Why I’m Tired of Hearing About Green Fatigue

Sustainable_life_media_logoJacquelyn Ottman advises marketers that even though it may seem like green is everywhere and resulting in "green fatigue," it hasn’t fully engaged mainstream consumers yet. 

Posted at Sustainable Life Media
By Jacquelyn Ottman

Jacquelyn_ottman_jpeg“Green Fatigue.” It’s a term that’s come out of the U.K. recently to describe consumers and designers who are so overwhelmed with “in your face” green marketing pitches that they have “gone back” to tried and true products and messages focused on performance and quality. I find the term preposterous! The lone U.K. journalist who coined it in the fall of 2007 may have had his own ears so tweaked to green, he may be personally fatigued, but the average consumer is just getting going. Most green-product categories only have a 1%-2% market share.

Green Fatiguers, listen up (and smell some fairtrade coffee). If there’s any reason why consumers are “going back to making choices based on efficacy or taste” it’s because they realize they now can have it all. Most greener products provide the efficacy, convenience, safety, and design that consumers want, with all the ethical qualities built right in. Toyota’s Prius, Method, G Diapers, Tom’s of Maine, and Aveda are all fine examples. And with products like these on the market, designers are waking up to the fact that they can build green in while letting primary benefits shine, thus attracting business from the broad swath of consumers who are concerned about the issues but don’t want to trade off in the process.

Jacquelyn A. Ottman is president of J. Ottman Consulting. A regular contributer to SLM, Jacquie hosts our weekly Sustainable Brands e-newsletter.

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