When it comes to being green, is being a sustainable brand right for your organization? Kermit the Frog certainly thinks so, as proven in his 1994 breakout hit, It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green:
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But, why wonder, why wonder?
I’m green and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful. And I think it’s what I want to be!
Water in a Can
As usual, he’s probably right. Global warming is a clear and present danger and it is everyone’s responsibility to do what they can to tame its advances. However, the degree to which organizations tout their efforts should be guided by, as usual, their brand strategy.
For example, as CNBC reports, “PepsiCo testing canned water as it tries to cut down use of virgin plastic” is one example. Although not specifically part of their brand strategy, one of its mission statements reads:
FOR OUR WORLD: We bring smiles to people around the World by conserving nature’s precious resources and fostering a more sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren.
So, it’s fair to assume that they do need to align their actions with sustainability and eco-friendliness. But what about brands that do not aspire to get warm hugs from Al Gore? Should they promote their efforts to fight climate change too?
Is That Real Green or Fake Green?
Another question answers that one: Can they do so authentically? I stumbled upon a fun quiz on Buzzfeed News, “Can You Work Out How To Spend Your Money To Slow Global Warming?” It presents a few categories of brands and asked you to guess which was the most environmentally friendly. I won’t spoil your fun, but there are definitely surprises.
Some of those surprises are disappointing, but to be fair, none of the deficient brands to my knowledge have put a stake in the ground around environmentalism. So, no harm, no foul, except, well, on fowl. (Ha!)
But wait, there’s less.
However, Eluxe Magazine highlights “5 Brands You Think Are Eco-Friendly But Really Aren’t.” Here’s where the issues arise. The Stella McCartney brand, for example, promotes itself as the creators of “sustainable luxury fashion,” yet, in reality, its rating qualifies for a “good,” at best (see also, Good on You’s ranking).
If you are going to make any claim about your brand, it must be authentic.
No brand is perfect when it comes to environmentalism, however, if your brand strategy includes presenting yourself as a sustainable brand, you had better be upfront and honest about what you do well, as well as what you can do better.