Go For Green in 2009

30 01 2009

The past is usually a good indicator of the future. And in 2008, we saw a lot of green marketing. Companies are starting to tout their eco-friendliness and that is sure to continue into 2009. So what can we learn from the green marketing in 2008? Here are the top 5 green marketing stories from that year and what they could mean for your business in 2009.

1: Presidency Change

Story
With Bush out of office, a major change for environmental politics is underway. Environmental groups have criticized Bush for his ecological ignorance and refusal to support clean energy alternatives, but these groups are now happy. Executives say that with Obama in the White House, green businesses and initiatives will flourish. Obama’s administration plans to boost clean energy, provide 5 million green-collar jobs and set strict environmental regulations for businesses.

For Your Business
As the green market gets stronger, you need to market your own greenness. Green business practices are becoming mainstream, so if you aren’t using recycled paper and sustainable procedures, you might want to put some in place so you can also claim some greenness.

2: Advertising Goes Green

Story
Cause-related marketing enjoyed 3 percent growth in 2008 despite budget cuts, and now represents one in nine dollars spent on sponsorships. GE, Walmart and HSBC won the first-ever Green Effie awards, while companies like Innocent Smoothies, Fiat and EasyJet were accused of making false green marketing claims. Consumers are paying attention to green claims and with a new site, Greenwashingindex.com, consumers can rate companies’ green ad claims and figure out who’s lying.

For Your Business
It’s pretty clear that the lesson learned from this story is that you need to be truthful about your green advertising. Consumers are wise to “greenwashing,” which means making false green claims.

3: FTC Updates Green Marketing Guidelines

Story
With so many companies making environmental claims last year, the FTC sped up the updates to their Green Guides, which regulate green packaging requirements and green marketing guidelines.

For Your Business
Revised FTC Green Guides in 2009 will become well-known so you’d better heed their advice. Competitors will probably be looking at your green marketing claims more closely and calling you out in their own ads. This is a tactic that you could use on your competition, too, of course.

4: Bottled Water Gets a Bad Rap

Story
Critics shunned bottled water last year for its wastefulness and contribution to climate change.

To extinguish scrutiny, Fiji reported that its bottled water was “carbon negative” and partnered with Conservation International for oversight of Fiji’s investments in renewable energy and conservation efforts in the Fiji rainforest. Fiji also assured customers that it will disclose its carbon footprint on its Web site.

For Your Business
As more businesses start to put statistics and specific numbers about their carbon footprint and environmental impact, you may want to consider getting your own stats on your product(s). Industries are starting to unite to share costs of finding out the carbon footprint for a lifecycle of a certain type of product, so you should look for a group like that to join.

5: The Crash of Detroit and GM Introduces Chevy Volt

Story
U.S. auto makers have been hit hard by the bleak economy and Asian competitors coming out with more fuel-efficient vehicles. GM and other auto makers are stepping up their acts to become more green and produce more hybrids, like the Chevy Volt.

For Your Business
If U.S. auto makers would have planned ahead, they wouldn’t have been so behind the times with the hybrid vehicles. Monitor changes in your industry and put plans in place to join any green trends as soon as you can.

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