“Consumers are now looking for companies that not only create products and services, but also add value to their communities, as well as to our world.”
COVER STORY: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
As Chief Marketing Officer, Zeynep Yalım-Uzun leads a global marketing team and 14 brands at Arçelik, which spans the globe in 150 countries. In 2020, she was among the 20 women AdAge selected in Europe as Women to Watch for being a catalyst for change within the marketing industry by shaping attitudes and culture.
Zeynep Yalım-Uzun RC 86
What role do brands play in encouraging consumers to support climate action?
The key transformation always comes from consumers. Consumers are now looking for companies that not only create products and services, but also add value to their communities, as well as to our world. In order to respond to the shift in demand, we are actively developing products to transform every household into a more sustainable one.
What has been your personal contribution to reaching Arçelik’s milestones, particularly in terms of sustainability?
I always believed and advocated that marketing needs to serve a higher purpose than just selling more. My work at Arçelik centers around transforming our brands on their purpose journeys as well as ensuring that our sustainability agenda is translated into products that contribute in a positive way.
As a global first, we created washing machines with built-in microfiber filtration systems. With fast fashion continuously rising, we knew we had to do something to preserve our water resources. The filter captures up to 90% of microfibers that would otherwise end up in the oceans. We used recycled PET bottles in the production of washing machines, washer-dryer tubs, and air conditioners. We incorporated recycled fishing nets and synthetic yarns into our ovens, washing machines, and dishwashers. Our solar hybrid fridge is designed to curb energy use in Africa where resources are diminishing every day.
After joining the Arçelik team, I initiated the work to align all of our brands on their purpose journeys. For example, on Beko, our largest global brand, we defined “healthy living” as our overarching purpose. With the aim to change the conversation around this concept, we created our global “Live Like a Pro” campaign. With this campaign, we strive to improve public health, especially the health of children and young people, as well as the health of the world we live in.
In line with our “Respecting the World, Respected Worldwide” vision, we set our sustainability goals and are currently following through. For the second time in a row, we have been selected as the leader of our industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. We were also named one of the Corporate Knights Global 100 World’s Most Sustainable Companies. Our commitment to doing sustainable business leads us to initiatives such as being carbon neutral in all our operations.
How did your experience at RC influence your life?
Being exposed to cross cultural experiences and languages at such an early age made me very comfortable working across cultures and geographies later on in life. Robert College also helped me evolve as an individual with a strong point of view, who can influence others. Through extracurricular activities such as the Debate Club and MUN, I learned to be sharp with my views and to express them in a convincing way. I especially want to thank Mrs. Akgök who helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking, as well as Mrs. Işıl who showed me how to motivate a team. I also would like to recognize all my teachers who instilled in me intellectual curiosity, which I carried throughout my life. The most common attribute for marketeers is our curiosity, so my education in Robert College influenced even my career choice.
Published August 2021