Promoting Sustainability? You’ve Got to Back It Up

Increasingly, brands are jumping on the bandwagon of environmental sustainability. Consumers want to do business with brands that are kind to the earth, and brands are giving consumers what they want. However, just making sustainability claims isn’t enough. You have to back them up.

Among the recent studies showing a growing preference for sustainably produced products is the “Business of Sustainability Index” from GreenPrint, which helps businesses reach and promote their sustainability goals. In its study, GreenPrint found the following:

  • 77% of Americans care about the environmental impact of products they buy.
  • 78% of people are more likely to buy a product labeled as environmentally friendly.
  • 64% of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products.

Given these numbers, why aren’t sustainable products flying off the retail shelves? In part, it’s because shoppers don’t know how to identify them. Brands might make sustainability claims on their marketing materials and product packaging. Still, a survey from Specright found that 69% of consumers don’t believe companies today are being accurate and honest about them.

How do you fix the problem? Back up your claims with third-party data! What might this look like?

  • If you use sustainably produced paper in your direct mail, packaging, and signage, add the appropriate logos, such as those from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (FSI) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • If you are sustainably managing the lifecycle of your products, add the logos of those certifications, such as Green Seal, Cradle-to-Cradle, or Green-e for renewable energy.
  • If you focus on social responsibility and trade, add the Fair Trade certification.

Also, consider adding pictures of real people, places, or things, such as village members benefitting from your fair trade practices or wind farm turbines that help supply your renewable energy. Provide evidence of using carbon offsets or plastic credits to produce the product or packaging.

Make these proofs visible! Specright also found that 71% of consumers are more likely to believe a company’s sustainability claims if printed directly on the product or packaging (similar to a nutritional label).

There are many ways to promote your environmental commitment, and consumers want to hear it. So, get your story out there!

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