BfG News Issue 2 - Editors Column: Are technology companies lagging behind in the race to fight climate change?

02 Jun 2007|Added Value

The new EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, that comes into force in the UK from 1st of July, will force businesses that manufacture, brand or import electrical and electronic equipment to be responsible for the cost of collection, treatment and recycling of E-waste in the UK. About time, when you consider that electronic equipment is responsible for generating around one million tonnes of waste a year, mainly driven by the sector’s continued offering of an endless array of new, must-have features.

The UK’s Marketing Week commissioned Added Value to delve into the technology sector to find out what companies were doing, if anything. What we found in fact, was that many of the companies are busily developing eco-initiatives across the whole infrastructure. From global recycling and take-back services offered by many of the big players, including Sony, Microsoft and HP, to Nokia who has formed strong links with WWF to raise staff awareness of environmental issues.

All well and good, but unfortunately, as our research showed, this is not a message consumers are receiving. 53% of the respondents were unable to name a single technology brand that is known for ‘pro-actively combating climate change’; this, at a time when they are becoming increasingly driven by environmental claims when buying. In fact, almost 70% of the respondents rated ‘reduced energy consumption’ as the most important feature when buying a new technical/electrical product. Moreover, trust of an environmental claim, remains a significant issue, with only 17% believing that technology products could be ‘carbon neutral’. Read our full article as appeared in Marketing Week …

Trust and transparency go hand in hand when considering an environmental communications strategy. Of course, businesses do need to get their ducks in a row internally before embarking on a public declaration.  But at the same time, consumers don’t expect businesses to have all the answers (quite the contrary). But, what they do need is the reassurance that the commitment is there, which can be easily achieved by talking to them as the steps are being taken. The success M & S have seen with their “Plan A because there’s no Plan B” campaign is testament to this.

Jenny Fors
Associate Director

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