Green Marketing Failing: Report

Greenbizcom_jpegThe ClimateBiz Staff describes the ramifications of a new report from the Climate Group that reveals that companies are not accurately communicating their climate change related efforts to consumers.

Posted July 15, 2008

By ClimateBiz Staff, ClimateBiz
OAKLAND, Calif. — The number of people concerned about climate
change continues growing, but they aren’t convinced that the business
sector is doing as much as it should.

That’s because companies are failing to adequately communicate their
climate change-related efforts to ever-weary consumers, says a new
report from the Climate Group and brand consulting company Lippincott. The situation is complicated by the diversity in consumer attitudes toward climate change.

"Companies need to understand their customers’ different views on
climate change and then find ways to act and communciate that are
relevant to their customers as well as their brands," David Hensley, a
senior partner at Lippincott, told via email.

The survey included 1,000 respondents from the U.S., United Kingdom,
Germany and France. The majority of respondents in the U.S. and U.K.
couldn’t name a single brand that is showing leadership in addressing
climate change. The few that could named GE, BP, Toyota, Wal-Mart and
Exxon as the leading U.S. companies battling climate change. This
indicates that consumers aren’t eschewing high-emissions industries,
where emissions reduction can have a large environmental impact.

Companies approach climate change communications gingerly. "Some
companies are also cautious about over-communicating or over-promising,
wary about allegations of greenwash," Hensley said. "This caution may
also be reducing communications down to a lowest common denominator."

Hensley said real action is the best way to overcome consumer
weariness. Campaigners — those that are deeply commited to fighting
climate change but need solid evidence to support a company’s green
claims — comprise the largest segment of respondents.

"As the segment of consumers we call ‘campaigners’ continues to
grow, these are people who are very concerned about the climate change
issue but also relatively skeptical," Hensley said. "So they need to
see real action in ways that are fitting with their industry and their
brand, which is, of course, the best defense against accusations of

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