Friday, November 06, 2009

A Call to Green Marketers to Vanquish Consumer Confusion

This piece on GreenBiz offers a call to green marketers to make a big push to move consumers beyond their confusion on green products:

I propose that we, the green marketing community, unite to develop a set of clearly defined, universally accepted green terms. And we should supplement those terms with context. We should explain, for example, that the 1987 Brundtland Commission report is the progenitor of both the modern concept of sustainability and the notion that environmental sustainability is integrally connected to social and economic sustainability. And that these concepts have driven the broadening of the definition of green, the diffusion of the corporate social responsibility movement, and the use of the triple bottom line measure of company performance.

Once we define green terms, we then should educate the consumer about them by means of public relations campaigns, news media coverage, program content and advertising.

It is in our self-interest as marketers of green products to take these actions. However, it is also altruistic. Because if these actions result in greater sales of sustainable products we will be improving our planet for future generations.

Who's with me on this?

I definitely agree that we need some massively sticky efforts right now to help educate consumers in how to navigate the famed maelstroms of the Strait of Lombok green products marketplace.  However, the issues with the credibility of the green marketplace go way beyond language -- to the core of products' true production, use and disposal impacts.

To help verify sustainability in the ecological sense, we need credible standards that are both verifiable and realistically enforceable -- with compliance adequately monitored.  THEN, we bring in the marketers to explain to consumers -- in simple, concrete terms -- how to know what's really green, and why it's both healthier for the environment and better for themselves.

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