While being seen as being 'Green' is a marketing essential in today's environmentally-aware society, many companies are still failing to get even the basics right, and three out of four companies have no green marketing plans at all, according to research commissioned in the UK by environmental PR firm GreenPortfolio.
The study found that 50% of marketing and public relations (PR) managers believe that an organisation's Green credentials are important to customers, and 84% feel that this importance is likely to grow further over the next two years as the impact of environmental issues continues to increase. Being Green was also identified as a key issue for employees, with 60% of respondents citing the importance of environmental credentials to their staff.
Not going green
But despite these views, nearly three out of four companies (72%) said that they have no Green marketing plans in place, and only one in three (33%) said they have senior management buy-in when it comes to going Green. This, the company says, highlights a pressing need for a lot more Green marketing planning.
The study, entitled 'Green Relations: the Communication Viewpoint', was based on 125 interviews with UK companies, and found that 58% of marketing and PR professionals believe that being Green provides competitive advantage. Nearly half (48%) also believe that customers are prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly products and services.
Even so, legislation is currently seen as the biggest driver when it comes to improving environmental status, with 80% of respondents believing organisations only take it seriously when they are legally required to do so, despite 97% feeling there is a moral duty to be environmentally friendly.
PR was seen as the "most credible" channel of communication when it comes to Green marketing, with 23% of management surveyed saying they were putting "strong" or "very strong" effort into their PR activities, compared to only 10% for advertising.
Green hygiene factor
Rebecca Dunstan, environmental PR consultant for GreenPortfolio, said: "Being green is no longer nice to have, it's a marketing must - otherwise companies run the risk of losing customers, employees and shareholders. It's clear there's a need to do more planning in this area - a phenomenal number of companies have no green marketing plans in place at all, and even those that do tend to approach environmental issues on an ad-hoc basis."