinforced Corona’s support of the partnership by highlighting the continuation of the campaign in its latest annual report in an effort to support and convey its sustainability mission. New projects initiated in 2019, such as pursuing plastic-free six-pack rings, demonstrate the commitment of Corona and Parley to the future of this campaign. While not directly linked to the campaign, Corona has increased their sales globally for the past 3 years.

Communicating Sustainability Digitally- Heineken

Heineken uses digital marketing campaigns and strategies to communicate sustainability goal to its consumers. Some of these include using influencers and experts to promote its programs through social media, using mobility and gamification to promote responsible drinking, and launching a crowdsourced competition through Heineken’s Innovators Brewhouse online platform.

1. Use of Influencers and Experts to Promote Heineken’s Programs Through Social Media

Sustainability Goals and Efforts

How Heineken Did It

  • Heineken made a study across 10 bars in the UK to look at the drivers’ experience and work out on how they can change their behaviors around drunk driving using 20 behavioral change interventions.
  • Heineken featured behavioral design experts and behavioral scientists to discuss the study in a YouTube video.
  • It also released a YouTube short film entitled “When You Drive, Never Drink — No Compromise”, which featured FIA Formula 1 Driver’s World Champion Nico Rosberg, to remind people that even a single beer is too much for some drivers.
  • Additionally, Heineken also leveraged its social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to post this type of marketing campaign and programs for its sustainability efforts.

Success Metrics

  • The pilot study video had more than 119,000 views while the short film received more than 283,000 views on YouTube.
  • Before the program started, statistics show that 68% of drivers still drive even after consuming alcohol.
  • After the efforts done through this study and social media posts, the number of people in the area of study who drove after alcohol consumption decreased by 50%.

2. Mobility and Gamification For a Resposible Drinking Initiative

Sustainability Goals and Efforts

  • As another way to promote responsible consumption as part of its sustainability efforts, Heineken aimed to start the initiative within their workforce.
  • To become the ambassadors of responsible drinking, Heineken used mobility and gamification in order to engage its workforce in this initiative.
  • The company launched a “responsible drinking app” with a 3-wave program as part of its sustainability strategy up to 2021.
  • The app has an online platform encouraging users to “think, drink, & play“.

How Heineken is Doing It

  • This initiative started in Heineken Brazil with the aim for all of its 13,000 workforce to become agents of change when it comes to awareness in proper alcohol consumption.
  • The use of gamification in the launch of Heineken’s app was seen done through three distinct stages. The first wave is for staff building, next wave is for self evaluation, and the final stage is aimed for behavioral change.
  • The app has a series of quizzes and activities where employees are rewarded with points or prizes for their top performances.
  • The app has “missions” which employees must complete to help enable the sustainability team department to collect data, analyze the result and determine how it can be used for other similar sustainability projects.

Success Metrics

  • After the launch of the first wave in September 2018, 900 staff across different locations already have engaged with the tool, either on the app or on its web version.
  • According to Heineken Brazil’s head of sustainability, the app’s gamification aspect has become the key element of this program which helped in driving a broader effect in sustaining behavioral shift to responsible consumption.

3. The “Innovators Brewhouse” Online Platform Crowdsourced Competition

Sustainability Goals and Efforts

How Heineken is Doing It

  • In these competitions, Heineken invites collaborators to make innovative changes in their consumers’ drinking experience.
  • As an example, its “60+ Design Competition” featured submissions that are focused on their 60+ year old consumers, making it easier for older people who have limited dexterity to still enjoy Heineken in a simpler way.
  • It has a dedicated web page where innovators and inventors can learn about the competition and why the company made this new platform for open innovation.
  • Through the Innovation Brewhouse Platform, entrepreneurs and inventors can join and submit their innovations.
  • Through this portal, challenges are also discussed with consumers, startups, and suppliers which makes it easier for them to communicate and adopt with the new innovations.

Success Metrics

  • In the beginning, Heineken set its ambition to double its innovation rate by 2020, which equates to about 6% of its sales coming from new innovations.
  • Three years after the initiative’s initial launch, Heineken has traced about $1.1 billion in revenue brought in by new innovations through this program.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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