So what’s up with this “green initiatives” thing? Is it just another fad? This is what some executives are wondering. They might also be secretly hoping that consumer interest in green, eco-friendly, sustainable products and companies will eventually ebb.
A series of questions are revolving around companies embracing not just green initiatives, but fundamental changes to their business operation and green marketing strategy. These are some of the questions that are circulating:
Will consumer interest in green companies and eco marketing go away? How does a company truly understand the costs and sacrifices required to become a “green company”? Will it be a painful journey? How can green internet marketing improve my revenue? And finally, the crux of the matter: Can we make money being an eco-sensitive, environmentally-conscious, social-minded company?
Let’s break it down by addressing just TWO of the most predominant questions.
Question: Will consumer interest in green companies go away?
Last year (2007), U.S. consumers spent about $250 billion on products and services that claim to be good for the planet — from hybrid SUVs to eco-friendly toilet paper — according to the 2007 ImagePower Green Brands Survey. So it’s no wonder companies are handing over big chunks of their own change to marketers who promise them a greener glow.
This begs the question- do the marketers have truthful material to spin? I guess it all depends on the client. Some companies are only making incremental changes in order to evolve public perception, while others are overhauling their entire industry. I am hopeful the momentum has begun towards more rapid and far-reaching changes.
According to Conscious Media and Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, 63 million adults in the US are considered LOHAS consumers. They are attracted to products and services focused on their health and the environment, and are more likely than the general population to buy a product from a company with values like their own.
Conclusion: Interest in green/sustainable products is on the rise. It presents an opportunity.
Question: How does a company truly understand the costs and sacrifices required to become “green”?
This is the question that Blue Tent is asking itself. We have a bit of an advantage over “old” industries as we don’t have an energy intensive service. Digital marketing predominantly uses electricity. However, the case studies I’ve been reviewing are promising.
Take for instance the 1980’s when the northeast United States was being hammered by sulfur dioxide that turned in to “acid rain.” The health costs to the population and to the environment were frightening. The cost to fix the problem (airborne industrial waste) was highly expensive. The market responded by creating a “cap and trade” system that has not only addressed the issue head-on, but has been highly profitable.
Conclusion: There are opportunity costs, but the upside potential is huge. If there is federal and state support, the cost of re-tooling our industries to create a green economy will provide a new era of prosperity for the U.S. and the world.
Although the above only presents a couple of perspectives on this issue, the need for green initiatives within every company is becoming an imperative- even in slow economic times. First movers will come out of the current recession better positioned to take advantage of the upward moving consumer spending cycle.
In my next post, as a consultant for Blue Tent Marketing, I will look at the terminology of green.