What Green Really Means
Companies promote everything from carrots to cars as organic, all-natural, recycled, biodegradable, ozone-friendly and carbon neutral, with new terms introduced by marketing geniuses daily. This has created skepticism from consumers, leaving companies that are truly interested in eco-safe initiatives wondering how to rise above the vague and dubious assertions of their competitors.
There is no universal approach to going green, but there are a number of steps a business of any size can take to quickly reduce its environmental footprint and legitimize its environmental marketing efforts.
Green your operations.
Whether your office is a factory or a penthouse, you can green your operations by using energy-efficient lighting, using local materials and supplies to reduce transportation emissions, and using recycled or reusable products. Set your office printers and copiers to print two-sided by default, create computer files instead of paper files and implement green and sustainable systems and policies.
Green your marketing.
Make sure your message is rooted in a sincere effort to be socially responsible. Clearly define the eco-friendly qualities of your product or service, and publish supporting data in your marketing collateral and on your Web site. We can show you the least wasteful way to design and produce a project by introducing post-consumer recycled content, non-chlorine bleached papers, low polluting inks and two-sided printing options. Include a reminder for the customer to recycle your printed materials.
Green your stakeholders.
It is important to engage your employees, shareholders, suppliers, customers and community in your environmental efforts. These groups influence market and buying decisions, so the opportunity for gaining competitive advantage is greatest when you align your corporate strategy with stakeholder values. Consider producing an annual sustainability report as a tangible reminder of your long-term commitment to environmental stewardship.
At the end of the day, it is your actions, not your marketing claims that determine whether your company is green. By adopting a proactive approach to sustainability, you will effectively balance your financial objectives with social and environmental considerations, leading to higher sales, increased market share, happier employees and a better future for all.