In an increasingly socially-conscious world, more consumers are looking to businesses and brands that reflect their own values. Many millennials specifically steer clear of company’s that they perceive as being harmful to the environment, with a recent study by The Shelton Group finding that 90% of millennials surveyed would use a brand using social and eco-friendly business practices. With millennials making up around 30% of the overall consumer market (a number that’s rising steadily year-by-year) this is a market with limitless potential. As a result, more small businesses and startups are hitting the ground running as decidedly ‘green’ or eco-friendly. But what does ‘going green’ actually mean and what are the immediate benefits?
Any business that makes a visible and concerted effort to reduce its impact on the environment and extols the virtues of doing so to the world at large with their environmental, social and governance initiatives, they are generally seen as a green business
. This can mean anything from running a business with eco-friendly ideals at its core (such as First Mile, which offers affordable recycling services to the catering industries) to taking greater measures to recycle, reduce utilities and leave a smaller carbon footprint.
But What Are the Benefits?
The Production Costs
You might presume that being eco-friendly would cost your business more in production costs. After all, if it’s cheaper, why are all brands not going green? There is a common misconception, however, around the costs associated with green businesses. Using recycled materials (and making a point of the fact you’re using recycled materials), for example, will not only draw in eco-friendly consumers but will set back your production costs substantially. A good example of this is Circular Product Design, who making reusable coffee cups from recycled paper cups among other sustainable products.
A healthy consumer is a happy consumer and a happy consumer is a repeat consumer. Eco-friendly products are generally favoured by consumers who live a more active, healthier lifestyle. So, your target market is a thriving one that will (on average) live longer and form a deeper attachment to your business due to its eco-friendly stance.
Image might not be everything, but it’s certainly of great import if you want to nurture a business with genuine staying power. It’s also something that works both ways, as consumers who are seen using your business or buying your products will inevitably be associated with whatever your business and its products represent. If your business is seen as eco-friendly, your customers will be seen as eco-friendly by extension. So, by cultivating a green brand, you’ll not only create a brand image that attracts more custom, but you should also enjoy a more loyal following.
Whilst certain orange demagogues might want you to believe that it’s a myth conjured up by liberal scaremongers, global warming is a recognised threat. It’s also now been proven that some plastics can last a lifetime and can have a significantly damaging effect on sea life and our own long-term health. Every business that presents an environmentally friendly front goes some small way towards solving the problem and saving the environment. So, whilst being an eco-friendly business will almost certainly lead to better revenue opportunities and will definitely increase your brand awareness and image, that shouldn’t be why you choose that path. Choose the path because it’s the right thing to do, because if you’re not part of the solution. You know the rest.