Think of it as the Darwinian approach to green marketing, where only the most sustainable products survive.
With consumers watching every penny, they are asking tougher questions and wanting more results from the products they do buy. In this environment, it’s not enough for products to wrap themselves in the green banner and tout fuzzy claims about making the world a better place. Simply, it is not enough to merely make consumers feel good, they want to see the results.
Although this may be bad news for some products, it is good news for many environmentally- sensitive ones—as long as they offer a clear value proposition.
“I think consumers are in a mindset of value, and I think that sustainability feeds into that mindset very well,” says Len Sauers, vice president of Global Sustainability at consumer products giant Procter & Gamble.
Being Green By Not Spending
It’s also good news for the environment. All in the name of saving money, consumers are cutting down on energy use in their homes, drinking water from the tap and carrying their leftovers to work for lunch—the very things some advocates for the environment have been preaching for a long time.
Consumers are asking whether they need to spend money to be green, says Marcia Mogelonsky, an analyst at market researcher Mintel.
“Many people are being green by not spending,” adds Mogelonsky, who predicts products with the most dubious claims will suffer sales declines and may fade away.
One example is bamboo flooring, which some companies consider a more environmentally sensitive flooring choice because bamboo trees grow faster than other sources of timber. Others counter than bamboo’s benefits are outweighed by the fact that it is grown thousands of miles away from where it is used, and the carbon impact of its transportation offsets—if not cancels out—the benefits.