My seven year old enquired about our plans for earth day before leaving for school this morning. One is obliged to listen closely to influential consumers even if they don’t generate income or make purchases. Environmental consciousness is getting notice from manufacturers and retailers as they prepare to tap the burgeoning demand with innovative products and services and also modify their value message to customers. After all, green initiatives hold the promise of gaining market share with customers who identify value with earth-friendliness. The good news is that green efforts can be quite profitable whether they entail reducing VOCs and waste, energy conservation, reducing packaging costs or charging a premium for eco-friendly products.
A fortune 500 manufacturing executive recently mentioned that his company is positioning and pricing their new green products based on well-researched real and perceived benefits. Here are a few more cases of opportunity and realized success:
- The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies conducted the telephonic survey last summer to understand the environmental knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior of the American people. Many said they are willing to pay more for “green” products. Half responded that they would “definitely” or “probably” pay 15% more for eco-friendly clothes detergent (51%) or an automobile (50%). Four in ten say they would spend 15% more on “green” computer printer paper (40%) or wood furniture (39%). Perhaps surprisingly, Americans who perceive their current financial situation as either “fair” or “poor” indicated they are just as willing as those more confident of their current finances to spend 15% more on detergent and wood furniture.
- According to Target Corporation’s ad insert with the last Sunday’s newspaper, they are installing ultra-low flow faucets which are 80% more efficient than traditional faucets, have eliminated 400,000 pounds of petroleum-based packaging, recycled 983 million pounds of cardboard, providing 10% energy savings using fewer bulbs without decreasing light, now offering 700 organic foods in SuperTarget stores, worked with other partners to save 1,370,920 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and so forth. For a company invested heavily in the customer’s shopping experience but is constantly compared with rival Walmart on price, is this not the right step?
- GE launched Ecoimagination as a marketing and PR effort in May 2005 with a $90 million investment. In 2007, the company generated $12 billion in sales of ecomagination products, which include wind turbines, super-efficient jet engines and long-lasting light-bulbs. By 2010, GE wants to make $20 billion in sales of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly products and funnel $1.5 billion a year into related research.
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