Marketers have a responsibility to position ‘green’ as accessible

Aaliah Eggins-Bryson
By Aaliah Eggins-Bryson | 27 March 2023
Aaliah Eggins-Bryson

Belong’s Head of Product & Marketing, Aaliah Eggins-Bryson, underscores the importance of showcasing green consumerism as an accessible enterprise, instead of something that equates to more time, effort, and money.

It is undeniable that we live in a world that wants to do better. We’ve known for some time that consumers are much more likely to be attracted to brands that embrace purpose and encourage sustainable practices.

Millennials have long been branded the trailblazers of ethical consumption, and Gen Z makes up the largest demographic in Australia most concerned about their carbon footprint in 2023 (83%).

With consumers only growing more conscious of their habits, sustainability has become a salient part of marketing and connecting authentically with audiences. However, marketers in such spaces have long faced a challenge.

In 2019, the Harvard Business Review summed it up well: “companies that introduce sustainable offerings face a frustrating paradox: Most consumers report positive attitudes toward eco-friendly products and services, but they often seem unwilling to follow through with their wallets.”

Years later, we’re in the same spot. Because while we might live in a world where consumers do want to make better decisions, such decisions are often placed behind a barrier of cost, effort, and time. The outcome? Sustainability is seen as an expensive or exhaustive feat, not something that can be easily accessed or afforded.

So, amidst a cost-of-living crisis, marketers are left with a real responsibility: marketing green as something that is achievable and – even more importantly – accessible to the everyday consumer.

Make it easy, while still providing agency
When you offer a “green” option that is more expensive, requires more effort, or forces the consumer to do their own research, it quickly ends up in the ‘too hard basket’.

Instead, the work should be done for consumers, and in a way that still involves them in the process. There are several brands who are leading the way in this space, across a variety of different industries, and even in industires those not traditionally associated with sustainable practices.

Grill’d is a perfect example of a brand that does this well – by allowing customers to choose where they donations are allocated; consumers are offered a sense of empowerment in their consumption. By giving consumers a say in what and who they support, it becomes a shared experience, and consumers can feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

Brands that are successfully green are ones that don’t market it as an added effort, while still allowing the consumer to feel like they’re making the right choice.

Walk the talk
Globally, eWaste is responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals found in landfill and can cause serious environmental problems. In Australia, only 17.4% of eWaste is effectively recycled. With stats as alarming as that, we have a responsibility to make a meaningful contribution to the circular economy, whenever and wherever possible.

You’ve heard it before: the most sustainable product is the one that you already own, and the circular economy is having a real moment. In VICE’s 2023 Guide to Culture, ‘use of recycled products’ took the top spot for what young people define as a sustainable product.

In the telco industry, refurbished electronics hold a serious potential for the future of consumer tech, and these processes are already well established in for plastics and textiles so, if you can offer consumers the opportunity to shop recycled goods, do so.

Communicate appropriately
Climate anxiety is very real. The ongoing stream of information surrounding our planet and its deterioration has placed heavy emotional tolls on young people and, in a post-COVID world, Australians grow increasingly concerned about climate change.

This means two things. One: you’re communicating with an audience that’s well-versed in the climate crisis. Two: you’re communicating with an audience that’s already stressed about it.

So, when you’re promoting sustainable efforts – and emphasizing the importance of mindful consumption – it’s imperative to avoid the guilt-trip, it’s imperative to provide realistic, tangible, and science-backed solutions, and to consider how a consumer feels reading on the otherside of your message. Consumers are smart – don’t lecture them, bring them on your journey.

In the end, ‘green’ is a win-win-win: for consumers, for marketers, and for the planet alike. It only makes sense that green is at the forefront of our marketing decisions and, even more importantly, we position it as something that can be achieved – and accessed – by anyone and everyone.

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