Now, more than ever, the average consumer is paying attention to the environmental impact their collective actions have on the planet. While most consumers typically think of industry and large corporations as the biggest players in the ecological world theater, these same consumers are recognizing that eco-friendly companies can make a larger positive impact than a single individual can. These environmentally conscious consumers are looking for businesses that align with their earth-friendly priorities. So how do you establish your brand as eco-friendly so that these consumers can find you?
Step One: Educate yourself and your employees.
There are numerous resources out there to help you understand what constitutes environmentally friendly business practices. Start with The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website; it features information on green business practices, including clean energy options, choosing green products, decreasing waste, and limiting the environmental impact from vehicle use. Having an eco-friendly business also means truly understanding what products and practices are harmful to the environment. Is your business routinely using disposable, non-biodegradable products? Is your business location utilizing toxic chemicals or using too much water to maintain its landscaping?
While it can be overwhelming to audit every aspect of your business to see where there is room to implement green initiatives, it can be done. Address one aspect of environmental impact to start with, such as ways to reduce waste at the office, and then add another aspect to gradually increase your knowledge and application of other eco-friendly practices in your business.
2. Step Two: Incorporate ‘green’ into your company culture.
It takes a concerted effort to bring about change, and change is always resisted. Being ‘green’ is more than lip service. Total buy-in needs to take place at the top management levels in order for green practices to trickle down the ranks and truly become a part of the company culture. Your business’s leadership team will be instrumental in setting the new standard in your company’s green practices, both by example and commitment. Employees need clear guidance and direction on expected actions and outcomes. Set specific, measurable goals at all levels that are aligned with green initiatives you want to implement. Setting a goal to reduce paper waste by 10% as measured by monthly orders is more concrete than simply expecting staff to ‘avoid unnecessary waste’. Bring in environmental consultants to train your staff on how to conserve energy, both at home and at work, to increase awareness in your workforce. Be intentional about communicating environmental values throughout your organization so that they are reflected in your hiring policies, daily routines, and even brand messaging.
3. Partner with eco-friendly vendors.
Research your business partners’ ecological practices to see if they align with your environmental values, and partner with those that do. Be vocal about how your partnerships support the environment and the impact these partnerships have on your local ecosystem to increase your eco-friendly branding message. Your choice of business partners needs to reflect your priorities of environmental consciousness, from shipping methods to sourcing of supplies and resources. If you’re not currently aligned with your environmental values, start by replacing your supplier of Styrofoam or plastic containers with a recycled paper products supplier, find a local recycling center to recycle paper and cardboard waste, or purchase fuel-efficient vehicles for your company fleet.
4. Show off your ‘green’.
Now that you have identified your eco-friendly priorities and implemented policies to support them within your company culture, it is time to align your branding and marketing so that they reflect your new stance as an earth-friendly business. You can opt to do this in subtle ways or announce your presence in the green scene with a splash. Sponsor or host events to promote environmental protection, such as an energy saving practices workshop, a community garden, or a recycling drive. Assist your community with electronics disposal and hazardous waste collection drives. Showcase earth-friendly messaging at your place of business, your website, and marketing material. Show public support for green initiatives proposed by your local, state, and federal governments, and be vocal about your ecological stance in your community.
By developing an eco-friendly brand, you are bringing in consumers who share your ecological values, and they in turn support green-focused businesses. Your brand will stand apart from competitors who have not embraced eco-friendly business practices. And perhaps most importantly, you will have the satisfaction of knowing your business is having a positive impact on our planet.
Contact us today for more information regarding a new brand design or refresh at 303-653-9855.