Clear Green Marketing
Senny Boone, SVP corporate and social responsibility, DMA
For each of these questions, marketers need to first ensure they are familiar with the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines for green marketing. The choice of whether to use it as part of the brand is dependent upon the organization. We have members who are active environmental organizations themselves and do a great deal of work to show the public what they are accomplishing and how they can support and participate such work. We urge members to let consumers know that their mail pieces are able to be recycled and are not "junk mail", see our website www.recycleplease.org. Generally, demonstrating good corporate and social responsibility that is genuine is a net positive.
Consumer Reports does not endorse or advertise products other than our own. We may label a marketing piece with information about recycled content, which our paper vendor has confirmed and documented. We may include the RecyclePlease logo on a component because of its educational benefit.
If positive changes in environmental performance in product design, production or packaging are made, it certainly can be advantageous to share these advances with customers. But with caution—environmental performance is an expectation or baseline many consumers already accept and expect—and probably most are unwilling to pay anything more than a small premium (if any at all) for such advances. Also, environmental improvements as a by-product of changes made for other purposes (such as for improved efficiency or cost savings) should be presented truthfully as such. Consumers don't mind a cost-saving move on the part of a business also paying an environmental dividend—it just needs to documented and accurately described as such.
Q: Do you strive for transparency to the public, or is there another organizing principle to how you communicate these things?