Magazine article Marketing

Conference Preview: Go Green, Be Ethical, Stay Genuine

Magazine article Marketing

Conference Preview: Go Green, Be Ethical, Stay Genuine

Article excerpt

Brands ensuring their ethical credentials are central to their proposition are reaping the benefits.

Book now to learn how green, ethical and healthy innovations can boost brands. Call 020 867 4011

As health concerns, green issues and ethical standards top the consumer agenda, no brand can afford to ignore them.

However, for all the worthwhile campaigns that have been introduced, consumer cynicism is growing and allegations of 'greenwashing' are rife.

Brands must therefore ensure their principles are genuine and stick to them. They must also work hard to maintain the delicate balance of standing out without appearing sanctimonious.

The success of challenger brands such as Lush and Eat Natural demonstrate that successful businesses can be built on solid beliefs. 'Brands can avoid accusations of greenwash by being genuinely green and not by using ethics as just another piece of kit in the marketing toolbox,' says Sarah McCartney, head of brand publications at Lush, and a speaker at July's Green, Ethical & Healthy Innovations conference. 'There are marketers who muddy the waters with confusing, light-green messages that bamboozle customers into thinking they are doing something that is helping the environment.'

Applying consistent principles across the business is key, but sometimes this means brands have to compromise. 'At Lush we won't put any skincare in expensive, attractive packaging. However, what we save on this, we can use to buy the most fabulous natural ingredients,' adds McCartney.

It is also important to keep things simple, according to Praveen Vijh, co-founder of Eat Natural. 'We only ever use the best possible ingredients, sourced from growers around the world, who believe, that real taste comes naturally and not from additives,' he says.

Recent concerns about the effect of consumer waste on the environment has led a growing number of retailers and brands to create recyclable packaging and educate consumers about it.

Plastic bags are constantly in the spotlight and calls from environmental pressure groups and politicians for them to be banned are becoming more frequent. While many retailers continue to hide behind the excuse of 'consumer choice' when supplying plastic bags, many do run incentive schemes to recycle them.

McCartney argues that retailers should abandon the cry of 'consumer choice' as an excuse. …

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