Marketing Green: Are You Walking the Walk?

Published on June 23rd, 2010 | by

Businesses marketing themselves as “green” are not using environmentally-responsible marketing materials.

Earlier this month, a survey released in conjunction with Canadian Environment Week (May 31 to June 5), showed that more than half of businesses marketing themselves aren’t walking the walk — at least not in their marketing materials.

The survey, conducted by traffic marketing + design inc., a sustainable marketing and communications agency, showed that of nearly 350 green businesses, government, and not-for-profit exhibitors at the recent Green Living Show in Toronto, more than 66% of survey participants lacked environmentally friendly marketing materials. Only 22% had marketing materials printed on FSC-certified paper.

Green organizations such as government and not-for-profit exhibitors had the highest adoption at 50% FSC-certified paper usage, whereas segments like Fashion & Beauty and Health & Wellness had the lowest adoption rates of less than 10%.

It begs the question — if you are going to market at a green show, shouldn’t you be green in one of the easiest place to go green? If not, do you think people aren’t going to notice?

Several months back, I wrote about a category of consumers called LOHAS or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability consumers. These consumers — which are the most likely attendee base for a green living show — are interested in more than just the greenness of products. They are interested in buying from companies that are genuine, that walk the walk themselves. They want to know that the companies they are buying from genuinely care about the environment and are not just using “green” to make a buck.

I guess many of these exhibitors didn’t read the research.

How about you? Are you walking the walk?


About the Author

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.