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Avoiding greenwash and the Triple Bottom Line
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Avoiding greenwash and the Triple Bottom Line


Mark Stuart Head of Research at the Chartered Institute of Marketinh

Mark Stuart Head of Research at the Chartered Institute of Marketinh

Published in Business , Technology
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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: • Futerra: • Mobius: • Smart: Know-Net: net/links/full.htm • The Chartered Institute of Marketing:
  • 13. Thank you
  • 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,