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