Archive

Posts Tagged ‘greenwashing’

Green Marketing Is As Alive As You Allow It To Be

May 9th, 2013 No comments

The Future of Green Marketing

How to improve your green marketing messageAustin, Texas: A group of my colleagues and other industry professionals were discussing the future of green marketing last week – and some were wondering if green marketing has peaked and is on the decline.

Is Green Marketing as a broad advertising niche on the decline?

I would say yes…and that is probably a good thing and an opportunity for smart marketers.

Any advertising message has to strike a chord with an audience and that target audience is always changing.

Green marketing is no different.

A green marketing message was never a broad Super Bowl ad type of message– much as a Quit Smoking campaign is not for everyone.

However, there is still a huge demographic that does still want to support green initiatives, buy recycled and organic products and live a greener lifestyle.

That is your target market – and with less clutter and less green washing, it is easier than ever to reach this desired audience–and at a reduced budget.

There is still an audience that is hungry for new products that do not contain chemical additives.

There is still an audience for cars that get better fuel mileage.

There is still an audience that prefers cradle-to-grave product life cycles.

There is still an audience that prefers re-use and recycling.

There is still an audience that clamors for education on how they can reduce their carbon footprint.

There is still an audience seeking energy efficiency in their appliances – at home, at work and at play.

And, with a reduced ad campaign from companies that are targeting this green audience, your green marketing message can now go further with the same ad and marketing spend.

Green marketing is not a mass audience message.

You, as a marketer, control the dialog.

Don’t let the media’s “Scandal of the Day” control the message.

Stay out front in promoting your green marketing message to the right target audience.

Keep it consistent.

Target your audience more succinctly – and let them into your tribe, as marketing genius Seth Godin refers to them.

Now is the time to engage more frequently with your green-friendly target audience.

Let this market grow and spread – and green marketing will take care of itself.

The companies that jumped on the green movement and treated it as a fad are gone – or soon will be.

Those companies that are truly green at its core – and promote a green message as part of their mission and character – will thrive.

Do you think green marketing is dead?

Only if you want it to be dead.

Keep your green marketing message consistent and true, and watch your followers continue to support you and help you to grow.

——————-

Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

 


Follow ecomarketing on Twitter Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Eco Marketing Solutions on Google+

Follow Me on Google +

 

Do We Really Need the Good Housekeeping Green Seal for Eco Retail Products?

July 9th, 2012 No comments
Are there already too many green symbols out there in the marketplace

Are there already too many green symbols out there in the marketplace?

Austin, Texas: Proctor and Gamble is putting a lot of marketing dollars behind Good Housekeeping’s Green Seals, which it had launched a few years back, according to a recent article in GreenBiz.com.

I think it is a noble move to have a well respected third party determine the level of green in a product.  It is always nice to understand whether a product is sustainable, uses organic and all natural ingredients – or is trying to disguise their product with greenwashing.

However, as I have mentioned before, the “unintended” consequence of these competing symbols often end up leading to greater confusion.

It is too easy to come up with graphics similar to the Good Housekeeping Green Seals designs- that will falsely portray a product as green when it is not.

I argue for one set of industry standards for green marketing claims.

Just one.

Perhaps now that Proctor and Gamble is using it, giant retailers like Walmart will insist that these, and only these, symbols be used to identify green products.

However, until that time comes, caveat emptor.

Let the buyer beware.

Be skeptical of green symbols.

Do your due diligence and research what green claims a product is making and how they determined its level of “greenness”.

Has it certified by an INDEPENDENT lab?

What is the track record of the company making the claim.

Is their a QR code that easily takes you to a page that explains how they determined the green value of their claim?

Don’t accept green claims at face value until you have done your research.

Ask questions.

Demand more of a company’s claim than just a green symbol.

An educated consumer is still the best consumer.

Let’s put an end to dozens of green symbols that only obfuscate the truth.

Let’s say NO to ambiguity and insist on one set of standards for all green claims.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

————————————–——

Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow Me on Pinterest
Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Green Marketing 101: It Always Begins With the Basics

May 14th, 2012 No comments

Tips for Going GreenTips for Green Marketing Success

Austin, Texas: I spoke before a marketing organization recently and somebody in the audience asked me how they can get a green reputation quickly and easily in order to catch up to some of their competitors.

After some clarification, it seemed that they wanted to know shortcuts and secrets to avoid doing the hard work and start promoting their “green virtues”.

I replied that there are no secrets to green marketing success and just one formula: Truly become green.

People are becoming more eco conscious and they can smell greenwashing a mile away.

Before you can call yourself a green company, and before you can market yourself as a green organization, you must become environmentally conscious.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you want to become more green?
  • What makes your company green?
  • What are the first 3 steps your company can do to reduce waste?
  • How can you educate and inspire your employees to recycle more?
  • How can you organization better reduce waste and energy consumption?
  • How are you promoting environmental outreach to your customers, suppliers and employees?

Then, after these steps are being carried out can you start on your green marketing campaigns.

Don’t put the spotlight on your eco marketing efforts and achievements until you have something tangible to show for your efforts.

Avoid greenwashing.

Speak from the heart.

Tell the truth.

Bottom line is that no organization is 100% energy efficient and none are 100% sustainable.

Those are ideals that can never be reached (like infinity) but should be challenged to get as close to as possible.

Understand how you can continually improve your green efforts across the board.

It should be a goal that changes over time, much like sales and profitability goals do.

  • Always heading upwards.
  • Always seeking better solutions.
  • Always looking to improve on past performance.

Those are the secrets to green marketing success.

I hope your organization finds success along the path.
Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

————————————–——

Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

SC Johnson Lawsuit Shows the Need for 3rd Party Certification

July 11th, 2011 No comments

be sure to use a 3rd party licensed company for green claimsRather than admit to being guilty, SC Johnson settled some lawsuits last week over its green certification claims, according to an article in GreenBiz.com.

This should shed a light on green certification programs.

Recently, many companies seem to be trying to cut corners and budget by testing their own products for lead, and certifying their products as green.  Hand held lead testing equipment prices have been falling, while third party certification still remains relatively high, causing many companies of all sizes to trim costs.

I am one for saving money in certain ares, but third party certification is not one of those.  Neither is product safety.

If you are going to make green claims, then back it up with legitimate claims.

Be sure your claims are transparent.

If you are going to put one of the dozens of green seals of certification on your product or product packaging, be sure it is from a reputable 3rd party testing lab.

Saying you are the greatest or greenest or smartest or best looking, etc. does not make it so.  Having third party certification makes it much more so.

Please learn from the SC Johnson situation.  Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish when it comes to green certification claims.

——————————————

Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Should We Be Condemning Greenwashing- Or Assume It Is Just Ignorance?

June 17th, 2011 No comments

is the term greenwashing over usedIn the past few weeks, I have read over a dozen articles and blogs condemning the act of greenwashing.

It seems that “the left” has declared war on the evils of greenwashing– but has forgotten about the virtues of going green itself.

Is greenwashing really a sin?

Can we really even recognize greenwashing?

Is the term “greenwashing” over used and over-hyped?

Sure, there are still too many companies that deliberately exaggerate – or even lie – about the green virtues of their product. They may claim that their product is made from 40% recycled, post-consumer plastic, for example, without using any recycled materials at all.

Greenwashing. No–that would be outright fraud…and should be condemned. This is preying on the unknowing.

I am not advocating greenwashing, at all.  That is certainly not the idea of this blog post.

Instead, I am talking about companies that are actively pursuing policies to “go green” — yet don’t meet the “absolutely green” purity test.

I would argue that there is no product that can be truly green, so people need to expect a little over-exuberance in marketing a legitimately green product.

Most greenwashing claims are from exaggeration, not fraud.

Does that make it right? No. And it should be toned down, and claims should be presented more accurately.

I posed a question on LinkedIn a few weeks asking if a product can be 100% Green–and nobody was able to find one that could be able to be made available for public consumption.

Sure, there were a few answers, such as “getting milk from a cow” or growing your own fruits and vegetables.  However, if you took those products across town in a truck, then it no longer would be considered 100% green.
Read more…

Greener Products vs. Green Products

April 19th, 2011 No comments

Can you make your products more greenI came across a great interview of consumer products maker Johnson & Johnson’s Al Iannuzzi, senior director of Worldwide Health & Safety, where he was asked about greenwashing.

His reply was dead on: ” I don’t believe in green products but greener products. The only truly green product is the one you don’t use. So it’s a journey and when we have made real product improvements — we should let our customers know. You can be perceived as greenwashing when you overstate improvements.”

I think this nails the green movement down succinctly– going green is an evolutionary process, with continual improvements and adjustments, not a simple one step solution.

Sure, there are simple steps that many organizations can take immediately to reduce their impact on  the planet.  There is always low hanging fruit..and those steps should be taken immediately.

“Green” should be looked upon as  goal that reached out to inifinity, as organizations can strive to become “more green” or “greener”–but never reach “totally green”.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, consumers do not expect companies to be saints. A full three-quarters (75%) say it is okay if a company is not environmentally perfect—as long as it is honest and transparent about its efforts. This is according to the 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker.

If people are going to judge more harshly companies that are taking significant strides to reduce their carbon footprint, then the entire environmental movement will take three steps backwards for every one step forward.

Let’s take a continuous look at our path to green, and make significant reductions in packaging usage, energy consumption, transportation expenses, raw materials, etc.  A goal of 10% reduction in one’s carbon footprint is a good goal thatncan continue to unearth ares for refinement.

Let’s make Earth Day Every Day.
——————————————
Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products, has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.


Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Green Marketing: It’s Time to Better Explain Your “Green-ness”

April 11th, 2011 No comments

We have all seen the copy on products:

Green-Friendly…. Recyclable …. Made with 30% Less Plastic …. Eco-Friendly

Ad Nauseum.

Consumers are getting both confused and de-sensitized to green labels.

It is time to take the leap and carefully explain in more detail why your product is truly green. This will help to differentiate your company from those that do greenwashing, which sets the entire green movement back each time it is abused.

Use a hang tag, label, decal or product insert to describe how your manufacturing process is carbon neutral. Use a QR-code to take customers to a special landing page with video and details of just how your product is sustainable, organic, biodegradable, energy-efficient, etc.

Describe the process of biodegradation that will occur in the biodegradable bag or bottle– with both images and text. Also detail how they need to dispose of the product to get it to degrade.

Show how your product is made from recycled materials–with pictures of before, during and after production.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Offer ways to take the product back at the end of its life cycle to make the product carbon neutral.

Show pictures of your plant or building and describe how your company and its employees are working to reduce your carbon footprint.  Show your recycling area, show your energy efficient equipment, take pictures of the hybrid cars in your parking lot.  Show that you care. People want to see this.

A recent MarketingProfs article points out several examples of companies who are using marketing tactics to educate consumers on how to reduce the life-cycle impacts of the products they purchase, such as  “A Care Tag For Our Planet”.  This was created as a campaign partnership between Levi Strauss & Co. and Goodwill designed to teach consumers how to care for and dispose of their jeans in a more sustainable way. Can you partner your product with another to extend its lifecycle or to help with its disposal (or re-use)?

Let’s take the time as green marketers to educate consumers about what makes a product green.

It is up to us to create this awareness, so a few bad apples do not set the entire green movement back a decade.

Let’s take time to give a serious review to all our marketing material, our advertising, our websites, our social media, etc. to see how we can better explain our products and its impact on the planet.

Who is with me on this?

Let’s make Every Day Earth Day.

Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products, has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.


Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Earth Day Promotions and Marketing: Do You Pass the B.S. Test?

March 31st, 2011 No comments

This Earth Day, tens of thousands of companies will be launching a promotional campaign or marketing blitz around this one day event.  Earth day promotion ideasLike other recent “holidays”,  such a Breast Cancer Awareness Week, marketers of all stripes have started to take notice and will use these events as springboards to capitalize on the phenomena.

The public is starting to be wary of every Tom, Dick and Harriet affixing their name to an Earth Day event without having honest reason to participate.  They are starting to develop better BS-meters and their intolerance for green washing is becoming stronger.

My advice, if you are not a green company, find another event to hitch your wagon to.  There are 364 other days in the year for which you can promote your brand.

That being said, if you are a green company, or are going green, Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to explain to your audience a few facts, such as:

  • How you are green.
  • Why you decided to “go green”.
  • What kinds of benefits to the planet (community, galaxy?) that your audience will reap.
  • Why should your customers care about this change or improvement?
  • Why they should go green.

However, bottom line, remember this:  Earth Day is an opportunity for outreach and for education.

It is fine to explain the benefits of your product or service–but also take the time to make your audience aware of other ways that they can help to reduce their carbon footprint. Help organizations, businesses and the general public understand more about recycling and its benefits.

Get children involved with tree planting to beautify their neighborhood, their homes or their park.

Help people to understand the Why of Earth Day and its benefits to them and to future generations

Be pro-active—-and be REAL.

Happy Earth Day!

——————————————

Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products,  has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years.   His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green.  The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.


Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Is There Really a Need for an International Green Chamber of Commerce?

March 25th, 2011 No comments

green certification and green seals of approvalsI just received a press release about an organization called  the EcoChamber, which claims to be “the global green chamber of commerce”.  They say that they have  “more than 1,100 global listings, 2,100 Twitter followers and 700 Facebook fans”, which is a nice start.

Their mission seems lofty and innocent enough as it is listed in the release: “Our mission is to help the growth of green businesses worldwide,” commented EcoChamber’s founder Tia Diaz-Balart. “By helping deliver customers, investors and other stakeholders to companies and organizations who are doing right by the environment, we can not only encourage other companies to adopt sustainable practices, but also help have a positive cumulative net impact on our ecosystems through the global green economy.”

However, does a need for a non-profit “global” chamber of commerce  exist — or will its certification lead to more confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace?  Because of all the seals of approvals and certifications from an alphabet soup of organizations, the FTC has come down hard on green washing claims to help avoid confusion in the marketplace in its new Green Guides.

If we can have just a handful of seals that can be used–one for organic, one for biodegradable, one for recycled — like we do for recyclable materials, I think we will all be better served.  Just as the government has stepped in to make Nutritional Labels standardized, I think it will need to insist on a certain structure for all green claims in order to avoid potential for greenwashing –whether inadvertent or not.

That being said, do you think a global green Chamber of commerce is needed?  Please share your thoughts.

Let’s Make Every Day, Earth Day!

——————————————

Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products,  has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years.   His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green.  The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.


Follow ecomarketing on Twitter

Bottled Water-Good for the Body, Not for the Planet

December 30th, 2008 No comments

Who would have thought—the water bottle as a status symbol? You see the ubiquitous water bottles everywhere. Bottled water, from such exotic lands as France, the Fiji Islands and even “water locale”, basic bottled tap water – is all the rage. But how environmental are these single-use water bottles?

The non-profit organization, As You Sow, surveyed U.S. beverage companies in 2006, developing a report that spurred Nestle Waters to become the first major beverage producer to support legislation that would increase recycling rates. And this past October, it became the first to support an industry-wide goal to recycle 60 percent of plastic bottles by 2018.

“Historically the beverage industry has lobbied against beverage container legislation,” said Amy Galland, As You Sow’s research director and the report’s author.

“We would like to see the industry either work with legislators to create deposit legislation that will be mutually beneficial, or come together with an alternative method that can achieve that goal of 70 percent or more,” Galland said. The nationwide recycling rate is 33 percent, though states with deposit legislation have rates above 70 percent.

GreenBiz.com reports that just prior to the report’s release, the American Beverage Association announced it would be a founding member of The Climate Group’s Recycle Together initiative, which will work with cities and states to increase recycling rates and develop best practices for recycling in communities.

In the report, “Waste & Opportunity,”, 23 companies (including soda, beer, tea and water bottlers) were evaluated in four categories: reduced use of virgin material, use of recycled content, support for and involvement in recovery and recycling programs and legislation, and communication of goals and achievements, and were graded from A-F, with 4.0 being the highest score possible.

In this year’s report, there were no honor roll students. No A/B Students, even. The valedictorian was Coca-Cola, topping the class with a 2.02 average–barely a C. It’s followed by Anheuser Busch, Pepsi and Nestle Waters, which each received a C-.

Red Bull, Fiji Water and Honest Tea got varying D grades. Some of the remaining companies (National Beverage, Miller, Coors, Monarch Beverage, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Cott, Hansen’s, Starbucks and Crystal Geyser) received F’s, and seven (Adirondack, Arizona, Boston Beer, DS Waters, Jones Soda, New Belgium Beer and Polar Beverage) scored straight zeros.

If I was the Principal at that school, I would make them all take Recycling 101 again—over the summer until they get it right.

Pure Life by Nestle

Pure Life by Nestle


To top it off, Nestle has made claims during the past year or so, of having an eco-friendly water bottle because it uses 30% less plastic than it previously had used. This is green washing, at its finest. When you factor in the poor grades these companies received, plus the amount of fuel consumed in transportation, the carbon footprint of bottled water is significant.

If consumers do not want to face mandatory bottle deposit legislation, they should act quickly. Consumers should buy a water filter for their tap water or buy bottled water in gallon-sized jugs, while choosing reusable and recyclable BPA-free water bottles in which to drink it. These bottles, which can be of BPA-free plastic, metal, or even biodegradable plastic, will not end up in landfills—helping to make ensure a greener tomorrow.

Businesses can promote themselves by giving away, or selling, imprinted reusable BPA-free water bottles at trade shows, as a gift with purchase, or just to keep their name in front of their customers. It is a marketing idea that can help save the planet while advertising their brand.

Let’s work together to make reusable water bottles the new status symbol –not the one-time use bottles. Not only is it good for the environment and your waistline, it is good for your wallet, as well.

————————————————————————————
Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and environmentally-friendly promotional products. His web site includes a comprehensive eco-friendly advertising specialty search, featuring over 250,000 eco promotional items in all price ranges, for anyone interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find recyclable, biodegradable, organic or recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame. View the Go Green website at EcoMarketingSolutions.com and comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.