As you work on your 2014 business resolutions (you are doing that, right?) are you thinking about what (if any) changes you can make to be a greener, more environmentally-conscious business in the New Year? Once you “go green”, it’s a good idea to market your efforts. You can’t just set out a couple of recycling bins and call yourself a green business. Consumers see through this, and so can the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Here are three things you should know before you proclaim your greenness.
- In 2012, the FTC revised its green guidelines to make sure marketers aren’t making deceptive environmental claims. Products cannot be labeled “environmentally-friendly” or “eco-friendly” without certification that the product has “far-reaching environmental benefits.” The guidelines apply to any environmental claims in labeling, advertising, promotional materials and marketing in any medium. In other words, your green marketing claims need to reflect your business’s reality.
- Do consumers still care about the environment? The answer is a resounding “yes.” In a recent survey from Cone Communications, 71 percent of Americans say they think about the environment when making purchasing decisions. But, consumers want product manufacturers to help educate them on the environmental terms and use of their products (such as use and disposal).
- Whatever your green efforts are, you might have a hard time convincing your clients and customers you are sincere. According to a Green Gauge survey from GfK, the number of consumers who don’t always believe a company’s environmental claims doubled to 22 percent between 2008 and 2013. The solution is not overselling. The key to convincing consumers you’re authentic and sincere is to make sure your marketing messages reflect your true goals of contributing to the green movement.