You are Only As Green As Others Perceive You To Be
May 7, 2009
Green perceptions are greater than reality, according to new research findings from the Earthsense Eco-Insights Survey on how consumers perceive corporate environmental responsibility. Findings are based on Earthsense Business Indicator (EBI) metrics that identify companies which consumers see as sustainability leaders. They also identify the businesses consumers support based on eco-friendly products, and they track changes in perceptions over time.
As more and more companies of all sizes participate in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), firms need to try harder to stand out from their competition. Auditing firm KPMG reported a 30 percent jump from 2005 to 2008 in the percentage of large companies generating CSR reports; 79% of the world’s largest companies now provide this information in a publicly available form.
The impact of consumer perception on corporate reality is clear: if consumers don’t know about corporations’ sustainability initiatives, those efforts will not be fully realized.
How can a business do a better job of promoting their “green-ness”?
1. Avoid Greenwashing-Stick to the facts and don’t exaggerate claims.
2. Highlight what makes your company green …in your packaging, your advertising—your entire image.
3. Compare your degree of eco-friendliness to your competition.
4. Minimize packaging ...Less is more.
5. Use eco-friendly promotional items at trade shows. A recycled pen or biodegradable sports bottle trumps a pen that will end up in the trash—and eventually the landfill.
6. Promote your company’s green accomplishments and achievements in press releases, website, catalogs, ads, etc. Singularity of purpose is crucial.
7. Get involved in recycling campaigns—at home and at work.
8. Drive a smaller car. As the automobile executives learned the hard way when they first appeared before Congress for a bailout, perception of economy goes a long way.
9. Encourage staff to wear clothing that is eco-friendly: organic, made of bamboo or recycled material, etc.