Brands Giving The World The Green Light

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Brand management

Nowadays as consumers we all have social responsibility concerns towards the world, which is on the verge of global disasters such as global warming, desertification, flood, famine and so on. We are trying to built a new world by accordingly changing our consumption habits, brand preferences. We are interested in not only the campaigns that are exclusively about logo, design, ad copy, tag lines and color combinations but also global concerns of the brands. The result is that  ‘branding exercises’ about only advertising and PR is not creating sustainable quality for major brands.

Brands that respond these global concerns of consumers are becoming the winners in this process by eliminating the others that are further away from these concerns by focusing on profit maximization. Therefore, only brands giving the world the green light is building relationships that result in customer loyalty in the long-term.

Today brand owners such as Procter & Gamble, Nike and Microsoft are focusing on enhancing their green credentials. This focus not only brightens our poor world but also makes them giants of the world by giving them competitive advantage.

Procter & Gamble, which published first paper evaluating the environmental safety the products in 1956, pioneered the concept of life-cycle development. It has established targets like powering plants solely with renewable energy, only utilising renewable or recycled materials in manufacturing and reducing the waste going to landfill to zero.

“By 2050, we estimate that there will be 9bn people on the planet,” said Len Sauers, Procter’s vp, global sustainability. He also added “P&G will have to change to meet the challenges of solid waste, climate change and water availability.”

The Dream Machine programme conducted by PepsiCo‘s US beverage arm is seeking to recycle 20m pounds of bottles and cans this year and extend its use of recycled content for containers. It is also rolling out new, low-carbon agricultural techniques when growing oranges included in Tropicana.

According to Tim Carey, director of sustainability and technology at PepsiCo Americas Beverages, shoppers that make buying decisions based on the environmental record of companies would soon increase.

“Sustainability at PepsiCo has evolved over the past few years to be something that we consider, measure and apply in a way that reaches every aspect of our business – from how we develop packaging, to how we bring our products to market, to how we engage our consumers,” he said.

Microsoft is another company that has a focus on a similar process to integrate the sustainability agenda into each element of corporate governance. They are seeing sustainability as an area of interest to being embedded in everything they do. However, according to Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, further work should still be done by big industry players to make a difference in the long term. He is also aware of the fact that all the changes needed to ensure sustainability cannot be come on the scene in a year. “If asked what story I’d like to tell in 2022, I’d say that I envision a radical evolution of the entire energy infrastructure,” he said.

Sportswear specialist Nike has built the GreenXChange that is an information-sharing hub to spur collaboration and foster a collective response. In order to assess the ecological impact of potential launches the Environmental Apparel Design Tool has been introduced.

“These are market-based solutions that address sustainability challenges,” said Hannah Jones, Nike’s vp, sustainable business and innovation.

Actually, Warren Wilson, a senior analyst at research firm Ovum emphasizes more tangible advantages to this kind of approach. “Adopting more efficient processes can reduce energy costs and wastes, and also can deliver top-line improvements by strengthening the brands of those companies that are committed to the green economy,” he said.

In conclusion, brands addressing sustainability challenges not only give our poor world the green light but also make a good investment to create strong brand identity in the minds of consumers and maintain this strength in the long term.


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