Eco-friendly and sustainable ideas that have helped brands adapt to the green revolution
by Lucinda Batchelor
For a brand to be successful today, they must not ignore the climate crisis that we are facing. With wildlife disappearing at an alarming rate, severe storms, heatwaves, floods, forest fires – the list goes on – it’s important that big contributors understand their environmental impact and embrace changes to be part of the green revolution.
And now with consumers being more eco-conscious than ever, businesses must double-down on their efforts and hold themselves accountable for the environmental impact of their operations in order to retain customers.
To ensure a business thrives, brands must adapt their processes and be honest in their marketing claims to avoid the backlash that comes with greenwashing.
In this article, we’ll cover the different types of green initiatives some brands have introduced to be part of the green revolution, and we’ll touch on what greenwashing is, as well as its repercussions.
How brands are changing to be more green
Below are some examples of big companies that have announced how they are trying to adapt to the green revolution.
- Amazon – The Climate Pledge
Amazon is dedicated to creating a long-term business that benefits both customers and the environment. Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019, pledging to be carbon-neutral across their whole business by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement deadline.
The pledge commitments includes:
* Reporting regularly on greenhouse gasses
* Eliminating carbon by implementing strategies for decarbonisation
* Neutralising residual emissions with credible offsets
To further their commitment to mitigating climate change, Amazon have ordered 100,000 electric vehicles, are taking part in 91 global renewable energy projects and will power operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.
- Dell – recycling program for its products
To limit their products’ environmental impacts, Dell offers a recycling programme to their customers to encourage safe disposal of all end-of-life equipment and devices. Dell also accepts old computers, laptops and printers from other brands too.
- Google – 24/7 carbon-free energy program
Last year, Google committed to only use carbon-free energy sources by 2030, meaning that they will only use clean energy at every location, for every single hour they operate. This program’s targets are to eliminate Scope 2 emissions that are associated with their electricity usage within their operations.
Google has also supported green energy projects by investing in solar and wind farms.
- IKEA – green initiatives
By 2020, single-use plastic products such as straws and plates have been phased out from all IKEA stores worldwide. Fewer parts are also being used to make items such as sofas. A new sofa frame has been rolled out and now uses only 13 assembly parts as opposed to 122! The water and energy saved has reduced emissions and environmental impact.
- Lush – sustainable at heart
For companies like Lush, where sustainability is at their very core, environmental marketing is easy; rather than adapting to the green revolution, they’re simply fine-tuning.
Lush use as little packaging as possible, making it possible for customers to bring package-free products home. This helps to save almost 6 million plastic bottles world-wide by selling just their “naked” solid shampoo bars.
For unavoidable packaging, recycled materials are used, and they offer a free face mask promotion for every 5 pots a customer brings back to the store. When the pots are returned to their retailers they are chipped down and reshaped into new ones or re-used as art materials to create a full recycling loop.
What SMEs can do to be greener
There are many advantages for being greener, and for SMEs concerned about their environmental impact, here are some strategies that can boost their business’ green credentials:
- Reducing, reusing and recycling
- Reducing the amount that’s printed, wherever possible, by giving the customer the option to receive an email receipt.
- Reducing the use of electricity by switching to motion sensor lights.
- Reusing old packaging.
- Recycling materials such as paper, plastic and glass
- Offer remote working, where possible
Even just one or two days of remote working a week reduces the number of cars on the road, which can significantly reduce a business’ CO2 emissions.
- Invest in a cycle to work scheme
For businesses that need people at work, a cycle to work scheme can help reduce carbon footprint and parking requirements, all whilst keeping employees fit, happy and healthy.
- Install solar panels
Running a business off solar energy is a brilliant green initiative that might be costly at first but one that is easy to organise and will pay itself back overtime.
Using sustainable products
All businesses have consumables that can be harmful to the environment, however, opting for recycled products and recycling them after use can reduce waste and create a circular economy.
Greenwashing through marketing
It's understandable that leading corporations feel compelled to publicly express their commitment to decreasing emissions and promoting sustainability. Customers are increasingly integrating environmental issues into their purchasing decisions, which has been widely recognised among company leaders.
However, it’s not just as simple as using marketing strategies to communicate that a business is all for a greener future. Businesses must back up their claims to avoid greenwashing their customers.
To go back to the basics, greenwashing is the process of communicating misleading information about a company being environmentally sound. Greenwashing deceives and capitalises on customers’ wanting to invest in ethical products and services, when in fact, it’s not true.
Examples of greenwashing:
- A package containing an item is labelled as recyclable, but it is not clear what it is referring to, the packaging or the item.
- A clothing item may be labelled as containing 50% more recycled cotton than previous products. It might be that the manufacturer increased the recycled cotton from 5% to 10%, although it’s not a lie, the message gives the buyer a false impression because it leads one to think it’s significantly ‘greener’.
Companies that overclaim about their sustainability credentials are likely to face repercussions which is likely to come in the form of damaging their brand reputation, losing customers and stakeholders and, in some cases, lawsuits.
Market your eco-friendly efforts honestly to your customers
When marketing your sustainability efforts, it’s important to remember that customers want honesty and to feel connected to your brand and the best way to do that is by mapping your customer journey and understanding customer experience.
Customer experience encompasses everything surrounding your brand, and is something that influences people before they become customers.
Hear more from Diversity Creative
Marketing is one of the main tools businesses can use to leverage their positive environmental impact. A business’ green credentials can be the deciding factor for their customers when choosing who to invest in, so it’s extremely important to be as transparent as possible.
Have you considered how your consumers see you? It’s important to remember that customers are on the lookout for sustainable brands that are working hard to support nature and tackle climate change.
At Diversity Creative, we’re experts in customer experience, which means everything we do is grounded in keeping the customer happy. So, if you’re looking to improve your customer experience and retention, contact us today.
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