BfG News Issue 7 - Editor's Column: Wake up

02 Dec 2007|Added Value

2007 will be famous as the year the world finally woke up to climate change.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this year, more than any other, has seen green issues increasingly driving the business agenda.  Findings from our Invoke live session earlier this month supported the consumer shift too with 77% of consumers having actively taken steps to change their behaviour to become more responsible. 80% of consumers also said it was important for brands to behave more responsibly, with issues like reduced or recycled packaging, locally sourced produce and CO2 emission reductions high on their expectations. Price, however, continues to be a key barrier to buying “green”.

So what have the challenges, opportunities, solutions & points of view been over 2007 for ethical marketing? We take a look through the window of ‘Branding for Good’ NEWS to see the key shifts.

In May our view on the UK Climate Change Bill was that it fell short of really driving business to deliver carbon-reducing innovations. Lobbying campaigns like  ‘I Count’ and petitions from NGO’s like WWF targeting government to increase the carbon reduction target to 80% by 2050 will continue to drive the urgency to act now.  Our expert opinion from Mallen Baker, BITC talked about carbon labelling in the light of the Carbon Trust’s launch of their ‘Carbon Reduction Label’. At the close of this year, Carbon Trust has 12 partner brands signed up to the pilot scheme.

In June, the European WEEE directive was introduced, forcing consumer electronic brands to behave more responsibly. Our research showed that despite the considerable activity behind the scenes for most technology brands to affect change, it isn’t being well communicated with 53% of consumers unable to name a single technology brand that is “pro-actively combating climate change”.

Amidst the summer of music festivals, we introduced the 3R’s into the marketing mix as a way to define the opportunities a change in perspective can bring.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is starting to come through in brand messaging heralding the new Nokia 3110 handset as an example with “bio-covers” made from more than 50% renewable material, reduced packaging (with 60% recycled content) and Nokia’s most energy efficient charger yet, using 94% less energy than the Energy Star requirements.

In September, we explored how the digital influence is enabling consumers, both individually, and as a collective, to hold brands and corporations to account in ways they have never been able to before.  Citing the Greenpeace ‘Green My Apple’ digital campaign as an example of the NGO’s power to connect with consumers to affect positive brand behaviour.

Sustainable innovation was our topic in October showing that a responsible marketing strategy can create an excellent springboard for powerful, consumer relevant, ‘disruptive’ innovation.  Relevance, credibility and being different are key tablestakes for green product success.  Forum for the Future’s senior advisor, Lynne Elvins shared their Ten Top Tips for sustainable innovation.

Looking forward to 2008, the‘Branding for Good’ team are adding the final touches to the day’s line up for the March 6th summit “Green 2.0:  Avoid the Greenwash”. It will certainly be an inspirational and highly interactive experience. The day will kick off with an interview with Sir Martin Sorrell, one of the key speakers at the recent Leaders in London conference alongside Kofi Anaan and Al Gore.

We’ll also hear from Chris Clark, Head of Marketing, HSBC Group, on how cultural complexities can add intrigue and depth to any international marketing strategy; Lucy Calver, Marketing Director, Food & CSR, Marks & Spencer takes us behind the scenes of one of the leading ethical brands with their ‘Plan A’ initiative; and Keith Fletcher, Propositions Manager, E.ON shows how consumer insight fuelled their ‘Go Green’ proposition to deliver a strong environmental stance. 

Places are limited, so register now online or contact the team.

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