Companies Develop Green Products to Differentiate and Lead: Survey

Companies Develop Green Products to Differentiate and Lead: Survey

A new report from research firm Forrester shows why a large number of companies are developing greener products, looking at outside factors as well as who within companies are pushing for product changes.

For the latest report, "Environmental And Social Responsibility In Consumer Product Strategies," Forrester surveyed 72 consumer product strategy professionals and spoke with 17 companies and organizations, including Apple, Dell, Greenpeace, Levi Strauss and Product Red.

Eighty-four percent of the consumer product strategy professionals surveyed said that their companies have environmentally conscious or socially responsible products in development or on the market. Forrester lumps together a broad range of products in that category, including products that are energy efficient, recyclable, made with renewable materials, Fair Trade, or contain any other features that have a positive impact on the environment or remove features that have a negative impact on the environment.

A majority of companies, 71 percent, are also integrating those environmental and social issues during the conception and initial product design phases, some of the most important times for products, since that is when most decisions related to a product's cost are made.

The most commonly cited reason (71 percent) for companies to develop greener products and services is product differentiation, followed closely by 61 percent of companies saying they want to be a leaders in the world of green products. The third reason mentioned the most by companies (35 percent) was cost savings.

As for who within companies is influencing the switch towards green, 58 percent of companies said product managers and strategists are leading the charge, and 46 percent said CEOs are the ones pushing to develop green products. Smaller percentages cited a range of employees, from other high-level executives to marketing and research.

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