On the surface, green branding seems simple enough. It’s about readjusting company initiatives to honor environmentally conscious practices.
According to Investopedia, green branding is about going beyond traditional marketing and promotions to establish “environmental core values” for the benefit of all. In other words, it’s not only marketing or smoke and mirrors — it’s about changing the way a company operates and aligning its core mission and principles with green operations.
As a whole, the practice will benefit the business, consumers and the world. Complex and far-reaching implications can have a lasting impact on the environment, and green branding is a way to fight back against many of those changes. Crucially, consumers tend to have a much more positive outlook on businesses that are in tune with the environment and ecosystem.
The Many Benefits of Going Green
The benefits of an eco-friendly operation are vast:
- Operational cost savings
- New product opportunities
- Enhanced legal and regulatory compliance
- Premium prices and customers willing to pay for them
- Local community support and reputation
- More supplier and partner options
- A robust competitive advantage
- Improved employee morale
- Green marketing and eco-friendly status symbols
It’s also worth noting that sustainable business practices have a lot in common with going green and eco-friendly initiatives, particularly concerning a massive reduction in waste and its handling. Environmental practices in the workplace help create a more sustainable business or operation by boosting efficiency and output, reducing waste and optimizing resources, especially finite ones.
Examples of Eco-Friendly Practices
The meaning of green branding is simple enough, but implementing it is much more challenging and involved. The good news is that consumers migrate toward more sustainable, ethical products, so the interest is already there. Nielsen projects that the sales of sustainable products will reach $142 to $150 billion by 2021.
Making changes in your operations and initiatives requires a conscious shift to improve your business’ environmental impact. Green branding is about the communication or sharing of those initiatives through conventional marketing channels. Of course, before that can happen, operational adjustments must take place.
Some eco-friendly practices include:
- A reduction in resource usage or swapping to more eco-friendly materials
- More efficient energy usage using something like smart lighting or energy-efficient bulbs
- The introduction of renewable energy systems like solar or wind
- Start a recycling initiative to properly dispose of waste
- Practice water conservation through efficient faucets or smart dispensaries
- Sourcing components, gear and items from more sustainable suppliers
- Reducing pollution by upgrading, replacing or retiring old equipment
These are just a few examples of strategies and practices. Your business operations may be different, and that’s OK. Building eco-friendly products is also about the equipment, processes and people doing the work behind the scenes — not merely the items themselves.
How to Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly
Green branding is about the communication and adoption of more sustainable practices. So, if you’re talking about green branding examples, you might see things like sustainably sourced packaging, locally sourced ingredients or eco-friendly corporate goals — like promising to replace conventional power consumption with a given amount of renewable energy by a specific date.
1. Start Small
Every business has a budget, so overhauling every aspect of your operation is out of the question. That’s why it’s best to start small, choosing practices you can change for a minimal cost.
For example, swapping paper products and packages to a recyclable source is an excellent start. Since packaging is responsible for over 80 million tons of waste, such a small change can have a significant impact.
2. Center Your Campaigns
For every marketing campaign or promotion, there tends to be a central theme, which serves as the foundation for everything else that follows. Instead of building marketing campaigns around a topic or message, focus on sustainability and green practices. What are you doing internally to improve the environmental impact? How can that translate to marketing and promotions? Would you like to show off new packaging? Have you thought about creating a commercial that explores your new eco-friendly plant or office?
NewTechWood, for instance, has developed a partnership with other brands that focuses on green initiatives. Part of their strategy is announcing and discussing their new direction, while sharing ways everyone can participate.
3. Always Be Transparent
Consumers want to understand what they’re buying or supporting, which means sharing your sources and how you’re using your supplies. Besides, your audience will want to know what you’re doing internally to sustain the environment. Are you using renewable energy? Are you recycling waste or dealing with it more intelligently and efficiently? Have you upgraded the lighting in your local office to use less energy?
One of the best ways to share this information is through a public-facing feed, whether in blogs, videos or social media.
It goes both ways, too. If you’ve done something wrong, be sure to share it and discuss what you will be doing to remedy the situation. How will you be changing practices in the future?
4. Go Digital
There’s no reason for a paper trail to be hard-copy these days. If you’re worried about protecting data and documents, create backups and use proper security and authentication protocols. Eliminating paper waste is an excellent way to improve sustainability and impact on the environment.
You might also encourage your customers to come on board, which could mean developing or establishing a customer-facing digital platform for your business.
5. Use the Cloud
Data centers are expensive and energy-intensive, especially when they empower internal infrastructure and systems. Offset your resource usage and costs by adopting cloud technologies or working with a cloud provider. The decentralized system handles all the processing and power, and your business would have access to a client-side system.
Cloud providers also simplify technology solutions’ maintenance and security. The provider handles and deals with those elements, allowing you to focus on your mission-critical business practices.
6. Revisit Brand Elements
Rebranding a business also deals with the evolution or upgrade for forward-facing elements, like logos, mission statements, taglines and much more. As you successfully roll out green initiatives, it might make sense to revisit some brand elements customers see.
For instance, if your logo features an outdated item or idea that doesn’t align with your new environmental commitment, it might be time to change.
7. Get Everyone on Board
It’s just as essential to ensure everyone behind the scenes knows what’s happening, too, including company employees, partners and suppliers. Spread the word on internal blogs, during company announcements or events or by getting your teams involved.
Going Green in 2020: No Longer a Choice
If you haven’t implemented green initiatives, you’re behind the times. Your competition has probably already made many of these strides. It’s not only consumers who demand more ethical and sustainable practices in today’s landscape, but also employees, partners and everyone in between.
Eco-friendly practices and green branding are two strategies that could deliver the precise boost in standing and character your business needs. Even beyond that, it can help lower operating costs, improve productivity and output, boost employee satisfaction and significantly enhance product quality and premiums.
If you’re having trouble navigating the world of green technologies and practices, start small. Choose a single operation or element of your services you can improve, then grow from there. Adopt sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. Install some smart lighting solutions or efficient light bulbs in the office. Find ways to reduce the total waste your operation produces. Establish a recycling initiative to properly dispose of or reuse viable supplies.
Going green — including green branding — is something we should all focus on, if only to improve our shared environment and ecosystem.
Lexie is a branding enthusiast and web designer. She loves checking out local flea markets and taking her Goldendoodle on hikes. Follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner and check out her design blog, Design Roast.