Being Green a Marketing 'Must,' Says UK Study
Independent research commissioned by GreenPortfolio, the environmental relations division of Portfolio Communications, found being green cited as a key issue for staff, with 60% of respondents citing the importance of environmental credentials to employees.
Despite these findings, nearly three out of four (72%) companies have no green marketing plans in place and only one in three (33%) have senior management buy-in when it comes to going green, highlighting a pressing need for much more green marketing planning.
The research, "Green Relations: the Communication Viewpoint," is based on 125 interviews with UK organizations. It reveals that being green is rapidly becoming a marketing 'must', with 58% of marketing and PR professionals believing this provides competitive advantage. Nearly half (48%) of the communication industry also believes customers are prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly products and services. Even so, legislation is seen as the biggest driver when it comes to improving environmental footprints with 80% of respondents believing organizations only take this seriously when they are legally required to do so, despite 97% feeling there is a moral duty to be environmentally friendly.
PR is seen as the most credible channel of communication when it comes to green marketing with 23% of management surveyed investing 'strong or very strong effort' into PR activities, compared to only 10% in advertising.
"Being green is no longer nice to have, it's a marketing must otherwise companies run the risk of losing customers, employees and shareholders," says Rebecca Dunstan, environmental PR consultant at GreenPortfolio. "It's clear there's a need to do more planning in this area - a phenomenal number of companies have no green marketing plans in place at all and even those that do tend to approach environmental issues on an ad hoc basis.
She continues: "The marketing and communications profession sees clear competitive advantage in being green but the survey also shows that organizations can't 'greenwash' their credentials. A surface veneer isn't enough when it comes to the environment; companies have to be doing it. The need to get going is very real and businesses mustn't get left behind when it comes to environmental marketing."
The research was carried out online during October 2006 among 125 UK organizations ranging in size from fewer than 250 to more than 5000 employees. 30% of respondents were PR or marketing directors, 48% were PR or marketing managers and 19% heads of PR/marketing departments, with 3% 'other'.
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