Changes to the Green Guide produced by The Federal Trade Commission will undoubtedly change how companies can make a claim to selling “green” products. These important revisions span everything from certifications to supply chain sources and types.
However thorough the guidelines, it may not be enough to overcome the public’s scrutiny of the many companies who have “green washed” their products just to take advantage of marketing opportunities in the “green wave”. The challenges with marketing a truly “green” product go far beyond the products themselves, extending into every part of business – from investors, to employees to the media.
How then, can the well intended “green” company be truly legitimate in this market sector? Here’s a few steps that you should consider:
Conduct A Sustainability Audit:
One of the easiest, and most relevant ways to prove your product’s sustainability is to conduct a thorough review of the processes and products throughout your company. From the amount of fuel required to produce and deliver your products, to how much waste you produce in production and how you handle it – every company can find a certified audit to identify, and increase sustainability throughout their practices. Not only can you identify where you’re currently “green”, but set goals to improve your company’s sustainability. Sharing this information with the public via your website will help identify, and convince your market of your dedication to, and level of sustainability.
Third party authentication certainly means more to the scrutinizing public than an internally produced and conducted audit. Transparency is authenticity – and it’s important that you hire an expert to conduct your audit. They’ll not only provide you with the credible findings to make the effort truly valuable, but also help identify areas of operations that you may have never thought of as part of your “green review”.
Seals Of Approval Aren’t Standardized:
So many organizations have released a wide variety of guidelines that outline what they consider “green” products to be, that few have the credibility they first sought to establish and maintain. There are federal standards that certify organic products, although many of the claims required are not regulated. With so many “standards” in guidelines for green products, choosing the one that truly has lasting value for your product in the consumer’s eye is a risk that may not be worth your effort in the long run.
Investigate Your Supply Chain:
No company operates alone, which means you must consider your supplier’s practices as part of your commitment to sustainability. This is perhaps one of the most difficult, time consuming aspects of producing a truly “green” product – but one of the most rewarding in the end. Take the time to know your supply chain’s sources and practices – it will pay off handsomely in the end.
Learn Your Market’s “Shade Of Green”:
Every consumer segment is different – and most have very different perceptions about what they want to buy that’s “green”. You’ll need to target your marketing efforts to the segments individually – once you’ve taken the time to get to know them in detail. Some consumers who want to purchase “green” products may be more focused on the environment than their personal health. With the different attitudes and habits each market sector shares, you’ll need to find ways to attract and motivate each of them to action – a sale.
What products do you consider shining examples of “green” marketing?