Geek Speak – Green Marketing: is your business eco-friendly?

Are you in marketing? Do you care about our planet? If yes, then I imagine that you thought about Green Marketing. I’ve seen a lot of companies jump on the green bandwagon. Being green can be a competitive advantage over your competitors in the marketplace.

What is green marketing?

There isn’t a gold standard here, there are various definitions and it is sometimes called eco-marketing or environmental marketing. The core to green marketing is that the product you are marketing and the way that you are marketing is environmentally safe.

Some ways to describe green can include non-toxic, safe, biodegradable, carbon neutral, recycled, sustainable, re-used, etc etc. It is hard to quantify, but it is definitely a worthy cause. Here are 3 tips.

1. Define your green

The most important part is to be authentic. If you care about making things better, define better. Doing better has a value of its own.

2. Communicate how green makes things better

Green is good, share in your marketing how what you are doing and why it makes your product or services better.

3. Practice what you preach

This third one might seem unnecessary, but after you define your green and share what you are planning, do it with integrity. Avoid Greenwashing at all costs. Greenwashing is marketing that is designed to trick customers into believing, a brand, product or company is eco-friendly.

In a 2010 study, TerraChoice investigated the claims of 4,744 “green” products carried in stores across the U.S. and Canada, finding that more

than 95% of these products were guilty of at least one of what they call ‘The Seven Sins of Greenwashing’:

1. Hidden Trade-Off: Labeling a product as environmentally and focusing on the use of recycled content while hiding the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing.

2. No Proof: You need to back up the hype with facts on the product and or website.

3. Vagueness: What does all-natural mean? What does safe mean? Give details.

4. Irrelevance: Somethings might be technically true, but completely irrelevant. An example of this is touting that a product is CFC-Free is great but they are illegal so no one uses them.

5. Lesser of Two Evils: One example of this would be saying organic cigarettes are better than X product. Organic cigarettes are still cigarettes.

6. Fibbing: Advertising something that just isn’t true. There are a lot of green badges, such as organic or energy star that is on products that haven’t been certified.

7. Worshiping False Labels: Implying that a product has an endorsement or certification that doesn’t actually exist, often through the use of fake certification labels.

As the TerraChoice study shows, greenwashing is rampant, which makes it difficult to know who to trust. I encourage you to be honest and transparent. Green is important. Take care of our planet. ~:-)

Additional Resource www.epa.gov/greenerproducts

Oscar Myre IV

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