World Environment Day and Green Marketing: Why You Need To Start Adapting Today
In honour of World Environment day on Saturday 5th June, the team here at White Label Loyalty wanted to highlight the growing importance of 'green marketing' alongside the problems of 'greenwashing'. We want to show how helping the planet can help you and your business too.
What is World Environment Day?
World Environment Day is the United Nations' day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment. Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated every year on 5 June, engaging governments, businesses and citizens to address pressing environmental issues. This year it will be hosted by Pakistan for the first time. Pakistan President, Imran Khan states that the event will be a way for his government to ‘leave behind a better country for our future generations’.
What are the problems facing the planet?
Why is this day so important, what are the problems facing our planet?
75% of the public agree that if we don’t change the way we live in the next 10 years, the state of the planet will be in jeopardy. So what is going on and going wrong? Here are just three stark facts.
- The past five years were the warmest on record, reflecting how significant global warming is. The wildfires in Australia and other parts of the world in recent years have highlighted this issue
- One reason for this is that a third of the food intended for human consumption - around 1.3 billion tons is wasted or lost. This is enough to feed 3 billion people.
- The population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians have experienced a decline of an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016.
These are all problems that are placing our planet into trouble. As consumers become increasingly aware of this situation they look to global brands to lead the charge. This is where green marketing comes into play. Let’s now discover more about green marketing and learn how it is becoming more relevant by the day.
What Is Green Marketing?
Green marketing is the process of promoting products or services based on their environmental benefits. These products or services may be environmentally friendly in themselves or produced in an environmentally friendly way. The ability to promote your products in a sustainable way and to show your customers that you’re an eco-friendly organisation can be hugely beneficial for your brand. It is likely that green marketing will allow your business to be seen as progressive and forward-thinking. Customers will therefore be more likely to trust your brand.
Want to find out more about purpose-driven marketing and why it is so effective?
What Is Greenwashing?
In the U.S. alone the sustainability market is on track to reach $150 billion in 2021, therefore there is a possible monetary gain from taking part in green marketing. However, with that being said one important aspect to be aware of and avoid is ‘greenwashing’. This is the process of promoting green products that are not actually made sustainably in order to falsely advertise and reflect a sense of performative activism for the sake of sales.
One highly publicised example of greenwashing can be found with McDonalds and their attempt to capitalise on the trend of eliminating plastic straws in 2018. The paper straws that they replaced them with, in fact could not be fully recycled. The straws themselves were also seen to not be fit for purpose. The majority of customers were complaining about the structural integrity of the straw compared with previous iterations. McDonalds then had to launch a new version of the straw to ensure its recyclability and sturdiness. For a brand as large as McDonalds, this backlash might not have had a substantial economic impact on the company but it did highlight an incompetence when it came to green marketing that led to the accusations of greenwashing.
Greenwashing can be really damaging for a company’s reputation. Therefore, it's important that your green marketing approach comes from a place of sincerity. This should be alongside a genuine want to do good. We will next provide tips on how to pursue green marketing effectively.
Our Three Top Tips On How To Kick-Start Your Green Marketing Journey
No More Paper
One stark statistic is that every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch. One way to attempt to halt this is to become a paperless company. The average response for direct mail is 2%, meaning that 98% of that is completely wasted. You also need to think about what a toll on the environment mail can carry with the miles it has to travel to get to destination. If your message could just as easily be sent in an email - what’s the point of wasting paper? Making your clients/customers aware that you are becoming a paperless company will allow them to see the steps you are taking to be more environmentally conscious.
It is important to note how the coronavirus pandemic affected the environment via the improvement of air and water quality, reduction of noise and restoration of ecology. With restrictions starting to ease, it is likely that these improvements will be short-lived. There may however be ways in which we can continue patterns of behaviour that benefit the environment. Virtual events have become the new norm with video conference applications seeing an unprecedented rise. Therefore, our advice is this: if you have an idea for an event or promotion, consider whether the same event could be done effectively online. If you cannot make these events virtual, consider instead ways that they can be made greener. For example, encourage participants to arrive via public transport to a venue with an option of incentivising this.
Keeping Everyone On The Same Page
When getting started on your green marketing journey, you need to make sure that everyone in your company shares your green philosophy. You also need to make sure that all your communications reflect this. There needs to be an acceptance of a cultural shift at your company by all members of your team. Your communications need to be pushing your green message. This ensures that your customers and clients are aware of the changes you are making and why they are so important.
Anything Planned For World Environment Day?
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Jack was our Marketing Assistant. He helped with content creation including writing the blog posts you love to read!