fancyClicker

Question: How do we incent consumers to take meaningful, positive action on the issue of climate change?

avatar Wood Turner
Climate Counts

“Companies love to talk about how they've achieved cost savings through energy-efficiency programs (rightfully so!), but consumers may be getting an unfortunate mixed message. While quick to acknowledge cost savings to show their energy management efforts are working, companies are much slower to extend any kind of savings to consumers who want to reward them for using less energy (and emitting less CO2). Instead, the conventional corporate wisdom is to ask consumers to pay more for products and services with green attributes rather than explicitly share the return on investment in climate action. An obvious “climate” discount or rebate could connect climate action to lower costs and change the marketplace.”

avatar Andrea Asch
Ben & Jerry’s

“At Ben & Jerry’s, we realize the power of a single effort to make a simple change can be a catalyst for a larger movement. As businesses we will continue to show our commitment through actions such as reducing our own green house gasses and investing in renewable sources of energy. Only then can we ask consumers to show their commitment. Let’s tell our consumers’ stories. What are they doing that we can share and learn from? We need to demonstrate that changes in our climate are being felt now and that they will impact all of us in our own community.”

avatar Alisa Gravitz
Green America

“The most effective way for consumers to take meaningful, positive action on climate change is to vote with their dollars. As the green movement grows and the economy tightens, consumers are becoming more discerning about where they spend their hard-earned money. Our work shows that consumers want to support companies whose values and actions align with their own, so companies demonstrating they are truly taking a leadership role around the environment and social justice will benefit from the support of conscientious consumers. Green America’s National Green Pages™ (http://www.greenpages.org) is a great resource to find businesses that have been rigorously screened for their environmental and social justice commitments.”

Add Your Voice Here!

Required
Required
Important
Please review our Commenting Guidelines before posting.

Most Recent Comments

  1. avatar Maryann Walker,

    The best way for companies to get the word out about climate control is to be aware of and focus more on the markets they don’t know about. You have to gear your marketing towards the people who don’t know what you do or who you are and figure out a way to get their attention. It doesn’t have to be anything big either. For example, Mac Cosmetics got me into thinking about recycling simply by offering a discount if you bring in five empty shells or bottles of products that you used. Small but effective! Also word of mouth is still the best informer. Reward loyal customers by offering them special deals and discounts, then they will start telling their buddies or family about it.

  2. The best way for companies to encourage consumers to act on climate change is to live it themselves — to act on climate change as a business, to make that action overt and public, and to encourage (e.g., through their packaging, advertising, etc.) their customers to do likewise.

    Businesses need to do so in two ways — by reducing their own emissions, and by asking policymakers to get moving too. That’s why Conservation NH, a statewide political advocacy organization working to make the environment a priority for lawmakers, is partnering with many companies to bring a green business voice to the Capitol. Operating as Conservation NH-Business (CNHB), we help elected officials recognize that a vibrant economy and healthy environment go hand-in-hand. One of the best examples occurred this spring, when CNHB spurred 140 businesses to register their support for NH’s continued participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This effort resonated with lawmakers and we were successful in keeping NH part of the 10-state cap and trade program aimed at reducing CO2 emissions.

  3. To really move our country forward companies need to make the case not just to eco-conscious consumers but also to the rest of America. If companies want consumers to take action on climate and energy they should start with making the case for why they, as companies, are taking action. Consumers need to see that meaningful action on climate is not just good for the environment but also has a positive economic impact, something every consumer is looking for. Communicating the economic benefits gained by acting on energy and climate change is key to moving consumers to take meaningful, positive action in their own lives.

  4. avatar Gary Dovey - Hivemind,

    I brought a pair of Earthkeeper boots at the beginning of the year. I loved them and they got many remarks. But after 8 months of intermittent wear the soles need replacing. I took them to the shoe-mender who said that because of the welt construction he couldn’t fix them. I took them back to the store where the indifferent clerk said i should throw them away and by a new pair. How is this in anyway ‘green.’ ?

  5. The podcast from our recent CSR Stakeholder Call — “The Road from Copenhagen: Engaging Mainstream Consumers” — is now available at http://responsibility.timberland.com/stakeholder-engagement-calls. Do you ideas for engaging consumers? Let us know what you think by posting your comments here.

  6. Would it be effective to incentivize consumers to take action and reward them in return? Many people do not pay attention unless they quickly realize the “what’s in it for me” piece of the equation. Since positively affecting action on climate change is not tangible, make it tangible in another way. Offer 5% off a customer’s future purchase for sending an e-mail, writing a letter or signing a petition for positive action. Have the name of people who take action entered into a contest for a gift card or other free merchandise. First capture their attention, then deliver the message.

  7. Only a small percentage of consumers are ideological enough to “vote with their dollars” in a positive way (more will do so in a negative way, i.e. avoiding controversial/targeted companies). So companies need to be realistic in how much “bump” they can expect from marketing environmental initiatives. Consumers don’t trust companies enough to be “led” by them on climate change, and the topic is still too remote to motivate most people. Where a company CAN get traction is in helping take away their customers’ “environmental guilt” from using their product/service. Making a product easy to recycle or reuse makes a consumer feel they “made a difference.” If a consumer buys something and a company does something environmentally good as a result of the purchase, that works too as long as the company proves it (again, it’s a trust thing). If a company wants to educate/motivate consumers to act on climate change, it better be engaging and fun. Leave the preachy stuff to people/organizations with the cred to make people listen. Even then, it’s a challenge unless it connects to individual consumers’ lives TODAY.

  8. Companies love to talk about how they’ve achieved cost savings through energy-efficiency programs (rightfully so!), but consumers may be getting an unfortunate mixed message. While quick to acknowledge cost savings to show their energy management efforts are working, companies are much slower to extend any kind of savings to consumers who want to reward them for using less energy (and emitting less CO2). Instead, the conventional corporate wisdom is to ask consumers to pay more for products and services with green attributes rather than explicitly share the return on investment in climate action. An obvious “climate” discount or rebate could connect climate action to lower costs and change the marketplace.

  9. At Ben & Jerry’s, we realize the power of a single effort to make a simple change can be a catalyst for a larger movement. As businesses we will continue to show our commitment through actions such as reducing our own green house gasses and investing in renewable sources of energy. Only then can we ask consumers to show their commitment. Let’s tell our consumers’ stories. What are they doing that we can share and learn from? We need to demonstrate that changes in our climate are being felt now and that they will impact all of us in our own community.

  10. The most effective way for consumers to take meaningful, positive action on climate change is to vote with their dollars. As the green movement grows and the economy tightens, consumers are becoming more discerning about where they spend their hard-earned money. Our work shows that consumers want to support companies whose values and actions align with their own, so companies demonstrating they are truly taking a leadership role around the environment and social justice will benefit from the support of conscientious consumers. Green America’s National Green Pages™ (http://www.greenpages.org) is a great resource to find businesses that have been rigorously screened for their environmental and social justice commitments.

  View your shopping cart