When was the last time you paused to think of the environmental consequences of our actions? Wait. Did I just say environmental? Right. Most of us find it hard to believe that the choices we make at an individual level as consumers are of any consequence to anyone else. However, as marketers we have many a time attempted to speak to this very side of the consumer and awaken their conscience. Green Marketing as it has come to be known has been around for quite a few years now. Several brands have incorporated “green” into their scheme of things. As the world environment day nears we shall yet again witness brands trying to associate with green in turn expecting consumers to associate with them/make the right choice.
The question that needs to be asked though is, “Has it had any impact?” How many brands reported back on the impact “the choice” really made in clear quantifiable terms?
It is tough for the cynic in many consumers to actually believe that the brands have their heart and soul in the causes they espouse. The responsibility of making the consumers believe in a purpose beyond the commercial lies with us marketers. It is for us to not make the consumers think of them as “gimmicks”. What good is a commitment that is doubted?
Several brands have in their own way communicated their “Green” intent. Some have coaxed the customers to partake in their cause whilst others have demanded a premium on account of being green. However, not all have done a good job of sustaining (pun unintended) the conversation. The efforts by most brands have tended to be sporadic. A TVC here, a print ad there and oh yes the digital led activation too! In short the treatment has been that of a campaign.
One wonders whether these efforts are less owing to intent and more due to regulatory pressures. Atleast as far as India is concerned there is the mandatory 2% CSR rule (not necessarily to be read as green initiatives though). Are the brands then doing whatever it is they wanted to do in the first place and giving it the green tint? There are no easy answers for that one. The day is not far away when organisation shall need to start reporting their carbon credits along with other financials.
In all fairness there are some brands that have visibly stuck to the task, brands that have integrated green into their way of working beyond product and design. Some are already putting these principle into practice whilst others are preparing to. Some me that demonstrate sincerity and commitment while some smack of commercial opportunism with little follow up. Here is an attempt to showcase some of those efforts that caught the author’s eye. Please judge for yourselves.
More on Sustainability from Nokia
Minus One Project (Cheil/Samsung)
The Green Mile is a long arduous path, there unfortunately are no shortcuts. Brands do not need necessarily turn crusaders, they have every right and responsibility to ensure profits for their stakeholders. Point is, once they signal intent they must walk the talk.