Today, April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Some companies will take part as well and some will use Earth Day as an opportunity to enhance their green marketing strategies and some will use it to exploit yet another event as part of their marketing.
Regardless of how we acknowledge the day, we have to think about our impact on the planet and what we can do to reduce that negative impact. In some cases, that means it’s time for change. Here are the items that came to mind for me.
1. Direct Marketing. One of the biggest culprits in the biz is direct marketing. But The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has been on top of the environmental issue for more than 20 years—and its website offers a host of resources to help direct mailers, in particular. I’ve used this resource and selected options that make most sense for the client and result in the least impact on the earth.
2. Data Centers. As marketers today, nothing is more important than our data. It tells us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. And with the importance of ensuring that data is always available, we’ve moved data to the cloud and to data centers. Sadly, data centers consume massive amounts of energy and contribute a staggering amount of e-waste materials.
In order to continue to act responsibly in this area, it’s important to ask your suppliers about energy consumption and what they’re doing to improve energy efficiency. Look to source equipment and services from those vendors that continue to make a difference in this area. Bookmark and keep an eye on Energy Star and advances in data center energy management.
3. Find Green Partners. As you make progress and reduce your impact on the environment, make a this part of what you look for in future suppliers and business partners. Sponsor e-waste collection efforts and even think about the community events and organizations that you support. Determine whether or not you can influence your community based on your participation and commitment to the cause.
4. Open up the Suggestion Box. One way to reduce energy consumption or environmental impact is to ask for suggestions from your clients and you vendors. Invite interaction and comments and make an earnest effort to evaluate and execute on what makes sense.
5. Avoid Greenwashing. Like whitewashing, the intent here is to avoid making claims that really aren’t in the best interest of the environment. Unless you’re absolutely sure of the details, avoid making claims for the sake of showing your environmental commitment.
Going green is certainly an opportunity to bring attention to your company and the business practices you follow. And it is something that can be part of your marketing, provided you’re dead serious about it and you’re ready to bring your community along. Including your position in a green marketing strategy should be part of what attracts the right employees and the right clients.
With a little education and perseverance, we can all make a positive impact. Just understanding the actions we take that have the greatest impact is a start. Today, your commitment might just be to enhance your education and tomorrow it might be taking real action with everything you do. The point is, you have to start sometime, so why not make that commitment today?
This is just a start in terms of the ways companies can take action. If you have other suggestions, please drop them in the comments section below.