As consumers are choosing to do business with an eco-friendly company, businesses should use environmental practices and promote in marketing
It seems more and more companies are taking steps to become eco-friendly these days, but do consumers really care? The short answer is yes, yes they do.
A 2020 study from IBM and the National Retail Federation revealed that two-thirds (nearly 70%) of North Americans across the U.S. and Canada prefer products from eco-friendly and sustainable companies. Current data suggests these percentages are only likely to grow. In fact, there are multiple factors in this area companies need to consider when crafting their next big marketing campaigns.
Demographics Play a Role
It’s no secret that different generations have varying levels of interest in eco-friendly practices. According to a 2020 survey from the digital research platform First Insight, younger generations show significantly more preference in purchasing products from sustainable brands. In fact, more than 60% of both Gen Z and Millennials in the study prefer sustainable brands, in contrast to 54% of Gen X, 39% of Baby Boomers, and 44% of the Silent Generation. Considering all generations have known environmentally-damaging brands their entire lives (the first American oil pipeline is believed to have been built in Pennsylvania back in 1862, for instance), this shift is important for the future of the industry.
Perhaps most telling of all, 73% of Gen Z and 68% of Millennials said they were willing to pay more for eco-friendly/sustainable items, while 55% of Gen X, 42% of Baby Boomers, and 50% of the Silent Generation said the same. The trend is likely to grow with future longer generations, and companies hoping to survive long-term would be wise to set their eyes on greener practices (and marketing campaigns that show them).
Employees, Not Just Customers, Care About Eco-Friendly Companies Too
It’s not just consumers that today’s businesses must cater to when it comes to sustainability and environmental awareness. Employee retention is down, especially in industries traditionally known for having harmful effects on the environment. A 2017 analysis on the oil and gas industry from the Talent Insight Index showed that more than 75% of professionals in the field were ready to leave their positions.
This is all worth even greater consideration in the current worker climate. Thanks to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread cultural shift, many companies across the board are facing serious workforce shortages. In fact, recent research shows over 66% of Millennial workers plan to leave their current position in search of other opportunities within a year. Indeed, many already have.
Are Modern Companies Really More Eco-Friendly?
The internet makes it easier than ever for today’s companies to gain visibility. But with the rise in technology comes stricter rules of use. Current internet crime laws make it illegal to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers via online communications and representation. Furthermore, increased competition means many companies are striving to set themselves apart via aggressive marketing campaigns and shared operational details. Because of all this, it’s possible some companies are putting any eco-friendly measures they take to the forefront of their public-facing image, whether or not the environment is actually their main focus.
By the same token, terms like ‘environmentally minded’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are quite broad. While one business’s environmentally-friendly standards could include hybrid vehicles and a switch to sustainable materials, another’s could simply be recycling office coffee cups. Nevertheless, both would technically be correct in saying they have ‘an eco-friendly focus’ on their websites.
With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that a 2021 study from environmental technology company GreenPrint showed that while two-thirds of Americans want sustainable products, most don’t actually know how to identify them. It’s also worth noting that the same study revealed about 53% of Americans rarely trust companies at their word when they say they are eco-friendly.
The bottom line? Companies that want to stand apart from the competition would do well to implement more eco-friendly practices and be willing to go into detail about them instead of just mentioning key terms. By explaining (and showing) how exactly they’re environmentally minded via an informative marketing campaign, today’s businesses can rise to the forefront of growing consumer interest.
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