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Avoiding greenwash and the Triple Bottom Line

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Mark Stuart Head of Research at the Chartered Institute of Marketinh

Mark Stuart Head of Research at the Chartered Institute of Marketinh

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  • 1. Avoiding greenwash and the Triple Bottom Line Mark Stuart Head of Research The Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • 2. 2006 117 complaints about 83 adverts 2007 561 complaints about 410 adverts 2008 369 complaints about 264 adverts Source: ASA, March 2009
  • 3. Green motives? • Only 17% of consumers trust businesses to do the right thing when it comes to climate change • 72% feel they should take the issue of climate change more seriously • 55% would like more independent assurances on what companies are doing on the issue of climate change Source: Climate Change and Brands/Future Foundation Base: 1600 Adults 16+
  • 4. Defra’s new revisions on green claims Likely to include new areas such as: • Misleading by silence • Claims need to be within a wider context of reliable or credible corporate approach (how far can that be addressed?) • Encouraging customers towards better behaviours • Plain language • Difference between on-product labelling, and advertising
  • 5. CAP Code updates • Absolute claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation • Comparative claims such as ‘greener’ or ‘friendlier’ can be justified if the basis for comparison is clear • Marketers must not suggest their claims are universally accepted if a significant division of informed or scientific opinion exists
  • 6. Source: The good, the bad and the indifferent, The Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • 7. Implementing the Triple Bottom Line in a company Source: The good, the bad and the indifferent, The Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • 8. Internal opportunities • Introduce flexible working patterns • Switch to local suppliers • Consider how products are packaged • Have a sustainable sourcing policy • Adopt a ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ principle across your business
  • 9. Benefits of the Triple Bottom Line Simultaneously drive better economy and better world More motivated employees People, planet and profits work together in virtuous circle Long-term financial planning Feeds back into Research and Development and innovation Doing the right thing because it is the right thing
  • 10. The role for marketers Source: The good, the bad and the indifferent: The Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • 11. Green claims • Be transparent • Err on the side of caution • Make labelling more explanatory • Avoid phrases like ‘environmentally friendly’ • Be aware of implying a claim in imagery • Reuse, reduce, recycle
  • 12. Further information • BRASS: http://www.brass.cf.ac.uk • Futerra: www.futerra.co.uk • Mobius: www.mobiusgreenprint.com • Smart: Know-Net: www.cfsd.org.uk/smart-know- net/links/full.htm • The Chartered Institute of Marketing: www.cim.co.uk
  • 13. Thank you markstuart@cim.co.uk www.cim.co.uk
  • 14. The green iceberg • 86% of customers say that when price and quality are equal, linking with a cause would make a difference to their purchasing choice Source: The Marketer • 93% of customers think businesses must be responsible about their impact on the environment Source: The Marketer
  • 15. Four kinds of customer… • Committed: knows what to do and does it • Conflicted: knows what to do, but doesn't always bother • Confused: doesn't know what to do, or how to make a difference • Cynical: doesn't know and doesn't care
  • 16. Ten ideas for sustainable communication 1 big picture 6 optimism 2 technically correct 7 glory button 3 be cool 8 change is for all 4 belong 9 we need more heroes 5 only stories work 10 personal circle Source: Futerra
  • 17. Design the product or service well Save the customer money Communicate the benefits
  • 18. Summary – 1 • Focus on the opportunities, not the risks • Find win-win solutions • Make different choices • Change behaviours positively • Make sure any claims are provable, factual, accurate, responsible and credible
  • 19. Summary – 2 • Don’t sell it because it’s green – sell it because it’s good, and also green • You can use sustainability as a differentiator, if it genuinely is sustainable. • Not consuming more – consuming differently
  • 20. Green marketing in action Ensure a sustainable ethic runs throughout the company, to avoid customers being cynical about you – Doesn’t have to be expensive – Choose suppliers that share same values – Make sustainable ethics part of the brand
  • 21. Green marketing in action Communications – Work with a sustainable-minded agency – Electronic communications not paper – Use organic inks and recycled paper where you do use print communications – Use waterless printers
  • 22. Green marketing in action Getting customers to buy… – Customers will only buy a green product when they are aware of its social and environmental benefits – And when they can see these benefits positively, compared with your competitors – The quality has to be equal to, or better than, competitors’ if it is to have green differentiation – Focus on local sourcing or fair trade – The interest is there for any industry or product sector… It’s our job to demonstrate the benefits to customers
  • 23. “The real agent of change for sustainable business practices over the next decade or so will be communication.” Source: The good, the bad and the indifferent: The Chartered Institute of Marketing 2007
  • 24. The Business Case for sustainability • Reputation: reduce the risk of public disillusion, negative press, brand damage • Innovation: new solutions in Research and Development • Competitive advantage: customers want to buy from, or invest in, ethically-minded companies • Cost savings: local sourcing saves transportation costs; reducing usage and wastage lowers costs • Companies that reduce their energy bill by 20% could add the same amount to their profits as a 5% rise in sales
  • 25. • Global sales of fair trade products • 2005: £758 million 2007: £1.6 billion in 2007 • UK sales • 2005: £195 million 2007: £493 milllion • Marks & Spencer experiencing significant growth from its eco-product categories in first half 2007 • Sources: BBC, Computing.co.uk