Why Customers Care About Green Marketing (And Why You Should Too)
Get out your watering can and get ready to go green. Today we’re exploring the wonderful world of green marketing.
Green marketing is a simple marketing concept which refers to promoting and selling your brand offering based on its environmentally positive credentials. Call it sustainable marketing, environmentally friendly marketing, it doesn’t really matter. You could call it your Super Duper Sustainable Smarketing Strategy if you wanted to (although people would rightly laugh).
Green marketing isn’t just about ticking a corporate responsibility checklist, it’s about contributing towards a more sustainable world. If you do it right, you might not just feel a little bit better about how you operate – you could well be unlocking a substantial opportunity for your brand.
So what’s so good about green marketing?
Let’s start with the big picture. Building a better world should be a powerful motivator for any organisation, with increasingly alarming predictions of what will happen if we don’t make drastic changes as businesses, governments and citizens towards a more sustainable planet. That might all sound a little bit abstract, but consider that an estimated 3.8 million Malaysians live in areas at risk from sea level rises on the current global warming trajectory, and it all becomes a bit more… threatening.
Now if all that sounds a bit cripplingly global to inform your marketing efforts, consider that the consumers who purchase your product or utilise your services are equally susceptible to being informed and influenced by those stark warnings. That’s why global audiences are increasingly looking at the environmental footprint of companies to inform their consumer decisions.
Sustainable practice means sustainable business benefits
Almost half (45%) of the 60,000 consumers surveyed in a 2015 report by Nielsen admitted that a company’s reputation for being environmentally friendly was a key consideration in their purchasing decisions. In a local context, Nielsen research revealed that 57% of consumers in Southeast Asia, and 43% in Malaysia, cite positive environmental credentials as a driver in purchasing decisions.
Looking again at that big picture – on one hand, you’ll be doing your part to stop a global climate catastrophe which will contribute to increasingly severe weather events, species and habitats dying off, and flood waters inundating the nations of the world. On the other hand, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products with a sustainable footprint. That’s really about as much of a win-win as it gets.
Millennials mean (sustainable) business
Millennials are a demographic in which sustainable choices have an even more pronounced influence on consumer decisions. Why does that trend towards an environmentally conscious emerging consumer class matter? Because they’re the future of global spending power.
There are more than a billion millennials living in Asia alone, and 86% of the world’s millennials call emerging and developing economies their home. That means the economies of tomorrow will be driven by these socially conscious champions of sustainability.
The aggregate income of global millennials is expected to top US$3 trillion by 2030. That makes them the demographic with the most significant spending power for the next 10-15 years. After that? An even more socially conscious generation (born 2000-2020) will emerge, brought up in a world amidst a backdrop of increasing realisation of climate change.
What does all this mean? Sustainable practice and green marketing isn’t just a short-term solution today, it’s a key driver for the future of your business.
How do you embed green practice in your business?
Green marketing is about promoting the environmentally friendly credentials of your brand. Ultimately, that all starts with sustainable business practice. That’s everything from minimising the electricity you use in your office to the sustainability of your supply chain from raw materials through to finished product. Here are just some ways you can look to improve that:
- The Malaysian Green Technology Corporation offers a range of services, incentives and financial aid to support Malaysian companies in becoming more sustainable.
- Analyse your supply chains and procurement pathways, and look to develop an appropriate strategy to promote sustainable procurement.
- Start energy efficiency with simple steps. Switch out standard light bulbs for LEDs. Turn off computers rather than leaving them on standby. Make sure you regularly check and service air conditioning to maintain efficiency. Improved energy efficiency also means lower electricity costs.
- Undertake an energy audit that looks at how you can improve your work’s overall energy efficiency. Malaysian electricity provider TNB has a service which offers these energy audits for commercial and industrial purposes, and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority can provide conditional grants for energy audits.
- Embed a positive sustainability culture by encouraging your colleagues and peers to consider their environmental footprint. That can involve suggestions like eliminating unnecessary printing, reducing energy waste and adopting recycled materials.
- Reduce the wasteful nature of packaging, particularly one-use plastics. Malaysia has the unenviable position of 8th worst country in the world for plastic pollution. We can all be part of tackling that.
The other benefit of all this saving the world nonsense is that being more sustainable is widely recognised as offering businesses a competitive advantage, providing a positive long-term contribution to business value.
So what does this mean from a marketing angle? Well luckily the next bit is easy. With all those consumers clamouring for more sustainable brands, you just do what you do best – put on your marketing hat and start a conversation. If you need someone to start the conversation for you, we know a few marketers with the green fingers to help.