Consumers are beginning to take environmental impact into consideration in purchase decisions. Businesses that demonstrate environmental responsibility have the opportunity to contribute favorably to their images while aligning themselves with their customers' wishes.
To get the full value out of green practices over time, companies need to let the public know what they are doing and why it matters.
Businesses that are becoming greener can add to their brand images by carefully selecting the right projects, telling people what they are doing, and providing easy-to-understand feedback about their progress and how the consumer contributes by doing business with them.
According to a 2007 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey, 93% of Americans believe companies have a responsibility to help preserve the environment.1
In the near future, we can expect to see an increase in the degree of mandatory baseline requirements established by government; however, consumer-led market pressures are demanding faster action.
Companies that make improvements now, while they are still voluntary, have the opportunity to brand themselves as responsible and forward thinking.
The Cone Survey also suggests that a significant portion of the public is willing to take a more active role in protecting the environment by voting with their dollars. An increasing number of traditional (for-profit) companies are responding by undertaking green initiatives, partnering with nonprofits, or finding ways to offset their emissions.
Steve Utley is president and executive creative director of Quill Advertising (www.quilladvertising.com).