Businesses today have to find better ways to stay on top in finance, keep ahead of the curve, and maintain reasonable levels of competitiveness while weathering the storm of financial ruin that the current US economy is undergoing. Analysts predict that many companies just won’t make it through these rough times, but the ones that will are the companies that will find a way to latch onto buzzwords in the marketing world that seem to unite care for environmental issues to investment for future prosperity in America. In other words, the greener a company is, the better its chances of seeing the light at the other end of this very dark financial tunnel. Greenwashing is a practice whereby a business can attempt to re-brand itself in a new light, or convince people its image always reflected values that were actually not explicitly there. For instance, let’s pretend there is a company that makes sock dolls out of old, burned coal and used gym socks, but business hasn’t been so good lately with the economy down and people losing interest in such novelty items. We’ll call this company SicSoxDollz. So, SicSoxDollz discovers it really needs a way to keep afloat, and decides to do “the green thing,” and market itself in a way that helps people associate them with a positive, environmentally responsible image. Maybe they begin by explaining that all their dolls are made from %100 recycled materials. It’s not a lie, their products always were that, after all – but now, they are capitalizing on it in order to gain reputation and hope to keep the doors open until after the recession. Next, they might try selling their dolls in special “green looking packaging,” which, like pornography, has not precise definition, but most people know it when they see it. So, first the speak green, then they package green. This strategy could grow over time to encompass how they ship products, which retail stores they allow their product to be sold or appear in, and focus on the location of factories and working conditions at their manufacturing centers. Taking on a whole new green identity may be a little costly at first, but can pay off big without a huge investment. A lot of the most successful companies that are surviving the times have done it, including Starbucks, Walmart, and others. These stores will be there when the storm passes, and so will many small companies that follow their lead.
Katie Morgan February 22, 2015