Like Kermit the Frog Said: It’s Not Easy Being Green

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For the past decade, environmental issues have crept into corporate-speak. Eco-friendliness has gone from being a differentiator to a must-have for consumer companies. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Are corporations engaging in sustainable behavior because it’s the right thing to do or because they are forced to by public opinion? It’s important to care about motives because the tides change. If a company has made a “green” decision mostly or solely based on import prices and fuel surcharges then what happens when those prices come down?

In the Six Laws of Green Marketing, Colleen Kramer highlights why sustainability needs to be an integral part of the company and not just a temporary add-on. Her observation regarding the Patagonia company rings true: if you are genuinely trying to do the right thing, it’s OK to stumble in front of your audience. After all, the road to green is truly paved with good intentions. Patagonia’s transparency regarding greening the company’s logistics may be a compelling example to other companies leery of faltering; however, if companies continue to assess green initiatives with the same return-on-investment analysis they would use with any other capital project, many projects will fail before they are even started.

One of our clients, VYCON, has the good fortune of working with EasyStreet Online Services, a cloud, managed services and colocation provider in Oregon. Utilizing wind power and flywheel energy storage, EasyStreet has a long-standing green commitment and seized the opportunity to be a beacon of how to build energy efficient data centers. Reliability, sustainability and having a low carbon footprint are part of the ethos of the company – and they end up serving the company well, financially, when the energy bills come in.

If your company or your clients are looking to tout their eco-friendliness as a marketing ploy, remind them that this is the age of transparency. We counsel clients that small but genuine change is much more meaningful and has a longer-lasting impact on the company’s image, as well as the bottom line.

© Copyright Jennings & Associates Communications, Inc.