I have been thinking a lot about corporate social responsibility lately and how important sustainability efforts are to companies. When companies put forth the effort to be more sustainable, they are not only doing a good deed for the planet, but they are also generating positive buzz about themselves and could potentially be saving money.
The sustainability industry is booming and shows no sign of slowing down. That’s why companies that don’t practice sustainability need to start, and those that already do can’t afford to stop.
This “going green” trend began long before 2007, but until then, it was characterized by tree-huggers and overpriced eco-friendly goods. In 2008, the trend started to become mainstream and now, in 2010, sustainability efforts are a must, with green values appealing to Americans.
Capstrat, a public relations firm in North Carolina, conducted a study in 2009 with survey firm Public Policy Polling.
The study found that “eighty-three percent of respondents said a company’s commitment to sustainable business practices is very or somewhat important in their purchasing decisions.”
This is good news for businesses that advocate going green. And despite the recession, 60 percent of those polled said they would pay more money for a product that was considered “green,” and 10 percent of Americans consider environmental friendliness as the most important factor when making a purchase.
Consumers are telling companies what they want to see, and companies need to listen. However, it’s not always easy.
For companies such as Klean Kanteen, sure, mustering up good publicity resulting from its eco-friendly products is easy; however, it’s not so easy for corporations, like McDonald’s, who are often seen as a villain or in this case, an evil clown.
It’s important for public relations team working on behalf of corporations or companies that don’t directly produce green products or services to put together sustainability plans and implement them. Even if it’s something as small as starting a recycling program or switching all the light bulbs in the offices to CFL blubs, it’s a start.
And good PR professionals know that a relationship is not created over night. It’s created one step at a time. So start a green effort at your internship, job or even your home. Your efforts are a reflection of you and your company or organizations. Make your publics proud and your planet happy.
– Marcia Miller