Working with customers and consumers

By Ann-Christin Pålsson, Johan Widheden, Sofia Petersson, Johan Tivander & Ulrika Palme

The customers and consumers have a central role in the work with sustainability in the value chains. They influence the work through their specific expectations regarding the sustainability of products and operations. Also, the customer or consumer can have a direct impact on the sustainability performance of the product depending on how they use the product.

The work with customers and consumers can involve the following tasks:

  • Communicate with your customers or consumers through for example marketing and claims, specific sustainability facts and information describing performance, customer support and training.
  • Understand the specific expectations of your customers and consumers, and actively work to meet the expectations. This is further described in the activity Develop more sustainable products

A close cooperation between the different parts of the company is necessary, in order to respond to the needs of customers and consumers, in terms of both expectations and specific questions.

Generally,  marketing and sales have the direct contacts with the customers or consumers, and have an important role in the work both with communication and identifying expectations. The basis for the communication and the work with meeting expectations is, however, generally developed in other parts of the organization. For example R&D is responsible for the overall sustainability performance of the products, Sourcing is responsible for the sustainability performance of suppliers and upstream supply chain, Manufacturing is responsible for the performance of the own operations. By working together, specific questions about sustainability can be answered.

In the getting started guide for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), some information is available on how LCA can be applied to support the work with marketing and external communication to customers and consumers.


Further reading