In the age of information, we look at some examples of how going green is not only good for the environment by also helps improve brand image and performance.
The Green Approach to Branding
Environmental awareness has been on the rise and we have been told about the need to change the way we conduct ourselves with respect to nature. Many businesses have taken measures to improve their daily operations and to better engage resources such as opting for the use of less polluting manufacturing processes or by supporting campaigns that nurture the environment.
Some companies simply Greenwash themselves i.e. declare themselves attached to green-friendly initiatives. In reality, they do very little to mitigate environmental externalities – a guaranteed way to lose demand from customers in the long run as it damages the integrity of the company and paints it as an uncaring entity detached from society’s gravest concerns.
There are a bunch of reasons why going green has a positive impact on a company including reducing costs due to less wastage and improved workplace health. You can read more about that here. Meanwhile, here’s some prime examples on how to turn your brand into a truly eco-friendly business from some respectable global companies.
The Brands to Beat
Seventh Generation is first on our list of eco savvy companies. Their secret? The company uses plant-based and recycled materials for all their packaging and omit entry of any fragrances and chemicals that might be harmful to consumers.
Their social media posts are bathed with hashtags like #ComeClean and #GenerationGood to solidify their position. The Come Clean initiative supports legislation requiring manufacturers of both consumer and industrial cleaning products to disclose all added ingredients on product labels and websites. What’s more is their products are priced competitively, negating the stereotype that green-friendly items are more expensive to purchase.
Dealing primarily in durable outerwear, Patagonia is a strong proponent of the GoGreen movement and donates 1% of sales annually to an Earth Tax which supports environmental organizations around the world that restore forests, protect endangered species and promote sustainable agriculture practices.
Patagonia has in fact out rightly admitted that their production processes are not entirely eco-friendly (using fossil fuels to create the shells for their coats). However they have publicly stated that they are actively researching for more sustainable and green-friendly means of production, demonstrating a transparency that is rare and very well received.
The company also provides monetary incentives to encourage their employees to carpool or take public transportation with their Employee Drive Less Program and for the bow knot, offering a policy whereby customers can return worn goods to be recycled or repurposed so nothing goes to waste.
Keurig Green Mountain
The coffee brewing giants at Keurig Green Mountain are another fine example of transparent sustainability in branding, publishing their numbers online for all to see. The company’s brewing system is itself eco-friendly, making coffee precisely by the cup, with no water wastage whatsoever.
The company also takes the disposal of its cups very seriously and although presently only 3 out 4 or their cups are recyclable, they are aiming to be 100% green-friendly by 2020. In areas where cups are not recyclable, they implemented the Keurig Recycling program to allow customers to mail the cups back for a discounted price on their next purchase.
Making use of a variety of renewable energy sources and waste management tactics, Ikea has proven time and again to be a frontrunner of green business activity. Their sustainability strategy titled “People and Planet Positive” enshrines their vision that consumers should not be limited to choosing between design, functionality, price or sustainability.
Ikea was the first major retailer to sell exclusively LED bulbs and lighting fixtures which they also make use of in their own facilities. Their buildings in the U.S. are fitted with solar panels and they are owners of two wind farms that generate 3-4 times the renewable energy to power those locations. Ikea has also planted 2.4 million trees in American forests and only send about 15% of waste to landfills, proving that in the arena of green focused efforts, they are the heavyweight to beat.
Spray It Don’t Say It
Above are just a few examples of how some major brands have taken real efforts to run successful businesses that keep practices as environmentally safe as possible while still delivering quality goods and services to customers. Not only do they have the interest of the environment at heart, but studies have shown that going green helps improve performance and sales by increasing brand popularity and reducing general waste as well.
Companies that are seen to go green tap into the spirit of goodwill among a growing population of eco-conscious consumers who increasingly do extensive research into the manufacturing methods and processes of the brands they buy into.
It may not be easy for all companies to go 100% green as varying industries have different resource demands, however every little effort counts, whether it’s a simple employee carpool system or a whole wind farm. Thus branding with the environment in mind is a win-win situation for companies, consumers and the planet itself.
What are some ways you can think of to help get your company moving in a more eco-conscious direction? How would you market your efforts to the public eye?
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