We hear a lot about the environment and ‘Green Marketing’ but is this just a fad and, if not, how can we, a NE service company, take advantage of it?
In essence, ‘green marketing’ refers to marketing goods and services by promoting the environmental benefits they produce or in the way they are produced. It demonstrates the social and environmental responsibility of the company and often is also an indication of the company reducing expenses such as packaging, transport and energy useage.
As to whether this is a fad, without getting into the whole climate change debate (although, it seems to be only Trump, Bolsanaro of Brazil, the rather disturbing letter writers featured regularly in the Newcastle Journal, and assorted ‘Big Oil’ representatives who remain as climate change deniers), I would strongly suggest that environmental and climate issues will increase in importance and as factors in marketing in the foreseeable future.
Of course, mankind may not be responsible for the recent dramatic rise in temperature and the world could also be actually flat, but I honestly believe those who disregard the expert advice now coming out on environmental issues such as the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recording the highest levels ever of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, will shrink to such a blinkered minority that investment in marketing for them will be a waste of money in any case.
But, for the rest of us, green marketing is increasingly important!
Manufacturing companies can create eco-friendly products, use recycled materials, reduce packaging, use a local supply chain and a variety of other measures to exhibit their green credentials, but for a service company, like ourselves and other organisations providing professional services to business, it’s slightly harder to become demonstrably green.
A good starting point is to establish whether there is an economic benefit to the organisation or whether this is simply for environmental reasons and here there is little doubt that environmental factors are becoming increasingly important in procurement, especially for publicly funded projects. A robust environmental policy is now a minimum requirement for such contracts, containing details of recycling, energy, travel and other internal procedures so a first step would be the creation of such a policy.
Looking at the individual procedures produces the overall policy – does your office recycle waste, does it reduce energy useage and purchase only green energy? Does your travel plan attempt to reduce your carbon footprint of needless car journeys and encourage cycling etc, can you conduct meetings through Skype and other digital technologies, do you support environmental and community movements and do you audit your own supply chain giving preference to green suppliers?
Different sectors will have different challenges - as a media-related company, we found the number of hard copy magazines and journals arriving in plastic wrapping incredibly frustrating and contacted them all to ask for either paper wrappers or digital copies only. We also try to use Carbon Balanced Printing Companies and local suppliers of other services wherever possible, we try to avoid unnecessary journeys, use green energy and are considering the installation of solar panels for our offices, all of which actually has economic benefits too.
Once you have your environmental policies in place, tell your clients and potential clients about them. It may not immediately lead to direct business, but the lack of such policies will preclude your company from working for many clients. The internal effect on staff morale and pride in their company and workplace is maybe harder to quantify, but shouldn’t be ignored.
Adam Vaughan, Director of JDDK Architects, the Newcastle-based architectural practice who have designed many award-winning sustainable buildings, commented, “For ourselves, environmental concerns and sustainability, both in the way we work and in our designs, form a crucial foundation of the whole practice. Projects like the Rivergreen Centre and The Sill, were designed with sustainable principles including building orientation and shading to make the most of the sun’s natural energy and yet avoid overheating, high levels of insulation, ‘green’ material specifications, sedum ‘living’ roofs, renewable energy generation and internal rammed earth walls for temperature control etc. We firmly believe that as architects we have a moral responsibility to use our skills to respond to the climate emergency and many of our current (and future) clients look for such expertise to guide them to do the same, so green marketing is very important for us.”
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