Green marketing is about more than making the most of a trend—it’s about meeting a rising consumer expectation.
In an October 2019 report, Nielsen found that 73% of global consumers would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
Take a moment, and let that number sink in. Nearly three quarters of surveyed consumers are likely to change their behaviors so that they have less of an impact on the environment.
Not only does this mean businesses need to adopt environmentally-mindful production and distribution practices, it also means that when they adopt these practices, they need to celebrate these changes and inform their customers so they too can engage with the changes.
In this article, we cover the basics of green marketing, what its benefits are, and talk with some real businesses who have found success in building and marketing sustainable products and services.
What is green marketing?
Green marketing can highlight that a product is:
- Fair trade
- Made from recycled material
- Certified organic
- Sustainably sourced
- Packaged with recycled or biodegradable materials
For Baron Christopher Hanson, founder of the startup Modern Cube Modular Homes, sustainable, recycled goods is the cornerstone of his business model. His business upcycles steel shipping containers, reclaimed wood, brick, stone, metal, and other recyclable construction materials in order to create modern luxury-affordable housing.
“All of our marketing is focused on the collective footprint of the entire project, be it a home, small apartment complex, commercial structure––even a goat farm (barn, milking facility, retail counter, etc.). In addition, further developments include using solar panels, rain catching architecture, and grass-grown roof layers to complete truly ‘green’ buildings in every possible way.”
– Baron Christopher Hanson
When the turbulence of 2020 and the Covid pandemic put many of their projects on hold, Baron quickly pivoted his green marketing strategy. “Reclaimed materials like period crown molding, marble, bath tubs, and other luxury, reusable materials drove a ton of interest, almost as much as using recycled steel shipping containers to frame houses and structures.”
When designing his green marketing strategy, he went for a mix that included a simple website, lots of custom letters, emails, even some hand-written notes, as well as earned media in real estate and multi-family news publications, a robust social media presence, and advertising nationally in the Wall Street Journal.
“Response numbers have been modest given COVID” Baron acknowledged, “but each response is passionate about living well architecturally, with a primary focus on reclaimed materials, sustainability, and an overall green footprint and impact environmentally.”
What are the benefits of green marketing?
Year after year, the data shows the consumers are increasingly interested in buying sustainable products that help the environment. In fact, Nielsen reports that almost half (41%) of consumers from around the world say that they’re more than willing to pay more for products that contain all-natural or organic ingredients.
This is one of the major benefits of sustainable business practices and green marketing—sustainability can make a business’ products more attractive to consumers, while also reducing expenses in packaging, transportation, energy and water usage, and more.
Chans Weber, founder and CEO of Leap Clixx found that even though his business is service based, there are still a ton of ways to invest in sustainable practices and build them into a green marketing strategy.
“We have begun recycling within the office. Our meetings tend to take place in-house; however, when we need to meet outside of the board room, we make the effort to use electric vehicles, public transport, or even walking or cycling to meetings. This way we are doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint on a daily basis. Not only are we helping the planet, but also feeling better about ourselves with the way we are improving ourselves.”
– Chans Weber
There is also the less tangible, yet still important benefit of knowing your business practices align with your personal beliefs regarding environmental stewardship.
Chief Operating Officer of Hayden Los Angeles, Hosea Chang, says environmental impact has been on her mind a lot lately when thinking about the future of the apparel industry.
“Environmental impact is one of the huge challenges in the fashion industry and clothing manufacturing. It is my big long-term project to find a way to manufacture more sustainably.”
– Hosea Chang
Her green strategies include sourcing deadstock fabric and phasing out non-recyclable packaging in favor of something more in line with her beliefs regarding sustainability.
Green strategies for today and tomorrow
Is this product sustainably sourced? Shipped in biodegradable packaging? Is it fair trade compliant? These are the questions that today’s consumer is asking, and businesses need to be ready with an environmentally responsible answer.
A savvy green marketing strategy and environmental sustainability will help your business stand out and will shine a light on how your business is not only good for consumers, but also for the planet they love.
Here are some steps your business can take today:
Go paperless: Prioritize communicating both with your staff and with customers using digital means.
Telework options: This can save you money on office space and cuts your carbon footprint by reducing employee’s time driving their cars.
Reusable products: Consider products such as reusable shopping bags. You can even brand the bags with your company logo to promote your business.
How is your business embracing environmental responsibility and green marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments below!