By Tricia Egry, Director of Marketing, Alpern Rosenthal
Eco-marketing, or green marketing is when organizations create an environmentally friendly image in order to gain favor with customers. The products or services may be environmentally friendly or produced and packaged in an environmentally friendly way. This trend is growing by leaps and bounds, as an increasing number of us, as consumers, are willing to back our environmental awareness with dollars.
We’ve all witnessed the growth of the organic food industry, for example. Many food producers have switched to organic production methods. Today, organic products can be sold for a higher price in the market, and we are willing to pay that price.
On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. Marketers will bombard consumers with green promotions and products designed to get us to buy more products. Some are eco-friendly, some not so much.
Organizations can seriously damage their brands and their sales if a green claim is contradicted or discovered to be false. Misleading or overstated claims can even lead to regulatory or civil challenges. The Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on environmental marketing claims. Hewlett Packard, Toyota and Ben & Jerry’s are three companies that practice successful green marketing. In fact, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports started with the ice cream seller Ben & Jerry’s, where the financial report was supplemented by a view on the company’s environmental impact.
If you’re like me, you’re an environmentally conscious person. You reduce, reuse, and recycle in your home, and you teach your children to do these things, too. But what about where you work? Are you also operating your business in an environmentally conscious fashion? Here’s how you can do more:
- Replace standard fluorescent lighting with compact fluorescent lights, which are more energy-efficient.
- Turn off equipment when it’s not being used. This can reduce the energy used by 25 percent; turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.
- Communicate through e-mail or post employee notices online rather than distributing paper copies.
- If you have to print, shrink type size on office documents; use both sides of paper when printing, and; use recycled paper or paper made from eco-friendly materials.
- Install hand dryers in the restrooms.
- Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products; it reduces the amount of chemical waste potentially being washed into drains.
Carpool or Telecommute
- Encourage employees to carpool whenever possible to reduce the amount of emissions from vehicles that are dispersed into the environment.
- Allowing employees to work from home can help your company to reduce the amount of energy and resources it uses on a daily basis.
- Video or telephone conferencing can benefit the environment by reducing the need for employees to travel.
- By encouraging recycling of glass, aluminum, plastic, paper and cardboard products, companies can increase eco-friendly behavior and reduce waste.
Show potential customers that you follow green business practices and you could reap more green on your bottom line. Green marketing isn’t just a catchphrase; it’s a marketing strategy that can help you get more customers and make more money. But only if you do it right.
Jonathan runs Visibility Initiatives at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The Council is the nation’s largest IT trade association with 1,350 members. One of our platforms is to provide visibility to Pittsburgh tech companies and the industry in general.